Friday, March 20, 2015

Lands' End Getaway Tour Review

Summer is right around the corner for us Floridians.  It actually already feels like summer here in Tampa with temperatures getting into the mid 80s.

With summer, comes the beach and swimsuit season!  I visited the Lands' End Getaway Tour when it stopped at Wiregrass Mall this month.  Lands' End brought their beautiful swimsuit lines and professional fitters to help everyone find the perfect swimsuit for their body types.  I stepped into a dressing room with a fit expert, who took my measurements to help find me the perfect fitting swimsuit.  Then she came back with swimsuits for me to try on.  After a couple of no-goes, I did find a swimsuit that I loved.

The Beach Club collection offerd bright colors and great fits with modern styles.

Slender Suits help you look a whole size smaller with tummy tightening one piece swimsuits.

The Aqua Sport collection had cute, sporty swimsuits for the active beachgoer (or mom running after kids).

Swim mates had bright mix and match separates so you can create the style that's right for you.

This purple, 2-piece Beach Club swimsuit was my favorite!  I loved the look and fit.  Sorry, no pictures of me in this swimsuit.  This beach body is still a work in progress.

Don't forget your sunscreen this summer or check out one of Lands' End UPF 50 swim tees!

Disclaimer: As part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was invited to this free event.  All opinions are my own.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay Preview

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay is celebrating it's 10th anniversary this year.

This year's race is on Sunday, March 14, 2015, starting at 7:00am at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Florida.

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon's scenic course takes runners over the John Ringling Causeway and around St. Armand's Circle, then down the Tamiami Trail and by the Ringling Museum of Art before they make their way back to the finish line at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.  The finish area is right on the gorgeous Florida water.

This race is know for it's giant finisher medal!  I have two from previous years.

My sister, Patti, and I are participating in the relay this year.

Who's joining us this year at the Sarasota Half?


Best Damn Race 10k Recap 2015

I was back at the Best Damn Race, Safety Harbor, for the 10k this year.  Last year's half marathon was torture on this hilly course so I opted for the 10k instead.  This was only my second 10k ever with my first being in Oct 2012.  I planned to PR.

I was running consistently and training with interval and tempo runs weekly.  I was ready to ROCK the 10k!

Feb 7 was a crisp, cool morning with perfect running weather temps in the low 50s.  Once I got to Safety Harbor, I met up with my running buddy, Melanie.  With all things considered, like cool weather, previous interval and tempo run times, I thought we could finish the 10k in about 55 minutes.  My 10k PR was 59:39 so anything under that was good.  Melanie and I planned to try to stay together and pace each other throughout the 10k course.

We started out in the middle to back of the pack of runners so had to dodge to get around people.  The beginning of the course was beautiful, running along the water.  We navigated the ups and downs of the Safety Harbor streets, hearing the cheers from fellow Striders as we passed.

The 6.2 miles of the 10k seemed like nothing after my marathon and half marathons of the fall.  But, I was extremely happy that I wasn't running the Best Damn Race Half Marathon every time we passed a half course sign pointing us in the opposite direction with more hills!

Here we were heading into the final .2 mile stretch where we sprinted to the finish line almost causing a pass out or puke incident.

Photo by David
But we made it and finished!!
Free photo from Best Damn Race
 Melanie and I with new PRs and sparkly medals!
Post race picture with fellow Suncoast Striders
You got to ring the PR bell when you PRed at the Best Damn Race but I felt like the sign was made for me!  Instead of Chrissy Bell, call me PR Bell now.  Haha!

I loved the Best Damn Race's post-race food this year.  They had Dunkin Donuts' coffee, hot chocolate and heart donuts (filled with cookie dough or brownie batter); Jimmy John's sandwiches; and Pollo Tropical's black beans, rice and chicken.  Yummy!!!

This year, I had the BEST Damn Race with a 10k time of 55:15 and a PR of over 4 minutes!

Age Group Place:  16/119
Overall Place:  222/1047
Gun time:  56:24.0
Chip time:  55:15.9
Pace:  8:54/M


Annie The Musical

Oh, my gosh!  Oh, my gosh!  Oh, my gosh!  I've always loved the movie Annie and the sing-along songs (that I know by heart).  My boys and I watched the original 1982 movie over Christmas vacation.  I was beyond thrilled that Annie The Musical was coming to the Straz Center in Tampa.

Dylan, my 10 year old son, was very excited to see Annie The Musical.  Jared, my 13 year old, wasn't necessarily excited about the show, but agreed to go which is a win in my book.

Once at the show, Jared posted this picture to his Instagram account with the caption that he was seeing Annie at the Straz.  Double WIN!

The show started out with one of my favorite Annie songs "Maybe", followed by "It's the Hard Knock Life" and "Tomorrow". 

Annie and the orphans singing “It’s The Hard Knock Life”. Photo by Joan Marcus

Annie and Sandy singing "Tomorrow". Photo by Joan Marcus
Of course, the musical included a couple of new songs like "We'd Like to Thank You" and left out some from the original movie like "Sandy".  Although I didn't love Issie Swickle's singing voice, she did a great job portraying little orphan Annie.  Lynn Andrews was fierce and hilarious as Miss Hannigan!

This is a fantastic story and show for the whole family.  My boys thoroughly enjoyed Annie The Musical!  Dylan saw the signs for Potted Potter and Beauty and the Beast coming soon to the Straz.  Now he wants to see those shows too!  I've created a broadway monster!

What's your favorite Annie song?

Annie The Musical is preforming at the Straz Center Feb 17-22, 2015.

Clothing Drive - At performances of Annie, Tuesday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 22, donations of primary school uniforms and other children’s clothing will be accepted at the Straz Center. The drive benefits Metropolitan Ministries who serve families in need in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties.

Disclaimer: As part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I received four tickets to see Annie The Musical.  All opinions are my own.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Flapjack 5K recap 2014

The 21st Annual Flapjack 5K was a first for me.  My 10 year old, Dylan, expressed interest in running a 5K with me after I ran the Gobbler 5K.  This was a local and inexpensive race, so I signed us up to run a week before the race.

After running Rap River with Dylan in the summer of 2013, I told myself I'd never run a race WITH him again.  Dylan and I discussed running and pace prior to the Flapjack race.  He decided he wanted to run his own pace on race day and not stay with me.  I reminded him that he runs for 40 minutes at PE mileage club and he just finished basketball season where he played most of the 40 minute game running back and forth on the court.  He was completely capable of running the entire 3.1 miles.

Car selfie with my Dylan
Race morning was cold for Florida, in the upper 40s!  We lined up as close to the start line as possible because there was no timing start mat.  As the race started, Dylan took off.  I told him he was starting too fast so he slowed down and I caught up to him.  We ran together for about a quarter mile and then he stopped to walk.  I suggested he not walk the race but slow his pace.  I left Dylan and ran on through the streets of Land O' Lakes to a 26:36 finish.

With our races finished, my friend Jen joined me as I walked back along the course to find Dylan.  I figured if he kept running, he should be close behind.  Unfortunately, he didn't keep running and was in a grumpy mood.  We encouraged him to run the last half mile with us but he refused.

He walked over the finish line!!  So frustrating!  He finished in 47:54...his slowest 5K.

I won second place in my age group!  Yippee!

Age Place: 2/13
Overall Place: 78/268
Gun/chip time: 26:36

Dylan enjoyed lots of pancakes after the race and apologized for not even trying in the 5K.

I love my boy but I'm glad we each ran our own race.  I don't think I would have made it if I had to deal with grumpy Dylan during a 48 minute 5K.

Do your kids like to run races?


Friday, January 30, 2015

Space Coast Half Marathon 2014 recap

For the second year in a row, I traveled over to the east coast of Florida the weekend after Thanksgiving to run the Space Coast Half Marathon.  I enjoyed and PRed the course last year so I had to go back for more bling!

The 2014 medal featured the Challenger Space Shuttle with 7 stars representing the seven lives lost when the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on January 28, 1986.

Denise and I drove over on Saturday to visit the expo and pick up our race bibs and packets.  The expo was at a local hotel instead of the Kennedy Space Center this year.  The expo had more exhibitors than last year but was extremely crowded and hard to maneuver.  They ran out of women's race shirts which was very annoying, especially considering I did early registration before the general public.

Expo selfie with fellow Striders

After the expo, Denise and I checked in to our hotel and then met the Striders for dinner.  At dinner, one of my fellow runners, Bob, volunteered to pace me in the half to an under 2:00 hour finish.  I just PRed at the Savannah Rock N Roll Half with a time of 2:02:26.

On race morning, I was ready to conquer my half and hopefully a new PR under 2:00.  I met up with Bob and was a little nervous for him to pace me because we hadn't ever run together before.  We lined up near the 2 hour pace group in the start corral.  Shortly after, the race started and we were off, running along the scenic Indian River.

At about mile 3, my legs were already tired (probably because I walked around Busch Gardens all day on Friday).  We ran a nice pace and did not start out too fast.  I told Bob I wasn't sure this under 2 thing was going to happen today because I already wasn't feeling it.

The 2 hour pace group (A) and the 2 hour Galloway pace group (B) kept passing each other.  At about mile 4, I needed a little walk break just to catch my breath so we stopped to walk with the Galloway group.  I figured we could catch up with the other group (A) on the next run portion.  The Galloway group started their run portion and it was a SPRINT.  This Galloway group was equivalent to running intervals for 13.1 miles!  No thanks!  We caught up to the other group (A) but after the sprint I just ran, I couldn't keep pace.  The 2 hour pace groups ran off ahead but I was ok with that.  I ran my own race and if I didn't meet my goal, there would be another race.

Bob kept me going towards the end of the course where I would have slowed down my pace if I was by myself.  It was a hot day that slowly zapped my energy for running.

The last .10 mile curved around Riverfront Park in a half circle to the finish line.  We ran over a timing mat that I thought was the finish line and stopped running.  Bob looked back at me and yelled "come on" and I heard people yelling, "keep going"!  I was not at the finish line yet but the mat that allowed the announcer to call out our names.  UGH!  I started running again and crossed the finish line about 10 steps ahead.  I was glad to be done!  I didn't finish under 2:00 but did PR by 24 seconds.


Overall Place: 434/3304
Female Place: 184/2329
Age Div Place: 33/417
Average pace: 9:19
5K time: 28:33
10K time: 57:08
15K time: 1:26:15
Chip time: 2:02:02

I love the space shuttle medal and will be back for more!  What's your favorite race medal?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Gobbler 5K 2014 recap

This was the first year I ran a Thanksgiving Day race.  So close to home, the Gobbler 5K was the perfect option for me.

I had been wanting a nice flat course that I could PR for my 5K distance.  The Gobbler race took place in Starkey Park...where I run every Saturday morning.  Perfect!  I knew the park and flat running trails very well.

My PR to beat was 27:39 from 2 years ago.  I hadn't run a 5K in over a year and I knew I was faster.

Thanksgiving morning was a brisk 52 degrees...perfect running weather.  I met up with friends in my running group and we hung out until the start of the race.  My goal was a sub 27:00 5K to give me the PR.

We lined up in the start corral and someone asked if there was a mat at the start line.  I walked up to check and reported back that there was NOT a start mat.  No start mat meant that all timing chips started when the gun went off to signal the start of the race instead of when racers actually crossed the start line.  Racers that were a minute back in the start corral would already have an extra minute on their finish time before they even crossed the start line.  I was trying to PR so I moved up closer to the start line.

The race started and I felt great!  The temperature was cool and I was well fueled for a 5K.  We ran on the park road for about a mile, making our way to the trail.  I kept up a nice pace and loved seeing friends' faces as I ran.  We turned around at mile 2 to head back to the finish area.

My awesome race and pace continued to a Garmin finish time of 25:53!  My official chip time was 25:58.  Not only did I get a sub 27:00 but also a sub 26:00!  I was so happy with my new PR.

My new PR also won me a second place age group award!  Woot, Woot!  Never before had I won an age group award in a running race.  So excited!

This is a race I will definitely do again next Thanksgiving!

Age Div place: 2/38
Overall place: 103/617
Average pace: 8:31
Garmin time: 25:53
Gun/chip time: 25:58