Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Best Damn Race 10K 2018



One of my favorite local races is the Best Damn Race Safety Harbor 10K. It was held on February 4, 2018 this year. Don't be fooled into thinking Florida is flat. I never knew the hills of Safety Harbor existed until I started running the Best Damn Race. Have I mentioned that I hate hills.

On race morning it was about 55° and windy. The 10K distance of 6.2 miles was perfect since I was still training for the Donna Marathon.

My plan was an easy pace run with no PR in sight. You've probably heard that from me before but this time I was serious. My IT band was still bothering me causing pain on the outside of my left knee. My marathon was the following weekend and I didn't want to run in pain.

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

It was so nice to just run and not worry about pace. I even made myself slow down when I realized my pace was too fast for an "easy" run. The next 2 pictures are the final .10 of the race to the finish line. My fellow Strider friends cheered me on and yelled for me to GO and finish strong. I told them this was a training run where I was taking it easy and NOT sprinting to the finish line.

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race


I finished with a smile on my face, not a care in the world for my time and no pain. That's a win for me!

Best Damn Race


Age group: 42/158
Gender: 261/880
Overall: 485/1264
Avg pace: 9:57 min/mile
Chip time: 1:01:48

Best Damn Race

Walt Disney World Marathon 2018


Oh Disney Marathon....

This was my first marathon 5 years ago at the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon. I ran the Disney marathon again the following year and alleged that I would not run Disney again.

Fast forward 5 years and I ran it again. I'm training for the Donna Marathon in February so when the opportunity came up to run the 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon, I took it. I joined my good friend and running buddy Tara for 26.2 magical/miserable miles.

On the up side, the Disney Expo was fun as usual with lots to see and shop. We even got airbrush Minnie Mouse tattoos.

Walt Disney World Marathon
Tara, Rudy and I
The Disney Marathon started dark and early at 5:30 am with a temperature of 43°. We hit traffic on the way to the Epcot start area because of a broken down bus. We finally got parked but by the time we walked all the way to the start corrals, the race had begun with corrals A and B already gone. Rudy was in B so he hustled up close to the front. Tara and I thought we joined corral C but we were actually in the back of D. Tara and I ran together for about the first 3 miles, dodging people as we tried to get around slower runners. I still had the goal of finishing under 4:30 but if it didn't happen, I had Donna in flat Jacksonville in a month.

Walt Disney World Marathon

There was so much construction going on at and around the Disney parks this year. I felt they didn't have as many characters out or fun entertainment as past years. I usually hit my wall around mile 16 but during this race, I felt great...until mile 20. At 20, I was ready to be done. I could feel my tight, left hamstring. But, I only had 6.2 more miles left to go and if I could keep a decent pace, I would be very close to a PR. So I started telling myself, don't let the first 20 miles be a waste and blow it in the last 6.2...you worked so hard in the first 20, finish strong with the time you want!

I pushed myself through the last couple of miles with Epcot being the hardest because of its stupid little bridges between each country. I hate those little bridges! I willed my legs to keep moving forward toward the finish line.

Walt Disney World Marathon
Crossing the finish line and finally done!
Walt Disney World Marathon

 It hurt to walk after my finish. My quads were on fire, hamstrings tight and left IT band screaming for attention.

Walt Disney World Marathon
Me and Tara

I did it! I finally finished a marathon under 4:30 with a time of 4:29:09!!! I'll take it!

I dislike the Disney Marathon for many reasons, one of them being the course length, which is always long...almost a half mile too long this year.  But I did finish, earning my medal and mouse ears.

Age place: 108/1661
Gender place: 850/10763
Over all place: 2835/20025
Avg pace: 10:16 min/mile (course was long 26.63 so actual avg pace was 10:06)
Chip time: 4:29:09

Walt Disney World Marathon

Strawberry Classic 10K 2017



This is a fun but hilly little race in Temple Terrace, Florida. I've raced this one a couple of times choosing the 10K distance. I love the quarts of fresh strawberries that racers get to take home. This race is also directed by a Strider. This year the race took place on March 25, 2017.

I really didn't have any expectations going into this race because the hills are killers and not included in my training. I had just PRed at Best Damn Race the month before so I was ok with just finishing.

It was a cool 55° on race morning. I enjoy meeting up with my fellow Suncoast Striders for pictures and pre-race camaraderie. 

Strawberry Classic

Strawberry Classic

I caught up with fellow Strider David with about a mile and a half left to go. The hills were as awful as I remembered and I was loosing steam. He gave me the final push to get up the last hill to the finish line. The finish line is actually at the top of an incline. I hate hills!

Strawberry Classic
David and I running to the finish

Strawberry Classic
Strider ladies got it done!

Strawberry Classic
Of course I need a strawberry head picture!

I managed to pull off a new PR of 54:01. Now to get under 54. haha!

Age place: 4/20
Gender place: 28/148
Overall: 80/249
Avg pace: 8:42
Chip time: 54:01

Strawberry Classic

Robbie's Run 2017






Robbie's Run is a great little 5K to benefit Word of Life Youth Camp scholarship fund and directed by a fellow Strider. This was my third year running Robbie's Run. I was able to talk Jared into running the 5K this year! I love when my boys come to run with me.


April 1, 2017 was a cool morning by Florida standards at 57°. Perfect temperature for a 5K!

Jared was working out with his wrestling team but not really running. I knew he could beat me because he's young and fast. He teased our friend Jackie about wanting to beat her even though he wasn't a runner and she runs weekly. The competition was on!

Robbie's Run

Robbie's Run

Robbie's Run

Robbie's Run

I won 3rd place in my age group!! This was the only age category where Strider took home 1st, 2nd and 3rd place wins. Jackie took 2nd place and was victorious over Jared. He tried his best and really pushed himself towards the end. Maybe next year.

Age place: 3/21
Gender place: 21/163
Overall place: 63/294
Avg pace: 8:16
Chip time: 25:41



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Best Damn Race 2017






Best Damn Race Safety Harbor February 4, 2017! This is a great local race with amazing food and drinks at the after party. I like the 10K distance best because according to this Florida girl, Best Damn Race Safety Harbor is a Hilly course. That's Hilly with a capital H!

It was a beautiful, cool February morning. I had no real time goal but a PR is always in the back of my mind.


Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race


I love the awesome race photos that Best Damn Race gives runners for FREE! Although this year, some were taken from a ground position and quite unflattering. Running legs...yikes!

Best Damn Race


Best Damn Race
All of us ringing the PR BELL!

I PRed and so did my friends Christine and Tara! We all got to ring the PR bell!

Age place: 22/164
Gender place: 124/969
Overall place: 273/1357
Avg Pace: 8:50
Chip time: 54:53


Best Damn Race

Celebration Half Marathon 2017


This was my first year running the Celebration Half Marathon in Celebration, Florida. It's a small, relatively local race just south of Orlando. Since it was held on January 29, 2017, we hoped for cool weather. I was still trying for an under 2 hour half marathon so I decided to stick with the 2 hour pace group. This would be my first pace group experience. I went to Celebration with two of my friends, Christine and Suzanne. At packet pick, they had a very small expo but a fun photo booth.


Celebration Half Marathon
Celebration Half Marathon

Race morning was cold and rainy. We were warned about the wooden boardwalks along the course that would inevitably be slippery in the rain. We got to the start corral just as the national anthem was sung and BOOM, the race started. I hesitated starting because my running watch was still searching for the GPS signal but my 2 hour pace group was taking off. I crossed the start line, starting my watch shortly after once it found the satellite. Not a great way to start my race. 

The pace group was pretty awesome! It kept me on track when I might have normally slowed down at the end of 13 miles. The multiple (yea like 6!) boardwalks were wet and slippery so we slowed the pace down, having to compensate during other portions of the race.

Towards the end of the race I noticed our pace group would finish very close to 2 hours or slightly over. I mentioned to our pacer I was trying to finish under 2 hours. Another lady with us also wanted under 2. Our pacer was familiar with the course and told us where we needed to take off and finish strong to meet our goals.

Celebration Half Marathon
Fellow pace group runner trying for under 2 hour finish

Celebration Half Marathon
Love having my Striders cheering at the end

Celebration Half Marathon
Final turn to the finish

Celebration Half Marathon


I did it!!  I finally finished a half marathon under 2 hours!!
It was still raining and freezing afterwards so we didn't stay long at the after party. They did have free beer.

Age place: 29/208
Gender place: 137/1184
Overall place: 367/1795
Avg pace: 9:09
Chip time: 1:59:45

Celebration Half Marathon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New York City Marathon 2016 Recap


The New York City Marathon was on my bucket list the past couple of years. To gain entrance into the marathon, I either had to time qualify (probably never going to happen for me) or get selected through the lottery. After 4 years of applying, I finally won the lottery for the 2016 NYC Marathon! Only about 15% of applicants are chosen in the lottery each year.  I was excited to finally run the 5 boroughs of NYC! Two of my running buddies, Tara and Carly, were also lottery accepted to the 2016 NYC Marathon.

After months of training, I was on my way to NYC with my friend Carly (Mike and I were just in NYC 3 weeks earlier so he stayed home with our boys and pets). We got to the city on Thursday so we had plenty of time to visit the expo and sight see before the marathon on Sunday, November 6. Even though we were supposed to take it easy on the days leading up to the marathon, we walked over 26.2 miles in those 3 days. It was NYC, how could we not?!

New York City Marathon
Me and Carly at the expo

Conquering Central Park
The NYC marathon was a late start race and our corral was not scheduled until 10:15 am. The marathon provided free transportation to the start line on Staten Island. Carly and I chose to take the 7:30 am Staten Island Ferry so we wouldn't have to wait around in the cold for too long before the race began. The ferry ride was flawless. I stayed inside so I didn't get sea sick and Carly got to see the Statue of Liberty on the way.  Unfortunately, the bus ride from the ferry to the start line took much longer than predicted and I started to feel the stress of race morning. Once in the start village, we scrambled to find our friend Tara, get in the correct corral and use a porta-potty. We ended up at the back of our corral but no big deal.
New York City Marathon
Me, Carly and Tara with the Verrazano Bridge in the background
 If you've read my other race recaps, you know I usually have some race goal even if I tell myself I don't. People told me NYC was not a marathon to PR because of all the bridges/hills and I should just enjoy the atmosphere. I was good with that and told myself I would run comfortably with a goal of under 5 hours (my marathon PR was in Chicago at 4:34 where I hoped for under 4:30).

New York City Marathon

The weather was perfect in the mid 50s for our 10:20 am start. We started on the bottom of the Verrazano Bridge where it was windy and very cold without the sunshine. That bridge was almost a mile and a half long (let's keep a bridge tally - bridge #1)!  One borough down with four to go...on to Brooklyn. I spent the next 11+ miles running through the hilly streets of Brooklyn. The people there were amazing, lining the streets and cheering on the runners. I loved that the race had large water stops at every mile. Those water stops helped the miles fly by because every time I saw another water stop, I couldn't believe I'd finished another mile!

After Brooklyn and 13 miles done, we popped into Queens for about a 1.5 miles (bridge #2). People there were happy to see us runners and glad we had finally left Brooklyn. Next, we traversed the Queensboro Bridge (bridge #3). This mile long bridge was by far the worst of the bunch for me. It felt like a never-ending uphill climb. I admit that I walked some of that bridge. At one point, I felt like it peaked and leveled out so I started running again but nope I was still climbing. UGH! It didn't help that I was on that bridge for mile 15 when I usually hit my wall at mile 16.

Once off the dreadful Queensboro Bridge, I was in Manhattan on 1st Ave where the energy was crazy! I remember a gentle but uphill climb somewhere in those 3.5 miles on 1st Ave. I tried to run comfortable and not watch my pace during this race but those uphills made comfort impractical. The course moved us through Manhattan into the Bronx (bridge #4) for a mile and then back to Manhattan's 5th Ave (bridge #5).

21 miles done and 5th Ave felt like another never-ending uphill climb that wasn't steep but steady...for miles and miles. Ok, maybe 1.5 - 2 miles....I'm from flat Florida where it is hard to train miles of steady inclines. We have bridges in Clearwater but they're short and steep. Let's take a look at the course's elevation below. Do you see what my last 30 minutes of the marathon were like?!


For mile 23, I ran next to Central Park but at this point, my focus was straight ahead and not on the sights around me. At mile 24, we turned into Central Park, not getting the down from the mountain we just scaled. At some point along 5th Ave, I realized I might actually PR but those inclines were a bitch so I still stopped for water with only 2 miles left to go. My awesome cousin was waiting near mile 25 in Central Park.

New York City Marathon

With 1 mile left to go, I knew I would PR but didn't think I'd get under 4:30 (my ultimate marathon goal). I kept trucking along and even stepped in a mud puddle to get around someone slower. I was shuffling at the end because my quads were on fire/numb/dead to me and I was running uphill again! I was so ready to be done! I did PR, wahoo!! But missed my under 4:30 by 2 seconds. I didn't know I was that close at the finish. Aaahh!

New York City Marathon

Age Place: 1221/3422
Gender Place: 7820/21457
Overall Place: 25073/51388
5K: 31:56
10K: 1:02:59
15K: 1:34:34
13.1: 2:12:51
Avg Pace: 10:18
Finish Time: 4:30:01  Really!! 1 second over!
New York City Marathon