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

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. 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 try sticking 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 the 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 and when I might have normally slowed down at the end. 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

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

RunningSkirts Ambassador and New York City Marathon

I'm very excited to announce that I was selected as a RunningSkirts Ambassador! I train exclusively in the RunningSkirts Athletic skirt and also wear them regularly in races. The athletic skirt has attached compression shorts that don't ride up and 2 pockets for storing keys or gels. I have a bit of an obsession with the adorable skirt patterns! I'm thrilled to officially represent them as an ambassador.

My other exciting news is that I won the lottery for the New York City Marathon!  Woot! Woot! The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the WORLD. This was my 4th year applying through the lottery system. Lottery applicants have about a 15% chance to gain entrance to the NYC Marathon. I'm finally in this year! The NYC Marathon is on November 6, 2016 and will be my 6th marathon.  I can't wait to run through the 5 boroughs of New York City with 50,000 other runners!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gasparilla 15K 2016 Recap

Gasparilla is a huge event for the Tampa Bay area including a pirate invasion and multiple parades. All of the different distance races are packed with runners and walkers. The expo is a must shop with great deals to be found!

Gasparilla was my first race ever back in 2009 and I've completed a Gasparilla race every year since then.  But a lot has changed since that first 5K where I wore a cotton tank and short. Yes, cotton!!

This year I was back for the 15K on Saturday, February 20, 2016. I met up with my running group for pre-race photos. By the way, for all the new runners out there, a running group or people to run with makes all the difference on your running journey!

Gasparilla 15K

Gasparilla 15K

It was around 60 degrees and humid at our 6:45 am start. I was still dealing with heel pain so I wasn't too concerned with time (I always say that but I am competitive with myself). This year I was definitely stopping for a donut that they hand out around the 5 mile mark.

My race was uneventful so I kept running as the sun rose and so did the temperature. Spectators handed out beads that I didn't accept because I knew they would drive me crazy as I ran.  I did not stop for a donut around the 5 mile mark because I did want to finish with a decent time and not throw up said donut on the course. I loved hearing the cheers of my running group paparazzi.

Gasparilla 15K

When I finished, my heel hurt and my calves were on fire!  But I finished and under 1:30 (my "I don't care about my time" goal).  This year's time was only about a minute and half slower than last year's PR, so not too shabby.

I chose the 15K the last couple of years because my sister and parents usually ran the 5K that same day and I like to see and cheer them on.

Gasparilla 15K
My mom, my sister, me, my cousin

Gasparilla 15K

Gasparilla 15K

Another race finished and medal earned!

Age Div: 101/537
Gender Div: 688/3225
Overall Div: 1760/5521
Avg pace: 9:19
Halfway Split: 42:56
Gun time: 1:27:33
Chip time: 1:26:56
Gasparilla 15K

Best Damn Race 10K 2016

This race is in early February each year, falling on February 6, 2016 this year.  Fortunately for us Floridians, the weather was cool and gorgeous, making it perfect for running! You never really know what the weather will bring in a Florida February.

I ran the 10K distance this year along the hilly course. They said the course was flat but compared to Pasco County flat, the Safety Harbor hills are like mountains. I found that out the hard way two years ago when I ran the half marathon. So at a pre-race dinner with friends, I told one of my friends, Christine, that it wasn't flat but there was really just one BIG hill.

It was a chilly 48 degrees at our 6:45 am start. I wore the throw away jacket that I bought from Goodwill, that I didn't use at Savannah or Space Coast. Of course I still had my RunningSkirt on. The Best Damn Race Safety Harbor course took us along the waters of Safety Harbor and Old Tampa Bay giving breathtaking views and an amazing sunrise.

The first hill came just after the one mile mark. It was a steady incline up and I thought about what I told my friend Christine, because this was not the one BIG hill I mentioned. At least we got to run back down and pick up some momentum. Then we ran over another hill and another. I thought to myself "Good grief, I forgot how many hills were on this course! Poor Christine probably thinks each one is the big one I told her about."

Best Damn Race

I'm not sure if I was running, flying or coming in for a hug in that picture!  I kept on running, doing my best. Shortly before the 4 mile mark, I finally climbed the BIG hill I remembered.  My heel was holding up with minimal pain so I tried to finish strong even though I knew I wouldn't beat last year's PR.

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

I finished and was happy with my time! I was only 1 minute 13 seconds slower than last year when I was training much more. This year I had heel issues, no speed training and extra pounds.
I love that Best Damn Race gave it's racers FREE race photos!!

Best Damn Race
Christine and I
One of the best parts of the Best Damn Race was the free drinks after the race! They had beer, hard root beer, bloody mary's, and screwdrivers. They also had donuts, Jimmy John's sandwiches and chicken, black beans and rice. Yum!

Best Damn Race

Best Damn Race

Age Div: 26/157
Gender Place: 144/888
Overall Place: 316/1259
5K Split: 28:04.9

Avg Pace: 9:05
Gun time: 56:38.5
Chip time: 56:27.5

Best Damn Race

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Space Coast Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Oh, Space Coast....  I like this race but wish it wasn't the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The 2015 Half Marathon was my 3rd year in a row at Space Coast and probably my last.  I had to do this 3rd year for an extra medal as part of their Big Bang Race Series. Who could pass up an additional space shuttle medal?! Not this girl?

This race is on Sunday so I headed over to Florida's east coast on Saturday with a running friend.  We visited the small and always extremely crowded race expo to pick up our bibs and race packets. I did love posing with the astronauts and funny race posters.

We were up early to get ready for our 6:00 AM race start with temperatures in the low 60s. What else can you do at 5:30 AM but take more astronaut pictures!

I still had the goal of running a half marathon under 2 hours but knew Space Coast would not be the race this year (although Space Coast 2014 is my half PR of 2:02:02). I was dealing with heel pain and did not train in 2015 like I had in 2014 for varies reasons including my thyroid issues at the beginning of the year. I still rocked my outfit in a RunningSkirt and fiery red tank. Blast off in 3, 2, 1....

I made the best of this race, stopping for water when I needed hydration. The weather warmed up quickly once the sun was up and shining with temps in the upper 70s. I actually like the out and back course for the half marathon. I ran along the Indian River with beautiful water views and nice house. This year, I rocked the last .20 miles of the paver, circular course...not stopping at the first timing mat. I was hot and sweaty though and ready to be done!

Thanks to my friend Tracy for the awesome finishing picture!!

I completed the Milky Way Challenge as part of the Big Bang Series by finishing the Space Coast Half Marathon 3 years in a row.  I could go back for 2 more years to receive yet another additional medal, but I'm good.

Age division: 55/427
Gender: 282/2318
Overall: 595/3313
5k split: 28:56
10k split: 59:22
15k split: 1:31:39
Avg pace: 10:06
Chip time: 2:12:12