Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Great White North

This Christmas we visited DH's family in Buffalo, NY. I grew up in Florida, not seeing snow until I was in college.  So for me, it's a treat to see and play in the snow.  Of course it's bitter cold and I would never want to live up north but I enjoy the snow for the week we are there.  My boys love playing in the snow too!  It's such a change from Florida.

It was great to see family, play euchre and relax.  I brought my running clothes and planned on running some miles on my sister-in-law's treadmill but it was packed away in the basement.  I had no desire to run out in the frigid cold on icy, rural roads.  Besides, I brought cute running skirts and tanks...nothing appropriate for 30 degree weather.

When we go on vacation, I like to see the sights and go on adventures.  A visit to Niagara Falls was a must for this trip.  I think the falls are beautiful, amazing, majestic and we go see them almost every time we are in Buffalo but this was the first time our boys got to see them from the Canadian side (and visit another country).  As we made our way to Niagara Falls, instead of listening to our GPS, we saw a sign for Canada and jumped on the interstate.  Well this interstate did not lead to the Peace Bridge right at Niagara Falls but into some northern part of Canada.  As soon as we crossed the border, the GPS was useless and our cell phones were roaming with astronomical data charges.  We were headed north with no option to go south.  By now the boys were whining, DH was aggravated and wished we'd stayed in NY.  It was touch and go for awhile but we finally got turned around and headed south towards the falls.

Finally, we reached the falls, parked and walked to see one of the great, natural wonders of the world.


My boys LOVED these ice trees.  As they were posing for this picture, the branches on the tree next to them fell to the ground with a loud crash.  Time to get out from under the pretty deadly trees boys!!


Oh, we love thee!

My family had a fantastic time at the falls even with our rough start.  We were all glad we decided to see Niagara Falls.  Another successful vacation.  Until next time Buffalo!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I was given an exciting opportunity to participate in this year's 10th Annual Athleta Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marthon on April 14th!  This year's event has 5K and half marathon distances with a new start and finish in Coachman Park, Clearwater.  With the new START/FINISH location, now there is no need for shuttles. YEAH!  I ran the Iron Girl 5K in 2011 and wasn't a fan of the shuttles.  I'm thrilled to check out this new course, even the bridges!

Iron Girl's mission is to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle.

Here's some information about Iron Girl
The Iron Girl event experience provides women with a competitive platform and amenities such as: a post-race catered Breakfast CafĂ©, performance shirts sized just for women, professional timing, personalized race bibs, custom finisher medals, post-race giveaways and much more. The Web site is filled with training tips, guest columnists and nutrition information. Iron Girl has also furthered its offerings with the addition of with items such as hydration and nutrition products, jewelry and sports bags.  The Iron Girl brand has been featured in a range of media outlets to include USA Today, The New York Times, Runner's World, Family Circle, Ok! Magazine and Women's Health.

"In the spirit of Iron Girl, it is important to empower, encourage and support women of all athletic abilities.  The women of the Tampa Bay Bloggers share that belief.  We ask our readers to share this vision by following the women of the Tampa Bay Bloggers as they embark on their Iron Girl journeys."

Who wants to join me on this Iron Girl journey?  It's always more fun to run with friends!  Readers of Loving Life get 10% off by using coupon code TBBLOGGERS13 (expires February 28).  REGISTER NOW (did mention the BLING is awesome)!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Love [26.2]

After running the Disney Marathon (my first) and the Clearwater Marathon, my husband surprised me with a thoughtful gift.  It arrived in the mail but I was instructed not to look at the packaging or return address because that would give it away.  I thought it might be a 26.2 magnet for my car but it wasn't.  DH got me an adorable 26.2 charm from!  I love it!

I'm fortunate to have a husband who supports me through all the training, runs/time away from home, and races.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Clearwater Marathon

This was my second marathon in 8 days!  Yes, it's crazy but my friends and I wanted to become Marathon Maniacs.  Woot! Woot!  Denise, Larisa and Marie!

The weather was much cooler for the Clearwater Marathon.  For the Disney Marathon, my mom (love her!) bought me a $1.50, throw away, thrift store, sweatshirt but I had no such thing for the Clearwater Marathon.  What to do, what to husband and I had a bag of clothes to donate to goodwill.  I rummaged through the bag until I found something that would work.

One of my husband's old dress shirts was perfect for keeping me warm on race morning.  One of my friends commented that I looked like a flasher because the shirt was so long and unbuttoned.  Right before the race started, I tossed the shirt to the side.

The race started and we were off.....over the bridges and through the woods (Pinellas trail) to the finish line we would go.  Our first bridge was the Clearwater Bridge over to the beach.  We ran right along beautiful Clearwater Beach. 

I haven't been to Clearwater Beach in years (probably since high school in the early 90s).  So much has changed and improved.  I was impressed with their open spaces and beach walk area. 

We ran over our next bridge, Clearwater Pass and into Sand Key Park.  Our running group friends were working the water station at the entrance/exit to Sand Key Park.

We chatted, posed for pictures, and were there long enough that non-racers encouraged us to start racing again and stop socializing.  We were running this long 26.2 mile marathon for fun and not too concerned with time.

We ran onward to beautiful Belleair Beach with million dollar houses.  I love looking at houses!  Some of those beach front mansions were gorgeous with huge, ornate front doors.

Somewhere between the magnificent mansions and the next bridge, I was pleasantly surprised to see Powerbar Gel handed out at a water station.  I thought we were only getting oranges along the course.

Shortly after the halfway mark we ran over our last bridge, Park Blvd Bridge, and on to the Pinellas Trail.  I really enjoyed running on the trail minus the three pedestrian overpasses we had to scale.  Being surrounded by trees and nature, I felt like I could block out the world and just focus on running.  I didn't have my ipod because I left it in my car after Disney.  My car was camping with my husband and oldest son.  Anyway....It was at mile 16 that I realized I could beat my 5:31 Disney time from last weekend.  I talked it over with Marie, she could also PR.  This was supposed to be an easy race that we ran together but if I could PR, I really wanted to try.  My sister would say I'm a bit competitive.  I felt good, nothing hurt and I knew I could finish strong.

At mile 20 with just 6 miles left to go, it was now or never if I wanted to beat my Disney time.  I told Larisa and Denise that Marie and I wanted to PR so we were going to pick up the pace and not stop much to walk.  Larisa joined us but Denise didn't think she could keep our pace with the pain in her achilles so she fell back.

The last 6.2 miles felt great!  I'm glad I pushed through and beat my Disney time!

I finished my second marathon and was eligible for Marathon Maniacs!

When Denise was near the finish line we ran her in, maniacs until the end.

I love my running buddies!!  Great job girls!!

Overall place: 236/282
Gender place: 105/139
Age group place: 22/24
Half split: 2:46:36
Gun time: 5:26:20
Chip time: 5:25:37

Thanks for letting me use your pictures, Larisa and Aaron!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney Marathon

Yes, that title does say Disney Marathon from someone who was not a runner!

I ran the Disney Marathon on January 13th...all 26.2 miles. This was my first marathon.  They were magical miles dedicated to the 26 people lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. My friend Daffodil created a bib for us to wear to honor those who lost their lives.

We proudly pinned the bibs on our backs.

I really enjoyed the Disney race. Yes there were some nontraditional terrains and slanted roadways but overall, it was a nice race course.

Volunteers offered Powerade and water at nearly every mile.  They even had two different chocolate stops!

A girl doesn't pass up chocolate!!  EVER!

My friend Denise and I ran the entire race together.  I'm thankful I had someone to run my first marathon with.  I didn't hit any walls during our 18 weeks of marathon training. In the actual marathon, I was over it by mile 17.  I was hot, tired, the bottom of my feet hurt, and I was ready to be done!  Fortunately, I got over that quickly and moved on because I still had 9 miles left to run.

We didn't stop for many character pictures but I couldn't pass up Mike Wazowski.
Mike Wazowski!  Mike Wazowski!

Almost to the finish!  My husband and boys were there to cheer us on, along with our friends Faith and Tanya.

I couldn't have done this without the support of my husband!

Our Minnie Mouse running outfits and Disney Marathon medals.  I love the skirt that I wore for the marathon (more on that later).

The after party with my wonderful marathon training group!  We did it girls!!

Overall place: 9919/20680
Division place: 826/1868
Gender place: 4148/10619
Half split: 2:36:14
Clock time: 5:48:44
Chip time: 5:31:46

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I am a Runner

It's been a couple of years since my last blog post.  In that time, I have become a runner.  You may remember my first race, the Gasparilla 5K in 2009.  My goal was to run the entire 5K.  Well, that didn't quite happen but I finished the race none the less.  I continued running 5K races, increasing my pace a little.

I finally decided to join a running group that a couple of my friends already ran with.  That was the game changer!  I like running but I like my sleep more.  So I wasn't really motivated to get up at 5:30am on my own to run.  Meeting a group of people to run with made a huge difference.  I wasn't doing it by myself and was accountable to others.

The Suncoast Striders running group helped me achieve my running goals.  I have now run three half marathons and two full marathons!  Marathon recaps coming soon.


Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm Back!

I've been gone from blogging the last couple of years but will be back with a post shortly!