Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beauty and the Beast at The Straz

Belle and Beast are at The Straz Center in Tampa, May 5 - 10.  My family and I had the opportunity to see this beautiful love story on opening night. 

As a mom, I loved the message behind the Beauty and the Beast story.  It taught us to always be kind and love others. It also showed, not to judge a person by his/her outward appearance.

Once a prince, the Beast was cursed because he was selfish and unkind to an enchantress who saw no love in his heart.  After many years alone in his castle, the Beast met Belle, a beautiful but odd girl.  Belle, at first afraid of the Beast, grew to love him as he changed into a kinder creature.  Belle and the Beast's love for one another broke the curse and returned all of the castle's enchanted inhabitants back to their human form.

Jillian Butterfield as Belle and Ryan Everett Wood as Beast. Photo from The Straz Center by Matthew Murphy

Dylan, my 10 year old, said he enjoyed the show.  Lumiere, the candelabra, was his favorite character because of his hilarious jokes, movements, and candle hands.  I think the French accent had something to do with it too.  Every time Lumiere was happy or excited about something, he lit up his candle hands with silly gestures.

The enchanted objects. Photo from The Straz Center by Matthew Murphy

Jared, my 13 year old, also loved Lumiere.  Patrick Pevehouse did a great job entertaining the kids and adults as an enchanted candelabra!

Jillian Butterfield as Belle and the cast. Photo from The Straz Center by Matthew Murphy

My husband and I thought Gaston, played by Cameron Bond, was quite the character, always flexing his muscles and admiring himself.  I have always loved Gaston's song in the's just so macho with over the top testosterone humor.  Jillian Butterfield's voice as Belle was amazing.  Of course, I loved all of the songs; Belle, Gaston, Be Our Guest, and Beauty and the Beast!

We thorough enjoyed this family show!  But we won't use antlers in all of our decorating.

What is your favorite Beauty and the Beast song?

Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I received four tickets for my family.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Strawberry Classic 10K Recap 2015

This was the first year I ran the Strawberry Classic 10K on March 21 in Temple Terrace.  I heard horror stories about the hills throughout the Temple Terrace area (it's very flat where I run). But I also heard about the delicious containers of strawberries the race hands out. 

This was my third race in March and I had been feeling a bit off and very tired.  I wasn't racing to break any records and just wanted to enjoy the run.  I almost always had a race goal and for this 10K race, it was to finish under an hour. 

The Strawberry Classic 10K started at 8:00am with temperatures in the low 70s.  At the race start, I predicted a hot and hilly race.  The course took us through the shaded streets of Temple Terrace.  When the course split for the 10K and 15K, I was thankful I only signed up for the 10K.  There were lots of hills and it was in fact very hot.  I pushed through the inclines and coasted down the declines.  The course streets were winding and seemed never-ending.

One last turn and I saw the finish line.  Of course it was at the top of an incline!  My running friends cheered me on from the sidelines and I finished with a clock time of 1:00:01.  I was tired and glad to be done!

Turns out, I won first place in my age group with a chip time of 59:57!!  I gathered my trophy and yummy strawberries with a smile on my face.  This was my first time placing 1st in my age group.

Age Place: 1/9
Gender Place: 10/68
Overall Place: 30/118
Avg Pace: 9:39
Chip time: 59:57

Sarasota Half Marathon Relay 2015 Recap

I've run the Sarasota Half Marathon for the past two years.  It's a beautiful course on the water near historic Sarasota.  The dolphin medal is the largest in the area.  This year, I decided to try the half marathon relay.  I invited my sister Patti to run the relay with me on March 15.

We came up with the team name Super Sisters.  I created a quick logo to have printed on matching shirts with our team name on the back.

On race morning, we dressed in our matching running outfits and headed to the start line.  The race started at 7:00 am with temperatures near 70.  I was running the first half over the Ringling bridge twice and Patti would run the second, flatter half.

It was still dark when the race started and I felt a little tired from the half marathon I ran the day before.  For this race, I only had to run 6.2 miles and I wasn't too concerned with time as Patti was nervous about the 6.9 miles she had to run (her longest race distance).  I told her not to worry about time and just feel good about her run. Patti waited with some of my running group friends and then made her way to the transition area.

The Ringling Causeway was killer on the way up but I flew on the way down.  We ran around St. Armand's circle and back over the Ringling Causeway bridge.  There were lots of little inclines here and there and I was glad Patti didn't have to run these as a newbie runner.  I met Patti in the transition area where we exchanged the timing ankle band and my Garmin.  I was so glad to be running the relay this year!!

The transition area was about a quarter mile from the finish, situated so the relay partners ran and finished the last portion together. I started to watch for Patti about an hour later. Luckily, I had some friends to pass the time with.

I was excited when I saw Patti approach the transition area.  She was doing fantastic with a nice pace.

I asked how she was doing and got a little emotional as we rounded the last corner together with the finish line in sight.

I was proud of my little sister for following through and finishing strong.

We both had a great race and pushed ourselves until the end.  I loved all the race photos and they were free this year!

Suncoast Striders' Relay Teams

Overall Place: 105/285
Female Place: 46/159
5K: 30:45 - 9:54 min/mi
10K (relay transition): 1:03:37 - 10:15 min/mi
15K: 1:32:55 - 9:59 min/mi
Chip Finish time: 2:18:03 - 10:33 min/mi

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given a race entry.  All opinions are my own.

Pasco Challenge Half Marathon Recap 2015

The Pasco Challenge was hosted by the Alzheimer's Family Organization.  The half marathon was on Saturday, March 14 at Starkey Park.  I run Starkey Park every Saturday so I knew the course well.

I wanted to run a half marathon under 2 hours so originally I thought this race would be perfect for meeting that goal.  The course was very flat and I knew it well.  A couple of details I missed when planning my goal for this race were; this was Florida and it can be quite hot in March AND the Starkey Trail was mostly in full sun.  Both of those equal HEAT.  Heat and running fast don't really work for me.

Not thinking of the heat or sun, I set my Garmin's pace keeper to alarm if my pace was too slow to meet my goal of under 2 hours.  I needed my average pace to be 9:09.  I'd just run an average pace of 9:09 at the Gasparilla 15k so I thought it was doable.

On race morning, I talked with a couple of friends from my running group.  It was a smaller race with less than 100 people running the half.  The race started at 8:00am with temperatures in the mid/upper 70s.

During the first mile, my Garmin alarmed that I was running too slow for the pace I set.  I shook it off because the first warm up mile is usually slower.  When my Garmin continued to alarm through mile 3, I was ready to take it off and stomp it to death.  Instead, I turned off the pace keeper.

I felt decent for the first 6 miles.  Shortly after that, the course turned around and I was done.  I felt light-headed, overheated and exhausted.  I wasn't even half way finished.  At that point, I didn't care if I walked the rest of the race.  There was no way I'd finish under 2 hours.

At the 6 mile turn around, 3 members of my running group passed me.  One of them, Trish, fell back from her group.  She was ahead of me so my goal was to close the gap.  I had to have a goal to prevent me from walking too much.  After some running and walk breaks, I caught up to Trish who was practicing a run/walk method to keep her heart rate in the correct zone.  I decided to stay with her and finish the race using the run/walk method.  I was really struggling and Trish helped me through the run portions.  I got to a point were I could only run one minute with a minute walk.  That was the worst I've felt during a race in years.*

I finished in 2:15.  No PRs but thrilled to be finished.  I left the awards ceremony early because I had to shower, pack and head to Sarasota for another race the next day.  I won second place in my age group!  Looks like the heat sucked the life out of everyone else too.

Age Place: 2/9
Female Place: 17/43
Overall Place: 39/83
Ave Pace: 10:21 min/mi
Chip time: 2:15:37

*Come to find thyroid was overactive again so that's why this race sucked so much.

Gasparilla 15k Recap 2015

The Gasparilla 5K was my first race back in 2009, so even though this race is very crowded each year, I still run it.  The bling is pretty awesome too!

This was my second 15K race with Gasparilla 2014 being my first.  Last year I took my time because it was so hot and an automatic PR.  This year I planned to secure a faster time.

On race morning I met up with my running group for pictures and well wishes.

Me, my sister, my cousin

The morning was cool with temperatures in the mid 40s. The race started at 6:45 am and the sun wasn't quite up yet.  We ran along Bayshore Blvd near downtown Tampa.  I felt great and warmed up quickly as the sun rose.

I remembered that every year after the halfway turn around point, volunteers handed out Krispy Kreme donuts.  I never stopped in the past but this year I planned to stop for a donut snack.  As I approached the donut tables, I shuttered.  All thoughts went to... donuts and running in the Florida heat, don't mix well.  I passed on the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness of Krispy Kreme donuts.

I still felt strong and was having a nice race.  At about mile 7, the 1:30 pace group caught up and passed me.  I was ok with that because I started before them and this was the first time they passed me.  My plan was to finish under 1:30 so I tagged along at the back of the pace group.  I didn't realize how much I needed that pace group until I had to keep up with them.  It was a good push to the finish and kept me on pace.

Another successful race finished with a 7+ minute PR!  And then I got to hang out with some pirates!  ARG

Div Place:  110/490
Gender Place:  626/3017
Overall Place: 1641/5257
Halfway Split time:  43:08
Average Pace:  9:09/mi
Chip time:  1:25:19