Hi there! I'm Paula and I live in Orlando. I like to run and watch too much TV. I'm a lover of cupcakes and hater of chia seeds, even though I've never tried them. I eat peanut butter out of the jar and think Aaron Paul is my boyfriend.
Category Archives: Race Reviews
The Fredericksburg Wildflower 10k is a small race in (wait for it) Fredericksburg, TX. My co-worker, Marisa, found this race when we learned we’d be on work travel for three weeks and it took her all of two seconds to convince me to do it. I’m a sucker for an out-of-town race.
Fredericksburg is a two hour and 15 minute drive from Killeen so Marisa and I left around 5:15am to get there for the 8:30am race. We got there with no problem. The entire route might have been three left turns total and we parked so close to the start that I was worried we were in the wrong place. Like, it was too easy. We picked up our bibs and t-shirts (Neither of us got that jelly by the way. Sad day.) and dropped our t-shirts off at the car. Then we had about 45 minutes to kill, so we walked around and posed with things.
We really wanted to pretend we were smoking that peace pipe but a ton of people were walking around the area and we didn’t want to look like total a-holes. Next time.
I informed Marisa that running a race with me is equivalent to agreeing to be on my blog, so I told her to assume the position and start posing.
Such a good sport.
About 15 minutes before the race, a full-on Jane Fonda-like choreographed warm-up happened.
That was a first. It was mesmerizing. I mean, it’s a cute idea. But also hilarious to watch.
I love that runners understand the need for mass quantities of pictures. Whenever I’m taking a selfie, someone always offers to take the picture for me. Don’t mind if I do…
The race started with a few announcements: no bathrooms on course, runners in the front, walkers in the back, and there would be clearly marked with signs for the 5k and 10k. Famous last words.
Within the first mile, a bunch of runners turned around shouting that everyone for the 5k was going the wrong way. If you wanna hear the potty mouths of runners, just make them run the wrong direction in a race. For the love of my tender, virgin ears.
About 1/4 of the runners turned around and the rest kept going straight. I kept straight because the guy mentioned the 5k was going the wrong way and I was running the 10. But then we got to the end of the road and converged with a bunch of other runners so I knew it was the wrong way for the 10k too. By the time I passed the one mile marker, my Garmin was at 1.3 miles. EEEFFF.
I heard runners bitching about going an extra quarter mile the rest of the race. Here’s a picture of us all going the wrong way.
Yeah. There was a dog running the race. He kept whining and trying to jump up on his owner. He would only stop whining when the owner started walking. Basically just like I act during a race.
Anyway, after the wrong turn, any ideas I had to PR were gone. I was annoyed even though I didn’t think I would PR, but there’s always that little chance in the back of your mind that this will race be the one. So, I got over it and tried to enjoy the scenery.
I guess I had higher expectations for the course. It wasn’t particularly pretty for being in wine country, except for this part.
It was called the “wildflower” 10k and I saw two patches of wildflowers total.
The course may have not had a lot of wildflowers but they are all over TX right now, so we saw a ton of them on the ride home. So pretty.
We also got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way home because of the Marble Falls triathlon. It’s all fun and games until you’re the one stuck in traffic.
Ok, back to the race. There were two water stops which was way too few for a hot race in Texas. I missed the first one at the 5k/10k split, I think around mile three. I saw the cups on the ground but no water table so maybe I just didn’t pay enough attention. The other one was somewhere around mile five. I’m so glad I carried a water bottle because I would have straight up died out there.
I finished in 1:03:53 with 6.5 miles. A solid minute PR if the course wasn’t jacked.
How do you get a race picture that looks like your running instead of walking because I have no clue.
Thanks to Marisa for waiting for me at the finish line to take pictures. In the 25 or so races that I’ve done, this is only the second time I’ve had someone wait to take pictures. Super cool of her too because I forgot to ask if she would mind being my photographer.
After the race, we hung around for a bit to see the awards but they couldn’t get the finish times printed, or on their Website fast enough, so they cancelled it and told everyone they would just mail the awards. There were lots of disappointed/pissed off people.
Overall, the race was ok. The course SNAFU really sucked but it only cost $20 to run and it was still fun to see a new place. Fredericksburg was smaller and less exciting that I thought it would be, but it’s a cute town so I’m glad I visited.
I still had a good time, had a great lunch, and was able to eat my weight in cake and cookies afterwards.
This morning, hubs and I ran Color Me Rad.
But let’s back up for a second.
Neither of us really wanted to do the race, but one of our friends from our old martial arts fitness class asked us to do it. We hadn’t seen her in so long that we said yes just so we could hang out with her for a bit.
Yesterday, she told us that her doctor recommended she not participate (she’s 6 months pregnant) so we were pretty bummed. We weren’t even sure we wanted to do the race anymore but since other people from our class were still going to be there, we sucked it up.
Just follow the white ass legs. You’ll find me.
The race took place at the Central Florida Fairgrounds – about 20 minutes from our house. The Color Me Rad Website said that parking was available onsite from 7:00 – 8:00am and after that to park at either Valencia Community College or First Baptist Church to catch a shuttle. Since we didn’t leave the house until after 8:00am, we picked the closer parking at Valencia. We had no problem parking, but this was the line for the shuttle.
The Website also said the shuttles would be by every 10 minutes. Those two shuttles way up there were the only ones we saw in the 30 minutes we stood in line.
Just before 9:00am, someone from our group texted me that he parked onsite at the fairgrounds with no problem.
Oh? Those fairgrounds where the parking is supposed to be closed at 8:00am?
So hubs and I stood in line for the shuttle until we got more and more irritated that we made the executive decision to leave and try to park at the race site. We decided if parking was full by the time we got there, we would just go home because that shuttle line wasn’t worth it.
We got to the fairgrounds in about five minutes and parked with no problem. Our parking just happened to be next to some real bathrooms that were completely empty. Major score for a race with 5k runners. Plus we were happy that we wouldn’t have to deal with the shuttle after the race was over.
We found our friends and just made it to the start for our 9:30 wave time.
Ok, so according to the Website (again), there were four waves: 9:00, 9:15, 9:30, and 9:45. Only there weren’t four waves. There were like four million waves. About 200 runners were released at a time, every 5 minutes. So basically our wave time meant nothing. We didn’t actually cross the start until after 10:00.
I guess that’s fine though because I don’t usually have a personal photographer with me, so I took advantage of that.
Plus, there were fun things to look at while we were waiting.
I really thought we’d be walking most of the race with a pregnant lady in tow, but since she couldn’t participate, the group ended up running the whole thing. Hubs LOVED that. He loves running. Just loves it. And by loves, I mean hates with every fiber of his being.
My new favorite picture.
Poor baby ran 3 miles and got pelted with color.
The race was mostly on grass on a curvy path around the fairgrounds. There were four color stations – two of them were cornstarch powder and two of them were liquid (did not expect that). Plus there was one right at the finish shoot where they were handing out color bombs (plastic pouches of powdered color). There was such a haze of powder at the end, that I didn’t even notice the photographer until I almost ran him over. But I finished and now I can say I did a color run.
So while I loved seeing old friends, I think the race is a lot of hype. I much prefer obstacle races. I probably wouldn’t do another color run but I know others that thought it was the best time of their lives. Maybe this is just the grumpy, old woman in me talking. Next thing you know, I’ll be telling some teenager to pull up their pants.
I do have a few suggestions if you’re thinking of doing one:
1) Know you’re running for fun. This is not a serious race. I would say half the people were walking. There are also a lot of people with strollers and little kids. So just be aware of that.
2) The color stains. My stomach is still pink after a shower and hub’s neck is still purple.
3) Bring a Ziploc bag for your phone/camera if you’re going to carry one.
4) Run it with a bunch of friends. The more the better. I think I would have hated this race if I wasn’t running with a bigger group like I was. The friends make the race.
That’s cutie pie, Sara, from my group. She let me steal this from her Instagram.
I came. I saw. Now I’ll go back to half marathons.
I ran the Winter Park Road Race 10k on Saturday. I ran it last year too which makes this is my second 10k. Seems weird with all the races I do to have only run two.
I was so not there mentally for this race. I actually forgot I needed a race bib until I was walking to the start and saw someone with one on. Thank goodness they had packet pickup there because it never crossed my mind that I needed one. I didn’t even take any pictures – except one – of trees that look like carrots.
So there you go. My photographic evidence. Perfect.
The race just bummed me out. The last time I remember being bummed about a race was for my first marathon. It poured rain for 30 minutes beforehand, so I was soaked, never felt good, and spent the entire time dodging puddles and being annoyed that the course took us over every freakin’ rolling hill in Winter Park. After I crossed the finish line, I picked up my “medal” and walked my pouty ass straight to the car.
I haven’t been running much since my half a month ago – about 2 or 3 miles a week. On top of that, I’m still sick and probably shouldn’t have run anyway. With that said, I PRed by close to two minutes (1:02:10) but I didn’t feel good doing it, so I don’t really care. Running and I are going on a break until it loves me again. /PoutFest
The day got exponentially better after I got some highlights.
That mop has been neglected for a year.
The day got even better later that night when I got to see my BFF4E’s new house and have a couple beers. Probably not the best idea while taking antibiotics, but I’m a crazy rule breaker like that.
My last half marathon of the race season was yesterday. It makes me sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I love racing but happy because I need a little break. I gotta admit, for the past two weeks, I did not want to run this race. Once I knew how hot it was going to be, my motivation was killed. I even thought about skipping it but I already paid for the race entry and the hotel and I just can’t waste money like that.
I almost missed the start because of some early morning tummy trouble. Then, because of the extreme humidity, I decided to start in the second wave (2hrs+) instead of the first wave (-2hrs) that I signed up for.
It’s really hard for me to breathe in 1000% humidity and Tampa was laying it on thick. The air even looked like you could cut it with a knife. I saw so many people in the long-sleeved race shirts (and one girl with a garbage bag on) and I just didn’t get it. It was HOT.
Thankfully, it was overcast the entire race. If the sun had peaked through the clouds, I would have surely punched someone. Or myself.
Water stops were at every mile, which was really appreciated. I started walking through them all after mile 4.
Around mile 6, my nose started bleeding. That was a first. My nose runs when I run (I guess it’s just being really supportive), so maybe I was just wiping it too much? That took a good mile to get under control.
Somewhere around mile 10, a 65-ish year old woman, who couldn’t have been more than 4’11″, passed me. I was going to get a picture of her schooling me, but I didn’t want to relive that shame.
I pretty much struggled the whole race and barely wanted to be there. It was part burn-out, part weather, and part that it just sucked to be there alone with no one to share it with. I was so happy when it was over that I grabbed my goodies and left.
I walked about a half mile back to the hotel, took a shower, packed my stuff, and made the two hour drive home.
Finish time: 2: 16: 06
You’d think with as many races as I do, there would be more good ones. I mean, I’m not even 50/50 here. I can probably count my truly good races on one hand. Anyway, the race wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but my day got exponentially better when I went to see Pink last night. But I’ll save that for the next post.
I survived half marathon #14 on Saturday.
Let’s just say my lungs haven’t had that much action in awhile. I ran the race two years ago in 2:05: 38 and I knew that wasn’t going to happen this year. Luckily for me, Michelle is 17 weeks pregnant and slow.
Instead of doing a full review, I’m gonna send you over to read Michelle’s recap. Her race was my race. Plus, you’ll get to see an awesome picture of me and a banana. What I will say is that I had a great time running an entire race (finally!) with Michelle. I had a whole new playlist ready to go on my iPod and never turned it on. So I must have had some pretty good company.
We made it to the race just in time for me to make Michelle recreate a picture from two years ago that she doesn’t even remember taking.
There was also time for me to be vain and make her take a picture of me.
We had a few walk breaks and a 5-minute port-o-potty stop. I was just happy I didn’t have the flu and was able to run the race. I felt good the whole time and never felt like I was putting in a large amount of effort (which was intentional since I didn’t want to overdo it). My legs were still killing me in the later miles because of Crossfit the day before. (I know. But this wasn’t a PR race.)
Since a time goal wasn’t on my radar after being sick and slacking on training, I set a new goal to not PW (personal worst). I’d like to keep my first half marathon as my slowest, thank you. And I did. By four minutes. We finished the race in 2:25:28. We’ve been joking about holding hands while we crossed the finish line for years now. Soooo we may have done that for what is sure to be the worst (or best?) race picture ever.
After we finished, we found Michelle’s husband and friend Tracy and hung out for a bit at the after party.
I got proof that Michelle does in fact wear her iFitness belt under her boobs.
That is something right there.
I also got to recreate our other picture from two years ago. #goalaccomplished
I skipped a breakfast invite with Michelle’s family to go to Crossfit with hubs. My trainer promised to stretch me if I came to see him, so while hubs worked out, I got stretched and foam rolled. Yes, I am so terrible at stretching that I paid someone to do it for me. It hurt like a bitch and I actually broke a sweat, which I didn’t even think was possible, but I’m sure I’d be in much worse shape today if I didn’t have that done. My legs are still super sore.
I had a really great race and now it’s time to get back on track for my next half in January.
Sunday morning, I woke up bright and early to run the U Can Finish 5-miler at the University of Central Florida. I don’t think it’s ever been easier to get to a race. I met Michelle at her house around 6:45 and she was very excited to see that I was celebrating Movember early this year.
(Thanks for the picture, M.)
We left around 7:00 and her husband, Dan, dropped us off at the UCF Arena around 7:15. (I love when Dan drives us to races. Makes things so easy!)
We were running a little late but we never ran into traffic which was a big win. We had 15 minutes to kill before the race started so we hung around the extremely uncrowded pacer area and waited.
While we waited, we ran into a few friends, including my cutie pie Tower of Terror buddy, Danielle.
The race started on time – without a National Anthem. That was kinda weird. At least, it was pretty obvious for me it was missing. I think this is the only race I’ve done where it wasn’t played.
I was feeling wicked awesome the whole time. That’s right. WICKED awesome. It was so fun to run around campus and try to remember which class I took in which building as I passed by. Plus, the campus is so pretty it almost made me wish I was back in school.
For the first mile or so, I constantly checked my Garmin. I noticed I was running around a 9:00 pace and that kinda freaked me out because it’s a little faster than I thought I would run. I was aiming for a 9:30, so if I see that I’m running faster than what I think I should be, I worry about burning out. Then my mental game starts. So I stopped checking my Garmin unless I felt like I was slowing down because I can de-motivate myself easily. I figured as long as I was passing people and they weren’t passing me, I was doing ok.
I guess that strategy worked because I have never run anything this consistently in my life. I have no idea how this happened.
I finished in 45:45 (a 9:08 average). Considering I was hoping for a 47 – 48 minute race, I consider that a big win. Plus, I’ve never run a 5 miler before, so instant PR!
Now, I just need to figure out how to keep up that pace for a half marathon and I will have my coveted sub-2:00. The HIIT workouts I’m doing seem to be working, so I’ll keep that up and see what I can do in November at the Space Coast half.
After the race, we ran into more friends (some managed to evade my camera). I swear I felt like I knew everyone. This must be what it was like for Norm when he walked into Cheers. ( < — too old a reference? Probably. But I’m old and that’s what you get.)
This was a really fun, really well-organized race. I’ll definitely do this one again next year. Oh, and apparently I missed out on the beer at the end, so I’m going to need redemption for that. No beer left behind.
The Giveaway: Tiffany guessed my time EXACTLY.
Tiffany, I emailed you yesterday and the email was kicked back as undeliverable. So email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim that super sweet gift certificate. I’ll give you a week or so to contact me until I pick the next closest, which was just 3 seconds off! You guys are good at guessing!
Saturday morning, I ran the Winter Park Road Race Distance Dare (10k plus 2). Friday afternoon, I went to see Hunger Games with my best friend. Then we went to dinner at Ale House so we could get our nerd on and chat about all the things we loved and didn’t love about the movie. During our conversation, I had
one six too many of these.
Why yes, that is my first Instagram picture, thanks for noticing. And no, that’s not water. Unless you count the ice. Then it’s totally water.
I knew drinking the night before a race was a bad idea but I was having so much fun I couldn’t help myself. I made sure to drink a lot of water along with the alcohol, so that’s something. Then hubs reminded me that I drank and ate much worse in Vegas when I ran the half marathon and that was a longer distance, so I was good to go. (He’s a helpful guy like that.) The fun continued when I ordered another pre-race tummy no-no, the Captain Jack’s Buried Treasure, also known as the greatest dessert in the UNIVERSE.
That dessert went really well with my mini Mint Oreo Blizzard earlier in the day. Anyway, just know that fun was had all day long, little sleep was gotten, and Saturday morning reared it’s ugly head for a 5:45 wake-up.
When I woke up, I didn’t feel great (surprise, surprise), so I didn’t eat breakfast because I wasn’t sure if I could keep anything down. Instead, I chugged some water, got ready, and waited for Michelle to pick me up.
We made the 15 minute drive to the race start, found parking pretty quickly, and had over a half a mile walk to the start of the first race – the 2 miler. We made it with 5 minutes to spare, cut in front of people at the front of the start line (since there was no start timing, only finish) and we were off.
By the time I got to the first mile marker, I was sure I had already run a mile and a half. That and the fact that eight year olds were passing me the whole time was a little disconcerting. Clock time for the first mile said 8:08 which made me feel all fast and giddy for about 3 seconds. Then I remembered I still had a mile left and wanted to die.
2 Mile Finish: 17:39 (8:50 pace)
Thankfully they had cold water bottles after the 2 miler because I was so thirsty. I took two of them, chugged one, and kept the other one for the 10k. Then I found Michelle chatting with an old co-worker that she randomly ran into. We all talked for a couple minutes and then made our way to the 10k start. (We had a little over 10 minutes between the end of the 2 miler and the start of the 10k.)
We got in the 8:30 pacing area, which is the pace I run in my dreams, so I guess that counts in reality. That’s when we noticed we were behind this guy.
Yeah, those shorts are pinned on both sides so they don’t fall down. Time for new shorts, my friend.
I gotta say, that 2 miler really pooped me out. I was feeling better finally but I was not in the mood to race a 10k at that point. So, I didn’t. I ran what felt comfortable. Sometimes I felt a burst of energy and went faster, sometimes my legs felt heavy and I went slower. A lot of the race was on uneven brick roads, so I spent my time trying not to faceplant.
The course was mostly shaded and I was really familiar with it since it’s where all my training runs with Marathonfest happened last year. It was nice to run some familiar roads. There were a lot of hills, which I didn’t expect. I’m pretty sure my group planned our runs around those because I would have been bitching about them way more last summer if I had to run them all the time.
10k Finish: 1:03:56 (I’m too lazy to figure out that pace. 10:20 ish?)
I know I can race that in under an hour. Maybe next year I’ll try not to drink all night beforehand and make that happen. Either way, that’s a PR because I’ve never run an official 10k before.
After the race, we found Michelle’s friend again. He just ran his first full marathon a couple months ago in Miami.
Someday I’m going to remember to take my headphones off for pictures.
Shortly after, we found Michelle’s husband, Dan, who was there to drop off the kids because he had to get to work. After Dan left, the four of us headed over to the VIP area that Michelle paid extra for because
the proceeds go to charity there was beer.
I didn’t pay for VIP, so I stood on the outside of the fence looking in like a lost puppy. I waited with the kids while Michelle got her beer and when she came back, Livie really wanted a sip. I took this picture about 2 seconds after Michelle told her no.
I look the SAME way when I can’t have beer.
We hung around for a bit and did our picture thing. (One metal for the 10k and one for the Distance Dare.)
B played on his iPad the whole time and ignored everything around him while Livie flirted with 2 different guys and fist-bumped 8 strangers twice. The girl is not shy. I would totally take her out with me if I wanted to pick up some guys but not do any of the work.
Then, my favorite race picture of all time happened and my race season was complete.
I was all over that Nesquik bunny. Poor guy.
Overall, I really liked this race. It’s a nice course, close to home, the post race party is fun and has bunnies, and they give you a lot of goodies including an extra medal and a glass for everyone that completed the Distance Dare.
Michelle and I both agreed we’d do this race again, but will probably skip the 2 miler and just stick with the 10k next year.
When I got home, I was feeling especially energetic so I joined the Over-Exercising Bloggers Club and went to Crossfit with the hubs. I thought I’d share this workout since you don’t need any equipment for it. (Pretend your jump roping if you don’t have one and do it as fast as you can (with good form) for a good cardio workout.)
That workout took care of any energy I had left.
So this race officially ends my race season. My next race isn’t until the end of September and there’s only one other I have my eye on for now. I’m not planning my races in advance this year like I did last year. I think I want to do some fun destination races next, but I’m not sure where. So, we’ll see how it goes.
I’m not a big fan of 5ks. Nothing against them, but if I’m getting my butt out of bed early to race, you better believe I want to run more than half an hour if I’m going to lose my beauty sleep. So, I’ve only done 2 others besides this one: one was my first race ever and the other was a holiday themed race through Sea World where I got to wear a Hello Kitty shirt and jingle bells. (Priorities, right?)
My work was one of the sponsors of this race. We manned the water station at mile 1.5 and even had our company listed on the back of the t-shirts, which I thought was super-nerdy-awesome-cool. All of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project and Lone Sailor Memorial Project of Central Florida, so when I was asked if I wanted to run, I thought it would be kinda cool. Plus, I got to race with some peeps from work.
Left to right: Carla (VP of the department I work in), me (total peon), Ray (CEO), and Ray’s wife.
The race took place at Lake Baldwin, which is about 15 minutes from my house.
This was the first race that I’ve been to where it seemed like the National Anthem actually meant something to the runners. Usually, people don’t pay attention and are talking through it, which I know I have been guilty of. So it was nice to see that it was heart-felt.
The DJ announced that we should make our way to the start line, so Carla and I just followed the crowd because we had no idea where the start was or what was going on.
After a 5 minute walk, we spotted it. So official.
The race started with some type of gun shot that scared the crap out of me and we were off. I carried my camera during this race and it reminded me how much I hate carrying my camera when I’m running. I took one picture only of the girl that was in front of me for most of the race.
I was putting in a good amount of effort trying to keep up with her. She lapped me in the end. (TWSS) After the race, I saw her walking around with a baby, so the girl that just gave birth not only kicked my butt in the race, but now the only picture I took is evidence of that. Awesome.
The crowd was pretty fun near the finish line. I think I got about 5 high-fives from this crew.
In the end, my Garmin had 2.91 miles in 25:50 minutes. There was no actual race timing since this was a fun run for charity. If there had been (or it had actually been a 5k for that matter), I would have PRed by over a minute. Figures, right?
I hung out in the shade at the end, took a picture of myself while some woman laughed at me, and waited for Carla and Ray to finish.
This marks the first time I’ve ever waited for someone at the end of the race. It’s usually the other way around. Felt goooood.
Once everyone finished, we met up with another co-worker, Stephani, and her daughter (who helped run our water station) for one last sweaty picture.
The race was a lot of fun and I love that my work is a sponsor. Now if they could only pay me to do these, I’d be set.
I’d say race morning started with a wake-up call, but it didn’t. Our hotel wake-up call was an hour late because of Daylight Savings. I woke up on my own 3 minutes after the call was supposed to come. I said Michelle’s name when I realized the alarm didn’t go off, and I swear she shot straight up in bed like a vampire rising from a coffin. No back bend or anything. Straight up from the hips using abs only. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.
Michelle’s back-up Jimmy Fallon ring tone went off about a minute later, so at least we wouldn’t have missed the race. (If you don’t have that app, it’s worth the $1. Get it!) Then 15 minutes later, our annoying neighbors were up and arguing again and I yelled at them to shut up. Fun.
After getting ready, we drove about 2 miles to the race start at Van Wezel where parking was almost too easy, just like it was last year. We walked up to the starting line and had to make our way through all the runners to get closer to the 2 hour pacer. (Not that I needed him, of course.)
I had been feeling pretty good about this race all week long, especially after Gasparilla last weekend. That is, until Saturday. I’m not sure what happened, but my will to PR kinda went out the window. Of course, I was still going to try anyway but something changed with my mood and I still felt that way Sunday morning.
(I look so tired there.)
After a pretty terrible sounding National Anthem, we were off. The course was the same as last year, except this time we ran around St. Armand’s Circle instead of turning around just before it and some of the neighborhood miles were shortened a bit. Mile 2 and 4 involved going over this bridge.
I was feeling ok for the first 2 or 3 miles, but coming back over the bridge really took a lot out of me. That’s when my mental state took a nosedive, not that it was great to begin with. It was also really difficult for me to breathe for the first 7 miles because it was so humid. I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen, so my speed slowed. Every time I looked at my Garmin, I was at a 11:30 pace. I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal early on because I didn’t feel like I had it in me.
After mile 5, I gave up mentally. Every song on my iPod was pissing me off so I ran without music. Not even the spectators dressed as bacon and eggs cheered me up. I suck at running in hot weather, so that wasn’t doing me any favors. Either was my lack of sleep, my running shoes, or my stomach issues that started at mile 9. But really, I could blame my performance on so many things. The fact is, I couldn’t do it. And I’m not getting faster.
I have a really big problem getting past mental blocks. Unlike Michelle, once my state of mind plummets, I don’t try harder and it doesn’t challenge me to break though that barrier. I just shut down and give up. So after mile 5, I didn’t even see the point of running the race when I didn’t have a shot of improving upon past races.
At mile 12, the 2:15 pacer passed me and I was all:
Around that time, I had a side cramp that forced me to walk for a bit and my stomach was still on the decline.
During the final stretch, some tall, thin, fast lookin’ dude ran past me and said something like, “come on, you can catch that 2:15 pacer” and I wanted to punch him. I ran slowly for a few minutes while my side stitch went away and noticed the pacer wasn’t that far in front of me, so I just decided to take that guy’s advice. There was no way she was crossing that finish line before me. So I booked it.
I probably passed about 7 different people down the finisher’s shoot – including that stupid pacer – to finish in 2:14:45.
Michelle was waiting for me at the end of the finisher’s shoot. She PRed by 37 seconds for a 1:58 (on the dot) finish! I was super proud of her and glad one of us made our goal. Now, she has the world’s ugliest metal to remind her of it.
We’re going to make our dolphin metals kiss later.
The finish party was just like last year with all sorts of food from First Watch like bananas, bagels (with peanut butter!), muffins, and yogurt parfaits.
And this time we found the beer.
And we found Theresa and Ryan.
Overall, I still really like this race. I like the course and I like being back in Sarasota. It feels like being back home. The course is also really accurately tracked. My Garmin (and Michelle’s) read 13.11 miles at the end. It’s really nice to pass a mile marker and then look down and see your pace coming up on the screen.
Of course, I was super disappointed in my time and I say this knowing that some of you would kill to run a 2:14 and others would kill to not be injured and just be able to run. Well, I would kill to run anything under 2:02. But I guess there’s always next season. It’s not like I’m going to stop running.
So, the last half marathon of the race season is done and hopefully I’ll see that sub-2:00 later this year.
Saturday morning, after running around trying to get last minute chores done and last minute packing done, I headed over to Michelle’s place to pick her up and leave for Tampa. The drive kinda sucked (for me) because it was so windy that I could feel my little car blowing to the side with every wind gust the whole time. But we made it to the hotel safely, checked in to our room with one king size bed (bow chicka bow bow), dropped off our stuff, and walked over to the expo.
The expo was your basic expo, and by the time we got there most of the vendors were packed up or packing up. Michelle grabbed some Cliff Shots and an iFitness belt, I drooled over the Saucony Cortana’s, and we were outtie.
After taking our stuff back to the hotel and inadvertently getting stuck in a whirlwind of 6’7” hot groomsmen (now I know what it’s like to be short!), we went back out for an early dinner – mainly because we were both already starving.
Dinner was at Pizza Fusion, a place Michelle found online a few days earlier. And man, the place was good. We both had a half salad (pear and Gorgonzola for me).
We also shared some stuffed sausage and goat cheese mushrooms.
And we each had our own individual pizzas on a whole grain crust. I was in the mood for pepperoni, which Michelle thought looked like nipples. I’m not sure what kind of nipples she’s been exposed to, but I was concerned.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel and the weather was still super windy (wind gusts up to 30mph, I think?), which worried me about the race conditions.
We were in bed pretty early (yes, together) and after a dream that we missed the race, I was relieved when we woke up on time. Then I was pissed that we woke up on time. I realize I’m never happy. It was 4:15am after all. And this girl does not do mornings.
We got ready, left for the race, and just missed a mini-monsoon before walking out the door. We wore trash bags to keep warm and dry and ended up pitching them right before the start.
This year, Gasparilla had 2 corrals – one for finishers in 2 hours or less and one for finishers over 2 hours. It was an improvement from last year’s pace markers, but the start was still congested. I think they need more corrals and maybe a waved start next year. Also, I couldn’t understand anything the announcer was saying through the loudspeaker, so I assumed the race started when we all started moving forward. We were in the first corral, which was closer to the speakers, so I’m sure no one could hear anything behind me.
During the race, I didn’t get into my running groove until mile 4 and even then it only lasted for about 2 miles. Honestly, I didn’t feel like running. So knowing I had 7 more “meh” miles to go really sucked.
At mile 5, I ran past the port-o-potties I had to stop at last year and was glad my stomach was feeling ok. Not great, but ok. That’s when I had my first half of a PB&J and showed it off to the camera guy.
Then I gave him the double guns.
While I was running, I was trying to remember what was going through my mind when I ran all of my faster races last year. Then I remembered that I “talked” to my legs. A LOT. If I noticed I was slowing down, I would “tell” my legs to go a little faster. So, that’s what I did through the entire race. I don’t even remember most of my music which was playing the whole time, because all I can remember is talking to my legs and being grateful that the wind wasn’t that bad. For the time being.
There were no timers on the course and I didn’t see a mile sign until Mile 6. I think after that, I saw a sign for mile 8 and 12. There were plenty of water stations and a ton of awesome volunteers. I had my Camelbak on, so I only stopped at 2 water stations but they were completely prepared for the amount of runners, which was nice for a change. (Hear that Rock ‘n’ Roll Series?)
After the turnaround, the wind gusts got pretty ridiculous. At times, the gusts slowed my pace by a minute and a half and I would just try to run through them the best I could. Despite the wind, I was loving being on a familiar (and beautiful!) course because I knew when I was close to the finish and when I should push a little harder.
About a mile to the finish, I knew I was going to make my goal of beating last year’s time. So then it just became a competition with myself to get a “10” in my finish time. And I just made it, coming in at 2:10:52 with a 9:59 pace. That’s 6 minutes faster than last year and over 7 minutes faster than any half I’ve ran in a year.
I gotta say, this race was hard. There wasn’t a point where I wasn’t putting in max effort for how I was feeling. Usually during a half, I have about 7 good miles where they coast by with little effort. No mile was awesome or effortless. Every mile just was.
After the race, I collected my coveted medal.
And found Michelle.
Just like last year, there were so many goodies after the race – bananas, bagels, fruit cups, Coke products, 5-hour Energy bottles, beer, and bowls of hot black beans from Colombia Restaurant.
We only hung around for a short time. My feet hurt, I was limping from another pair of crap shoes, and we were cold and ready for a shower (not together). We left Tampa for another windy ride home. I dropped Michelle off and then when straight to the running store and returned my shoes…for the third time. So long Mizuno Wave Rider 15s.
Overall, this is still my favorite race. I love the course, the goodies, and it’s run so efficiently. I’ll definitely do this one again.
Next week, I run the Sarasota Half Marathon which holds my PR from last year (2:02:41). I’m not crazy enough to think I can shave over 8 minutes off my time from this week for a new PR, but this is the last half of the race season, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t give it my best shot. No promises, though.