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.
Tag Archives: Race review
Yesterday I ran the Baldwin Park Half Marathon – my 19th half and the longest distance I’ve run since February. A lot of poor decision making (on my part) went into this race, including but not limited to a three-mile run on Friday that I should have skipped, spending all day Saturday on my feet at EDC, drinking more drinks than can be counted on one hand, and skipping dinner.
But I’m a trooper, ya’ll. So when I got home Saturday night, I drank as much water as humanly possible, got a better-than-expected six hours of sleep, and ran a damn half marathon.
Michelle picked me up at 6:15 – right on time, I might add. *so proud* The girl is always at least a little late.
The race is only 15 minutes from my house. We even scored some major rock star parking by the start/finish line when Michelle went through a “road blocked” sign that was guarded by a police car. No fear, that one.
Once we parked, I realized I left my Garmin at home. I was also too busy sleeping in and forgot to make my standard PB&J, so I grabbed my next bad decision.
Cola flavor. Totally disgusting.
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I can’t eat anything with sugar (even natural) during a race. I ate one of those chews at mile 8, 9, and 10. Three is my limit. My stomach started churning after that.
I ran this race three years ago. It’s the same this year as it was then – small with a pretty course that is extremely familiar since it’s where I did a lot of my marathon training. I heard a few people complain that there wasn’t enough water on course, especially in the beginning miles, but I wore my new Camelbak so it wasn’t an issue for me.
Now for the race. Let’s just say that considering the night I had beforehand, it could have been a lot worse. So I am super grateful for the race I had. There was no timing on course, so I had no idea what pace I was running and I didn’t see a mile marker until mile seven, which was annoying. Michelle and I leap-frogged each other for those seven miles, but as we know, the only time I ever beat her in a race is when she’s pregnant
or has bruised ribs. We high-fived at the turn-around and that’s when I lost her. I ended up walking a good 20 minutes throughout (or more, I stopped counting after a while) because I was completely pooped, my left leg felt super fatigued while my right leg was fine (??) and the shoulder pain that started during my first marathon came back. (< — read that race review if you enjoy pity parties)
Things that didn’t happen include me pooping, barfing, or dying. So I consider this a major win. I came in at 2:21:54, not even a personal worst so I’ll take it.
Epic Sports Marketing puts on this race and I notice they keep getting better and more organized each time. They even had a really good spread of fruit, bagel thins, rolls, peanut butter and Nutella at the end.
I can definitely feel that I haven’t run that distance in some time. My legs are tired. Squatting to clean out the bunny’s litter box definitely takes more effort. But I’m glad I ran this one because I needed to get the miles in and they aren’t going to run themselves.
Next up is the OUC Orlando Half Marathon on 12/7. I’m using that race as a training run as well and then maybe I’ll get more serious about my races in January and March. I mean, at the least I’ll try not to be drunk for them.
Yesterday, Michelle and I were lucky enough to be invited to race Challenge Nation Orlando.
Challenge Nation is a scavenger hunt race where you have to complete 11 out of 12 clues by finding the clue and taking a picture with it according to the instructions. I’ve never done a race like this, but I really liked that the clues were tailored to the area and what was going on in downtown Orlando that day.
The race started at Wall Street Plaza. We got there in the middle of packet pick up and even so, there was no line and we got our bibs and t-shirts easily.
We waited around for awhile with our friends, Cheyanne and Ricky, who were also running the race. We were on separate teams but we ended up running the whole thing together and helping each other with the clues and took each others pictures.
Speaking of clues, if you like the Challenge Nation Facebook page, they post hints to a few of the clues the night before the race. Maybe we’re just dense, but the hints did not help AT ALL.
Even after completing the race, I still only get two of them.
Anyway, eventually we lined up to receive our clues just before the race started.
Each team had a captain that was responsible for getting the clues and getting the pictures verified at the end of the race. That was Michelle because she was willing and I was lazy. Such a trooper.
Michelle is holding out our paper with the clues to prove we weren’t opening them early. Finally, the race started and we were able to check out our clues, which basically meant we read about 5 of them and headed in their general direction and hoped for the best. Here are the 11 we completed:
1. Snap a pic with at least one teammate standing in a fountain or lake.
2. Find the Disney-donated spot and another challenge team and pose like rock stars.
3. Take a photo with one of the following: a clown, a traditional barber pole, a tricycle, a person wearing overalls, or any live pet animal other than a dog. Give a thumbs up in the picture.
This is the part where I have to admit we spotted the bunny and asked for a picture before we knew it was a clue. The lady was like, “it doesn’t count if your thumbs aren’t up.” See? My love of bunnies paid off TEN FOLD.
4. Re-enact a wedding ceremony at a romantic spot along the waterfront. Include at least 2 strangers and a physical creative prop as part of your ceremony (we had a flower).
Aww. We’ve never been more in love.
5. Pose like fearsome pirates near a bust of Mahatma and force one of your teammates to “walk the plank.”
Apparently Ricky and I are the only one that got the “fearsome” pirates memo.
6. Take a photo with any of the presidents that appear on Mount Rushmore. (You can’t use currency, change, smartphone pictures, or draw the image.)
7. Find an out-of-towner (not from Florida) wearing non-sports related garb.
I just realized that guy looks like Chuck Norris. We should have gotten extra points for that.
8. Find the artwork paid for by Universal Studios and “do the obvious” activity with the rings in front of it.
That’s also how we look when dancing.
9. Buy/find a postcard, address it to someone on the team, write your favorite clue on it, and pretend to mail in any old style blue mailbox.
Our picture was super blurry so I won’t post that one. Michelle told me I had to write her a note on the postcard, so I did.
That was not part of the instructions and Challenge Nation collected those. Thanks, M.
On a side note, they do say that you don’t need anything for the race except a digital camera. We needed money to buy the postcard. I have no idea where you would “find” one and you are able to skip one clue, but I think having anything for purchase in the clues is a bad idea.
10. Find the building that was blown up in Lethal Weapon 3 (that’s City Hall) and then mimic the pose with the soccer player out front.
11. Find a certain intersection (we had to Google the clues to figure out the intersection) and draw your favorite thing about living in Florida with the chalk at that intersection.
Those are two people running. Most people drew the sun or water. *snore*
We came in 68 out of 178 teams. (Our team name was Fleetwood Mac Sex Pants ( <— name that reference), but Michelle doesn’t know how to write.)
I want to thank Challenge Nation for giving me the opportunity to run this race. I’ve never done anything like it and I loved it. It was silly and a lot of fun. Even Michelle, the Grinch of all “novelty” races, liked it.
I’ll definitely do this one next year and I might try to sweet talk the hubby into joining because I think he’ll like this one too.
Armageddon Ambush is a 5k mud and color run. My friend, Daryl, had an extra registration and asked me to run it a few weeks ago. Until then, I had never heard of the race but it sounded fun from the Web site and I’m a sucker for races.
This one took place in Clermont, about an hour away from Orlando.
*Documenting that we were clean.*
This race is expensive – $80 untimed or $100 timed. (Some cities are cheaper.) Daryl bought the registrations for $30 or $40 on Living Social. Not bad. There was $10 fee to transfer the registration to my name – also not bad, but the registration wasn’t in my name when we picked up our bibs. Bib pick up was still no problem, but Daryl had changed it a week prior. You’d think for $10 bucks it would be in my name.
We just missed our noon wave, so we hopped in the 12:30 wave with no problem. I think there were about 12 obstacles. We ran though a lot of thick mud and muddy water, jumped over the littlest fire wall in the land, climbed walls and cargo net, ran through tires, made our way across swinging rings (kinda like monkey bars, but not), and ran through one lone color station. < — IMO, you can’t call yourself a mud AND color race and have only one color station
The obstacles were harder than Warrior Dash (< — that’s my race review). I had to skip four of them which hurt my Crossfit soul a little bit. I skipped the rope climb (because my forearms are not strong enough to lift this crazy body), two walls that were too high for me to jump without looking like a complete idiot to those waiting behind me, and a repelling wall at the end that I got half way up but was too tired from trying the other three failed obstacles.
This was the second to last obstacle.
It was by far the most awesome obstacle. You climb a cargo net in the back to get up and then slide down into a pool of muddy water. Only four people can climb up at once so there was a major back up. We waited 20 minutes to get on it which totally sucked. We came really close to skipping it but it just looked so fun we stuck it out. See the people standing behind it? They are all still waiting.
After the slide, there’s a mud crawl and a run through the finish line. By the time we got to the mud crawl, it looked like this.
All the ropes you crawl under were pushed into the mud. So we just walked through it. Again, this obstacle was right by all the volunteers and the main action. You think someone would fix it instead of leaving it like that. But what do I know?
There were two water stops on the course. By the time we got to the second one, the water was gone. It was only 1:00 pm at that point and waves were running until 5:30, so no one got water after us. For $80 or even $40, there should be water.
Once we crossed the finish, we received a t-shirt and a race medal, which I thought was pretty cool.
I definitely didn’t expect a medal.
I would advise against paying for a timed registration with the backup at that last obstacle (and several others). They do have specific timed waves, but I can’t see the backup not happening. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong.
There is only food and drink for purchase afterwards, so keep that in mind if you’re the hungry or thirsty type. The food looked really good, I’ll give them that, but for such an expensive race you would think you’d at least get a granola bar or a bottle of water.
I liked the race and the more challenging obstacles but it just suffered from…a lack of volunteers? I’m not sure. It wasn’t bad by any means but this race has a lot of room for improvement.
Either way, I still had fun getting dirty with a friend.
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.
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.
The Orlando Xtreme Half Marathon takes place in Christmas. Yep. That’s the name of the town. And yep. They have a Christmas tree year round.
The race starts at the Orlando Wetlands Park, which is only about a half hour from my house.
It’s in the middle of nowhere and takes you down one of those roads where you can imagine your car running out of gas, having no cell reception to call for help, and then some strange dude tying you up and bringing you home to “mama.”
But before I get to the race, I want to mention that it was put on by Epic Sports Marketing. If they want to run with the big boys like RnR and ING someday, they seriously need a new PR person. I got an email the week of the race that was not only terribly written, but it included this sentence:
Our race photographer wants me to remind you all that remember to dress like runners. That will guaranteed much better pictures.
What does that even mean?
Then, four days before the race, they released a newletter saying the race was in two weeks. So yeah, I just get an unprofessional vibe all around.
Anyway, I picked up my packet race morning.
Went back to the car to drop off my t-shirt and hoodie and walked back to wait for the race to start.
I did not put on makeup by the way. I washed my face before I went to bed, when I woke up, and used makeup remover…twice. That gel eyeliner still wanted to stay on my lash line. Also, that headband lasted one mile. Sweaty bands, Bic Bands, Bondi Bands – I have not met one that will stay on my head.
Just before the race started, guess who made an announcement?
Oh, I remembered his name alright. So when someone said that he had an announcement, I was prepared for greatness. And I got it. He told the 10k’ers and the half marathoners to line up…at the wrong flags. Luckily there was another volunteer by the flags that knew what was going on.
While we were waiting to start, this guy was standing in front of me. Are those the new thing in minimalist shoes? I have never seen anything like that before. Thirteen miles in those? No thank you.
This race was my first trail run and I can’t say I loved it. While it is supposed to be easier on the knees, it was definitely harder on the ankles. I spent the entire race trying to dodge tufty pieces of grass and loose patches of sand.
The race was a double loop, which I’ve somehow managed to avoid in all my 17 half marathons until now, and I can say I’m not a fan. We passed the finish line twice – once around mile 2 and again at mile 7. Knowing I had to do that whole loop again was a serious demotivator.
The course itself was beautiful and extremely peaceful.
I was using this race as a training run, but even so I still wanted to do the best I could. So it was a bummer that I just didn’t feel like running. My breathing never felt right and I never got into that groove like I did at 3M.
I stopped to walk at mile 5 and 9 to eat 1/4 of a PB&J and then ended up walking about three times between miles 11 – 12.5.
At one point, I ran by a flock (a gaggle? a murder?) of vultures. A few of them were looking directly at me with their wings spanned. I tried not to look them in the eye. (Does that work with birds?) I have a history with birds and I just wanted to avoid any type of “situation.”
Around mile 11, it was getting hot and we were running directly into the sun so I just wanted the race over with. I turned off my music at that point and literally heard five minutes of continuous echoing gunfire in the distance. What the what? I didn’t know whether I should take cover or look to the sky for holograms of the people that died on course.
I picked it up as much as I could at the end and finished in 2:13:01.
Last month’s race was 10 minutes faster, so that was a little blow to the ego.
If you want to know how to positive split a race, here ya go:
My Garmin had the course at almost 13.5 miles and I’m thinking that’s right because I heard from another person that the course was over 14 miles one year.
I must have looked like hell crossing the finish line because more people than normal were trying to motivate me and a random girl who was walking in the opposite direction, circled back to give me a high-five and tell me good job.
There were some good post race treats – lots of fruit and peanut butter, jelly, and Nutella for the bagels.
Annnnnd mini cupcakes!
Way to win me over, race. Also, include strawberries in the “foods I hated until last year” category.
When I got home, a poof of dust came out of my socks. My shoes and feet were filthy. And of course, just after I got done talking up my Brooks, they gave me a big blister.
Overall it was a really nice, small race although a little too hard on my feet and ankles. I’m not sure I like to pay that much attention to every step I take.
And just for fun, here’s the playlist I used.
I put slow and fast music on my list because I never know what I’m gonna want to hear once I get out there. All I know is that the new Fall Out Boy song got three plays in a row. Can’t get enough of that one.
Next race is the Gasparilla Half in Tampa at the end of the month. It’s likely that will be my last half of the season – PR or no PR.
So about that half marathon I ran on Sunday.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know I did some kick ass preparation for this race. That preparation included no PRP (<— anyone remember that one?) the day before or the day of the race, so I was pretty sure I was doomed.
I woke up at 5:00am, had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast, stuffed another PB&J in my sports bra for the race (now dubbed “boob food” by Brad), and decided to bring my Camelbak out from its year and a half long hibernation (half water/half Powerade Zero).
Melissa, Brad, and I left for the race around 6:00pm, parked about a block from the race, and sat in the car with the heat on until the last minute. We made our way to the corral about 15 minutes before the start.
I tried to get Melissa and Brad to snuggle with me for warmth but they insisted on dropping me off at my pace marker so they could get to their own. Rude. So, I stood and froze for about 10 minutes before the race started with no one to snuggle (it was about 40°F).
Oh, I also decided to bring my Garmin. I know I said I was going to leave it home but Melissa kinda talked me into bringing it. I figured if anything, I could use it to keep from starting out too fast.
I decided to start the race conservatively and see how it went from there because I was not in the mood for another crap race like last week. (I don’t normally post my mile times, but I want to look back on this for the next potential PR race.)
- Mile 1: 10:02
- Mile 2: 9:39
- Mile 3: 9:37
- Mile 4: 9:20
I kicked on some music at mile 2 and was feeling pretty good (i.e. no stomach issues and I didn’t feel like poking my eyes out with a fork). I mean, the course wasn’t much to look at but the weather was perfect for running and sometimes that’s all you need.
The course had some rolling hills but was mostly net downhill.
- Mile 5: 9:14
- Mile 6: 9:24
- Mile 7: 9:06
At mile 7, I got a little misty because I was still feeling so good. I’ve never felt that good during a race before. Then I reminded myself how lame it is to cry at mile 7 and pulled it together like a champ. Around this time is where races usually start going downhill for me and where music starts getting annoying and I have to turn it off. So I was really appreciating it.
- Mile 8: 9:12
- Mile 9: 9:24
- Mile 10: 9:09
Mile 10 went by and I still wasn’t tired. At all. So I tried to push the speed a little more because I really thought I had a chance at a sub-2 at this point.
I was a little worried about mile 8.9 – 10.4. According to the elevation chart, it was all uphill but I didn’t even notice it. It was mile 12 that was a real bitch.
Once I saw mile 12 in person, I was not amused.
(By the way, both those course pictures were taken while running with the new camera I got for Christmas. I think those are the first non-blurry race pics I’ve ever taken.)
I knew I had to speed up if I was going to sub-2 and I really tried to sprint that thing, but damn, it was steep. Somewhere during mile 12, I knew the sub-2 wasn’t happening so I changed my goal to a PR (anything below 2:02:41).
- Mile 11: 8:56
- Mile 12: 9:05
- Mile 13: 8:54
I really tried. But it didn’t happen. Finish time: 2:03:20…40 seconds short. Man, so close.
After the race, I collected my medal and a woman came up to me and thanked me for pacing her. (!)
Who? Me? A pacer? BAD ASS. <—- coolest moment of the race
I circled back past the finish and waited for Melissa and Brad to come in. I was freezing at this point so I was never so happy to see them run down the finish chute.
Brad got a 30 minute PR!
So, this wasn’t a scenic race and I didn’t PR, but it was still the best half I’ve ever run. I ran it 15 minutes faster than my race last week, five minutes faster than my race last month, and it’s my second fastest half marathon. My PR race was in March 2011, so I have been waiting a long time to come close to that again.
While I would have loved to sub-2 or PR and I keep thinking, “if I wasn’t so conservative at the beginning, I would have had it,” I’m not disappointed in my time because this is the only race where I felt amazing during every mile. I never got tired, I never walked or stopped at a water station, and I never fueled because I felt like I had so much energy the whole time. Awesome.
This was also a point-to-point race, which I’ve never done before, and they are now my absolute favorite.
After the race, we stopped at Kerby Lane Cafe for brunch. I had a chocolate coffee to
fat warm up.
We waited 45 minutes for a table, but it was worth it. This hot mess is an English muffin with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado, and a vat of queso on top. Delicious.
The three of us also shared three different flavors of pancakes (gingerbread, pumpkin, and peanut butter banana with Nutella) since I had to try them all. And really, it’s all about me.
The pumpkin won the taste-off. Oh, and when I say we “shared” those pancakes, I mean I ate most of them because Melissa and Brad were too full.
Psh. Like too full is a thing.
I had an amazing trip. Thank you Melissa and Brad for being awesome hosts and to Melissa for letting me wear all her clothes, eat all her food, and use all her bathroom products because JetBlue decided my luggage was better off in Orlando.
I ran half marathon #16 yesterday. I can’t say it went well, but I finished, so there’s that.
This was sort of a last minute race. I heard about it through my friend, Kate, a month ago and then asked my friend, Brad, if he wanted to run it. I never heard back from him either way, so it kinda fell off my radar until Brad said he wanted to run it last week. And really, I’m a sucker for anyone that wants to run a race with me.
So, Brad picked me up at 6:00am and we made the hour drive to DeLeon Springs so we’d have plenty of time for the (way too late) 8pm start. By the way, DeLeon is pronounced day-lee-own. Took waaaay too long for me to figure that one out.
The race starts at Chuck Lennon Park.
There’s a half marathon and a 5k and they are both super small. So small that there were only three port-o-potties (and 2 park restrooms).
That one on the right is like the Cadillac of port-o-potties. So much room I just wanted to stay in there longer!
Anyway, the 5k had 150 runners and the half marathon had around 125. We were able to park about 20 steps from the finish line and 20 steps in the opposite direction to pick up our bibs.
You’d think from that picture that it was cold out, but it was 66°F. People in Florida get super weird if the temperature dips below 75. Everyone complains on Facebook how cold it is and people on the street dress in wool jackets and moon boots. I don’t get it.
Anyway, we were pretty early so we walked around a bit to kill some time. I tried to get Brad to ride this bird but he wouldn’t do it. Fine. I’ll ride the bird.
Then we were ready to run.
Both the half marathon and the 5k start together. There’s no timing pad at the start, so the race goes by clock time only. Usually I find that annoying but it didn’t matter with this race because there are so few people that it’s not like you’re waiting more than a few seconds to cross the start line. Whereever that was. Maybe that first cone?
Everyone lined up a few minutes before the start.
That’s about as crowded as it got.
Oh, and before we started, I also made Brad take a picture with me so you don’t all think I’m always talking about an imaginary friend.
The course was an out an back on a long, quiet, country road. There was no crowd support and the water stops were minimal with only water (no Gatorade, not that I drink that).
***You are now entering the lack of pictures zone***
By mile 3, I’m usually feeling pretty good and can just run on autopilot for about 6 miles or so. I never felt that way during this race so I could tell the whole thing was going to be a big effort.
By mile 4, it was starting to get hot. (WTF Florida, this is January!) And who starts a race in Florida at 8? So lame.
Just before Mile 5, I could tell Brad was feeling good, so I told him to go on without me. He always seems to start too fast and fade at the end, so as he was leaving, he joked that he’d “see me at mile 10.” (Pretty sure he jinxed himself.) I could see Brad about a quarter mile in front of me for almost five miles and then caught up to him at mile 9.6 and he was dying. Although, so was I. I took 10-11 walk breaks during the race because I was so, so tired. My hamstrings were killing me and I just did not want to be running.
By mile 11, my shoulder started hurting again. This shoulder business started in Savannah during my first marathon a year and a half ago. I don’t think I mentioned this, but I ended up going to an Orthopedic doctor back in October and had some x-rays. Turns out I just have some fancy word for inflammation which needs anti-inflammitory drugs. It likes to go away and come back at the most annoying times.
Anyway, for some reason, the only thing on my mind for the last half of the race was how much I hate bananas and how I wish races had apples. That’s right. Deep thinker here. I finished in 2:18:19. Over 10 minutes slower than my race a month ago.
I waited to cheer Brad on at the finish. He came in about four minutes after me. I really wanted to get a picture of him but my camera (the new, little Nikon) battery died. We went to get some race food afterwards and they had a nice little spread. Including apples!
Death to bananas! Also, Fig Newtons after a race are amazing.
So, it wasn’t my race but I’m glad I did it because I thought it was well organized and had a nice course. I would definitely do it again. It was super affordable ($35 the week before the race) and it’s the first race I’ve run that gives you the option to pay $10.00 less if you don’t want the race t-shirt. Awesome.
This Sunday is the 3M half marathon in Austin. Running 13 miles is harder this year than it was last year and I think my Garmin stresses me out and makes it even harder, so I’m making the executive decision to leave it home.
Saturday, I signed up for the Tucson Half Marathon. Yesterday I ran it. And seriously, I never would have if it wasn’t for my co-worker, Mike. Not only did he stop at Avis to make sure I was on the rental car agreement, but he took me to the expo so I could sign up, and took me to the mall because I didn’t have ear buds or warm enough clothes for the race. He never complained or seemed annoyed. The dude’s a saint. But I would never tell him that to his face because I wouldn’t hear the end of it.
After four hours of sleep, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to get to the race on time. I was not amused.
Luckily (kind of), I didn’t sleep that well so it felt like I never went to sleep to begin with. So I was wide awake. Good thing since I had an hour and 40 minute drive to Tucson ahead of me.
I got dressed and gathered all my things – including my new blingy Hello Kitty ear buds.
Inside, I am a twelve year old.
Anyway, the ride up was pretty uneventful (i.e., I didn’t get lost) except for the fact that I had to go through border patrol and have a Doberman sniff the car for drugs. (That was new.)
The race started at 7:00am but I left so early because I had to be there to catch the shuttle between 4:45 and 5:30. I got on the second shuttle and made it to the start almost two hours early. Not normally a big deal, but it was about 36 degrees out and I was freezing my ass off.
I hopped off the shuttle and made a b-line for the port-o-potties before a line could form. I was the first one to use it! I even had to take the wrapping off the toilet paper and everything. It’s the little things.
After my super clean port-o-potty experience, I got back on the bus to keep warm until we were kicked off 30 minutes later. Then I snuggled some other runners by the heat lamps.
I gotta say, being alone at a race kinda sucks. I was seriously missing this girl. I talked to a bunch of nice runners but having someone at the end to share your race with makes all the difference. /end lonely girl talk
Ok, so we all made our way to the start after a very cold wait. There were no pace markers, just a woman with a megaphone shouting “8 minute milers line up here!” Very strange. I just got in the back.
After an exceptionally good National Anthem, we were off.
For the first mile or so, my feet were numb from the cold. Once the numbness wore off, I was feeling pretty good. It was cold out but the air was so crisp and nice to run in.
The first five miles were exceptionally beautiful. Most of the course looked like you were running to the mountains and the desert on both sides of the road was so beautiful and peaceful.
I don’t think those pictures do it justice.
Usually I can’t handle slow songs when I’m running, but Lana Del Ray and Massive Attack were my jams for this one. It just kinda fit the mood, ya know?
Since this race was so last minute, I didn’t set any goals. I just wanted to enjoy myself and take in the scenery. I wore my Garmin but never looked at it once because I wanted to keep my hands warm. Plus, my nose was running since it was so cold so my sleeve was doubling as a booger rag.
The course was one long-ass road and mostly downhill.
But the parts that didn’t fall into that “mostly” category were sure as hell uphill. One of them had to have been a mile long or more.
At mile 4, I lost the cap to my water bottle.
At mile 5, I walked so I could take off my hoodie. That took way longer than it should ever take a normal person. I was trying to hold my water bottle with my teeth so it wouldn’t spill all over me. That did not go well. I also may have blown my nose in my hoodie. Twice. It was either that. Or this.
I also walked at mile 6.5 and 10 to eat half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then I walked again through a water stop at mile 12.
The last two miles were rough. I didn’t feel like I had anything left in me. Maybe it was because I didn’t have any Nuun in my water? My run literally felt like a walk. I had no clue what my time was but I thought I’d be around a 2:15 or so.
I ended up coming in at 2:08:05.
Super surprising. Of the 15 halves I’ve ran, only three of them have been faster than that, and all three of them were two years ago. I am really happy with that time. I’m finally starting to get back to the speed I was at before marathon training slowed me down.
So yeah. Super runner’s high after this one.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race run so efficiently. The marathoners and half marathoners started in completely different areas. We even parked in different lots and took different shuttles. It made it super easy to park, get the shuttle there and back, and get out of the race parking lot. No traffic, no waiting. Just an all around good experience.
I didn’t even mind the hour forty ride back to Sierra Vista. I was feeling good. I cranked the heat and music and opened the windows and sunroof while I drove back with views like this.