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
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.
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 night, I ran the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 miler and it was a really great race. This is coming from someone who hates most things Disney. (I know. First strawberries and now this? I’m un-American.) A couple years ago, I ran the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and I didn’t love it, so I guess my expectations were low.
Anyway, the night started off when my friend, Sheila, and I drove down to ESPN Wide World of Sports. There was a ton of traffic and a 10 minute hair-pulling wait for the turn signal into ESPN, but we made it there around 8:15pm and immediately boarded the shuttle to Hollywood Studios. (I still call it MGM Studios. That name change has not worked for me). The shuttles were more like gigantic, super-fly buses with comfy seats. Loved it.
Once Sheila and I sat down, we realized that we were sitting right across from Danielle.
Danielle and I met at the Savannah RNR Marathon last year and I saw her again at Central Florida Blogger Convention a few weeks ago. Out of thousands of people, I ran into her within the first five minutes of arriving. Small world, right? It was around this time that I realized I left my Garmin at home. Blah.
Once we reached Hollywood Studios, Danielle, Shelia, and I spent our time hanging out in the port-o-potty lines chatting before the race. It was then that Shelia spotted the rarely seen mythical creature, Sasquatch, and I captured it on film.
Then Danielle wanted to get in on that picture action too.
WHY are my friends so small?!
We parted ways with Danielle once it was time to get into our corrals. Shelia and I were in Corral A. Isn’t that corral for fast people? I swear being in the first corral made me feel secretly awesome. We walked a few blocks from the corral to the start line and waited a good 30 minutes for the race to start at 10:00pm.
Shelia stretched and then handed out free high-fives. (First one’s free, then you have to pay for them. They’re that good.)
I took awkward pictures. What’s up with that dude? All I see is his nipple.
The race finally started and it was a cool 84 degrees and one million percent humidity. The first couple miles were along the highway – not the most scenic but it allowed the runners to spread out, which was nice. I didn’t have to dodge runners for the first few miles like I did in the Wine and Dine half but I think that’s because I was in Corral A instead of D. The race looked way more crowded behind me at the turnarounds.
There was spooky Tower of Terror music along the way and characters dressed up in cool costumes to take pictures with. The line for pictures with some of the characters were 20 people long (wtf?). There was a lot less roadside entertainment than I expected but there were so many people running in costume that you always had something to look at. (To the two muscly guys dressed in towels and shower caps, my camera battery died but I will forever have a picture of you IN MY MIND.)
After the first few miles, we took a turn and ran on a “trail” which was basically a wooded, gravel, back road from the highway into ESPN Wide World of Sports. There were cricket and owl sound effects playing so you felt like you were running in the woods, which was fun.
The next couple miles though Wide World of Sports was awesome. It was well-lit and pretty. Part of the run was through the complex on the sidewalk.
The other part was around the track at the track and field complex. (That’s the best picture I could come up with.)
After we left ESPN, we were back on the highway heading toward Hollywood Studios. Around mile 6, Sheila’s calf was giving her problems and my lower back was hurting, so we walked for a bit. Around mile 7, Sheila insisted that I go on without her for about 10 minutes until I finally did. I ran the last three miles on my own and felt surprisingly great.
The last two miles were a winding path through different areas in Hollywood Studios ending with the finish line behind the Tower of Terror. It was really cool to see the tower (and hear the screams from the ride) as you’re running toward the finish. Loved that.
I finished in 1:45:52. I think that’s a 10:35 overall pace.
I loooove the medal. So bad ass. It glows in the dark and the elevator part moves up and down.
Honestly, I was disappointed with my time because I really felt like I was running faster. I was passing people through the entire race (that never happens) and I was in Corral A (that’s for fast people, right?). Maybe they grouped us by when we registered instead of finish time? I thought I might be part Kenyan until I saw the finish clock. Nope. Just slow German.
After the race, I waited by the medals for Sheila to cross the finish.
We tried to find Danielle but had no luck. So, we went to the ice tent, grabbed some Tylenol (for both of us) and ice (for Shelia’s bum ankle) and sat on the ground for 10 minutes to rest.
Disney provided the runners with a box filled with an odd assortment of food afterwards – Clif protein bar, a piece of chocolate, gummies, trail mix, crackers, cheese, and a wet nap.
The food was kinda meh, but it was way better than Wine and Dine’s weird, un-packaged, individually Saran-wrapped muffins. I had most of my banana, half of the protein bar, and pitched the rest since it was basically all junk food.
Hollywood Studios stayed open until 4:00am for the runners, so after our short rest, Sheila and I rode the Tower of Terror. Enclosed spaces with lots of sweaty runners is a treat.
How awesome is it to run the Tower of Terror and then ride the Tower of Terror? SO awesome. Didn’t even need to barf. So let’s add that to my list of talents: “Can run 10 miles and then ride the Tower of Terror without barfing.” That’s resume material right there.
Since we did so good not barfing on ToT, we ran right over to the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster.
I haven’t been on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster in over 10 years. Let’s just say I forgot it started out at 60 mph and forgot the whole ride is in the dark. Still didn’t barf, so it was a win. Plus, both rides had waits of less than 10 minutes which I’ve never seen. After the rides, we walked back to the shuttle and headed home.
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve had more fun at a race. The course was great, the race was extremely well managed, we never waited more than five minutes for a shuttle, the finish line was planned well, and being able to enjoy the park afterwards was awesome. Disney also has the only races I’ve found where the volunteers actually put the medal around your neck at the end. Not a big deal, but I think it’s a nice touch.
Usually I think Disney races are too expensive (I paid $90 for this one), but this was well worth the price.