Space Coast Marathon 2014

I ran the Space Coast Marathon on Sunday.

If you like abridged versions: I didn’t love it and I wouldn’t run it again. For those that like unabridged versions, read on.

The Space Coast Marathon takes place in Cocoa, about 50 minutes from Orlando. Michelle and I registered for this race almost nine months ago, back when we thought we wanted to run it. But the closer we got to the race, the more it sounded like a terrible idea, particularly around the holidays and after another marathon that took every last bit of running energy we had in us. So let’s just say we didn’t go into this race with a positive attitude.

Since there was no packet pick up on race day (lame), Michelle drove out to Cocoa to get our packets on Saturday. On Sunday morning, I woke up at 2:30 (kill me), got ready, and picked up Michelle and Tyler by 3:30. The race didn’t start until 6:30 but according to our pre-race emails, parking fills up early and we wanted to park close to the start to avoid taking the shuttle from the farther parking lots. Our plan worked out because we got rock star parking and the lot we were in filled up about 10 minutes later.

We waited in the car for awhile to keep warm and Michelle and I pumped Tyler up by singing Paula Abdul songs to him. Tyler was begging for us to sing to him more but we told him, no. We have a race to run. So we stood out on the curb for awhile while Tyler put on his shoes and bib and did other things we didn’t understand why he couldn’t do them in the car. Tyler is a secret race diva.

We still had plenty of time to kill, which was fine. I’d rather be early than late. We did the usual before a race – ate breakfast, used the porta potty, walked around aimlessly, and took pictures.

During our aimlessness, I randomly ran into Matt.

This was my first time meeting Matt in person. A couple years ago, we both ran the Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler. He was standing in front of me so of course I photo-bombed his selfie. A couple days later, he found my blog and commented. I checked out his blog in return only to find myself in the background of one of his pictures. Small world for sure. The rest is history as they say.

We watched the half marathoners start and finally it was time for us to line up.

Tyler was super nervous since it was his first marathon. This is him freaking out.

He’s single as a Pringle, ladies. Smile

The National Anthem played and the sound of the shuttle lifting off was our signal to start. The course is two different out-and-backs on a road with houses you could never afford on one side and the Indian River on the other side. It was very scenic and pretty, except for all the rolling hills. Those weren’t pretty.

Usually I don’t mind out-and-backs, but for a marathon it’s not the best motivator. I was feeling pretty good for the first half of the race.The first seven miles were very crowded on a narrow two-lane road. There were a few times times when I was stuck behind slower runners because my lane and the oncoming lane were so crowded that there was no way to pass.

The 4:30 pacer passed me pretty early on but I decided to concentrate on my music and the view more than anything. Around mile 6, I caught up to him, which I didn’t expect. Then I passed him (probably not the best idea) and stayed ahead of him for the next eight miles. Everything started going downhill around mile 14. The shade was few and far between and it was getting hot. The 4:30 pacer passed me at 14.5 and I shouted a big “ah shit” as he passed because I really thought I had a decent PR in me for awhile there.

At mile 18, I stopped at the port-a-potty and from then on, I walked every water station and then some. By mile 20, I was still lined up for a PR but the the last six miles were so miserable, I couldn’t keep running. I walked half of the last six. It was so hot (74*F by the time I finished) and I was wiped out. I used the same running nutrition as I did in Chicago but it wasn’t enough for this race. I kept telling myself over and over, “no more fucking marathons!”

When I had three miles to go, I texted hubs a sad face.

The last part of the race is called the lunar walk, where you run through a brick walkway. Michelle was there waiting and cheering for me which was awesome! The crowd in that whole area was awesome. I kicked up the speed and passed everyone in front of me, which was fun. I even heard someone shout, “That’s right! You lap them!” Passing people at the end is my total fave. I finished in 4:43:19, six minutes slower than Chicago. Super disappointing.

After the race, I found Michelle, Tyler, and Victoria. Or I should say they found me because I was a bit spaced out. (Ha! Get it? Spaced out.)

Tyler and Victoria both ran sub-4:00s like a boss and Michelle ran a 4:20 with a bad foot.

The race had a really great after party with beer and pizza and all sorts of other goodies. We all hung around for a bit and chatted until we were ready to walk back to the car.

Oh and ladies, Tyler will hold all your babies.

#single

I think if I did just one thing differently during this race, I would have stayed behind the 4:30 pacer instead of passing him. In retrospect, that wasn’t a bright idea. (I totally blame the song Bounce from Iggy Azalea. That song makes me run-dance, which is basically just punching the air while lip-syncing.)

While there were some great things about this race (like lots of awesome volunteers), overall I didn’t care for it. I might consider the half but there’s no way I’d run the full again. The course is pretty but the two out-and-backs suck. There were also all sorts of random bikers and cars weaving through the runners. Runners in the oncoming lane were shouting “car back!” to warn us. I was literally running next to a truck for a quarter mile. I don’t even know how they were allowed on the course. Once you pass the finish line, there were so many random non-runners loitering around and making it hard to get through the area. The last thing I want after I just ran 26.2 miles is to be stuck in a non-moving crowd when my heart rate is through the roof because I just sprinted the last quarter mile. That whole area should be blocked off to spectators.

If anything, this race really showed me that I could run a 4:30 marathon. If I was only six minutes off Chicago with a stop at the port-o-potty and a ton of walking (which I didn’t do in Chicago), I know I have it in me. I’m not sure if I’ll have the chance to try again or not. I told myself this would be my last marathon, so we’ll see. I’m already forgetting how miserable this race was and I’m replacing those memories with things I liked about it. Race amnesia is a real thing, ya’ll.

 

Inaugural Lake Nona Half Marathon

I ran a half marathon today.

I registered for this race maybe six months ago and was going to use it as my first training run after Chicago. Seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, only I don’t really use races as training runs – I run them faster – and who knows how I was going to feel after Chicago. So in retrospect, not my best laid plan.

A lot of friends were running this race too and I love running with friends, so it wasn’t all bad.

Next to Michelle is one of our friends/co-workers, Keith, and to the right of him is Tyler. Tyler picked Michelle up at Best Damn Race and they’ve been running soul mates ever since.

The race took place in Lake Nona, which is about a half hour South of Orlando. Lake Nona is a cute little town and I’m sure there’s got to be a lake in it somewhere, but I didn’t see it. The race took place on a pretty, long, out and back road. It wasn’t scenic but it gets pretty points for having well maintained shrubbery in the median.

The race started at 6:00am. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race that started that early but I liked it because the first six or seven miles were in the dark. Plus, the weather was a perfect 61 degrees. This is the time of year when I don’t want to kick Florida in the junk. I will not miss you summer.

The race went a lot like Chicago: my legs felt great; I didn’t feel the need to walk; my shoulder started to hurt at mile 2; and the top of my left foot hurt. That foot thing I didn’t mention in the Chicago recap because I noticed it after the race, but it’s still hanging around. Maybe my shoes were laced too tight? I also had to poop from mile 6 on. (Didn’t think you’d get away from poop talk, did you?) I thought about stopping at a port-o-potty but then just decided to power through it. I got my first negative split ever because of it!

Poop makes you run faster. My colon just keeps on giving.

Those aren’t the prettiest of negative splits, but it’s the closest I’ll ever come to them. My Garmin crapped out in the first mile and I didn’t notice it until almost a mile in, so that’s why the mileage is off. My goal was to finish the race in under 2:15 (my Chicago half time) and I came in with 2:08:36, so I’m really happy with that.

After the race, we all hung out for a few hours and chatted and waited for Keith’s wife to finish.

Tyler got third in his age group with a PR, Keith PRed, and Katy hasn’t run more than 4 miles since August and still ran a sub-2:00. Let’s hate her together.

Overall, I had a great time. The race was well done and my only complaint is that there was no toilet paper in the port-o-potties after the race. I know, because I checked them all. Some nice lady gave me two of her Kleenex. I shall forever be grateful to the Kleenex lady.

I really enjoyed the race. It’s a great course for a PR, so I might be back to run this one again next year.

 

Storm the Campus 10 Miler

Sunday, I ran the Storm the Campus 10 miler at the University of Central Florida.

It was my last race of the season *sniff* and now I’m all alone and raceless until October. In the meantime, I’ll need to find another use for my treadmill.

The usual happened race morning – woke up, got ready, ate a PB&J for breakfast, and picked Michelle up. Ok, picking M up is not the usual. She always picks me up because I am spoiled. But Sunday, M got to be spoiled because, for once, the race was on the way to her house instead of the other way around.

Once we arrived, we immediately ran into our new race friend, Tyler.

That’s him vogueing on the ground for Michelle. (Do you drop the e in vogueing? These are things I’m too lazy to Google.)

I think Michelle finally found a pace twin in Tyler. We met him at Best Damn Race, then saw him again at the Winter Park Road Race. Now, we’re Facebook friends and meeting up at races intentionally. So yeah, it’s getting pretty serious.

We also ran into my insanely fast friend, Brian, at the start. He was so fast, I didn’t get a picture of him. (He ran the race in 1:01:09 and came in third overall because he’s a super badass.)

This was an inaugural race and a lot smaller than I expected – only 229 runners, but that’s cool with me because I love small races the best. This is what the start line looked like pretty much until someone yelled “go!”

The start wasn’t clearly marked so I was a little worried about the course markings. M and I even made a joke about having 16 miles on our Garmin at the end. Turns out, it was one of the best marked courses I’ve ever run that included signs for all upcoming bathrooms. All races should have signage for bathrooms. I zone out so easily that someone could be stabbed to my right and I probably wouldn’t notice so the signs were appreciated.

The race started at 7:30, which is late for a March race in Florida. We really lucked out with some cooler weather, but I think  it should start 30 – 60 minutes earlier in the future. Anyway, the race winded around the UCF campus, so it was really pretty.

(source)

And because the race was on a Sunday, it was nice and quiet.

I ran one other 10 miler before this and that was a year and a half ago. I ran it in 1:45:52, so I was using that as my basis. I was pretty sure I could run a 1:40. I would have loved a 1:35, but I hate having goals. If I’m being honest, I suck at reaching them and I just end up letting myself down unless that goal pertains to alcohol or cupcake consumption. So, I was cool with a 1:40. Which I guess is a goal, but one I thought I didn’t really have to work for that was still a PR.

Just like my last two races, I felt like I was putting in a good amount of effort. It was manageable, but not exactly enjoyable. There was some nasty wind, and a couple turn-arounds that really screwed with my pace – one just after a water stop in which I almost ran into an oncoming car because I thought the last cone was the turn-around point and not a separating-runners-from-traffic cone. Everyone else was doing the same, so a cone for the turn-around would have been good. Or maybe a chalk marking.

I saw Michelle (and Tyler) three times during the race, which was fun. Usually I don’t see M at all, so I felt like I must have been keeping up pretty well. She even snapped a picture of me just before the finish.

Right in front of the burger place which seems about right.

Finish time: 1:31:15.  A fourteen minute and 37 second PR. And 7th in my age group! I’ve never been 7th in anything. (There were not seven women in my age group by the way. There were 29. That was my first question too.)

I loved this race and I’m so happy with the way I ran it. It gives me warm running fuzzies. If it were a half marathon, I would have had my sub-2:00. #bittersweet. Three PRs in a row is more than I ever thought I would get so I’m happy to end the season here and look forward to working hard to make next season even better.

 

Best Damn Race Orlando and a PR!

I really wanted to PR this race. Ok, I want to PR every race but I’ve resigned myself to thinking it will never happen because trying over and over for three years and 14 half marathons can do that to you.

This race was a little different. I actually had a pretty good feeling going into it (that never happens) mainly because my speed training (mostly tempo runs on the treadmill) have gone surprisingly well. Also, race morning my body gave me the greatest pre-race gift it could: I pooped.

Michelle, and her friend Tracey, picked me up per the usual, we found close (free!) parking easily, and walked over near the race start where we found, like, one billion bloggers.

Pretty sure I stole that picture from Meghann, but one can’t be sure. It was a nice boost to see a bunch of friends (and even more unpictured) before the race and I was oddly excited to meet this little cutie since I’ve been stalking her on social media forever.

After some socializing, we lined up at the start. There was an acapella National Anthem, which I really liked, and we were off.

This is the first race I’ve run where I didn’t have to dodge other runners for the first several miles. So either everyone was lined up where they were supposed to be or they capped the race at the perfect amount of runners. Either way, it was nice.

The course was a nice change from the Orlando Half that starts in the same area. They did a good job of avoiding most of the brick around downtown, which sucks to run on since it’s like an obstacle course with all the dips and raised bricks. I also loved the last minute course addition of running around Lake Underhill that was added two weeks before the race. That’s where I do most of my training runs so it was nice to be in familiar territory. There were three or four turnarounds that I wasn’t a big fan of but other than that, it was a good course.

So now about that whole running thing. From mile one, I felt like I was putting in maximum effort. I wasn’t miserable out there but I wasn’t exactly feeling great either. I walked four times which I don’t think I could have avoided because I felt like my heartbeat was too high. After the first walk around mile five, mentally I was out as far as a PR was concerned. I wasn’t feeling well enough that I thought I could do it. (Yep. I’m easily discouraged.) So I just used the walk breaks as opportunities to eat some peanut butter pretzels. (Not loving those during a race by the way. Probably going back to PB&J.) I would kill for a sugar free vanilla or chocolate Gu to exist. Can anyone make that happen for me?

Anyway, around mile 11, I realized had a good chance of PRing. That surprised the shit out of me, I gotta tell you. So I picked up the speed as much as my body was allowing for a 27 second PR (and a 7 minute improvement from the Celebration half last month).

Finish time: 2:02:14

It’s not the sub-2:00 I’ve been trying to get forever or even a sub-2:02, but at least I know I’m finally improving. Running 14 races and never besting my time (while everyone else around me does) has taken a real shit on my mentality. So at least I know I’m capable now. And you better believe I had some sexy-time with that PR bell.

It’s nice to end my last half of the race season this way. I’ve been waiting a long time for this. Next up is a 10 miler at the end of the month.

 

 

 

Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon

This weekend came and went so fast. I guess that means I had fun, but damn, slow down time. I picked up my Washington DC sugar mama, Melissa, from the airport on Friday night and immediately took her to a bar.

I like to take all house guests on scenic boozing tours of Orlando. Speaking of which, that was my first drink since New Year’s Eve. That’s 24 days for you non-drinkers who are wondering why that’s so hard. My liver has been desperately looking for something to filter. By the way, alcohol has not lost its deliciousness in those 24 days. Just had to make sure though. Drinks also effectively put us to sleep for the night.

Saturday, we met up with my chauffer for lunch at the Relax Grill at Lake Eola. There’s a lot of new artwork around Lake Eola and Melissa knows a photo op when she sees one.

After lunch, Melissa and I picked up our race packets and stopped at a few stores. Next time we looked at a clock, it was dinner time and we wondered where the day went. I was an amazing host and took her to a vegan restaurant (her fave) and supported her mostly vegan ways by eating unpronounceable things with her.

A tempeh and quinoa salad. I kinda liked it. (Don’t tell the meat of the world.)

After dinner, Melissa watched me go in full freak-out mode over what to wear for the race. She loved that. Like, a lot. Then we went to bed and I slept like total shit. There is nothing like knowing I have to be up at a specific time that makes me wake up every hour and look at the clock.

Sunday morning, Melissa and I got up at 4:45am. Melissa did not want to be up and it was obvious. And kinda funny. #grouch We got ready, picked up Michelle, and headed to Celebration which is about 45 minutes away. We were running a little late (or maybe that was just me) and parked a mile from the start, so we ended up running the mile to make it to the start on time. Now, some people would call that a warm-up mile. I call it an unnecessary extra mile I had to run.

Once we got to the start, we split up quickly. Melissa and Michelle went to their pacer areas and I went to the port-o-potty. By the time I got out, the race already started and I was back with the five hour marathoners. It was pretty humid for being in the 50s so I was already hot from the mile run. Then I spent the first four miles cursing the heat and dodging slower runners who like to stop and walk in the middle of a packed course without looking behind them.

Five miles into the race, things were getting much better. I was feeling good, the crowd was thinning, and the temperature was dropping. I felt like I was running in Miami Vice – basically down a long road with lines of extremely tall palm trees on either side. After the Miami Vice road, we ran several miles on a wooded boardwalk which was amazing. It was so peaceful and quiet and I felt super fast. We also ran sidewalks around several lakes and by white picket fence homes I’ll never be able to afford, even with my part-time dancer job. All in all, it was a really pretty course and really well run for an inaugural race.

I ate a few peanut butter pretzels every couple of miles but around mile 7, I could tell if I ate any more I’d have to stop at a port-o-potty. So I didn’t eat the rest of the race which sucked because I needed it, especially around mile 10. My legs felt good, but my energy was dwindling. That’s when mile 12 happened.

I took a giant nose-dive into the sidewalk.

A really nice guy helped me up and another kept asking if I was ok. They were really concerned so I know it didn’t look good. I appreciated them stopping but was worried about them losing time on their race which made sense to me, all sprawled out on the sidewalk, at the time. But seriously, I heart runners. They are the best.

Alright, so I had a mile to go and I was hurting (mostly my chin, which hit the sidewalk pretty hard, and my scraped-up hands from catching my fall. Oh, and my forehead that I just noticed this morning.) So I turned off my music to get rid of distraction and finished that last mile as quickly as my body was allowing. It felt fast, but apparently wasn’t because it was my slowest mile.

Celebration half

Official time: 2:09:13. Not what I wanted but I felt good (finally!) and it’s a big improvement on my half in November (2:21:54) and my half in December (2:28:11).

I met up with all my girls after the race, including Katy and Victoria.

Hat triplets! (Not planned though it should have been.)

Melissa and I left pretty quickly since we had to shower, eat, and get to the airport on time. It was just as well, because after that fall, I was achey. Not life and death or anything, but I wanted to leave. Despite the fall, I loved the race and will definitely do it again next year.

Oh, and a big congrats to Michelle who ran a PR and Melissa who felt miserable during the race but still won second in her age group. Love you ladies!

You Never Know What Kind of Runner You’ll Be

I ran the OUC Orlando Half Marathon yesterday. It was my third time running the race and my 20th half.

I got enough sleep.

I ate my normal breakfast.

Everything felt fine before the race.

My legs felt heavy from the start.

It was hot.

I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I thought about DNFing. A lot.

I walked. A lot.

My feet were hurting. (I need new shoes. Again. Sigh.)

My left shoulder pain was back.

I hated every moment.

Somehow I finished.

I was a minute and some change away from a PW. (2:28:11)

I felt nauseated afterwards.

I questioned why I even run in the first place.

I want to forget about it.

I’m glad I had my girls, Michelle and Katy, there to cheer me up.

You never know what kind of runner you’ll be at a race. They’re all different and when they suck, all you can do is try again.

***

(If you like happier race reviews, check out this one from Michelle.)

That Time I Drank a lot and then Ran a Race

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.

Nutella!

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.

Race Review: Challenge Nation Orlando

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. Smile

Race Review: Armageddon Ambush

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. :-)

Fredericksburg Wildflower 10k and then some

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.