Cheval Cares 5k race report

5ks are not something that I love. They are short, but they hurt. They are especially un-fun on high humidity days (like Saturday). BUT, the entry was free, so what the heck – might as well go & have a good time.

The race started at 8, and packet pickup was at 7. I’m not to familiar w/ the area the race was in {and they said there was very minimal parking} so I left my house around 5:45. Arrived around 6:30 {stupid google maps always overestimates my time} ..

Suncoast Running was there as a booth so I hung out w/ Tracey & Paul for a while before the race started.

I went out for a mile warm up around 7:40, and the race started at 8:05. There were a lot of kids…who insisted on lining up at the front even though someone announced that they should line up towards the back.

Does this not bother anyone else? I was annoyed.

Almost immediately my iPod quit working.. So I was fumbling with that when I looked at my watch and saw 6:48. excuse me. what? whoa. Slow DOWN…

I backed off, and settled into a more reasonable place in the low 7’s. I felt good – the temperature was cool despite the fact that it was 100% humidity. I could see the 1st & 2nd female ahead of me, out of reach for now, but I’ll keep them in view. 7:10

A little fast in the first mile, but I still felt okay – I knew I had a little bit of a cushion if I bonked in the last mile – not a big cushion, but some. The race was held in a big neighborhood, so there were no sights to see, nothing to talk about.

I was still feeling strong – breathing was good, legs were happy. Not much going on – just running and keeping the first 2 females in view. I passed a few people {and a lot of kids} in this mile. 7:19

Third mile was just an uneventful as the first two. We made a turn off the main loop and it was in this turn that I caught up with, and passed the 2nd female.. Now I was second! I was hoping I had enough distance between us that she wouldn’t smoke me at the finish – she didn’t. I had her. Actually, she only finished about 4 seconds behind me..

My legs were still feeling strong – it was my lungs that were giving me trouble. They were done. The humidity was so thick, and deep breaths were not coming easy. Final mile 7:19

The race was not chipped timed – my garmin time says 3.14mi  / 22:46, 7:16avg. {second female} I have no idea how many people ran, but there were not a whole lot of competitive runners – it was a small field, but it was fun, and that is a pretty big PR for me.

My previous PR was from March & it was 23:02, so I’m pretty stoked about a 22:46. I can’t wait to run a 5k in cold weather!

They did awards for the top 10 men & top 10 women… We took 10th, 1st, 5th, 6th & 2nd


It’s time for bed. I’m exhausted, and I need to be up early again for an 8 mile run ~


the proof


It occurred to me the other night that I didn’t post my splits, from the Florida Beach Halfathon – I know some people are totally uninterested in what I ran each mile in. It’s really not that interesting, but I always enjoy looking at other people’s splits.

I’m a little hesitant to post them for this race though: I kind of feel like, if I post them, then my race recap makes me look like a big whiner..which I am, I don’t deny that, because I am a whiner, but that doesn’t mean that my race wasn’t as hard as I said it was.

I never said that I had a slow race; I said that I had a hard race, and that I didn’t feel great.


There they are, in all their glory. The splits aren’t bad, but they weren’t what I was aiming for at all.

Oh well. As I said before, I don’t care.

picture time

if this face doesn’t say, “I’m over it” then I don’t know what does.

and please take note of my KT tape falling off.again.

Thanks to Tony for these gems:

I chased that lady in the pink sports bra for 13 miles. When we were in the parking lot headed for the finish line I finally caught her. I said, “I’ve been chasing you for 13 miles, don’t slow down now”  She said that her 50 yr old hip was bothering her. 50 y/o and rockin’ the sports bra & spandex shorts..she’s my hero!


after I finished I got my medals and headed back out to find jenny. we were laughing about how ridiculous our day had been – we kept saying, “this is it, it’s over. we are done. thank goodness.”


My race pictures always crack me up. I am so serious when I run – most of the time. There is the occasional picture of me cracking a smile, or fist pumping, or waving my hands in the air, but most of the time I have a dirty scowl on my face.

Women’s Half 2011

Florida Beach Half 2011
Holiday Half 2011


That’s all I can find right now – I don’t feel like digging for race pictures anymore.


Do you “pose” for pictures when you see the race photographer, or do you pretend they don’t exist and keep on w/ your cranky face?

Obviously I do both. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

Florida Beach Halfathon recap (#7)

or we could have titled this: proof that things happen in 3’s


This morning I ran half-marathon number 7 since October 31st. AKA: The 6th consecutive half-marathon in 6 months for my half-fanatic membership.

It started out like any other race morning..and then… it changed. Jenny & I left her house around 4:50 for a 5:30 arrival. Upon leaving Jenny’s neighborhood, Jenny thought she should play chicken w/ a rock. Let’s just say the rock won, and we left Jenny’s car sitting on the side of the road with a very flat tire. — We were both driving so Jenny hopped into my car, wished her car good luck, and we sped off to Ft. Desoto.

We arrived super early and were able to grab our timing chips really quickly, head to the porto-potties, and then relax in the car for a while before heading out for a warm up. On our way back to the car, jenny tripped over an extension cord. This is really not all that exciting except that it was the 2nd almost bad thing to happen. you know what they say, “things happen in 3’s.”

We went out for a short warm up around 6:45; The parking lot is really dark which is fine, except when we went to cross the parking lot, I totally spaced out and forgot that there would be parking curbs. I promptly ate concrete. I got a nice wound on both hands, right hand is worse, of course. A cut on my right ankle & right elbow.. all before the race started. that was # 3.  – I should have known then that today was not going to be my day. Should have packed it up and headed home, or at least gone to the beach.

but no. we proceeded on.

At 7am the gun went off and the beginning of my last half-marathon of the season started. The first few miles of a half are always the scariest. I never want to go out to fast, but going out to slow can hurt my time just as much. I’m pretty sure that I went out to fast today. 8:04. oops.

I needed to maintain an 8:06 to PR today so it really wasn’t such a stretch to have an 8:04 mile, but I really didn’t need it to be the first mile.

Thankfully we start when the sun is still down, so we have about 3 miles that aren’t in the sun. (It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if we started at 6:00 or 6:30.)  I knew pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be my race. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was struggling to get my breathing under control, and I just felt off.

At mile 5 I started cramping and it was pretty much game over at that point.

I’m lying. There was no thumbs up this far into the game. This is somewhere around mile 9ish.

There is no point in doing a mile by mile recap. Believe me when I say it was not fun. I felt horrible. The cramp stretched across the top of my abdomen and would come & go. When it hit me it would take my breath away. I stopped to walk and/or lift my hands over my head more times than I want to talk about. I tried to hang on, but by mile 10 I was over it.

I just wanted to be done. I was hurting, but I felt at peace about the fact that I would not be PR’ing. I had a really great race season. So what if this race didn’t go like I wanted it to?

I also think I’m feeling a little bit of burn out. I love running, but I’m ready to have a clear calendar. I realize we still have the Flying Pirate Half, but that’s a month away, and we are running for fun.

I crossed the finish line in 1:48:55. I’m fine with my time. It’s not a PR, but I don’t care.


I’m glad to have no races on my calendar for at least a month. (I’m going to try really hard to avoid signing up for any races between now & April)


We hung around for a few hours afterwards listening to the awards ceremonies for the 5k & the halfathon. We were most interested in the awards for the athletes that were eligible for the series championship awards. Unfortunately there were some discrepancies so we weren’t able to find the results out today. Crossing my fingers for early this week. There is a teeny tiny chance that I could place in the top 3 in my AG. a small small small chance. We’ll see.

We received an extra medal today for completing all 4 races in the Halfathon series! SOOOOO PRETTY!! I’m seriously in LOVE with both medals from the half today. They are awesome!

OMG. The ribbon. I LOVE the ribbon! It’s amazing! The detail behind the starfish is Ft.Desoto.

see? so neat!

Then there is the amazing medal for completing the series:


AND THEN on Saturday at packet pickup we found out that we would be receiving a special shirt for completing the series!! Oh man, so exciting!



Race Recap: Gasparilla 5k 2012


Several months ago I asked my sister, Shelly, if she wanted to sign up for a 5k? She said she wanted to, but wasn’t sure about it.

I knew Gasparilla was coming up- the good thing about Gasparilla is that it’s a huge race, and that there are runners of every kind. Fast, slow, walkers, there is somewhere for everyone out on Bayshore.

We registered for the race, and the countdown began. Shelly did Iron girl last April, and her time was 54 minutes – her goal for Gasparilla was to break 54 minutes.

After I finished the 15k I ran back to my hotel, changed into some fresh clothes/socks and ran back to the starting area for the 5k.

me, shelly, emily & cara

it was packed. packed is an understatement. It was chaos. There were people everywhere.

This year the race organizers “implemented” a wave system.. Well, I think they tried. It may have worked if you were towards the start of the race, but we were towards the back and it was pretty much a free for all back there.

The elite runners started at 9:30, and our “wave” started about 20 minutes later. This was so crazy to me. I’ve never been in a 5k this huge.

Shelly’s plan was to try and run as much as she could, but she managed to come down with a sinus infection on Friday afternoon, which pretty much derailed any plan of running more than walking.

It worked out, we ran when we could, and kept up a fast paced walk when we couldn’t run. I felt confident that we could break her time goal of sub 54min.

The first water stop came at 1.5 miles, and would you believe that they were out of cups. I am so disappointed in the Run Tampa Bay organization. This is a 35 year old race. We’d known for at least 10 days that the weather was going to be reaching the mid 80’s. There is really no excuse for running out of cups. There just isn’t.

Thankfully, I had brought a water bottle along because I knew it was hot. I gave my water bottle to Shelly and one of the volunteers at the water stop filled it up for her.

There were 3 water stops in the 5k, and only the very last one had cups.

Horribly disappointed in Run Tampa Bay.

don’t judge my non-matching outfit.


It’s hard to be encouraging and not be annoying. I think there is a fine line, and I don’t know where it is. I didn’t want to sound to cheesy, but I really wanted Shelly to know how proud I was of her.

I am legit trying not to cry in this picture. Words cannot express how proud I was of Shelly.

We crossed the finish line in 50:03 !!  4 minutes faster than her last 5k!! AWESOME! I was thrilled!!




When I got home from Tampa I left a comment on the Run Tampa Bay’s facebook about the lack of cups during the 5k.

I got some crappy generic response

Jena, sorry for the inconvenience! We hope you enjoyed the race anyway! We’ve passed on your feedback for future planning.

I wasn’t impressed with the response. No ownership of the problem, just a  we’ll think about more cups next year.

Maybe I’m expecting to much. I’ve seen smaller races run out of cups. But a big race like this?’s over, and I wouldn’t do the 5k again next year.


I’m off to obsess over my trip to DC with Jenny!

Race Recap: Gasparilla 15k 2012

Oh me, Oh my. This race day was a doozy.

The expo was….an expo. Big room, filled with a lot of people buying things from vendors. Do I really need to go into more detail or show pictures?

I didn’t think so.


Moving on: We stayed at The Westin-Harbour Island in downtown Tampa. If you have the opportunity to stay there – don’t. It definitely wasn’t worth the $180 we paid for it, and that’s a discounted rate for the race weekend. It’s normally like $399/night. insane. our a/c was messed up, and it was SUPER hot despite the thermostat being set on 68.

needless to say, I didn’t sleep to much Friday night and 4:45 Saturday morning came way to early. I had dry toast bc I forgot the butter at home and coffee. – We headed out of the hotel around 5:50 to meet up with the Striders at the convention center for picture time. LOVE picture time!


After picture time we made the short trek over the Platt
Street bridge, hit up the porto-potties then headed out for a quick warm up.

aww yes, stretching out the IT band post warm up run

side note: I met a blog reader today! VERY exciting! Jenny & I were about to head out on our warm up, and Katy caught us and said, “I READ YOUR BLOG!” This caught me way off guard, and totally made my day. Hi Katy & Emilie, nice to meet you both today!

I’m not sure how far our warm up was, not far, but I was already sweating by time we hit the starting line…which was a cluster. We ended up jumping over a fence to get near the start line.. It was so crowded the closest we could get (without jumping the fence) was behind the 11:00 pace group. nope. not gonna work.

The gun went off at 7:05ish and we were off. Our plan was to try and run 8 minute miles, but I was a little leery of this plan since it was so hot. I’m not sure what it was at the start, but I’m guessing mid 70’s with 100% humidity.

Jenny & I stuck together for the first 3 miles, and then she made a smartass remark about me saying I couldn’t do an 8:00 today and said she was going to drop back.

mile 1: 8:17
mile 2: 8:18
mile 3: 7:57

That sub 8 pace scared me – I was really scared that if I tried to maintain that pace I’d die a slow death in the last miles. I guess I sort of just accepted my fate and kept pushing the pace.

Thankfully Run Tampa Bay puts quite a few water stops in the 15k. The first stop was at 1.4, and the next one was at 2. Since it was so hot I took water at every single stop. I started dumping water on my back/front/head at mile 4. Keeping cool, or trying to keep cool, became the name of the game.

At miles 4ish we entered a neighborhood which serves as the turnaround point. From about miles 6 – 9 there is absolutely no shade. none. The sun & the heat are just sucking the life out of you with every step. Another great thing that this race offers is sprinklers on the back stretch, and boy are they welcoming. I wanted to just stop and stand in those sprinklers.

mile 4: 8:00
mile 5: 7:57 (gelled)
mile 6: 7:57

I don’t remember if was mile 6 to 7, or 7 to 8, but I thought I might just keel over right there. I swear whatever mile it was must have been long. I thought I was never ever ever going to make it to the next water stop. All I could think about was waterwaterwaterwaterwater.

Miles 8 & 9 whooped my ass.
I all but gave up.
I wanted to walk.
I wanted to be done.
I was so over it.
My shoes were soaking wet from dumping so much water over my head. My toes were burning from sloshing around in my shoes (they were that wet). My KT tape was flapping in the wind. #kttapefail – I ended up ripping it off somewhere in mile 8.

mile 7: 7:58
mile 8: 8:05
mile 9: 8:07
.3: 7:45

Chip time: 1:15:34
OA: 523/4920
Female: 131/2550
AG: 26/355

Once I crossed the finish line I found a few other Striders and some water. One thing that I really dislike about this event is that the water is way to far away from the finish line. It seems like such a petty issue, but I don’t want to walk another 1/4 mile to find a bottle of water, then another 1/4 mile to get my medals. This is a 15k, not a 10mi race. I want my medal & water when I cross the finish line. #ventover

heeey paparazzi Mom

I wasn’t feeling to hot(lie: I was very hot) – I wasn’t feeling to well after I crossed the finish line; Despite drinking a lot water on the course I still had some goose bumps, and was a little dizzy. I sat on the curb for a while before attempting to make the trek up the platt street bridge for my well deserved medal.

me & the infamous David
that’s a crazy eye I’ve got going on there!


There is a pretty good spread of post-race treats once you make it over the platt street bridge and into the tunnel under the convention center, but I was in a hurry to get back to the hotel room so I could change clothes and get back to the start line to do the 5k with my sisters, Cara, Shelly & Emily.


Overall I am stoked for my PR; last year my time was 1:19:05, so that’s a pretty good PR. I wanted a 1:14, but I knew going into the race that I would probably have to adjust my expectations because of the heat. Looking back, if I had run the 1st & 2nd mile just a tad bit faster I probably could have met my goal of 1:14:XX, BUT, I am not upset with my time in the least. I can’t express how disgusting it was today.


That awesome tank top sunburn is just from the 5k.



In other non-running related news: Lots of thoughts & prayer to the families that have been affected by the tornadoes in the mid-west.

My Aunt & Cousin both lost their homes on Friday to a tornado. Fortunately they were not home because my cousins daughter was in the hospital having a baby.

Inaugural Rock n’ Roll St.Pete – done!

Let’s recap the weekend, shall we?

Saturday I drove down to St. Pete to meet up w/ Sherry & Jenny. Sherry & I decided to get a hotel and have a little girls weekend. We stayed at the Magnuson Marina Cove. It’s located right before the Skyway off of 275. Very convenient location for us as it was only about 10 minutes to the race. It was also very reasonably priced at less than $100/night.

We met up at the hotel around 11, then headed downtown for some lunch. We wanted to eat an early lunch so that we could eat an early dinner, and get to bed at a decent hour. We ate at Central Café & Organics.I had the Southwest black bean special (wrap). I would definitely recommend this place if you are in the area.


We headed to the expo after lunch to pick up our race packets & see how much $$ we could spend. I was anticipating a huge crowd at the expo (which I don’t do well in) so I had a little anxiety over this expo. They had the expo @ the Trop, and for a nominal fee of $15 you could park at the Trop… These people are crazy. There is a TON of free parking in DT St. Pete – needless to say, we did not park @ the Trop. We actually parked by Central Café & walked the one mile to the Trop. good thing I wore my walkin’ shoes (no..actually I didn’t. bad idea).

cookbook for Katie
why am I looking all crazy? jenny & sherry look normal.

I succeeded in spending more money than I should have. I bought THE STICK. I’ve been eyeing these for a while now, and since I had some cash to spend I decided to just go ahead and get one.

I also registered for the Florida Beach Halfathon. The race director, Chris, had a booth set up so I said Hi & then registered for the race.

The Race

Since I had some trouble with my IT band this week I wasn’t sure what I should do in regards to pacing. I wanted to PR, but I wasn’t sure my leg would let it happen.

On Friday my IT band was feeling okay, I didn’t have that uncomfortable feeling that I had for the majority of the week. On Saturday as we walked around DT St.Pete I didn’t have any discomfort, and when I rolled on the foam roller I didn’t feel the knots that had been there during the week. I decided that I would try to PR but if it didn’t happen, it was okay. I know it’s kind of silly that I have to tell myself it’s okay if I don’t PR, but If you recall the Women’s Half & that disaster & how upset I was.. A little “it’s okay” is good for my mental state.

60 cent socks from target. Cut the bottoms out and made thumb holes. Best arm warmers ever.


One of the bigger challenges of the race was figuring out what to wear. We got hit with a cold front on Friday that brought the temps down into the 30’s & 40’s. Not only were the temps low, the wind was harsh. I can handle cold temps, but the wind? That makes getting dressed a little more difficult. I finally decided on my Strider tank, arm sleeves, thin C9 capris & spandex shorts on top of the capris + gloves & ear warmers. To the start line I wore all of the above mentioned plus a long sleeve shirt, a jacket, & sweatpants. I stripped the sweatpants/jacket before we got into our corral and the l/s shirt went somewhere around mile 5.

IMG_1802[1]I’m a fan of posting stupid pictures of yourself on the internet. I think it’s a good way for people to get to see the real you. The you that you’re friends know.

Jenny (& Glenna) picked us up at the hotel around 5:30 – We wanted to arrive early so we could beat the traffic into downtown. One of Jenny’s co-workers we super kind and let us park in her condo parking lot. It worked out perfectly, we were about 1/2 mile from the finish so we didn’t have to take the trolley back to The Top (which was another $15).

We hung out in Jane’s condo for a few minutes before making the trek over to the trop. After a not so quick potty break we headed to corral 2 and before we knew it the gun was sounding and we were off.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find Jackie or JM before the race so I was on my own for this 13.1 – I knew there would be bands at every mile, but I opted to wear my music instead.

The first 4 miles went by really quickly. I was just running along enjoying the scenery? No. We ran through some interesting parts of St.Pete..nothing all that interesting, or nice.

I took my first gel at 4.9. I really like those power bar green apple gels, they are tasty. I saw the Strider cheering section a few times along the way. I can’t remember what miles they were at but it’s always fun to have your own personal cheering section!

There were a few times when I looked @ my watch and saw some sub 8 paces and kind of freaked out. Whoa. A few times I saw some 8:05s and freaked out about that to. I didn’t have a particular pace in mind that I wanted to keep. I knew I had to keep anything under 8:20 to PR, and so that’s what I was doing. Anything under 8:20.


Somewhere around mile 6 my IT band started to bother me. I was really wondering if I’d be able to hang onto my pace. I told myself I could quit with the 8:05s and hang onto 8:15’s. 8:15’s would still get me a PR.

At mile 10, which is a make it or break mile for me, I told myself, “you can do this. you trained for this.” and I did train for this. Also at mile 10 was the 2nd set of brick streets. I can’t stress enough how much I hate these brick streets. They are really uneven, and just really hard on my knee.

mile 10..hideous brick streets Sad smile

In mile 11 we made a turn that took us out towards Snell Isle. At this point we were heading out while other runners were heading back in. This gave me a chance to see some of the other members of my group! I love watching other people run by – so fun to see their faces, especially at mile 11. I was feeling really strong, and I hit my first sub 8 mile here.

I crossed the finish line feeling strong, but in some pain. My R knee was bothering me (ugh) & my R foot has some weird pain. I have no idea what is up with that. I’m currently icing but I’m quite frustrated with the foot pain. I know the knee pain will go away in a few days..but the foot? hmm. this is new.



I’m STOKED with my time. I couldn’t believe the clock when I crossed the finish line. My PR in December was 1:49:25 !! That’s a pretty decent chunk of change off that last PR.

Flo Rida was the headliner at the St.Pete RnR, but we were so cold that we didn’t stick around to see him perform. There was a bag check, but we didn’t use it since the car was fairly close to the finish. However, once we got back to the condo we decided we didn’t want to turn around & walk back to the finish area so we changed into warm clothes then headed to Cracker Barrel.

I know there were a few Striders with camera’s today, so I might have a few more pictures tomorrow.

I have no idea why there is a blue tint to the shirt.
It’s white.

Clearwater Halfathon (#5)

Can someone please explain to me WHY it was so blasted hot today? Doesn’t mother nature know I had a half-marathon to run today? I checked the weather last night & discovered that it would be about 60 with 99% humidity at race time. uh. yay?

I dressed appropriately in shorts & a tank top…on January 22nd…. it just doesn’t seem right, even for Florida. Last year at this race, it was freezing. Literally, freezing.

Last year the Strider’s volunteering at water stop 4, 6 & 9.

This year at the same water stop. a little bit of a difference in apparel.

Back to the race:: I met up with Jenny around 6am – after I got scammed into paying $5 for parking (what the heck?) I had planned ahead of time where I wanted to park, I’ve parked in this same lot for two other events and never had to pay. This morning I saw a sign outside the lot that had a 5 on it.. I thought it meant Lot 5 .. there was no $$ sign. Had there been I wouldn’t have turned in there. Oh well. Lesson learned. Don’t park in that lot. I was just trying to avoid the crowd that would be parked down in Coachman park.

Anyhow, I met up with Jenny, and we hung around the start until it was our time to head over to the start line.

When we decided to do this half-marathon we decided that it would be a no-pressure race for us. This was half-marathon number 5 for me (since October) & 4 for Jenny (plus she ran a marathon in October). We decided we would just enjoy the race, and not take it to seriously. Plus, there were 2 massive bridges that we had to go over, then back over again, so it wasn’t going to be a PR course no matter what.

I brought my camera with me to take some picture since we weren’t to worried about our time. Uhm, it’s quite hard to take a non-blurry picture while running. Honestly I have no idea how all these other bloggers do it? Don’t worry, I don’t plan on making this a habit – I just thought it would be fun today.

The gun went off, and we were tackling our first hill out of Coachman park. We didn’t really pay attention to where we were standing in relation to the starting line so we got trapped behind some slower runners. We bobbed & weaved for a minute and then we were clear and able to run our own pace. Two turns later and we were tackling our first causeway, the Memorial Causeway. If you’ve been to Clearwater, this is the main causeway that goes from Downtown Clearwater into Clearwater beach. It’s a beast.

blurry picture # 1. you’re welcome.

the views really are awesome from the top of the bridge.

From Memorial Causeway we shot around the round-a-bout onto S. Gulfview Blvd. We hung a right onto Gulf Blvd, and this is where we started to climb the 2nd bridge, the Sand Key Park bridge! This bridge is a beast. It’s a pretty gnarly incline for about 1/4 mile. Then, it’s a ridiculous down hill for a 1/4 mile. down hills are not my friend, neither are up hills.

We zipped on through Sand Key Park, but before we entered the park we saw 58 screaming Suncoast Striders!! It was so much fun to get to run by them and grab a water from one of my friends. It’s hilarious to have your own cheering section! That must be what celebrities feel like; people screaming your name!? Fun times!

hmmm, yes, that is Mike in the cheerleading outfit! I didn’t even notice he was in a skirt until I saw the pictures.

right after this water stop we turned right into Sand Key Park. I LOVE Sand Key Park, # 1 we got married there, # 2, it’s just beautiful. I had to make a bathroom stop in Sand Key. I knew at the start line that I was going to have to stop, but the gun was about 2 minutes from going off, and there was still a pretty good line at the port-o-potties, so I decided waiting would have to happen, and I’d hit up a bathroom the first chance I got..which was 4 miles later.  (there were other bathrooms before this point, but I didn’t want to run off course to get to them).

Jenny kept running, so when I came out of the bathroom I made a mad dash to catch up with her. I’m sure I looked like a total idiot passing all sorts of people trying to catch up to her.

As we exited Sand Key Park there were our trusty cheerleaders again!

and were off again, take a right out of Sand Key Park and down Gulf Blvd a few miles then a turn around and it’s back to see our friends at mile 9..and then… we hit that darn Sand Key Park causeway again. We stayed strong and ran all the way up that baby!


I asked Jenny if she wanted to do burpees at the top (They are her fave.heh) but she declined, so we flew down the other side of the bridge, and we were on our way towards the finish line.

It’s not your eyes, it’s the camera.

At this point it started to get really hot. There is pretty much no shade on the entire course, but what can ya do besides hope for some cloud cover..which we did not have.

I was feeling great and we were keeping a relatively easy pace (for me). I was definitely enjoying the run – I really needed this easy paced, no stress or expectations race. I know that I’m the only one that puts pressure on myself, but I still needed this race to just chill out and remember why I like long(er) distance running.


We had one final bridge to tackle – We had to run back up the Memorial Causeway and back into Coachman park. I knew that this bridge was going to be a bear, so I put it in a low gear and trucked on up that bridge. Jenny was not having such a fun time on that bridge, but she stuck with it and got it done.

Then we looped down the helix thing that takes you off the bridge and it was just a short jaunt to the finish line. Hallelujah! I needed some water and some shade!

We crossed the finish line in 2:01:56
Female: 96/237



Race Review: Awesome! I’m a huge fan of Chris’ races! This was my 5th race, and I’ll continue to go back for more fun in the sun, and awesome Starfish medals! I don’t know how Chris manages to have put on such a fabulous race, but he does!

I follow Chris on FB and over the last few days he’s been doing facebook updates while he has been getting things ready for the race. Man, that guy is busy! It was a lot of fun to follow along as the Race Director gets ready for the big day!  I’m really looking forward to the March Race, Florida Beach Halfathon; I plan to try for a PR there! 1:49:1X or bust! Winking smile 



I need a nap. Is 5:30 to early to go bed? to late to take a nap?

St. Pete Beach Classic 10k

All week I have been feeling kind of indifferent towards this 10k. I didn’t register until Wednesday, partly because I wasn’t sure how I would feel after my super long run during Ragnar; partly because I just wasn’t that interested in racing a 10k.

I really don’t like the 10k distance, for me, it’s just awkward. To far to try & go balls to the wall the whole time, to short to ease into a quick pace.

L-R: Rachel, Becky, Kim, Karen, Me, Jenny

A cold front moved through Florida this weekend so I opted for capris, a tank top, long in St. Pete at 6am. Our race didn’t start until 830, but the 5k started at 7:30 & I knew there would be some traffic once the 5k started so we opted to arrive super early. I hate dealing with traffic and I get really stressed out over it, so if waking up at 3:45am means I can avoid traffic, then that’s what I’ll do.

Since I wasn’t overly excited about this race, I had not thought about my game plan. I think this might actually work out better for me. I don’t stress, I don’t over analyze; I didn’t even look at the course ahead of time.

Sometimes I find it hard to describe a race,I want to write down my feelings, because I enjoy re-reading them but I would imagine it’s kind of mundane & boring to most people. The race wasn’t totally awesome, and it wasn’t bad. It was a good race.

The first mile was kind of a struggle; my calves were feeling tight, and my breathing felt a little labored. I was a little worried about this since Jenny & I did a warm up prior to the race. I was hoping that the warm up would be enough to get my legs ready to run. I guess not.

In the recent months I’ve been trying to train myself to look up when I run, not down at the ground. I don’t know why, but it’s just more natural for me to look down at the ground. But looking down causes my shoulders to slump over, and it’s really just bad running form.

Today I caught myself looking at the ground for pretty much the entire first mile. The road has some dips, and bad spots so I was trying not to trip, but if I had focused on the road ahead of me I probably would have been okay.

David found me at mile 2 and ran with me for about 2 miles. We had a good run together, we were able to chat about Ragnar, and just enjoy the course.

At mile 4 David left me and went in search of Kim. I guess you could say my 2nd wind found me around mile 4. I started to relax a little and found my flow. I was able to bump up the pace and make my move. I found one of the Striders a little ways ahead of me, so I focused on gaining on him. I passed him around mile 5.5.

I was feeling strong, but I was starting to doubt that I could keep up the pace that my garmin was showing. I was running in the mid 7:30’s, but I kept on & hoped for the best. Right before mile 6 we did a hairpin turn and BAM we were hit in the face with a cold blast of wind. We fought the wind for about the last 1/3 of a mile, fun times.

I saw some of my Strider friends who ran the 5k earlier, and who are doing the half tomorrow right before the finish line and hearing them screaming for me gave me that extra push I needed to bring it in strong.

I crossed the finish line in 48:40, which is a one minute 4 second PR!


The official results aren’t up yet. They probably won’t be up until after the half-marathon tomorrow.

I had a good race. I feel like I ran smart, I didn’t get caught up in the rush – I’m figuring out what I’m capable of, and learning to save a little juice for a good kick at the end.

Lucky for me, this race does age group awards 5 deep; I was able to snag the 4th place award in my AG!

L-R: Clark, Kim, Me, Forrest

Next up is the Clearwater Halfathon. No big plans for this race since it goes over two huge bridges in Clearwater. I’m just looking forward to tackling the 13.1 distance with no pressure to PR.

Did you race this weekend? How did you do?

Did you watch the Olympic Marathon Time Trials?
very exciting!
I cried.
I’m such a sap.

The post where I recap my recaps


Hopefully this pre-written post goes up when it’s supposed to. I should be on my way down to Miami right now for the South Florida Ragnar Relay!

For the last 2 weeks people have been recapping their 2011’s all over the blog world. I enjoy reading about other people, but I wasn’t thrilled to write my own recap. I started, and stopped writing several times. It just wasn’t appealing to me. Then I started a half-assed attempt and decided NO I’m not going to do a recap. Then I thought, “you are being stupid, just do it. it will be kind of fun to go back and re-read all your race recaps.” So, here we are, recapping 2011 race recaps.

In January I tackled the 5k distance: I actually really like the 5k distance. It’s short, and fast. If I ran faster I probably wouldn’t like it so much because it would probably hurt more, but for now, at my current speed, I like it. I hit up the main drag in St. Pete for the St. Pete Classic 5k.

February brought two more races, two different distances.
First up was the
Cupid’s Shuffle 10k in Tampa. Then the big Gasparilla 15k! This is one of my favorite races of the year! I love running down Bayshore and seeing all of the people out cheering! Last year we had a heat warning at the start, so that wasn’t fun, but it was still a great race.

March: I ran my first half marathon of 2011 in March. At the time, it was a PR, and a pretty big PR. I LOVE this course, and plan on running this race again in March 2012. The Florida Beach Halfathon has been good to me! (It’s also where my knee started to give me trouble) If you’re interested, here are my post-race thoughts.

April flowers bring …. knee pain. lots of knee pain. This was the end of my racing season, and pretty much training until about July. I ran two 5ks in April, the Suncoast Sprint in New Port Richey, and Iron Girl in Clearwater.I don’t mention whether or not my knee was an issues during the Suncoast Sprint, but I remember that the Iron Girl 5k was the end.


As seen by these pathetic numbers, I was pretty much out of commission for the summer. I did some super short runs that left me miserable and angry. I had to call someone twice to come pick me up because I could not complete a simple 3 mile run. I finally broke down & went back to the Ortho who sent me to physical therapy..again. I started physical therapy at the beginning of may and went 3x/wk for 3 weeks (I think).

At some point over the summer I became a KT Tape addict. I discovered that taping my right knee made the knee pain go away. Eventually I was able to do short runs 6miles & under w/o tape. I’m currently still taping for any runs over 7 miles. 8 miles seems to be the threshold for my knee.

wow, my shoes are clean. They sure don’t look like that after my run through Croom.

In May I registered for the Women’s Half Marathon, so when August rolled around I knew I need to get my act together and start building up my miles. I basically had to start over from scratch.

Oh, let’s not forget about the tri-relay I did in May and the stupid 5k that I did in June.


barely running = starting over = not fun

I had my first long run since March on September 17th, 8 miles with the running group. I’ve only missed two or three Saturday’s since returning to the running group. I’m so blessed to have found such a terrific group of people to run with.

(A water stop in Starkey)

In October I had my return to racing at the Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure 10k. At the end of October I ran the Halloween Halfathon alongside my dear friend, Sherry.

November brought me the horrible Women’s Half-Marathon, and the fabulous St. Pete Times Turkey Trot

There was the half-marathon that I didn’t tell anyone about in December, and the half that the running group badgered gently nudged me into signing up for

Final Tally:

5 half marathons
3 10ks
5 5ks
1 15k
total: 14 races in 2011 !!

Happy 2012!

Holiday Halfathon–Half Mary #4

It’s Monday night and I barely have the energy to write this race recap. I am plum exhausted from this weekend. Waking up before 5am both Saturday & Sunday is just wrong.

Sunday morning I had a 3:30 wake up call.  I think I hit the snooze button a few times and got up around 4. I think. At this point yesterday morning is pretty hazy. For breakfast I ate two pieces of toast w/ butter and drank a cup of coffee on my car ride down to new port richey.

At 5:20am I rolled into the Target parking lot for a pre-race photo with the running group.

What a cheery bunch of individuals we are:

If you can find me in this picture, you rock.

We arrived in Madeira beach around 6:20 in plenty of time to gather our timing chips & use the porto-potties a few times. The weather was windy and a little bit chilly. There was a 40% chance of rain in the forecast with cloud coverage for the majority of the day. (two cheers for cloud coverage…I just spelled cloud, like

The race was set to start at 7:35, but due to some difficulties with a bridge that we were supposed to run across so the race was delayed for about 20 minutes. I didn’t mind the delay – the worst part was the wind. I felt like I was using a lot of energy shivering and jumping up & down trying to stay warm.

I am in that pictures. hidden behind Bob, but I’m in there.

The gun went off around 7:55, and there I was, running my 4th half-marathon since October 30th. It was raining a little and the ground was kind of slick – we saw/heard a lady behind us eat it not long after we stared. Eek! Thankfully the drizzle stopped, and it looked like it had only rained in a concentrated area. The ground was dry after the first mile.

I ran with Tracey & our plan was to run around an 8:35-8:40/avg. I felt I could maintain this even after running a hard half last weekend. The first 4 miles are along Gulf Blvd in Madeira beach. It was pretty humid, and somewhat breezy with lots of cloud cover. (again, spelled cloud like clowd.. need sleep).

I was a little apprehensive about this course because there was one causeway, and two overpass type bridges. As I’ve said, about 6,000x before, I hate any kind of incline.

We hit the first bridge around mile 4 something (I think). It wasn’t to bad. There was a question as to whether or not the bridge would be up or down when we got there. It’s the type of bridge that opens when sailboats, or other big boats need to pass through. There was some mishap with paperwork and the coastguard couldn’t guarantee that the bridge would be closed during the entire race. Thankfully the weather was pretty gross for boating so the bridge remained closed for the duration of the race. 

Maybe I don’t know how to run down hill correctly, but running down is worse than running up or at least equally as bad. It seems like it’s a lot of wear & tear on my quads when I run down hill. Anyone else?

Miles 5, 6 & 7 were pretty uneventful and went by rather quickly. Oh, I put my hair into a bun from a pony tail. I can not stand my hair to be bouncing around and hitting the back of my neck. It drives me crazy.

Somewhere around miles 8ish we saw the Pinellas county legend Larry . You really should click the link and watch the video about Larry. What a cool guy. At first glance he would appear to be a homeless guy running the streets in flip flops. According to the video, Larry is not homeless, and he runs in flip flops because he wants to. Larry has been spotted all over the bay area running in shorts & flip flops.  — This was my 2nd time seeing Larry running along side a race. We also spotted him at the Race for a Cure 10k in St. Pete back in October. Several members of the running group have spotted him through out the years in various places around the Bay just running in his flip flops.

Oh, also around mile 8, while running with Larry the flip flop man, we saw our cheering section screaming very loudly! It was really fun to see them along the trail! I’m not sure if there are any pictures of us as we came through the section, but I think I might have cracked a smile or two. Maybe even a thumbs up. Not sure.

Miles 7 –12.something were spent on the Pinellas Trail. Lots of shade from big trees that lined the trail. There was a good breeze coming through the trail so it was somewhat cool. Along the trail we hit two overpasses. Thankfully they are short climbs so they don’t wreak to much havoc on tired legs. I can’t be sure where the overpasses were. 7.something, and 10.something, maybe.. My brain is seriously mush, and looking at the elevation map doesn’t reveal anything. It’s quite wonky looking.


The 2nd elevation chart is Tracey’s


I don’t know what the heck is wrong with my chart. Neither one looks right to me. The course felt completely flat besides the 1 bridge, and 2 over passes…

Around mile 12.something we entered into the park and we went from running on paved trail to a rockish path. I didn’t mind the change, although I heard a few people say that they did not care for it.

I had a little bit of juice left in the tank during that last mile so I put down the hammer and sped toward the finish line.

I enjoyed this race, but I oh-so-ready to see that glorious finish line. Our group was just before the finish line screaming and cheering for us! It’s really fun to have some crowd support there! Once again, I made sure to have a smile on my face, and maybe even some silly faces as I ran past our cheering fans!

Garmin time was 1:52:50
Chip time : 1:52:48
AG: 9/18
OA: 167/737


I’ll take it!

The most important part of this race for me was to have a good time. I’m learning that I’m not the type of person that feels all rainbows & butterflies when I’m running 13 miles, but I did enjoy the race (as much as one can enjoy 13 miles).

I actually liked the courses – oddly enough I didn’t mind the bridge & overpasses. I think they were a nice challenge and broke up the monotony of flatness. Now, if I was going for a PR, I prefer a flat race, but a race just to have a good time, a few inclines never killed anyone (that I know of).

After all of the Striders crossed the finish line we headed over to the awards ceremony, where a few of our super-duper speedy Striders won some OA awards, and a few AG awards!

After the awards ceremony some of the Striders headed over to the Seminole Family Restaurant for Breakfast/Lunch. I was starving by time we headed to breakfast and I had eggs & grits on the brain.

For breakfast I had X cups of coffee. The number is disclosed.. it was a lot. The waitress brought us our own carafe thing of coffee for our table… To eat I had a giant cheese omelet with 2 bowls of grits & about 6 or 7 pieces of bacon. Please believe that there was almost nothing left. I left a little bit of grits in one of the bowls. I could have eaten more, but for the sake of my poor gut I quit eating before I popped.

I finally made it home around 4pm.. 11 hours later and I finally made it home from half-marathon #4. ….. shortly after I made it home, like around 5, Chris fired up the grill and cooked some steak with a regular potato for him, and a sweet potato for me. I can’t believe that I ate the whole steak and the whole potato, but I did. I weighed myself this morning and I weighed less than I have in a month….. that doesn’t even make sense. I weighed myself just for a laugh – I figured I probably gained a few lbs from all the sodium..

Fueling: As if this post isn’t long enough, I’ll throw in a few deets about my fueling situation. The last three half-marathons I’ve suffered from abdominal cramping. I haven’t been able to really pinpoint what is causing the cramping, so Sunday morning I opted for toast instead of a bagel.

my thinking was that maybe the bagel is to much, or to heavy for my stomach. maybe I don’t have time to digest it enough before the start of the race. I had a bagel for breakfast before all three previous half-marathons.

I also thought maybe it was a combo of the coffee & bagel, but we all know I’m not going to ditch the pre-race coffee, so the bagel had to go.

I’ve also been wondering if the hammer gels are also part of my cramping problem. Prior to this racing season I used sport beans for my fuel during races. However, I’ve been unable to find them at our local sports authority so I was using shot bloks during training runs. … I discovered that I don’t really care for the texture of shot bloks so I switched to the hammer gels.

The apple-cinnamon gels taste good, but they are thick and kind of hard to get down. Plus, they need to be taken with water, and I have a hard time drinking a lot of water (at one time) during a race. I find that drinking to much at one stop will also give me some cramping.

Since I didn’t have anything besides hammer gels I used them for this half as well. They didn’t give me any problems, but I’m still ordering some sharkie things from running warehouse to try out.

Maybe the bagel was giving me the cramping? I didn’t have any issues during this half-marathon. I drank a little bit of water at all of the stations but two, where I drank gatorade, because it was the only thing I could get my hands on.


Okay, for real, I’m done with this post. It took me 2 hours to write this. I should block the internet while I blog. I can’t stop FB stalking, or twitter stalking, or reading blogs while I blog and it makes writing a race recap really difficult.


This picture screams: Hey, I’m done..I’m dying, but I’m done. yippee!
apparently I forgot to smile while I was throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care.