Looking Ahead (At Races)

I loved reading Mer’s post about writing her actual post and how she finished it on Monday morning instead of Sunday night like she usually does. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but we usually have a “schedule” for posts. It’s pretty simple, really. Of course, when you’re like me and you literally have no schedule…the schedule kind of gets away from you. Point being: I’m a day late. Oops?

Summer, for me, is kind of coming to a close soon. I’m heading off on vacation next week and I’m already itching to get back to my classroom and start setting up my room for the new year. My official start date is the first week of August, only I know I’ll be in way before that. I procrastinate on a lot of things (this blog post) but my classroom set up is not one of them.

This year has been about loving running again and so far it’s been okay. I know, that doesn’t sound very promising, but I’m working on it! So far this year I’ve done a race every month and that’s really helped to keep me accountable. Here are a couple of things I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year!

July

I’ve actually already done a race for the 4th of July, but I’m looking forward to completing the Eagles Lakes 5K as part of a summer series that I ran one of the races for last year. My running buddy and I did the first one on a whim toward the end of June and are ready to sign up for the next one. It’s a series of 5Ks in some of our beautiful parks in Southwest Florida and it’s definitely worth getting out early in the morning for. The views are great. Just stay away from the water, you never know what lives in it!

August

The Rampage 5K is the final race of the series, the one I ran last year. I actually managed a 5K PR with this race, my best time in the six years I’ve been running. It’s difficult to get hyped up about these races because it is so hot down here right now. On the plus side the company that runs the races, Elite Events, have begun starting the races earlier in the morning and for that we runners are grateful!

September

September is up in the air right now, just because there are a few races to choose from. So far I’ve done a lot of 5Ks and that is a-okay with me! Last year this was peak Chicago Marathon training time and there was really no way I was doing any extra running. Life was hard enough as it is! I’ll be on the lookout for something fun, though!

October

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Sarasota Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!” Use the code BRSARASOTA19 for $10 off the Half and $5 off the 10K!

I’m excited to run this race with some BibRave Pros and my BFF. The course is beautiful, right on the water, and has a pretty lengthy bridge run. Those can really be bad or good. Either way, I’m excited!

November

I usually reserve November for runDisney’s Wine & Dine 10K, but I was too late for registration this year. It doesn’t help that runDisney raised their prices and I’m a teacher in Florida. (Woe is me, right?) I’m still considering this one with a charity team because it’s one of my favorite races. Plus, it gives me an excuse to visit Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival one last time before it ends.

December

December is where it gets tricky. Last year we planned on running Ragnar Alafia Trail but had trouble getting our team together. We transferred our registration to this year in hopes of making it work. I’m excited to do another Ragnar, HOWEVER, I saw people posting pictures from last year’s race and the GIANT ALLIGATOR on the trail made me glad I missed it.

That’s what I’ve got up my sleeve for the rest of the year. I’m also hoping to do a Hot Chocolate race with BibRave (fingers crossed) and I’m sure there will be a Girls on the Run 5K in there somewhere. Who knows!

Do you plan your races in advance?

Race Recap: Turtle Trot 5K

This past Saturday I got to run one of my favorite races that I’ve probably already told you about here. The Turtle Trot 5K is a perfect race for me because I’m slow AF and turtles are fave. This was my 5th year running this beautiful course and, honestly, it wasn’t my best. I claimed my results on Athlinks and was able to compare my past races, which is a pretty cool thing that Athlinks can do! This race was just a couple of minutes under my slowest, but that’ all on me, y’all.

I haven’t been running or working out lately and I definitely felt it on Saturday. The last time I “ran” was probably sometime early last week and that’s just real bad. The end of the school year is already kicking my butt! I started out strong, staying close to my two friends that also signed up for the race. (Was missing my favorite running buddy, though!) We met up for a few minutes before at the start line because I’d stopped to go to the bathroom before the race started. The three of us went with matching shirts for the race and, yes, it was absolutely appropriate!

My first mile felt good, but too fast. It was humid and hot already, with an 8AM start time. I prefer my races to start earlier, especially if I’m racing in Florida. Which I always am. I finished the first mile in under twelve minutes and was feeling okay until I got to an incline. I run mostly on flat roads so, yes, little hills are hard! It’s also difficult when it’s been over a month since you’d ran, but I digress.

One thing I love about this course is that it really is so, so pretty! I love Florida and, while I’m not always a fan of nature, I do know how beautiful it can be.

It is also hot and full of bugs. Welcome to Florida.

I slowed down significantly on the other two miles. I tried to do intervals, but I was having major stomach cramps. That, on top of the heat, and the lukewarm water from the water stations was not a good mix for me! I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the view. Everyone around me or who passed me was drenched and breathing heavily. As the morning went on the humidity had really only managed to get worse.

As few times I saw some park goers on trail hikes wondering what in the world was going on and that’s always fun. It reminded me of park goers walking through the crowd of runners during the Star Wars half trying to get into Animal Kingdom. That was pretty hilarious. Anywho, like I said, this is one of my favorite races and I’m glad I took it easy and got some great pictures of Lovers Key. The trail is mostly shaded and hidden from the sun, but I’m still sporting a nice burn on my face right now.

 

4

 

Welp.

After I crossed the finish line I met up with my coworkers and we took some pictures in front of the water and grabbed our snacks. The finish line is probably a half a mile from the parking lot, so we still had some walking to do. I was definitely missing my run buddy for this one and I know she would have pushed me for a better time. Plus, we were planning on twinning, and that’s always fun!

They said “do something weird” but I’m already super weird, so there’s that.

Turtle Running Team!

The only thing I dislike about this race is there are no medals. Man, I love bling. BUT – the proceeds of the race go to the park and I can’t complain about that. If you’re in the Southwest Florida area, you should definitely check this race out next year.

What’s a race you always do?Ā 

Race Recap: Gasparilla 15K

ARRRRGGGGGHH YA READY TO READ ABOUT A FUN RACE?!

Yes? Well! Look no further than right here, okay?

This weekend my friend Michelle and I ran the Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, which is part of a weekend of races, actually! The Publix and Michelob (helloooo food and beer) sponsored race weekend consists of a 5K, 8K, 15K, and half marathon. Michelle and I ran the 15K in 2017 and thought we’d come back this year, too. Last year we ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, but my wallet can’t runDisney every year, you know what I mean?

Since we’re only a couple of hours south of Tampa, we left Friday after work. Michelle and I are both teachers and, even though I only worked three days last week, I was pretty tired. Traffic, of course, is horrendous. Seriously, people. Don’t come to Florida, we’re full. Our two hour drive took us about three hours because we wanted to get to the expo for packet pickup and avoid it in the morning.

The expo was still going pretty strong when we got there, so we picked up some fuel and I finally got myself a pair of Oofos that I’d been wanting since Chicago. After we picked up our packets we searched out some food and finally made it to our hotel. A trip with the two of us is always an adventure, because we’re both a little directionally challenged, so there were a few u-turns involved. Traffic in Tampa is scary.

Race morning started out smoothly. I’d decided on a Skirt Sports outfit of shorts and a tank top and it ended up being perfect for the weather. There wasn’t too much traffic and we made it to a parking lot with plenty of time to spare. It’s always my fear that I’m going to be late for a race or oversleep, but it hasn’t happened yet! I mean, fingers crossed.

The streets were already packed when we got to the start line and things were a little confusing. The last time we ran this race we were confused then as well. A lot of runners weren’t sure where to go and ended up in different corrals from what we could see. We ended up in the right one, however. You know, the not fast one?

We started off the race at a fast pace than normal by complete accident. We were actually right in with an 11:00 pace group and, yeah, no. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy. The day was supposed to be hot and humid so I knew I wanted to take it easy.

At about mile 2, a band was handing out beads which I happily took, and also ditched a few miles later because running with beads is annoying.

There were water stops as well as sprinklers at every mile, which was a huge plus. The weather was unseasonably warm for February, as it usually is in Florida. It’s just how we do things. We stayed strong though, with a decent pace even when we stopped to take pictures of the sunrise or pirates hanging out on people’s balconies.

The race is a straight shot down Bayshore Avenue with a turn around, so you get the same view both ways. It’s still a great view of the water. You also get the same porta-potties both ways and that’s kind of gross. Toward the end they started handing out Gatorade as well as water to keep runners hydrated. I stuck with water as my stomach always seems to revolt on me when I’m running and drinking things.

The last time we ran, there were some spectators handing out donuts. That didn’t happen this time and it was a little disappointing as I am always hungry. šŸ™‚

I definitely started to slow down around mile 7, but Michelle kept pushing me. It had gotten really hot and we’d both tried to roll up our shirts for any kind of air flow. Seeing that final sign was like winning the lottery, even if we still had a little ways to go.

At the finish they gave everyone a cold towel, bottle of water, and medal, of course. Then we were ushered through the recovery stations which was basically just snacks. Don’t worry, I picked up a lot of them.

Shout out to Skirt Sports for the pockets!

We also realized we PRd the course by a couple of minutes, so we got our picture taken with a Jack Sparrow look-a-like and each of us rang the bell before heading to the after party for free beer and to sit around with some other smelly people.

After a little recovery we went on the adventure of remember where the car was parked in the daylight and made it back to our hotel to shower and change. Originally we were thinking of things to do in Tampa since we were already there, but since temps were practically boiling we just ate brunch and hung out for a few at the mall, like the cool kids do.

Gasparilla is a fun and beautiful course that I definitely recommend. It’s an affordable race and they put on a great party. I hope you check it out one year!

Road Tested: Orange Mud Transition Towel 2.0

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Transition Towel to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aĀ BibRave ProĀ (ambassador), and check outĀ BibRave.comĀ to review find and write race reviews!

Good morning and happy Wednesday!

Is anyone still getting used to the time change with Daylight Savings Time ending? I struggled all last week and I’m still feeling “off”.

Not to be outdone by last week, this week has been an interesting one too. My husband is out of the country, traveling for work. I can hold down the fort when it comes to our household, make no mistake about that. But when you’re used to the divide and conquer method, it’s a bit challenging to conquer solo. Our kids are older so it’s less about parenting little ones (like it was when they were little and he’d travel) and more about just making everything happen for both of them (Scouts, piano, karate, after school activities, etc).

Additionally, he and I usually switch off going to the gym in the early morning hours so I’ve had to adjust my schedule because someone needs to be here with the kids to see them off to school. We make it work because having that time carved out for MY activities is just as important as getting them to theirs.

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I’m still able to get to the gym and get my workout done, which is important to me. AND, I have a race this weekend.

After my last race in Atlantic City.

While the weather has cooled significantly over the past few weeks, I am still absolutely gross when I finish with a workout or a run. I’ve said it time and time again, I am a heavy sweater. And not a pretty knit kind.

I sweat hard, no matter the workout. There’s nothing I can do to change it though so I just need to deal with it. Last year when I got my new car, I knew I didn’t want my seats to get gross after my workouts so I threw towels in my car that I occasionally remembered to use.

Then BibRave brought the Orange Mud Transition Towel to my attention! The transition towel is pretty cool because not only does it save the material on your car seats but you can also use it to wrap around yourself and change clothes.

via Orange Mud

I’m bringing it along with me for the Rothman 8k this weekend. After nearly 5 miles I figure that if I’m cold and gross (which is nearly as bad as hot and gross, but not quite), I can do a quick change into comfy sweats.

Since receiving it last month, I’ve used it for every single gym session and run and the towel stands up to my sweat. I’ve also washed/hung dry it at least 10 times and it’s still plush and snuggly.

By the way, while the company is called Orange Mud, this towel comes in a slew of different colors. There a cotton version and also the new microfiber option.

Want to get a Transition Towel? It retails on the Orange Mud site for $39.95. If you order now, you can use code “OMTRX” for 15% off! Also, join us for the Twitter BibChat next Tuesday evening at 9pm est, using the hashtag #BibChat! I’ll be there!

Check out my fellow BibRavePros thoughts:

Lindsey
Mary Jo
Lisa
Matt
Vanessa
Jonathan

Race Recap: Rampage 5K

When I posted about some upcoming races a few weeks ago I mentioned I might sign up for a 5K or something in the midst of training. Honestly, I love race bling so when my RBF and another Skirt Sister/coworker starting talking about signing up we just went for it. The Rampage 5K was part of a summer series put on by a group that does a lot of races in the South Florida area. Their events are always fun (if not always well-organized) with fun swag and good courses.

I picked up my packet on Friday after school. This group is infamous for running out of shirts and I wanted to make sure I got a good one. I live about forty-five minutes from the race site, so I went to bed fairly early Friday night. Being back to work full-time is kicking my butt so it wasn’t that hard. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my fun Saturday morning video asking “When will I never not run on a weekend?” I’m feeling pretty good with my marathon training but, wow, do I miss sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday!

My friends were already at the race site when I got there at about 6:40. We took a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed to the start line for a picture. I was excited to run a race, but also that it was only for three miles. Most of my weekend runs are in the double digits now so a 5K sounded really great.

Skirt Sisters at the start line!

I’m not normally the type of person to set goals for races. Sometimes I’ll plan a pace I want to stick to but most of the time I just want to finish and not throw up. This was one of those races.

The morning was already muggy, as it as has been for most of the summer. I’m used to starting to my runs before the sun comes up, only this race had a later start. It was definitely steamy and my glasses kept fogging up if I breathed or turned the wrong way.

Once we got going it was a fairly simple run. The course was easy and smooth, with a lot of nice scenery. I’d done two other races at this park before that were ten-milers so I was pretty familiar with it the park. There were a couple of times when we had to veer off the sidewalk due to puddles but then I just ended up stepping in mud. By the time Michelle and I hit our first mile I knew we were making pretty good time. Our first mile came out at about 10:40 and I almost laughed! That’s a pretty fast time for us and I was totally ready to slow down and save some energy. It definitely didn’t happen though! We kept pushing through, enjoying the scenery and the morning. I slowed down to take a few pictures of the nature we were running through. I love living in Florida but I’ve come to realize that you either run through a swamp or on concrete. There also might be critters living…anywhere.

Don’t you want to run by this?

There was one iffy part where we had to run on a boardwalk that I definitely took my time on. I’m clumsy and the boardwalk was definitely slippery. I’ve also been working my butt off for Chicago and wasn’t looking to injure myself five weeks before. After that it was smooth sailing! My legs were feeling great despite the fast-than-usual pace. The only problem was the humidity. Usually I don’t drip sweat into my eyes for at least seven miles!

As Michelle and I came turned into the shoot for the finish line Ali was waiting to take a picture of us, since she’d already finished.

All smiles here!

After we finished we all checked the results, just for fun on my part. I did well enough in the results, but I’m not in it to win it. I race mostly against myself. Once I stopped my Nike Run tracker, however, it told me that I smashed my previous 5K record! I’ve been running for over five years now and it always feels like I’ve gotten slower, so it was exciting to get a 5K PR of under thirty-five minutes.

Skirts and medals! Medals and Skirts!

Once we’d take our final picture, the three of us headed to Skillets for breakfast. I’d only been there once before but I was dreaming about a waffle and bacon and coffee the whole morning.

So worth it.

For a last minute race, it was a nice little surprise. I’m glad we decided to just go for.

And, honestly, it was a nice warm up for Sunday’s fourteen miles.

Chicago, here I come.

The Road to Chicago

Happy Independence Day/Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a nice holiday/week/summer/day/whatever you’re doing. This past weekend my running buddy and I did our longest run yet for our Chicago Marathon training. It was a tough one, but we pushed through with a good, steady pace. (Even if we did get a little lost and almost had an encounter with an alligator.) Marathon training during the summer definitely has some challenges, but it’s going pretty well. You can listen to me ramble about it below.

High of 90? We got this.

 

Sorry for the TMI. Don’t you just love running?

Post run refreshments are a necessity.

It’s Summer and I’m Lazy

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour thinking of what to write about and also what to name this particular post. I remembered multiple times yesterday that I had a post scheduled for today but I kept getting distracted. I even texted Mer this morning to tell her I was working on it. Only I’d just gotten up and had barely made my coffee. It was 10AM.

I just love summer break, y’all.

I’m the type of person who goes all school year round. This year was definitely a busy one for me with coaching cross country for my first time ever, clubs, tutoring, and all other things that just kind of fall under teaching. I’ve only been out of school for a few weeks, but I already know of some changes that are going to happen next year and some really exciting things that I get to do. Yes. It’s June and I’m already planning for August. It’s how a teacher brain works.

So. I’ve been lazy lately. It’s not a difficult as I thought it would be.

I’ve still been keeping up with my training schedule. I mean, mostly. I’ve had some hip pain so I’ve scaled back a little on my running. This is a huge deal for me, as knowing when to take a step back from something is not my strong point. I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever to work on some adjustments that are really needed. It’s been nice just taking it easy and relaxing. Of course, I’ve also been binge watching the early 2000s show One Tree Hill, just for fun. Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed until 5PM and that was only for a quick visit to the Target a mile away from my house.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well. First of all, I can’t think of anything else to tell you! That’s really about it, sadly.

I can be the queen of go-go-go and doing things until there’s nothing left to do. I know there are a lot of people like that. Maybe I’m telling you to slow down. That if you want to watch TV all day in your pajamas, you can. (Unless you have a job. Go to work.)

Take care of yourself. Take a break if you need to. Last week I wrote about celebrating yourself, which is hard for some of us. I know taking a break and relaxing is hard sometimes, also. We always feel like we have to be doing something. Whether it’s for ourselves or for other people.

The thing is that we don’t.

Lately I’ve been doing nothing for myself. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll get bored of doing it. Eventually I’ll start painting my bathroom or wallpapering the guest room or even (ugh) planning for next school year.

Until then I have six and a half seasons of One Tree Hill to watch.

Do you have any summer plans?

 

Celebrate Yourself

This past Wednesday was my 35th birthday.

Yep. THIRTY-FIVE. I feel weird saying that I’m thirty-five because for most of my life I thought that people in their 30s were…old.

I’m old.

That’s not what this post is about, however. I started running when I turned thirty. I’d previously been on a weight loss journey that didn’t really require any exercise and running a 5K was just a thing I wanted to do. I’d run in high school and it was terrible, so I wanted to kind of prove I could do it. And I did.

Here I am, five years later, training for my second marathon. On Wednesday I got up early to run, spent some time at the chiropractor (because that’s what old people do), had brunch with my bestie, went to the bookstore with another friend, shopped, then had dinner with my sister. Usually my birthday makes me maudlin for no apparent reason except the ones I create in my own brain. I fought that hard on Wednesday. Because it was my birthday, dangit.

For the past few years I’ve started my birthday with a 5K. I just add on however many extra years I am onto it. Wednesday I got up and did a nice 3.5 miles for thirty-five years and it felt great. It was a strong start to my day and really helped keep my emotions high for the most part. Running is obviously a type of therapy for me, and for so many other people.

With social media it’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that you’re just not good enough. For me, I know that I’m never going to be one of the fast runners. I’m not a person who wants to get out there and go every single day, either. I need rests. I need to sit on the couch with a book or watch television. When I have a good run or if I’m just feeling cute (Skirt Sports for the win), I like posting and sharing. Kind of like this blog post!

Actually, my run on Wednesday was a pretty normal one, though it did feel a lot better than some of my other training runs. My point is that sometimes it’s so hard for us to talkĀ good about ourselves. We know that we sometimes put up a front on social media, and that’s fine. No one has a perfect life. But if we wait for just those perfect/awesome/amazing days we’ll never get to celebrate.

Maybe it’s not just about posted a picture with a funny caption. Make it really is about treating yourself. Not in the sense that you should go out and buy a bunch of junk, but just that you treat yourself well.

I am the queen of self-deprecation, which is ironic because my number one love language is words of affirmation. I mean, really. But by treating yourself well, I just mean to celebrate you. The everyday you. Was it hard to get out of bed today? Did you do it? Awesome! Treat yourself with a cup of coffee. Finish a book? Great! Buy a new one. Did you run? Walk? Workout? You are amazing.

I wish it were that easy, but I know it’s not. We should treat ourselves like everyday is our birthday, right?

We can at least celebrate our little accomplishments. The little things we’re proud of.

A good run.

A workout.

You put on pants one day. (I’m on vacation, okay?)

Leave me some ways you celebrate yourself. I’m going to go celebrate with leftover cake.

How Not to Burnout

I typed that title, read it out loud, and my sister laughed at me, y’all.

Maybe it’s because I am very, very bad at taking it easy. As a teacher, the end of the year is VERY STRESSFUL, OKAY?

I’M FINE.

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate and I’m going to do things right…but here we are again. Some things start piling up and it feels like you can never catch up. Somehow it kind of always works out.

I feel that the same can be said about training, too.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a little over two months now and things are really coming along nicely. My friend and I are using a Hal Higdon training plan and we’re both enjoying it. As the year comes to a close it’s hard to run together, but I’ve stated before that we have plans to train together this summer. I’m definitely excited and nervous about training during a lovely Florida summer, but at least it will be character building!

One thing I noticed when I first started training was that I was ready to go ALL IN BABY. I’d also started a weight loss journey and I just knew I was going to get svelte and everything was going to be amazing.

That was clearly not what happened. I was tired. I was working out or running every single day, and I wasn’t losing how I wanted to. I got kind of obsessed with closing the green circle on my Apple Watch. It was so satisfying to close those rings! I was so proud!

I was also burning myself out. So. I stopped cross training. I realized that the running and stretching was more important than anything else. As a runner, I know that cross training is importantĀ at the right time. I love working out. I love finding new things that my muscles can do. But I hated forcing myself to do things for no reason. (Obviously being healthy is a good reason, but it wasn’t part of my training plan.)

I’ve felt a lot better since I stopped and reevaluated my workout plan. I’ve made it to my goal weight and, with my marathon training, I’m getting read to actually add cross training back into my plan. It’s perfect timing, with summer just around the corner.

Training has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve had plenty of good runs, but I feel like the bad run outnumber them. I’m out there, though. I’m moving and getting the miles in. I’m feeling strong

Except today.

Today I put my pajamas on at 5PM.

You’ve got to take care of yourself.

Setbacks Suck

Lately it’s like a lot of this is going around. Life isn’t always perfect. Training doesn’t always go as planned. Work and family can suck sometimes. Health issues come up, injuries…the list goes on and and on, right?

While I’ve been lucky so far within my training for the Chicago marathon, I know there are always others who might be struggling. So, on the bright side, you’re not alone!

I know it’s hard and you don’t feel like you’ll bounce back, but I feel like there’s always a bright side to whatever is happening. Maybe that’s silly and too optimistic of me, but I like to think that way. For example: the end of the school year is very stressful and my students have completely checked out on me SO I focus on the fact that the school year is (THANKFULLY) almost over. Sorry, parents.

A while ago I posted about my weight loss/healthy eating plan and how I prepacked all my snacks for Disney and took all my workout clothes. Everything was great, in theory. I live in South Florida so I packed shorts, not counting on it being in the 40s every day. I did not workout. At all. Also, I got some sort of stomach bug and didn’t eat anything. Setbacks, man.

As far as my training goes, things are right on track. Any setback I’m experiencing is purely on me. My running buddy has been out of a commission for a few weeks and keeping myself accountable is the hardest part right now. There are days when I come home from work and I just want to nap so hard. Last week I even took a self-prescribed break from training. I only ran two out of the four days I was supposed to. One of those days was to be five miles and I totally skipped that one because I was babysitting over the weekend. Kids are exhausting and five miles was definitely not going to happen. (The other time was because I went to see Infinity War, for the second time, on a school night. No regrets.)

Things happen. LifeĀ happens. Sometimes we can control it, most of the time we can’t. What we can control is how we react to our setbacks and how we overcome them. I am constantly learning that as an athlete, teacher, and human. Not every run is the best, not every lesson is going to be my greatest. There are going to be times when we just want to give up when we hit a bump in the road. Chances are, though…if you want it, then it’s worth it.

Hey. You got this.