Guest Post: 1-2-3 Blast Off!

Today, our honorary Chick, Sara, is recapping her experience at the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of running in the Space Coast Half Marathon. Boy! What a fun race this was! According to their website it is the only space-themed marathon and half-marathon race on the planet. I am kind of a closet Star Wars geek (thanks to my husband), so I knew this would be a fun one.

The course for this race was breath taking. It was approximately 6.5 miles down the coast and back on a street lined with the most gorgeous homes on one side and then the intercostal on the other. It also doesn’t hurt to have Darth Vader standing on the corner cheering you on.

I would have to say the first 6.5 miles went pretty well. It wasn’t until the turn around that I noticed the wind was now against me for the last 6.6 miles. The wind gusts we so strong on a few occasions I felt like I was not even moving. I knew this was going to slow me down a little but I didn’t let it bother me. I turned my music on and powered through.

I apologize for the lack of fun photos. I came to this race on a mission. My mission was to do a sub- 2:15 half marathon. This was my second half marathon so I was definitely determined to PR at this race. My final time was 2:14:38. Yahoo! I did it! I PR’d by over 20 minutes. All those 5:30am running sessions with the fabulous Brooke paid off.

My finisher medal is big, colorful and glittery. What more can a runner ask for?

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I also loved the beach towel we got after the race. Another unique aspect of this race is the virtual goodie bag. Instead of a plastic bag with a bunch of coupons, flyers…etc, they email you a virtual goodie bag before the race. There you can look through all the info and only print what you plan on using. I wish more races would go this route. If we are being honest here, I usually just throw the goodie bags out. This virtual goodie bag will help reduce waste and also make planet earth a little more greener.

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Up next for me is the Glass Slipper Challenge in February at Disney. I am definitely thinking a sub-2:10 half. What do you think?

What is your favorite space movie? What running items are on your Christmas wish list?

Sara is a wife, mom, crafter and Brooke’s favorite running partner. She also PRs like a boss. You can find her at The Classy Crafter.

U Can Finish 5 Miler and 2 Mile

Last Sunday, I skipped my long run in favor of running the U Can Finish 5 Miler & 2 mile with my friend and honorary Chick, Sara.

The race course is through the University of Central Florida campus and runners can choose to complete the five mile (as my guy did), the two mile or if you’re an overachiever like Sara and me (and you love collecting bling), you can run both races and earn a Distance Dare medal. Plus bragging rights.

I ran this race back in 2011, so I was familiar with the course. Most of it is on the streets through campus, which is nice because the runners can spread out. A small portion of each race is on narrower sidewalks in between buildings- this hits far enough in on the five mile that the crowds have thinned, so it isn’t a big deal. On the two, it’s a slightly annoying because you pretty much end up walking at certain points. Still, as UCF alums (Josh and Sara) and a fan by marriage (me), we were happy to be charging through Knights country.

Sara and I have been running together for about five months now, and at the beginning of September, I told her that I wanted help her run at a 9:30-9:35 pace for the race. This is faster than we usually run together, so we switched up our normal routine and met at the gym once a week to run at race pace. I knew we could do it, and I told her that I would stay with her no matter what (but we were SO reaching our goal. Maybe I’m a little bit bossy. It runs in the Chick family.)

We donned our (matching) gold and black outfits and met about 30 minutes before the race began. I hadn’t slept much the night before (little dude is still waking quite a bit) but having a clear goal energized me. The pumpkin spice coffee didn’t hurt either.

Ready to run!

Ready to run!

This was my first race since having the baby, and it felt so good to be out there again. To get up before sunrise, pin a bib on my shirt, hear all of the garmins beep before the race began, and run with a big group of people. Coincidentally, my last race (at the beginning of my pregnancy) was a 5k on the UCF campus, at which I ran with Sara’s husband.

The first three miles were great- my legs felt good and I talked Sara’s ear off about a variety of topics; including the appropriate age to wear an embroidered t-shirt, our daughters matching Halloween costumes (PNK sorority monsters), and tailgating plans for the upcoming football game.

It was harder to keep pace on the last two miles. Before the race, we agreed that I would keep time, so I set up the virtual pacer on my (purple) Garmin 10. It beeps if you’re ahead or behind pace, so I knew how we were faring. We slowed a bit, then sped up, and I tried to give my friend some words of encouragement and hoped I wasn’t irritating her. She has strong legs and a solid running foundation. She’s a marathoner! She just hadn’t ever trained to run faster. I really wanted to see her achieve this goal because I totally knew she could.

Passing the site of Spirit Splash. During homecoming week, students are invited to jump in this fountain.

Passing the site of Spirit Splash. During homecoming week, students are invited to jump in this fountain.

Passing Alphie on Greek Row. Sara and I are both Diamond Girls.

Passing Alphie on Greek Row. Sara and I are both diamond girls.

In the end, we crossed the finish line with an average pace of 9:31 (me) and 9:32 (Sara). We did it! I am so proud of her and I enjoyed every minute of racing together. She’s helped me stay motivated as I’ve gotten back into running shape- meeting me in the early morning or once our kids were in bed, so I didn’t have to do it on my own (because let’s face it- I’m one tired mama. If I didn’t have someone holding me accountable, I’m not sure I’d be half-marathon ready at this point.) I was happy to be able to give some motivation back to her.

Once we finished the five, we had some downtime before the two miler. I wanted to see Josh finish, so I started to walk back along the course. I spotted him about a quarter of a mile before the finish and jumped in to run alongside him for a tiny stretch- and give him some encouragement too. I’m less peppy cheerleader to him and a little more drill sergeant, but he sped up. Probably to get away from me, but hey, whatever works.

After J finished, we all met up with our families and had a quick snack. Race fuel has become a tricky business for me, because I recently got Invisalign invisible braces. (which are actually pretty visible, if you’re wondering.) The aligners have to be taken out if I want to eat, and then I’m supposed to brush and floss before putting them on again. For this race, I decided to drink some Gatorade between the two races and hoped that was enough for me.

We enjoyed our family time a bit too much and ended up dashing to the two mile start after it had begun. As a result, we ended up with the strollers, the walkers and the kids. It would have been fine (I stick to the outside of the pack anyway) except, as I mentioned before, a portion of this course is narrow. I don’t like running in a tight crowd, and Sara and I hadn’t agreed to run together for the two, so I took off on my own. I finished quickly, collected my medal and walked over to meet our families.

Family stretch!

Family stretch!

Next up was the kids dash, in which my two girls, and Sara’s daughter and son ran. They got t-shirts, ribbons and Rice Krispie treats once they finished. Happy runners, everyone.

"I ran as fast as I could, just like you told me to, Mommy." A, my oldest. Proud kids and proud mama here.

“I ran as fast as I could, just like you told me to, Mommy.” A, my oldest. Proud kids and proud mama here.

I’m glad to be racing again! This is a fun local race and I love that the entire family can participate.

Next up for me is Wine and Dine, and I think I’m going to do the OUC half shortly after that. Seems like I’ve been bitten by the racing bug again.

Speaking of wining and dining, here we are at a party last night. Don't we clean up nice?

Speaking of wining and dining, here we are at a party last night. Don’t we clean up nice?

Have you ever paced anyone for a race? Are you peppy or commanding? Any upcoming races? Talk to me in the comments!

Guest Post: Life’s A Beach Triathlon

This past Saturday I conquered my first triathlon! It was called the Life’s A Beach Triathlon and was held at Daytona Beach, Florida. Despite its laid back name, this race was anything but easy in my opinion. I figured it would be a good starter triathlon to see if I even liked the whole swim, bike, run thing. I have been doing the running thing for a few years now and made my marathon debut last January at Disney. After completing my first marathon I realized that distance was not my favorite. Honestly, it was so boring! After mile 18 I just wanted it to be over with. But after doing many types of races I now know what I like and what I don’t like. I like smaller, local races and ones where I am entertained. I love races with obstacles and funny themes. I run to have fun and be in shape and I am not out to prove anything to anyone. This race appealed to me in so many ways and I had been contemplating a triathlon for a while, so it was impossible to pass up.


When I arrived at the race I went straight away to the transition area so I could set up my bike. I was there early so I was able to snag a spot on the end of one of the racks. In my transition area I had 2 small towels, running shoes and socks, shorts, shirt with bib number already attached, a bottle of water for washing my feet, sunglasses, headband and my helmet. I had practiced my transitions the night before. I set everything up in my living room and practiced the order in which everything would go on. This was extremely helpful and took a lot of anxiety away from race day.


After everything was set up I headed to the marking tent where they take a sharpie marker and mark your body with your race number. My race number, 198, went on my upper left arm and the front of my left thigh. They also mark your age on your calf. Fantastic! Now everyone knows I am 33.


With every race there is always a possibility of being injured. Since this race was located at the beach, we were told beforehand about the possible dangers of swimming in the ocean. The first one was sharks. Fun! This is why I signed up for the second wave for my start time. I figured the first wave of people would scare anything away in the ocean. Smart huh? The second was a flesh eating bacteria that was found in a river south of Daytona. I didn’t have any open wounds so I figured I was good there. I was also wearing swim goggles and had no intention of opening my mouth in the water. Yuck! The last danger was being stung by a jelly fish. Every time I think about jelly fish I think of the Friends episode where Monica gets stung and Chandler has to pee on her to make the sting go away. Out of all the threats I figured this one would be the most probable. There were jelly fish washed up on the beach all over the place, so I knew they were out there. So despite all these risks I charged on and was determined to complete my first triathlon.

Swim: This triathlon started off with an “anything goes” swim for 200 yards. People had all kinds of flotation devices out there…noodles, rafts, inflatables and fins for their feet. Personally I wanted to do the race without any aides. I practiced once a week at the pool swimming laps and am very comfortable in the water, so I didn’t feel the need to have any swim aides. I lined up with my wave on the beach and as soon as they sounded the alarm I was off into the water. The first thing I noticed was the temperature of the water was perfect. I was worried it was going to be on the cooler side but it wasn’t. I was about halfway done with my swim when I felt the sting. I was swimming parallel to the beach when a huge wave crashed right into me and I felt the stinging on the right side of my torso, back and arms. I could not believe it! I got stung by a jelly fish!! I knew immediately that’s what it was. I finished my swim strong and made my way to shore. After we got on shore we had to crawl under some nets and then head on to the transition area to get ready for the bike portion. Even though I got stung by the jelly fish I did not feel like I needed any medical attention so I just kept going. (Later on when I told my mom about this, she was not happy with me, but you know how moms are.)

The first transition, also known as T1, went very smoothly. I stood on my orange towel and used the bottle of water to wash all the sand off my feet. This was a tip I got from my friends that were also doing the race. They had done this race before but down in Sarasota, so they were able to give me some great tips. After washing my feet I slipped my socks on, then shorts, then shirt, running shoes and lastly, helmet and sunglasses. I then had to walk my bike down to the beach and as soon as I hit the sand I was off.

Bike: The bike portion of this race was a 5 mile ride IN THE SAND! Because of the sand they insisted we use a mountain bike instead of a road bike. This was another reason this race appealed to me. I already had a mountain bike so my equipment costs were minimal. It was 2.5 miles down the beach and 2.5 miles back. No training in the world could have prepared me for riding my bike in the sand. I tried to ride as close to the water where the sand was more compact and easier to ride on. A few times a wave got me and my shoes and socks where completely water logged. There were tons of jelly fish all over the beach so I made sure I ran over a few to get my revenge for the one that stung me. (Insert devilish laugh.) I just passed the water station and was on my way back when I realized I had my bike in 7th gear (the hardest gear my bike has)! I quickly changed it to 2nd gear and flew the rest of the way back to the transition area. At the end of the bike portion I saw my family cheering me on. They were waving, jumping up and down and screaming my name. It was awesome!

The transition from bike to run, also known as T2, was a little easier. I just had to ditch my bike and helmet in my spot and make my way to the start of the run course.

Run: The run portion of this event was a 2 mile run on the beach with obstacles. To start off we had to weave through some plastic flamingos. About a mile into the run it started raining. I honestly don’t know where the rain came from because it was a bright, sunny day at the beach. The rain felt amazing. It helped wash away the sand and salt water off of me. Next on the course were some tunnels we had to crawl through and last was jumping over lounge chairs. The course was two laps, so once you finished lap one you had to do it all over again.  After doing the two laps the only thing that stood in my way of the finish line were stairs, 2 hurdles and the limbo. That’s right…the limbo. This race certainly did have a sense of humor. I crossed the finished line with a time of 1:16:03 and proudly accepted my medal. Victory!

I DID IT! YAHOO!!! I conquered my first triathlon! I absolutely had a blast doing this race. It was fun and I liked switching between the different types of events. It kept me from getting bored and the time flew by. I think the next step is for me to find a used women’s road bike and work toward a sprint triathlon.


P.S. If anyone is wondering how to treat a jelly fish sting, put an antibacterial ointment on it three times a day and it should heal in a few days. The only thing you really need to worry about is if the spots get infected. And for those of you who don’t know, here is what it looks like.



Sara is a wife, mother, triathlete, etiquette expert, and creator of adorable tooth fairy pillows. You can find her at The Classy Crafter.