I Might Be Getting Faster Or The 5K I Ran On No Sleep

I recently ran the last race of my favorite 5K race series, The Watermelon 5K Series, put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. (I previously wrote about races one/two and three.) It is a wonderful series that helps keep me motivated through the sweltering Florida summer and is like $30 for four races if you register early.

Even though I feel faster lately (this is completely due to some breakthroughs with my new running group), leading up to Watermelon 5K Race four was not ideal. Months earlier, I bought tickets to see The Killers at Hard Rock Live. Very exciting, but of course it was the night before the last race. My friend and I stayed for the entire concert. I didn’t drink at all, which was a first for me (not because I’m some huge drunk but because I do like a few beers at a concert). After the second encore, we decided to leave but there was a torrential downpour. I mean it was biblical. (Also it was truly hilarious to watch quite a few inebriated people staring out the doors and trying to decide what to do.) Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but Hard Rock Live is located in Universal City Walk. That means we had to walk about two miles in the pouring rain to the parking garage. So we ran. (I am kind of glad that I was sober, would have been much more annoyed about this after a few.)

I got home around midnight and promptly passed out. (The concert was awesome and they played every song you would want to hear.) Somehow, I was able to wake up at 4 AM and got my butt out the door. I am not someone who does well with little-to-no sleep but I paid for the race and was going to run it (unless I slept through my alarm which I thought might happen.)

So the plan going into this race was to finish. Not die. Not pass out. Not fall asleep on my feet. So, it was a success there. Somehow, maybe it was the lack of sleep, I ran my fastest 5K ever.

Watermelon 5K Race Four Splits

Official time 30:43.

Watermelon 5K Race Four 2013 Finish

Not sure how I seemed to finish with no other people.

I loved that they took free commemorative photo’s of participants after the race was over.

Watermelon Number Four 2013 DinaRuns Picture

For running the series, I did get this awesome woman specific tech shirt.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013 Shirt

This is my second year running the Watermelon 5K Series and it is starting to mark the end of summer. Until next year, it was fun huffing and puffing my way around Lake Hollingsworth.

Two Races, One Time Or Am I Getting Slower?

Do you ever feel like you aren’t getting faster?

Running Motivation


Every summer when the humidity is high and the heat unrelenting (I do live in Florida), I run a race series, The Watermelon 5K Series, hosted by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. There are four 5K’s throughout the summer and it is an amazing deal ($30 for four races.) You can read about race’s one and two here.


Last week was race number three and I ran it in exactly the same times as race number three. I ran 31:15 gun time and 30:56 clock time. On the bright side, at least I am not losing fitness but it seems odd to run two races in the same time. My Garmin matched my clock time exactly, so at least I am improving somewhere.

Garmin Time Watermelon 5k Race 3 2013

My finishing picture came out nice. (Although, my arms always looks strange in any pictures I see of myself running. I wonder if I need to work on my form or if my arms are normal?)

Watermelon 5K Finish Picture Dina Lakeland Runner's Club

A great race as always put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club and I cannot wait for race number four.

A Tale Of Two Races

It was so hard not to type Tail in the subject line of this post. This post is, sadly, not about this guy.

Tail Cat Stares At You

It is about running, which I have been doing some of lately.

Running in the Florida summer is tough. I never have any luck getting up before the sun to run (mainly because I am afraid of running in the dark alone and also because it is really early) so I tend to run after work in the sweltering heat and on the treadmill on the gym. Keeping the motivation high, I need to have something to aim for. Luckily, the Lakeland Runner’s Club has the same idea.


Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race One

This series takes place around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth area in Lakeland. Amazing houses, water views, and all kinds of ducks. It is such a treat to run in the area.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida


This race started like pretty much all races in Florida, hot and humid. Luckily, the 7 AM start is just when the sun starts to come up. The race route is mostly on the path that goes all the way around the lake (there is a little road running at the race start.) It can make parts of the race a little congested but I am usually able to get around people if needed.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map Race 1 2013

Sadly, the same cramps that plagued me last year, happened again during this race. This lead to a few walk breaks (so I could breath) and missing my sub-30 minute goal.

Splits Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013

My official time chip time is 32.39. Not my fastest by far but a starting point to get my time down over the course of the series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013


Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race Two

I made great time and parking was a breeze. (The more often I run this race, the better I get at deciding which side streets are the best to park on.) I did have to choose between warming-up and using the bathroom (the bathroom won.)

Having learned my lesson from Race One, I started this one in 9 minute mile area. What a difference that made! It seems obvious but starting near people who run your pace makes so much more sense. Especially in a race where people run with strollers and dogs.

Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon Run #2 2013

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 2 Splits 2013

Again, there were a few walk breaks but it helps prevent cramping. I am happy to say that race was faster than race number one, so at least the numbers are going in the right direction.

My official chip time is 30:55 which is just so close to a sub-30 that I hope race number three I can get there.

Dina Runs Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon 5K Run 2

(Photo taken from the Lakeland Runner’s Club Facebook group)

Second Annual Margarita Run 5K

For the second year in a row, I ran the Margarita Run in Haines City, Florida. This race is down the street from my house and benefits Haines City Main Street. Haines City Main Street Inc.. is a group whose’ purpose is to revitalize downtown Haines City. I happen to live in Haines City, so I have a vested interest in the downtown being revitalized. (For example, can there be a place in which to buy coffee that is not a fast food restaurant?)

I was also lucky to meet-up with a great group of activists and dedicated campaign workers. Karen Welzel is running for the Florida House of Representatives in District 41 against John Wood. Karen came out to this event to show her local spirit and meet with future constituents. It was great to have people to hang out with before the race and I also got this nifty t-shirt.

Karen Welzel campaign t-shirt

This race was insanely hot. It started at 5PM when it was 90 degrees with very high humidity. The course is pretty hilly (for Florida) and has zero shade so I knew this would not be one for the record books.

The race started with a lack of bang because the starting pistol would not fire. I felt really bad for the guy who was meant to fire it because it just would not work. After four failed attempts, he went with “ready, set, go.” I don’t know if it was the lack of pistol excitement or the temperature and humidity, but I definitely took the first mile too fast. I felt good running it and thought I might be able to sustain the 9:14 pace. Turns out I am not able to maintain that pace. Sadly the too fast start made me feel like a wilted flower later in the race.

It started to get ugly on each successively more gnarly hill and I started to take regular walk breaks. Like last year, many of the runners missed a turn and ended up coming it at 2.82 miles instead of 3.10. I really did not mind because it is such a new race that benefits charity. I will give the organizers the benefit of the doubt that they can sort it out for next year.

My splits were all over the place. I think it was too hot to really race.

Margarita 5K Haines City DinaRuns

The race director did announce that everyone would get free entries into an upcoming race in November to make up for the miss-hap. That race actually takes place in a park where I run weekly. It has a paved one mile loop which would make it impossible to make a wrong turn.

Even with the wrong turn snafu and the complicated race layout, I really enjoyed the Margarita 5K. The race is local and the money benefits a great cause. I loved that the race allowed me to mix my politics with running. Plus there was free pizza and a vendor selling cupcakes.

Cupcakes Haines City Margarita Run

Cupcakes and smoothies from Cakes 4 the Memories. J picked up two for us to share (red velvet and margarita) and both were delicious. I recommend stopping by this bakery if you are in Haines City.

All sweaty and smiley after the race.

Margarita 5K Haines City Dinaruns

There were campaign signs around the vendor area.

Karen Welzel Sign Margarita Run Haines City Florida

Have you ever run a race that had course issues? Do you give them another chance or never run it again?

My Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Race Number Two

On Saturday, I ran race two out of four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K. This series is the first in almost a year where I focused on the 5K and really improving my speed.

Lakeland Runner'ds Club Watermelon 5K Number 2

(Can you see me with my game face on?)

Saturday started out like many race mornings which is dark and much to early. This race being a part of a series I remembered how to get there which made the drive over uneventful. (I did forget which street I parked on and wondered around looking for my car for 15 minutes.) The lines for the number and timing chip pick-up were shorter than the first race. I met up with Faith, who has the same time goal and used to run this route when she lived in this area. I haven’t run with anyone since Miracle Miles last September, so having someone to talk to while waiting for the race to start was really great.

My training has gone really well and I have been pushing myself until I got sick. So sick, I had to take ten days off from exercising and was only able to run again a few days before the race. I do not think that gave me enough time to recover and be back in racing shape.

After the first mile, I knew there was no chance I could run a sub-30. I felt horrible and just could not push myself to go any faster. At the 1.5 mile mark, I told Faith that she should try to salvage her race and go ahead. I knew I would need more walk breaks and did not want to ruin anyone else’s race.

Even though this race was disappointing, there was a silver lining.

The Good:

Running with Faith

Seeing baby ducks (so cute!)

Pancakes afterwards

Lake Hollingsworth (so beautiful!)

Running after a time of forced rest always feels really great

The Bad:

Not making my goal

The weather (it has been raining non-stop because of the tropical storm in the Gulf.)


(Why so serious?)

Chip time 33.01

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 2

I knew this race was going to be difficult and that my chances of reaching my goal were slim. I am so close and have hope that race number three is the lucky one.

How do you come back from disappointment?

Race Number One To A Sub-30 Minute 5K

Last Saturday, I braved the rain and fog for my first attempt at running a sub-30 5K. This is the first of four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon Series.

The race is one loop around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida


Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map

It is a popular running and biking route surrounded by beautiful homes and the Florida Southern Campus.

The race start was a little stressful. There was not a packet pick-up other than race day, so I had to wait in line to get my bib and another line to get a timing chip. This left me with zero time to use the bathroom or warm-up before the gun went off. Lesson learned here, I will need to get to the other three races much earlier.

Even with the lack of warm-up and the full bladder, the first mile felt comfortable. I even held back a little to maintain a 9:30-9:40 pace.

Heading into mile two, I felt that I was on pace to make my goal. I walked through the first water stop. I am so uncoordinated that drinking and moving, don’t really work for me.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K 2.5 Finish Mark

(I am just ahead of the guy with the awesome mustache.)

Somewhere in the middle of mile two I got a cramp. Anytime I get a cramp, which only happens during a race, it is always in my diaphragm. Normally a little walking helps but I have never been able to get rid of this kind of cramp. I am also a big baby who at the first feeling of difficulty breathing, I start to panic. This led to a minute or two of walking and hoping that this cramp would go away.

No such luck. At the 27 minute mark, I needed to walk again. At this point I knew that the walking was going to cost me my goal.

I finally pulled myself together and ran as fast as I could for the last few minutes of the race.

Sadly, it was just over 30 minutes.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K Finish

(Not sure if you can tell, but I wanted to die by this point.)

Clock Time: 31:39

Chip Time: 31:21

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Splits

The good news is that it is a PR by 3 minutes and 28 seconds. That tells me that the hard work is paying off. That training with speed work and tempo runs weekly is helping me get faster. I know in one of the next three races I can drop my time by 1.35. I will just have to keep pushing (and pray for no cramps.)

All photos unless otherwise indicated are from the Lakeland Runners Club website.

Week Two To A Sub-30 Minute 5K

Week Two To A Sub-30 5K

Week Two’s workouts were similar to the first week but a little bit faster and farther.

Speed Work: 8 x 400 at 2:15 to 2:20 with 1:30 jogs in between.

Easy Run: 4 to 5 miles (I did 4 at a 12 minute mile.)

Tempo: 2 miles at 10 minutes per mile.

Long Run: 7 Miles

I did manage to do one weights workout on Thursday.

I feel faster but I am finding how much I hate running on the treadmill. The speed work, because I do not have easy access to a track, is easier at the gym rather than outside but the long run was pushing my limits. I need to remember that the weather is in Florida is not conducive to fast running and being inside will have to work for now.

I did deviate from the plan on Saturday when instead of doing the second Easy Run of 2 to 3 miles I sat in PJ’s all day. J went to Disney with a friend and left me the house to myself. I caught up on TV and enjoyed not doing anything productive.

To sum it all up, I think this plan is working and I cannot wait for my first post-plan race.

Running A Sub-30 5K Week One

Last week was a solid week.

Run A Sub-30 Minute 5K Training Plan

My new training plan (from the June 2012 issue of Runner’s World) is a five-week plan to run a sub-30 minute 5K. This is a big running goal for me in 2012. Week One consisted of speed work, tempo, two easy, and one long run. I was also able to fit two days of double workouts to fit in my new weights routine. I am even starting to feel comfortable and confident moving around the weights area.

It could be in my head, but I am already starting to feel faster. One reason why I have not seen as many gains in my speed is that I find it more comfortable to run at an easy pace. Never wanting to push myself too hard, I relied on the same pace for too long. It seems obvious, but having to push yourself is a concept I am just starting to learn.

The plan is much lower mileage than I am used to being in half-marathon training mode for the past eight months. This is a good thing. I needed a mental break from running long (to me) distances. Focusing on shorter distances is great for Florida this time of year. As I found out on my run on Saturday (which was going to be my six-mile long run) which I totally blew up. The heat just got to me and I had to call it. Luckily, I had time to fit in the run on Sunday (on a treadmill in air-conditioning at the gym).

Even though my run was much less than stellar, I ran at the future site of Ironman Florida and the triathletes were out in full force. Tons of runners and cyclists practicing the route for May 20th. It is so exciting to see other people discover the beauty of Lake Eva and the surrounding area.

Lake Eva

What is the most effective way you have found to get faster?

Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K Race Report

With the dreaded lay-off, my racing has slowed down significantly. So a free virtual 5K was exactly in my price range. I decided to run the Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K as part of my long run on Saturday.

Right before I left the house, I asked J to take a picture of me. Now those who are regular readers know that my camera is used to taking pictures of cats but we will have to make due with the mug-shot pose below. (Yes, I am in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. It has been in the 80’s in Central Florida, so I really wasn’t freezing anything off.)

Dina Runs Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K_edited-1

I ran in one of my favorite parks, Lake Eva.


Mile Marker

Lake Eva

Trees and Water

I ended up calling it a little after 12 miles. It started to get dark, the park closes at sunset, and I was starving for dinner.

I was right on target with my long run pace. This is my second week back from two weeks of no running because of the worlds worst head cold. It feels great to get back into the groove, especially when my life has been full of upheaval lately.

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K Garmin Summary

When I got back home, J surprised me with these.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

I had a Maple Glazed original and it was amazing.

Half Marathon Training Week 12 In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: Yoga 60 Minutes

Monday: 30 Day Shred Level One 20 Minutes

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.03 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: A 5K That Was Not 3.1 Miles 2.35 Miles

Thoughts:The rain derailed my running this week. I felt pretty unmotivated last week in general because of some work stress but feel that the slower week was beneficial. This week, I am feeling renewed and ready to stay strong for the next few weeks leading to my first Half. Even though my 5K on Saturday wasn’t , I was on pace for a PR and was faster than my training plan calls for to run a 2:45 Half. Even though time is not important to me, I am in it to finish, it still feels good to be on the right track.

Some of you may remember how much I disliked the picture on the cover of Steve Jobs biography Steve Jobs.The picture bothers me. It is creepy and the eyes follow you like in a horror movie. (I of course am deeply sorry for Steve Jobs’ family and their loss but I could not resist sharing the two pictures below.)



J actually sent me this picture below. It is of Frank Gorshin who was the The Riddler in the original TV Batman. I cannot believe that this pose is a common one for book covers.

Frank Gorsin Steve Jobs Similar Picture

I would like to put it on official internet record that if I ever am on the cover of a book (not sure why I would be but lets pretend), I will find a way to pose that is not obnoxious.

How has your training gone this week?

Anything silly bothering you that you would like to get off your chest?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop
Congrats to Becca who won a copy of The Swiss Cheese Theory Of Life. Please email your address to DinaRuns@Gmail.Com.