Goals For The Red Ribbon Half Marathon

One of the best parts of a taper week, is the time it gives you to focus on your goals and reflect on your training. This training cycle I did so many things I hadn’t done before. I ran with a group, did lots of hills, and actually did track workouts. Did it all pay off? Hard to say before the race but I feel strong and as prepared as I can be.

Running Motivation Being Slow


A Goal:


My running coach thinks this is a stretch. The course for The Red Ribbon Half Marathon is challenging. There are lots of steep (for Florida) hills. One particular hill, on Johnson Avenue, is toward the end of the race. My long runs have all taken on the same roads as the race and this particular hill is haunting me.

Luckily, I am running flat as a pancake Celebration Half Marathon at the end of January. Getting to 2:15 there will be a lot easier, so I am not stressed about that particular goal for Saturday. What my plan is, to start with the 2:25 pacer and see if I have more in the tank to drop down to faster pace in the last few miles. This way I should finish strong.

B Goal:


As of right now, my Half Marathon PR is 2:23:05 which I ran at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in February of 2013. (This is also the race where I peed on myself. So yeah, I would like to have my half PR be from a different race.) I am faster this training cycle, so I am pretty sure I can beat this current PR.

Other Goals:

Negative Splits

I am not a smart racer. I always go out to fast and pay for it at the end. Pacing myself, saving something for the killer hills at the end is important.

Staying strong on the hills

I want to stay strong running the hills. One tip I read recently in Runner’s World was to think of keeping the same effort not the same pace. It also mentioned counting ten steps after you reach the peak of a hill because often people reach that point and slow down significantly. Those ten steps really help to keep the momentum going.

Not having to pee

My small bladder is my running nemesis. Ask anyone that runs with me, I need to pee right before I go out or I am in trouble. I need to find the perfect medium of being hydrated before the race but not having a full bladder. I do not think there will be room for a bathroom stop during this race and I do not want to lose the time. I also do not want to spend the whole race wondering if I have to go or should stop.


Just as with the goal of negative splits, I tend to run at many different paces. This is something I am trying to work on during my training runs but staying consistent is difficult for me.

So, there it is. All of my goals for the Red Ribbon Half Marathon for all of the internets to see. Wish me luck.

What’s Going On

Lots of exciting updates around here. Like this.

Justin and Dina Graduation

After three long years, J graduated from Law School. I am so proud of him!

Now the fun part begins where he spends the next 10 weeks studying full-time to take the bar in July.

The cats are also equally impressed by J.

Cats Are Impressed with J

(Something scary happened when I went to find the above picture on my computer. I typed in the word cat and thousands of pictures came up. I may have a problem.)

J’s parents came down from Connecticut to see the graduation which was nice. We do not get to see them that often because of the distance.

Family for graduation

We celebrated by finally eating at First Watch. J and I have meant to eat there for years but it is hard to get into Orlando for breakfast.

French toast demolished. Graduation day for my husband.

Even though I have not been writing about it much, there has been running. I am currently reading Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.

Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald

I will be running sub-30 minute 5K’s this summer if it kills me (which it might, it is Florida.)

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

The first race is June 1st and I am ready to race.

Cover image taken from goodreads.

Goals Update

I am slowly inching towards the goals I set at the beginning of this year plus adding a few new ones along the way.

Read 100 books.

My reading challenge is coming along. I am so happy that my new job gives me some down time to read while at work.

2012 Reading Challenge

Turn the Polk County Young Democrats into a thriving and active club.

The clubs first fundraiser is happening next weekend and I am hoping for a decent turnout. It is a bowling fundraiser called A Strike For Democracy and if we get the turnout I am hoping for, we should have enough funds to start a website.

Election 2012 Haines City Office

Learn more about photography and photo editing.

I am reading lots of books on photography and following many photography blogs. I need to practice more but am starting to feel more comfortable with the camera.

Increasing my weight training.

I just finished a four-week weight training cycle with a friend from work who goes to the same gym. It is really great working out with someone who is very comfortable with weight training. My knowledge and comfort level with the machines and free-weights have gone up exponentially. Sticking to a plan and lifting heavier than I had been is giving me noticeable strength gains and more muscle definition.

A sub-30 minute 5K.

Have you been reading here awhile? This goal has haunted me all summer. I am so close but have yet to reach it. I know I need to push myself more when I’m racing but it really is hard. I’m afraid of not being able to finish or of getting a cramp if I run faster. I have a tendency to play it safe and stay comfortable. I know this will not work if I want to get faster. This goal is a work in progress and I may be struggling with it for the rest of 2012.

Get the house organized.

I have not talked about this but about a month ago when Florida was getting pounded by some torrential downpours, we noticed that cracks in our stucco was letting water into the house. It is mainly on one side, of course it is the side with our two offices and the master bathroom, and we had to move all of the furniture out of those two rooms and have the house inspected. One month later, I have all kinds of office furniture strewn about my great room and J and I are relegated to laptops on the dinning room table. The work on the house should be starting in the next few weeks and we have vowed after that to tackle the offices. There is nothing like living in an obstacle course of furniture to light a fire under your ass. I will say the cats love this new arrangement because there are new sleeping spaces and countless places to hide.

Tail Cute Cat Begging For Treats

Get a new wardrobe.

I have never been good a dressing myself. Shopping stresses me out and I have no idea what looks good together. I want to make more of an effort, so I started to follow some everyday style blogs and put together a Pinterest board of realistic clothes. Obviously, money is a limiting factor but I really need to learn how to put together simple, classic, and relatively inexpensive outfits together. Any suggestions for great blogs or stores would be greatly appreciated.

How are your 2012 goals coming?

Race Nerves

Tomorrow is race two of the four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon Series. This series is cost-effective, local, and the perfect time to try to run a sub-30 minute 5K. I am generally comfortable running races now but this one is making my stomach flip-flop.

This is my training from 6/11 to today.

Training Week 6-11 to 6-17

Training Week 6-18 to 6-24

I was much to sick last week to exercise at all and it took until Wednesday for me to feel well enough to run. It makes me nervous to have taken so much time off right before a race where I want to PR.

Getting back into the gym on Wednesday felt really great. I get so antsy when I have to be sedentary especially when I felt so terrible and completely unlike myself.

No Regrets


I hope I am able to reach my goal in tomorrow race but all I can do is try my best.

Do you get nervous before a race?

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Do you ever feel introspective? Start questioning where you are and where you want to be?

I spent a lot of my unemployed time doing just that. What do I want to be when I grow-up? (Please stay with me in a metaphorical sense, I know at 30 I am quite grown.)

I think I eventually want to be a Mom but not for another few years. I want to go back to school but that can’t happen until J is done with law school and working full-time again (fingers crossed.) I used to think I wanted to be a musician, which is what I went to college for.

A few times a month, I attend meetings that leave me so inspired, I am ready to declare myself. Last night was one such meeting.

I am a member of the Polk County Democratic Election Committee and at the monthly meeting, Democratic candidates from a County Commission seat to the US House were in attendance. Listening to their stories and what their catalyst was to pursue public office, is really powerful. I want that.

I want to serve my local community and be able to create real change. Even from the sidelines, I am working to organize young people in my county. The Polk County Young Democrats is such a great platform for service and a place where I can really make a difference. (Plus it’s fun to geek out about politics with other young people.)

My long-term plan is to go back to school, work on as many campaigns as I can, and get the Polk County Young Democrats to a place of real power. Then I might be ready.


My name is Dina and I approve this message.

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.

Ambitious Is My Middle Name

I may be trying to make up for a little of the sloth like behavior from when I was unemployed. I wrote about my plan to run a sub-30 5K in the next few months. I neglected to mention another goal.

Motivational Toned Woman


I want to be toned and stronger. I struggle to balance strength training with running and my fitness is worse off because of it. Joining a gym for the first time in years, is a great opportunity to do something about it.

I know so little about strength training that I wanted to go with a set program to make sure I was hitting all the right muscle groups.

Jamie Eason’s LiveFit seemed like the perfect fit. It is free and contains an amazing amount of information from nutrition to motivation. The videos and detailed exercise descriptions have really helped me to feel confident that this is a program that I can do.

There are only two parts of the program I am ignoring, which I understand will modify my results, the eating plan and the lack of cardio for the first month. With my 5K plan, losing the cardio for any extended amount of time is impossible. I am putting my two plans together by strength training in the gym in the morning before work and running after work. The two a day schedule may be ambitious but having the significantly reduced commute has given me so much extra time. I want to spend this time going after my goals.

So here’s to being faster and stronger in the coming months.

I Need A Plan

The past few weeks without having a race to train for is making me nuts.

Will Ferrel Crazy Pills


I have been getting to the gym, which is great, but I hate feeling so aimless.

I decided to look back on a few of my 2012 goals. One that has been haunting me is to run a sub-30 5K. My last 5K was a disaster. I did just about everything wrong from starting out too fast to attempting to run at a pace that was much too fast. What I want now is redemption. I have the time to focus only on 5K’s and I want that sub-30.

The June issue of Runner’s World has an article called Time For A Fast 5-K. The article focuses on three goals a sub-30, sub-25, and a sub-20 5K. It contains a five-week training plan and lots of information on speed work. The article could not have come at a better time.

The Lakeland Runner’s Club hosts a series of races called the Watermelon Series. It is four races June 2, June 23, July 21, and August 18. If you register ahead of time, you can do all four races for $40. It’s a great deal and will give me four shots to reach my goal.

Do you have a goal that’s haunting you?

2012: The Year I Start Kicking Ass And Taking Names



Resolutions can be daunting. Are you setting yourself up to fail by making them? Do they last past the second week in January? When you make them, do you ever have any intention of really trying to complete them?

As someone who in a past life used to smoke, I remember year after year of quitting smoking being my resolution which barely lasted a day or two into the new year. It made me feel like a failure.

This year, I want to focus on long-term goals that I can actually attain. There is nothing worse than making goals that are so far out of reach, that you set yourself up for failure.

Here is my list of attainable goals that hopefully will keep me motivated throughout 2012.

Running Goals

  • Run 1000 miles in 2012


My mileage increased steadily over the year for a total of 551 miles. I am running more days and longer long runs than at the same time last year, 1000 miles is definitely doable.

  • Four Half Marathons in 2012

The Gasparilla Distance Classic is the only one the schedule now. I would like to find one in each season and would love to try one outside of Florida.

  • A sub-30 minute 5K

With the increase in my training and the length of my long runs, I am confident I can do this.

  • Keep having fun
  • Join a running club

I need to do this even if it just to find some better places for long runs. I tend to run in the same places all the time and as the mileage increases, so does the boredom.

Personal Goals

  • Learn more about photography and photo editing

I am following lots of photography blogs for inspiration and tips but would like to take a class.

  • Read 100 books

You can follow my progress on GoodReads.

  • Try new things

Not letting fear of the unknown hold me back, has opened me up to experiences that I would not have had before. Going to Yoga classes and trying Dance Trance are two great examples.

  • Spend more time with J

J is at the halfway point with law school and it can be very difficult to find time together. This needs to be a priority.

  • Get the house organized
  • Turn the Polk County Young Democrats into a thriving and active club

Last year I became the President of this group and it’s success is so important to me.

Blog Goals

  • Blog Redesign

I have some ideas in mind but definitely want to switch over to a premium theme instead of the freebie I am currently using.



What are your goals or resolutions for 2012? Do you have any suggestions for Half Marathons I should run this year?

Half Marathon Training Week 11 In Review

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

Sunday: 30 Minutes Elliptical. 15 minutes Upper Body.

Monday: 10.05 Miles! (This is my personal distance record and I am still thrilled about this run.)

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 2.41 Miles

Thursday: 30 Day Shred Level 1

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.26 Miles

Thoughts: I feel really great mentally about getting over the double digit run hump. Lately, my strength training has gone out the window and I am starting to notice a difference in my level of strength. I need be more consistent but am having a hard time spending 40 to 60 minutes on a full body routine. Starting the 30 Day Shred again seemed like a good idea because it is short and I always see results.

My training plan calls for a 5K to access time goals. Ultimately, my goal is to finish the Half but I love to run 5K’s and this one is almost too good to be true.

The 2011 Margarita Run – 5K Urban Run & 1 Mile Walk.

Why is this race so perfect?

It’s near my house. (I normally drive upwards of an hour to race in Orlando.)

The race starts at 5:00 PM (It is late and close enough that J can actually attend and still get his studying done.)

It is for a really great cause.

Plus there is the promise of Margarita’s.

Do you have any upcoming fun races? Is it just me, or are small local races super fun?

The winner of the Eeyore Track Pants from OldGlory is Khourt from Life As A Convert. Send me an email to DinaRuns@Gmail.com with your address and size. Thanks to all who entered, I really enjoyed reading about your favorite fall foods.