Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?

How Not To Run A 5K

On Saturday I ran my first 5K since October. The Shamrock Walk and Run 5K and Jog With Your Dog race takes place in Winter Haven and benefits the Winter Haven library. I ran this race last year and loved that it is local (15 minutes from my house) and that it brings out a family atmosphere with the lots of families and cute dogs.

Shamrock Walk Run 5K Winter Haven Florida

Please allow me this rant about my race and I promise everything will turn out well in the end.

Forget Shit and Move On


So here is what went wrong. I am a slow runner which I have talked about at length on the blog. I want to be faster and am slowly starting to but the 5K distance is hard for me. I do better running a steady state pace for longer distances plus I have spent the last eight months (!) training for half marathons.

Racing Mistakes

1. Going out too fast.

Shamrock 5K Winter Haven Florida

Looking at these splits, I wonder who this runner is? I can run a mile in under ten minutes but not 3.10 of them. I even looked down at my Garmin and saw sevens. Sevens?! What on earth was I thinking?

The first mile is much faster than I ever run. My 5K pace should be about 10:30, so I do not know where 9:31 came from. Getting caught up in the excitement of the race is not good. It is hard, especially when you feel so slow, to let so many people pass you at the start. I have to remember to run my own race and not worry about what other people are doing.

2. Heat and humidity are a killer.

This race started at 3PM when the temperature was 80 degrees and the humidity was 62%. That is hot, even for this Floridian. Knowing this, I should have taken it easy.

3. You will pay for pushing too hard in the beginning.

By mile two, I had the most terrible cramp in my diaphragm that felt as if I could not breath. It was a sharp stabbing pain that would not go away. It got so bad that another runner asked me if I was OK and to make sure I told someone if I felt bad. I know I shouldn’t feel this way but that made me embarrassed.

4. There was no water on the course until mile 2.25.

This was not my fault but with the heat, I was dying for a drink earlier.

So what is the takeaway from this miserable race? I want to get faster and will have to put in the time and effort to do so. I plan on continuing with my half training plan until the Iron Girl Half at the end of April. After that race, the focus will be on shorter distances and lots of speed work. I have all my running books and past issues of Runners World spread out around my office and am digging through them to put together a plan.

At least I got a medal.

Shamrock 5K Run Walk Winter Haven Florida

What do you (did you) do to get faster?

Race Bucket List

If you had unlimited money, time to train, and vacation time from work, what races would you run?

1. Marathon De Paris Paris is my favorite city and any excuse to go, I would take. This race starts on the Champs-Elysees and goes across the city, hitting most of the big landmarks.



2. Athens Marathon I have never been to Greece, so that’s one big fat reason. Another reason is the history.

According to legend, it covers the same ground that the Athenian messenger Phiedippides ran when he brought news of victory from the battlefield of Marathon 2,500 years ago. When you run the Athens Marathon, you run in the very footsteps of the ancient gods and heros that gave birth to western civilization. The finish line is in Athens’ magnificent Olympic Stadium, the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games. (From the Athens Marathon site)

What could be cooler than ending a race in Olympic Stadium?

3. The Great Wall Marathon It is amazingly beautiful and such a unique, once in a lifetime experience.





4. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Marathon A marathon in the mountains that starts in a famed lost city and takes you past ruins and fortresses from a great civilization.



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Life As I See It [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K

I participated in the Sweat Your Thorns off 5K hosted by the (not so) Boring Runner. This was my first run in ten days after getting over the Chest Cold of 2011. It felt good to run again but I knew this 5K was not going to be speedy (not that I have ever run any speedy race but you know what I mean).

I decided to run at Lake Eva Park.


The temperature was actually a cool 80 degrees thanks to the massive thunderstorms we had yesterday. It was still quite humid.


Please ignore how gunky my phone is.

My first mile felt great but I kept it slow with an average pace of 13.09.

I love this park has so many old trees. With all the new development in Florida, it is not something you see everywhere.




It wouldn’t be Florida without some palm trees.



Mile two was slower with an average pace of 13.41.

The nice thing about Lake Eva is that it takes me past one of my favorite places in town.


Mile three was by far the slowest and where the heat started to get to me. It had an average pace of 15.07. I think it will take me sometime to get back into the swing of things after almost two weeks off.


It felt great to run again and I enjoyed participating in a virtual 5K.

Have you ever done a virtual 5K?

Run for the Trees 5K Race Report

This may be the most beautiful 5K course I have ever seen. It started near Sholwalter Field in Winter Park and went through a neighborhood full of huge and very nice houses. The last leg goes through a private nature preserve with amazing trees and plants of all kind. It was on a dirt path under a canopy of very old trees. There were a few houses in this preserve and they may be the largest homes I have ever seen up close.

The neighborhood seemed to love having the runners coming through. There was a house passing out mimosas, plates of cookies, many people cheering, and a few funny, inspirational signs. Having that kind of community involvement really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy plus it makes me feel like a real athlete to hear cheering.

Everyone was able to take home a little tree which was great. The age group winners won much larger trees. All in all this is my favorite race so far and I will definitely participate again next year.

I finished the race in 37:54 which is a pace of 12:11. It is slower than my last race but I felt great during this race and avoided having any cramps.

Race day playlist:


Shamrock Walk and Run 5K

The Shamrock Walk and Run 5K was awesome for two reasons, green fountains and a personal best 5K time. The race took place in downtown Winter Haven in front of the library. The area has two fountains both which were dyed green much to the amazement of the children at the race. They just couldn’t believe how fountain water could be so drastically changed.

Now to the PR. Drum roll please…I ran (walked a little) 35.24 which works out to 11.24 miles. My last race was 37.48, so this was a significant improvement. The race being later in the day, it started at 3PM, really gave me more time to warm-up which I think made a big difference. I have to force myself to get to 7:30 AM races early enough to take this important step. It really is nice to know that I am seeing some results, even slow ones, because I have been working my butt off.

This 5k was different than the other two I ran. It was more low key, smaller, and more family(and dog) oriented. I can see the draw of the larger races, the organization is more stream lined, the courses may be better laid out, and using the D-Tag’s for time is probably a bit more accurate. The things I loved about this was the family atmosphere. There were tons of kids running with their parents and whole families cheering each other on at the finish line. Plus the dogs.

This race also included a one mile run with your dog. I was lucky enough to get a good spot at the finish line to watch people cross the finish line with their happy pooches. The cutest may have been the two dachshunds who have teeny, tiny little legs but a lot of heart when they run.

Is that a tulip? An onion? Not so sure.
Cool and festive or gross?

I have six miles through my favorite park tomorrow. Looking forward to shaking off the stressful week I’ve had at work.

Race Day

Today I’m running a small 5K in Winter Haven. It is the 18th Annual Shamrock Walk and Run. The coolest part besides it being in my neck of the woods, Polk County, is that there is an event where people are able to run with their dogs. I think this will be so cute to watch and I hope to get some great pictures out of it.

Have you ever run a race with a gimmick like running with your dog?

Please wish me luck and I will report back on my time and super cute dog pictures tomorrow.

One last thought, I actually made it in the local newspaper for a rally I participated in with my fellow local Democrats called Awake the State. The new story can be found here.

I am the one in the middle. Photo from The Lakeland Ledger found here.

House of Hope Run Around the Pines 5k presented by Florida Hospital

I love to race! I have wanted to run a race for the past few years but was always to scared. Scared I would look foolish, wouldn’t finish, or thought I would never be fit enough. I am sorry I held myself back from something that turns out to be so much fun.

This race was fast, flat and lots of people PR on it. It takes place in Winter Park, Florida and goes through some of the older neighborhoods around the Cady Trail. The houses here are nice but not eye popping. It felt like a real community with lots of people standing in their driveways handing out water, bagels, and cheering us on. I love seeing that. It really shows how something as simple as a race can pull a community together. So often, such as in my neighborhood, people do not even wave at each other.

This race was for charity and there were people dressed as pineapples who when passed, a $1 was donated to The Track Shack Foundation. I never saw these any pineapples but they must have been up with the much speedier runners while I started just in front of the race walkers.

Picture taken from The Track Shack Facebook page found here.
My stats:
Clock time 38:57
Chip time 37:48
Pace 12:09.9
I am pleased with how I did. Six months into running, I am trying to build a solid base and want to enjoy myself. Check and check!

5K Race Report