Everything Must Change

If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change

I am making changes.

As I start to prepare my body to run longer, I am slowly, but consistently, starting to base build. I like to take it easy in the summer and run mostly how I feel. The past few weeks, I am slowly inching up my Saturday longish run.

I started running with a group. Living in the small town Florida, there are not a lot of options for me to run with other people. A lot of it is a matter of geography.

Central Florida Map

I live in a large but rural county in between Tampa and Orlando. Lakeland is the only large “city” in Polk County and the only place with a running club. Running with any of the Lakeland groups is difficult for me during the week but on Saturday’s, I can get over there.

Mitchell’s Coffee House in Lakeland hosts a long run on Saturday at 6am. It’s a great  because there is a 3, 6, and 9 mile group plus a few running the half route for the inaugural Red Ribbon Half Marathon. I have never run with other people and did not realize how much I would enjoy it.

I have lots of race plans rolling around in my head. Officially, I signed up for the Town Of Celebration Half Marathon (you can use the code LRC to save $10 on either the Half or Full). I love running in Celebration so much. It is beautiful and usually shady (which can be rare in Florida.) (You can find some of my other posts about my love of running in Celebration here, here, and here.)

Finding My Running Groove

Even though I never intentionally meant to take a running hiatus, I kind of did.

Running Hiatus

Week 8 was the week of the Gasparilla Half Marathon. The past few months I have run but only as much as I felt like. I spent a lot of time in the gym restarting New Rules Of Lifting For Woman. I am racing a bit this summer, you can read my race recap for my two most recent 5K’s here. There are two more races in that series and then I will officially be in training for a fall half.

So after this running hiatus, I feel ready to start a training plan again. Both mentally and physically. I have not decided what that plan will look like yet but am reading ( Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald) and working to put together a plan. This cycle, I really need to make sure to fit in at least two full-body strength training a week and one day of yoga. The weight lifting is something I am really starting to enjoy, plus having my arms less chicken-like is a huge plus. Yoga is so helpful with keeping everything loose, especially when you are as inflexible as I am.

So for the tl:dr version of this brain dump on running:

Ryan Gosling Motivation

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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.

Scenes From A Run

The little town where I live in Central Florida is the host of Ironman Florida 70.3.

Ironman Florida 70.3 Haines City

The park where I do a lot of my runs, hosts the race. It is so fun to see all the people riding and running in tri-suits around the park. I like to think they are discovering what I have known for years, that Lake Eva is a really beautiful place to run.

Lake Eva Ironman Florida 70.3

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 running path

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 trees

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 lake

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 pretty trees

I ran a little over five miles thinking about how much fun it would be to do a triathlon. This year I plan to spectate again, the race is about five minutes from my house, but would love to do a triathlon someday.

Have you ever done a triathlon?

Weekly Playlist

Sorry to anyone who is still dealing with cold weather but it is starting to get hot in Central Florida. Having the inability to get up early enough to miss the heat, I just end up pushing through it (or giving up an running in the air-conditioned gym.) One thing that helps pull my slow ass through sheets of Florida humidity is a great playlist.

Ryan Gosling Motivation

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Are you listening to anything new this week?

The Post Where I Find Some Motivation

There may have been more of this lately.

Pizza Dominated

Than this.

Bathroom Selfie Runner

March was not a great month for me. I had a sinus infection that would not quit. I wasn’t sick enough to stay home from work but felt just crappy enough that working out just wasn’t happening.

Daily Mile Chart March 13

Nothing like seeing it in graph form.

I am feeling like myself again and slowly getting back on track.

Motivation PUSH

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I need to come up with a new plan for the next few months. The only thing I am certain of right now is that I am running the 18TH Annual Summer Sunrise Watermelon 5K Series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

If you are in Central Florida, you have to run this series. The dates are June 1, June 22, July 20, and August 17. The races take place around Lake Hollingsworth and are put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. You can register online here for the series ($30) or the first race on June 1 ($10).

This series really helped me get through the I can’t believe how hot it is Florida summer while still getting my butt out there to run. Races really help me stay motivated. You can read my recaps of this series from 2012 here, here, here, and here.

The Race Where I May Have Peed Myself

This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.

Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.

The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.

I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.

The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.

Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.

Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus,  there is the medal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Medal

I sadly did not make my goal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Official Time

It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Splits

I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.

Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2013 Expo

This year I had company at the 8 On Your Side Health And Fitness Expo. I drove to Tampa early to pick-up my bib and planned on spending the day with my Mom. Packet pick-up was completely painless with no lines.

Gasparilla 2013 Expo Packet Pick-up

It’s hard to see in the picture but the race bibs were very fancy this year. With a QR Code that you could scan after the race to view your time.

Gasparilla 2013 Race Bib

I did a little shopping at the expo, picking-up a few Bondi Band’s. Sweating as much as I do and living in Florida, I need to have one of these every time I run or workout in the gym.

The shirts did not disappoint. Even though I rarely need long sleeves in Florida, the Gasparilla shirts are race shirts you can actually run in.

Gasparilla 2013 Race Shirt

I will never have enough reusable shopping bags. (Especially not ones with a pirate on it.)

Gasparilla 2013 Shopping Bag

Gasparill Expo 2013 Signs

After parting with my money, we needed food. This ended up taking much longer than normal because anyone on Tampa city water was under a boil water notice because of a power outage at a treatment facility. Of course, where my Mom lives was included plus all of the restaurants near by. Luckily, we stumbled on Burger 21 which has water supplied by the county. I was finally able to put some food in my face. Burger 21 was awesome and I cannot wait to eat at the newly opened Millenia Mall location in Orlando with J.

So food and packet pick-up taken care of, we had time to kill until my self-imposed 8 PM curfew.  We saw Beautiful Creatures.

Beautiful Creatures Movie Poster

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This was my second time seeing it and it might have been better the second time around. I am a major fan of these books and if you like your Young Adult books dark and Southern, you should read them.

After the movie it was time to turn in for my 3:30 AM wake-up call. Then the fun really begins.

2012 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Going into OUC Orlando Half Marathon, I was very unsure of my training. (I vented about it here if you are interested.) I was all over the place with changing my training plan, getting sick, and feeling like I was never going to get faster.

Pity Party

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Like most things, it was much worse in my head.

I started the race day off by waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 AM (in which I ask myself, why do I have to live in no-mans-land Polk County which is far from everywhere?) Had my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and toast. I went back and forth on what to wear because the morning was in the low 50’s, which is chilly in the land of sunshine, but went with a t-shirt and shorts. I would much rather be chilly to start and comfortable during the race than sweating buckets because I am overdressed.

I got into Orlando with few issues and was lucky to be able to use J’s parking pass to park in a lot for free. (He goes to Florida A&M Law School which is in downtown Orlando.) The lot is a half a mile from Lake Eola so I counted that as my warm-up. The bathroom situation at the start was ideal, a fairly short wait for real bathrooms (no wait on the men’s side.) I love not having to use a porta-pottie.

I fought my way into the starting corral, lined up in between the 9-10 minute mile signs. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see the start, only the back of the heads of those in front of me. I was pretty cold in my shorts but luckily the wait was only a few minutes and then we were off.

I tried to start slow, my goal was to stay at a 10:30 pace, but did get caught up the the starting frenzy. It can be so difficult at the start to not get caught up in the frenzy of moving forward but I get better at every race.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Race Route

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The race route was lovely and took you through some beautiful neighborhoods in Orlando. I loved everything about it minus the very painful brick roads. The last few miles had plenty of hills with bricks which may have caused me to swear. I get so paranoid running on uneven surfaces because I am a tad bit clumsy and likely to trip over my own feet, let alone uneven brick.

A few signs of what I consider a successful half marathon:

1. Not needing medical attention (this is one that I have for everyday life too.)

2. Not needing to pee (or at least being able to hold it until the end.)

3. Not bonking

So how did I do?

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Splits

I was a little slower than my goal to average a 10:30 m/m but I was able to avert a diaphragm cramp. I only am able to do this with some walking, so I walked a little.

My official time:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Official Time

My official time of 2:23:29 is a half marathon PR of eight minutes! I hoped I could PR but really was unsure if it would happen. This gives me so much hope that I can drop my time even further for Gasparilla in February.

The medal:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon Medal

The race shirt:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Shirt Race

Cool towels being handed out at the finish line:

Florida Milk Refuel Chocolate Milk Towel

So horrible, painful brick aside, I had so much fun running half marathon number three, the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

Losing My Run

Training for my third half has been frustrating. Writing about this frustration may have helped but I tend to internalize self-annoyance and could not find the right words.

I have maintained a somewhat decent weekly mileage while loosely interpreting three different training plans.

Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 through 14

Weeks 43 and 46 were both weeks that I was sick.

I had a difficult time sticking to one training plan having changed three times in fourteen weeks. The issue is that my body is capable of running five or six days a week but months of that is draining mentally. (Plus it sometimes causes my husband to claim he never sees me and that I spend more time out of the house than in it.) That coupled with all the stress of the election (as the President of the Polk County Young Democrats and being in charge of the DEC weekly newsletter) was biting off more than I could chew. So what is the solution?

I want to get faster and to do that I know I need much higher weekly mileage. For slow pokes such as myself, fitting 40 miles per week in is a serious time commitment. I need to find a better way to increase my mileage and not feeling like the only I do is run. I also want to see some results and know that will require pushing myself outside of the comfort zone of 11 minute miles when I know I can run faster. (Sometimes I feel like I’m afraid of the discomfort of running faster. If that makes any sense.)

The plan so far is run the Orlando Half Marathon this coming Saturday. I will run it with few expectations but secretly hoping to PR (2.31.38 from March of 2012). Then find a new and better fit training plan for Gasparilla Half Marathon in February.

So there it is, all the reasons why I haven’t been posting and have felt bad about my running.

Chill Out