Gate River Run 15k {race recap}

On March 11th, I ran the 40th Gate River Run 15k in Jacksonville, Florida. Greg and I picked up the kids on Friday afternoon and we headed north. It was our first time in Jacksonville, so I was excited for the kids to stay the night in a hotel and go exploring the next day. We walked over to Jacksonville Landing on Friday night for dinner with the hopes of watching the IU game, but no such luck. We had a good view of the first bridge I would run the next morning.

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Heather had a good view of the second bridge, the green monster, from her hotel room. Yikes.

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The race didn’t start until 8:30am, so I was looking forward to getting up a little bit later on Saturday morning, but no such luck again. Crosby was up several times in the night and we all were up at 5am when he woke up throwing up. Not the best way to start the morning. I considered just going home right then and there, but Greg told me I needed to run. I headed out to meet Heather and Nathan to walk to the race around 6:30am. Considering what I had left Greg with in the hotel room, I was incredibly anxious and jittery leading up to the race.

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We met up with Juliana at Everbank Field (where the Jacksonville Jaguars play) and waited until it was time to get into our waves. I made a rookie mistake when I signed up for the race and entered the non-seeded division putting me in wave 2. Heather planned on starting with me, but they wouldn’t let her into wave 2 since she was seeded in wave 1. I was bummed, but she ended up waiting to start in wave 2 with me.

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There was a lot of down time since we got to the race super early. I was bouncing around like crazy, still very anxious and nervous. I didn’t know the city or the race route and I kept texting Greg to see how Crosby was.

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Wave 1 started around 8:30am including the elite runners. The Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the nation so there were tons of professional runners running the race, which was really cool to witness. Wave 2 moved up and we were ready to start.

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Our first mile was really fast (8:27) but I knew we would slow down a bit moving into the first bridge right after the first mile. I slowly ran up the bridge being careful on the grates of the bridge. We continued on our way and had a solid first 5k before we slowed it down again. The weather was really great when we started but it quickly warmed up.

The middle of the race was really great as we ran through the neighborhoods in Jacksonville. The houses were gorgeous and the spectators were awesome. Each neighborhood had their own little block party. The spectators were having more fun than the runners. They were tossing donut holes to the runners and were offering Jell-o shots, beer, mimosas, and food as we passed. Before heading to the second bridge, several spectators were spraying the runners with a hose.

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Just after mile 7.5, we headed up towards the green monster. My legs were hurting, but the bridge was so steep that it almost felt better to jog up rather than walk. We found Juliana again while we were towards the top of the bridge, so the three of us made our way down towards the finish. The bridge was just as steep coming down and there was a lot of turns since we were coming down the ramp. We had to wind around the stadium to get to the finish. About .2 miles away from the finish, Heather tripped and fell. It was so scary. The road was packed so as I bent down to help her, Juliana immediately started blocking people from running into us. Another nice gentleman stopped to make sure she was also ok. She was able to get up and finish, thankfully, but she was bleeding from her knees and hands. After all of that, I finished with a 1:39:47 which was a PR! It wasn’t the finish I was hoping for, but I’ll take it.

The end of the race was insane. There were people everywhere and the area around the finish line was so small and tight. We met up with Nathan and Heather headed to the medical tent to get cleaned up. We all skipped the after party, which looked just as insane, and I headed back to the hotel to check on everyone.

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Overall, the race is a really good race, but I wish I was able to enjoy it more. I was worried about Crosby the entire time and then worried about Heather after the race was over. We had hoped to explore St. Augustine on the way home, but Crosby got sick the entire morning, so home we went. Both kids napped the whole way home. By that night, I was so physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. It was a long 24 hours. I’m not sure I’ll be back to Jacksonville for the Gate River Run anytime soon, but maybe eventually?

my weekend in photos

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we got off the disney dream on friday and headed back home after an amazing spring break. i have so many pictures to share! 

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saturday morning, i met up with the girls for an 8 mile run before heading into work for a few hours.

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we headed down to disney for the braves and mets game on saturday afternoon and we couldn’t pass up another picture with mickey!

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ready for the game with meemaw and grandpa!

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our seats were so good! we right by the mets dugout in the third row.

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let’s go mets!

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our little island girl with meemaw.

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we ventured down to lake nona to check out canvas for dinner.

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the girls.

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my date.

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dinner with a view!

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back to our sunday grind. vacation is definitely over.

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we had a good weekend, but i think we’re ready to get back to school and work tomorrow.

how was your weekend?

my weekend in photos

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we headed to jacksonville on friday afternoon. it was our first time in the city. we checked in to our hotel and walked over to jacksonville landing for dinner.

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after a super early morning on saturday which included crosby throwing up several times, i reluctantly headed down to everbank field for the start of the gate river run 15k. greg stayed back with the kids and watched a movie in the hotel room since crosby was under the weather. more to come on the race.

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we checked out of the hotel with the hopes of stopping in st. augustine since crosby seemed to be feeling better. we ended up turning around to head home.

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she insisted on putting on her whole soccer outfit for about ten minutes of practice. she’s funny.

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thankfully, he was feeling better so we headed out to dinner. face painting…on his arm.

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we headed to a new park today to meet up with friends.

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so good to catch up with megan and her crew.

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we may have waited a little too long to get a group shot. we had a great time seeing some fellow hoosiers in town.

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we finished the weekend with family movie night. we highly recommend moana!

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our weekend definitely did not go as planned thanks to little stomach bug, but we are looking forward to a fun, busy week ahead!

how was your weekend?

Friday I’m in Love

Happy Friday and happy March!

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I am rarely on Facebook these days, but I happened to see a friend post about a food chopper that she just ordered. Considering all of the food prep we’ve been doing, I immediately ordered it. The Chef’n VeggiChop Hand-Powered Food Chopper is the jam! I first used it for bell peppers and wasn’t a huge fan because they turned out pretty watery. I used it next for onion and cilantro and it was amazing! I think I chopped the peppers too fine so I probably will try them again. Overall, I’m a fan. It’s so fast and easy!

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Greg and I really love iced coffee (with vanilla and cream) and it’s our go-to drink at Starbucks. Greg did some research and found a copycat recipe from Starbucks themselves! He’s been grinding, pressing, and icing coffee each week for us and it’s so good!

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Thank you Target for the best shirt of the year. Both of my kids got a new Strong Like Mom shirt to sport. Bravo, Target, bravo!

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The Hoosiers got a big win last night in the Big Ten tournament giving us a glimmer of hope for making the tournament. Either way, we’re ready for March Madness! Bring on the basketball!

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Friday I'm in Love Linky Party

What are you loving this week?! Do share!

Misha is taking some time off from her Friday loves, but hop on over to welcome baby Daphne!

**this post contains affiliate links.

Best Damn Race Half Marathon {Race Recap}

On Saturday I ran the Best Damn Race half marathon downtown. This was my third time running a Best Damn Race, but my first time running the half marathon. My last two BDR races were the 10k in 2015 and 2016. Both of those races resulted in a 10k PR so I was pretty fond of the BDR race. However, I wanted to do something different this year.

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The race started at 7:25am, which is later than normal, but it was nice to have the sun up at the start of the race. It was chilly and I even considered wearing my long sleeve shirt, but I am so happy I didn’t. The weather was great, but I was definitely hot during the race.

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The race started and we were off. Leading up to the race, I hadn’t thought much about my race goals, other than to finish. I wasn’t too concerned about my projected finish time. When Michelle started having issues with her music, I decided to stop with her so she could get it figured out. Even with the quick stop, we still had a 9:59 first mile. I immediately thought about keeping each mile under 10 minutes, but tried to push those thoughts out of my head.

We were moving fast for the first half of the race. Each mile was well under 10 minutes, two of which were even under 9 minutes – 8:56 and 8:59! I was feeling it. I knew I started off way too fast and I told myself I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace for the whole race. My mind started to get in the way. At the mile 7 water stop, I got some water and went to the potty. It was a good excuse to let Michelle go ahead of me so I could slow down a bit.

I did slow down and I started taking more walk breaks than I care to admit. I walked through the water stops and took an extra walk break here and there between miles 8 and 13.1. After crushing the first seven miles, the next six were between 10 and 11 minutes each mile. It also didn’t help that the last half of the race had a lot more cobblestone than the first half. My feet and legs were taking a beating so when my mind was telling me that I couldn’t do it, or to slow down or walk, I listened.

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I knew Greg and the kids were heading downtown so that is what I focused my energy on after mile 12. I thought about trying to come in under 2 hours and 10 minutes, but once I saw them, I stopped to say hello and give kisses before heading to the finish. The kids cheered “go Mommy go!” as I ran off, which completely melted my heart. I crossed the finish line and my watch clocked me at 2 hours and 11 minutes exactly. My chip time was 2:10.55.

Based on time alone, this was my second best half marathon. But taking into account all other factors of the race, I am disappointed in myself. I have (over)analyzed everything about this race and have come to the conclusion that I started out too fast but that I could have continued at that pace. I am fully capable of doing it, but the mental struggle was real. I usually can push past it and just focus on finishing the race, but this time was different. I am still super stoked with my time, but can’t help to think about what it would have been if I didn’t stop to walk a few of those times.

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The Best Damn Race is a really well organized race and a fun one at that. One thing I didn’t like about the race was the course route. There were way too many brick roads and I have officially sworn off ever running downtown again. One thing I loved about the race was the after party. It was so fun to have a drink and chat with so many people! The kids played at the park then we walked around Lake Eola before heading to lunch. It was such a fun morning.

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It was so good to see so many familiar faces at the race. I sure do love this little running community here in Orlando.

diy pantry update

Before I begin, I want to throw it back to what our kitchen looked like when we moved in, and the projects that the pantry has already undergone. This poor pantry has been through a lot, beginning with that huge hole in the wall.

Fast forward to the present day and our pantry ended up looking like this. I was growing more frustrated with the builder grade wire shelves and the amount of stuff we were accumulating was weighing down each shelf. So, we got to work.

pantry before

While it as a big undertaking, I was so happy to start taking everything out of the pantry. There was food in there that was long expired and owner’s manuals piling up for product that we don’t even own anymore. If I had any doubt that we would use it or eat it, it went in the garbage. I bagged up everything else in totes and reusable grocery bags and put them in the laundry room for later.

pantry before 2

Greg removed all of the shelves, filled all of the holes, sanded, and we both painted. We went with the same color grey that was on our walls since we already had the paint.

pantry empty

Leading up to the big project, Greg had done a lot of work on the back end. He researched the best possible options for shelves and went through all of the links I sent him that I found on Pinterest. We landed on floating shelves because they look nice and clean, but are also very sturdy. Greg built and painted all of the shelves beforehand so once the pantry was ready, he could start installing the shelves.

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My absolute favorite part is the little cove for our garbage can. Due to the awkward hole in the wall, the wire shelves were cut, always leaving that little space for the garbage can. But, now it looks so much cleaner like the garbage can is meant for that space.

pantry cutout

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Greg put in a lot of hard work on these shelves and I would love to say they were installed without a single hitch, but it was a process. He went back and forth from the kitchen to the garage on numerous occasions to cut, and re-cut, to make them fit (builders don’t particularly care to make sure everything is perfectly square when framing). Then, there was a lot of touch up paint that needed to be applied, and a few choice words that were used in the process. But, his hard work did not go unnoticed and it totally paid off. The pantry looks so amazing!

diy pantry shelves

Once he was finished, I got in there to put everything back in it’s new and improved spot. Organizing the pantry alone would have made a difference, but the paint and new shelves make a HUGE difference. It is so much easier to find that things we need. I have found myself not buying things that we don’t need since I know what we have now!

pantry floating shelves

After a couple of months, I am happy to report that the pantry is still very organized, though the floor has acquired a few boxes here and there.

diy floating pantry shelves

As far as the door, I love having the chalkboard on the front and it gets a lot of use for our weekly menu, but it has some wear and tear. I would like to remove the contact paper and paint the class with chalkboard paint. Hopefully I can accomplish that in 2017!

my weekend in photos

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after an uneventful friday night, i got up on saturday morning and headed downtown for the best damn race half marathon.

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it was a tough race, but i finished! race recap and lots of pics to come.

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greg and the kids came down to catch the end of the race, which i was so happy about. they hit up the park to play after the race.

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the weather was absolutely perfect this weekend.

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a walk and a bike ride on saturday afternoon.

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we headed out early this morning to go to legoland!

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it was the lego batman movie day at the park so there were some fun things to do. we built a (very) small part of the joker and got to see it complete before we left.

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as well as several of the small squares on the big mosaic. we had to pull crosby away from the table or he would have built the rest of little squares.

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they also go to meet lego batman! crosby holding his hand melts my heart, he loved it.

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hanging out it the dino while kenley rides the roller coaster.

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they had the ride to themselves.

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we had such a good time at the park today. i needed a batman shirt to fit in though!

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we had a busy weekend, but it was sure fun!
how was your weekend?