monthly miles {february}

February has already come and gone! Here is a quick recap of my monthly miles.

Total miles: 46.06 — It was definitely a light month thanks to a round of antibiotics due to bronchitis.

Fun places I ran: All of my runs this month were at our usual spots, either starting at the YMCA or at Starbucks. I also ran on the treadmill at the Y more this month which is fun when there is someone to run with!

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Races I ran: No races this month!

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Favorite running thing this month: The first thing is my LED running light. This was free in my swag bag from the Celebration half marathon and I really love it! There is no brand name on it so I am assuming it’s a generic light used for promotional purposes, but it gets the job done. I wear it around my ankle for our early morning runs. The other thing is podcasts! I listened to more podcasts this month thanks to my treadmill runs. I am still loving I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein and a new favorite is Ali on the Run.

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Longest run: 8 miles on two separate Saturdays. I opted to stop after 8 miles instead of doing 10 miles one of those days and my body thanked me later.

Non-running workouts: PIYO! I finally got back to piyo this past Saturday and I am so happy. I have missed it tremendously! I also got in several workouts on the elliptical at the Y, which was nice. Update on last month’s goals: I failed miserably at keeping up with BBG. I just couldn’t really get into it. I started out really strong with the plank a day challenge for February but quickly got sidelined thanks to the days of coughing. I started it back up afterwards, but didn’t ever get back to doing planks daily.

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Next month: I am looking forward to a lot of fun miles in March in different places. I have two races and we are going away for spring break so I’ll have a lot to report back on at the end of the month.

Happy running!

Celebration Half Marathon {race recap}

The second race in my double race weekend last month was the Celebration half marathon in Celebration, Florida. This was my third time running this race so I knew what to expect going into Sunday’s race. I was really looking forward to the post-race festivities. What I did not expect was the cold and rainy forecast.

Thankfully, Heather picked us up a lightweight rain jacket to wear during the race, but I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of running 13.1 miles in a rain jacket. Once we got to Celebration, we sat in the car for as long as possible before heading to the start line. As we got out of the car, I knew the rain jacket was the only option.

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The race was underway and we were off. Heather and I were focused during most of the race and didn’t talk much. The first six miles were really great and we averaged around 9:45 minutes per mile. Between miles 7 and 9, we hit the wooden boardwalks on the course. I knew these miles would be slower especially since the boardwalks were wet. My only concern at that point was to not fall.

The rest of the miles were around 10:30 minutes per mile with exception of mile 12 which was our slowest mile. Throughout the race, we ran through a nice little drizzle, but towards the end of the race, it was really raining. I was definitely ready to be done by that point and so did Heather. I kept encouraging Heather to keep running and to not walk. For the last half of a mile, we could see the finish line from the other side of the lake, but we were still so far away.

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Our official time was 2:14.30 which was a PR for Heather! As soon as we finished, I put on my fleece pants and changed into a dry shirt.

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We headed over to the after party for some good food and drinks! It did not disappoint, but it was short lived because the rain continued to fall and we were all freezing. I think that I shivered for a good two hours after the race.

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Aside from the rain, it was a great race and a great double race weekend!

Lady Track Shack 5k {race recap}

My double race weekend started with one of my favorite races, the Lady Track Shack 5k. This year was even more special because Kenley came with me to run the race. I told her a couple months ago that we were going to run an all girl race so naturally she has been talking about it ever since. She even would tell Greg and Crosby that they couldn’t go because it was only for girls.

The night before the race, she got up at least twice asking if it was time to get up yet. She was so excited! We left before the sun came up and headed down to Loch Haven Park to meet up with some friends before the start of the race. Kenley was excited to see Livie, Michelle’s daughter, was there.

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This was my first time ever running a race with a stroller and it will likely be my last. We had to start at the very back of the race, the very back. The whole first half of the race was spent bobbing in and out of the walkers trying to actually run the race, all while trying my hardest not to run into anyone with the stroller. Kenley asked the whole first mile if she could get out and run with the girls. Just after the first mile, when it opened up just a bit, she hopped out and was on her way.

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She was good about getting back in the stroller when she needed a break. I had to tell her a few times to slow down and to make sure she stayed next to Livie so she could pace herself.

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As we passed Track Shack, the DJ said into the microphone that she must be the youngest runner on the course. She hopped in and out a few more times and cheered Livie on from the stroller while she was resting. The last quarter of a mile, I pushed her to run the rest of the race. We kept telling the girls that the donuts were waiting for us at the finish line, which they were, Krispy Kreme!

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We finished in 39:23 based on our chip. You can see that we crossed the start line a good three minutes after the clock started since we were in the very back.

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We had such a good time and saw so many other mamas after the race. Kenley had a blast playing with Livie, who ended up placing third in her age group! Kenley is already talking about running the whole race next year.

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You can also see my past race recaps for the Lady Track Shack 5K from 2015 and 2016.

monthly miles {january}

My January miles ranged from temperatures in mid 30s to the mid 80s.
Welcome to Florida “winter”. Here is a quick rundown.

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Total miles: 67.6

Fun places I ran: Most of my miles were logged close to home, but we did run the Cross Seminole Trail starting at Black Hammock Trailhead which was a great change of pace. Two races this month also made for different running locations: the town of Celebration and the Mills/50 district.

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Races I ran: Lady Track Shack 5K and the Celebration half marathon

Favorite running thing this month: I am really loving my new socks that I got for Christmas, the Balega Enduro No Show socks. Not only are they super comfy, but I was really surprised that they kept my feet dry and warm during my rainy half marathon.

Longest run: My Garmin clocked the Celebration half marathon at 13.32 miles, making it my longest run of the month (and second longest run ever).

Non-running workouts: I have started to work on strength training and hope to continue this for the first half of the year until marathon training officially begins in June. I started the month doing (some) workouts from the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) but have somewhat abandoned those for now. I attended a Barre class at the Y this month which I really liked. My non-running cardio workouts have been on the elliptical and I attended one spin class.

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Next month: I don’t have any races in February, but I do have a couple in March, so February will include more training miles. I am planning to add in a lot of strength training this month, including a plank a day challenge.

Happy running!

Space Coast Half Marathon {Race Recap}

For the second Thanksgiving weekend in a row, I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa. As I mentioned after the race last year, registration for the race opens in February and this year the race was full in less than 5 minutes. I was so thankful to get into the race for the second year in a row. Leading up to the race, I was really looking forward to it. It has been one of my favorite races, especially after I unexpectedly broke 2:15 last year. Since I set a new unintentional PR in October at Lighthouse Loop, I really wanted to go out and run a sub-2:10 race.

We loaded up the family on Saturday to head over to the expo and check in to the hotel. I thought it would be a fun night away for us all and Greg and the kids could meet me after the race on Sunday. We picked up our packets and stopped into the Florida Brewing Company for a pre-race beer before we carb loaded at an Italian restaurant.

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We had a nice little set up in our hotel room and I slept on the pull out couch so I wouldn’t wake everyone when my alarm went off at 4:30am. The temps were supposed to be in the 60’s and I debated wearing my new long sleeve shirt (just because I love it), but I am so thankful that I decided against it. I definitely did not need it.

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Heather and I left the boys and the kids at the hotel and drove over to the start of the race around 5am. We met up with the other MRTT mamas and chatted before it was time to head to the start line. Michelle offered to pace us on our way to a 2:10 finish time. She casually mentioned at the start line that we were going to bust it from the very beginning and not worry about conserving energy. She said that mile 10 sucks regardless, so there is no sense in saving energy. I’m glad I didn’t know that was the plan all along, but I rolled with it.

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The race started and we were off. I knew our first mile would be slower just because of the congestion on the race course at the beginning. I thought for sure it would be over 10 minutes, but when I saw 9:49 at the one mile marker, I was determined to keep every mile under 10 minutes. We stopped for a quick walk around mile three where Heather dropped back a little bit. Michelle and I continued and stopped for another quick walk around mile 5 to fuel. I took an applesauce pouch which is what I have been training with for the past few months. I made the mistake at Lighthouse Loop of taking a GU instead, so I made sure to switch back to applesauce for this race.

After our fuel break, we started to see some familiar faces of runners who were coming back on the other side of the course. This out and back course is one of my favorites as it makes for great people watching. It’s also great seeing the smiling faces of friends too for some extra encouragement. We kept on trucking and turned around just after the 7 mile marker. Around mile 8, we made a decision that we would turn on Michelle’s music at mile 10 so that was something to look forward to.

Mile 10. I hate mile 10. It’s such a tease because you’ve reached double digits and you know that you’ve come so far, but you still have 3 more miles to go! Miles 10 through 13 were not great for me. I did my fair share of moaning and groaning and poor Michelle had to listen to me do it. She was happy as a clam and was feeling great being the DJ for those three miles. I was not feeling great, but I also was determined to not stop even though I wanted to so badly. By this time, we had already talked about going for a finish time of 2:05. At some point between miles 11 and 13, I told Michelle to go ahead of me. She said no, so on we went.

The last mile felt like it took forever. I kept telling myself that I can run for just 10 more minutes, then just 5 more minutes, then just 1 more minute. Anything to keep my legs moving. We saw Michelle’s family as we turned to run around the park to the finish line. I knew we were almost done, I could see the finish line on the other side of the park and I could hear the announcer calling the names of the finishers.

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Photo credit: Craig Bailey / Florida Today

We finally crossed the finish line with a time of 2:04.48, just under our 2:05 goal and absolutely crushing my 2:13.19 PR just a few weeks before. I could not believe it. I immediately stopped to catch my breath and compose myself before getting my medal and beach towel. A volunteer came over to make sure I was okay, so I think I was looking rough at that point.

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Finally, it was time to celebrate! I met up with Greg and the kids and we saw Heather cross the finish line. This race has a great after party, so I was definitely looking forward to relaxing and chatting with the other mamas. I laid out my beach towel and ate some breakfast and didn’t want to move.

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I am so thankful that Michelle was running with me to push me during those last three miles until the very end. There were so many times that I could have stopped to walk but didn’t. This was the most mentally challenging race for me and I definitely could not have done it without her.

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I was also so happy to run into Katie again this year and catch up with her! I was looking for her during and after the race and finally saw her as we were getting our beers.

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I successfully ran the whole race with each mile under 10 minutes, even on the miles that we stopped for a quick walk. The adrenaline wasn’t pumping like it was towards the end of the race last year. It was a struggle, mentally and physically, and I immediately regretted carrying my water bottle the whole race. However, I am so happy that I pushed to the finish. Seeing 2:04 on the clock as I crossed the finish line was worth it… as well as the days of soreness that followed.

Now, I hope I can get into the race next year to earn my 3 year Milky Way medal!

Run Chicago with #TeamRMHC

On October 8th, 2017, I will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I am so excited to run Chicago with the Ronald McDonald House Charities team. As a member of Team RMHC, we will be training, fundraising and ultimately running 26.2 miles to help keep families close.

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If you feel so inclined, you can make a donation through my Team RMHC personal page. There is no gift too small, $25 can provide dinner for a family, $80 can give a family a room for a night.  A donation, of any amount, will not only help me achieve my goal, but will help children stay close to their families when they need it most!

You can learn more about Team RMHC here and Ronald McDonald House Charities here.

I am so excited and incredibly nervous to start my journey to 26.2!

Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon {Race Recap}

My first half marathon of the race season was on Saturday, October 30th. It was my first time running the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon, so it was a great way to end a very busy month of October for us.

The race started in Port Orange which is just over an hour away from east Orlando. The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 7:00am which meant my alarm was set for 4:00am. I carpooled over with some other running mamas from the area and we arrived around 6:15am, which was enough time to go to the potty, stretch, take some selfies, and head to the start line.

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Leading up to the race, I didn’t do a whole lot of mental preparation which is normal for me. I know I’ve logged the miles so I typically just go out there and run.  However, I was preparing for a hot and humid day, which was a bummer considering we had amazing weather the weekend before. I got the normal pre-race jitters, but nothing crazy, mostly because I had never been to the area so I wasn’t familiar with where the race started and ended. Thankfully, I was with a lot of other mamas who had ran the race before.

The race started and we were off. We planned to walk through the water stops to get water at every stop since it was so hot. I also brought a water bottle with Cocogo in case I needed something more than water. Our first three miles were solid — 9:54; 9:59; 10:10 — but once I saw mile 4 was 10:28, I was annoyed. Based on my own reaction, I knew today could be a good race day, so I kicked it into gear.

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Miles 5 through 9 were between 9:44 and 10:05 and I was feeling pretty good. The course took us down the Ponce Inlet until we were forced to turn around and run back up. We made a loop around the lighthouse around mile 6 or 7, which was pretty anticlimactic at the time, but looking back it was pretty cool. I should have brushed up on the history of the lighthouse before running the race and I may have appreciated it more.

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Around mile 10, I started to slow down a little bit. The sun was blazing down on my back and there was very little shade coming back up the inlet. It was hot and my feet hurt. I could tell my walks through the water stops were getting a little bit longer. Miles 10 and 11 were 10:17 and 10:32 and I just couldn’t help it. It’s always around this time that I start to think about my projected finish time. I knew it could be a personal record (PR) for me, but I couldn’t help to think about what was coming for me at mile 12… the bridge. I started to get anxious and short of breath (even more than I already was) so I forced myself to not think about it.

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After making my way back up the inlet, I turned the corner from the flat road and there it was…the bridge. I slowed down on the way up the bridge and even walked a little bit. I forced myself to not look at my watch. I knew if I started to think about my finish time then I would start to get anxious again and all I really cared about at that point was making it over the bridge, and then to the finish.

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Miles 12 and 13 were 10:31 and 10:25 and I was able to pick it up for the last .1 miles of the race. Thankfully, I saw Jaime who had already finished, she yelled at me that the finish was just around the corner so I busted it. I came in with a finish time of 2:13.19 which was my fastest half marathon yet.

I went back out to watch Heather and a few other moms finish before I made my way over to ring the PR bell and get my much-deserved beer(s).

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Despite the weather, it was a really good race and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome, especially considering the steep bridge at the end which slowed me way down. I wasn’t expecting a PR for this race, but I am happy with the progress I’ve been making and now looking forward to breaking it again next month at Space Coast where I know there are no bridges!

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Now, on to the next race and a new pair of shoes!