BDR Orlando + Smile Mile {march 2019}

On March 2nd, I ran the Best Damn Race 10k in downtown Orlando. Much like previous years, it was a great race! We did run/walk intervals the whole time and finished in 1:07.02. As always, there was a great crowd, including many friends, and a lively after party.

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After a quick celebration, we headed over to Blue Jacket Park for the Track Shack Smile Mile! This was Kenley’s second year running the mile and she did far better than last year! Since Crosby already turned five years old, he could run the race, so I signed him up with our elementary school even though he wasn’t in kindergarten yet. I was nervous for him, but he did a great job!

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Showing off our hard earned medals! It was a great morning of running.

BDR Savannah {February 2019}

In February, Greg and I headed to Savannah, Georgia with several other couples to run the Best Damn Race 5k and half marathon. It was our first time in Savannah and the inaugural Best Damn Race in the city!

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After packet pick up and checking into the hotel, we headed out for an Italian dinner with the group.

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The next morning, we headed over to Forsyth Park for the start of the race.

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Our group was a mix of 5k runners and half marathon runners. The half marathon started before the 5k, but they obviously finished well before we did, so they set up shop to cheer for all of us as we rounded the last corner and headed to the finish line.

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It was great to see their smiling faces as I rounded that corner. Overall, my race was pretty good. There were definitely some picturesque portions of the race, and some that weren’t so, but I don’t have many complaints. I felt pretty good for most of the race and ran a 2:25.09. Considering where I  currently am with running, I was pleased with that time.

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Greg had an awesome 5k race and got to ring the PR bell! He wanted to run it under 30 minutes and came in at 29:56!

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In the afternoon, we headed out on the Savannah Slow Ride bike tour.

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We had so much fun spending the weekend with our friends. We’re already ready for BDR Savannah 2020!

Shark Bite Half Marathon {race recap}

Back in January, I ran my first half marathon of 2019, the Shark Bite half marathon in New Smyrna Beach. Fun fact: New Smyrna Beach is the shark attack capital of the world… hence the race name.

This was my first time running this race. The best part about it was my dear friend from college, Kelly, was in town so we ran it together!

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The morning started out a bit chilly (remember: January), so I had on a long sleeve shirt. I did not think, however, that we’d be picking up our race packet that morning and the race didn’t have a gear check. Therefore, I started the race wearing a tank, t-shirt, and a long sleeve shirt. Needless to say, the long sleeve shirt was stripped off very quickly once I warmed up.

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We ran a solid 11 miles, then opted to do more walking for the last two miles. Overall, it was a fun race. Mostly because of the company. I loved getting to run and chat for 2+ hours with Kelly!

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After the race, we got our beers and our pint glasses and walked along the beach. It almost felt colder with the wind coming off the water after the race, so it was a short lived beach walk.

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Hands down, this was the largest medal I’ve ever run for!

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Thanks for a good run, NSB!

Lady Track Shack 5k {race recap}

I’m not sure if you all still remember us… it’s been a while! I have some serious catching up to do.

The girls got together in January to run the Lady Track Shack 5k. This was my fifth year running the race and Kenley’s second year! If you take a look back at last year’s photos, you can see there was far less whining along the course. We had our watches set to run for two minutes and walk for one minute, which worked out great! She ran twice as long as she walked along the way.

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Thanks for another great run, Track Shack!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon {race recap}

In November, Heather and I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! This was my second Run Disney race and yet again, it did not disappoint.

I headed down to the expo on Friday night after work. I went by myself which gave me some time to browse the booths and do a little bit of shopping, but the expo closed at 7pm, so I didn’t have a ton of time.

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It was a good thing I didn’t have the kids, because there was a lot of walking involved between picking up the race bib and the race shirt. I’m talking two completely different buildings here…in the rain.

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We did not stay on Disney property for this race as Greg had to work the whole weekend. Thankfully, my mom came to town to watch the kids while I ran. We started the morning around 3:30am and headed down to the Epcot parking lot and finish line to park the car. From there, we hopped on a bus to take us to the Magic Kingdom parking lot to start the race.

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Since I registered for this race well enough in advance, I was able to submit a proof of time earning me a spot in corral C. We started the race after about only 20-25 minutes of waiting. Oddly enough, it started raining when we were in the corral.

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Our first park was Animal Kingdom! We took a slightly different route through the park and were able to run through Pandora at dawn. It was the perfect amount of light, but it was also dark enough to see the glow of the lights through Pandora. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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From Animal Kingdom, we had several miles of open road before reaching our next park. Along the way, we saw a toy soldier! We were in line to get our picture with him, but then he started making the runners do push-ups, so we were out!

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We entered Hollywood Studios around the ten mile mark. It’s amazing how the worst part of the race (miles 10-13.1) is filled with the most fun stuff! It’s such a great distraction. We ran through the back of the park by the Tower of Terror and saw Mr. and Mrs. Incredible just as we entered. Hollywood Studios is our favorite park, so we stopped a couple times for some pictures before heading out.

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We made our way through the Boardwalk on our way to Epcot and most importantly, the finish line. We saw the Swan and Dolphin resort, the Boardwalk resort, and lots of spectators!

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We entered Epcot at the entrance coming from the Boardwalk and ran down through England. We circled back towards France to run through the rest of the countries around the world.

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As we made our way towards the finish line, we passed the giant golf ball and headed into the Epcot parking lot.

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We unintentionally timed our finish perfectly and headed into Epcot as soon as the park opened at 9am. We celebrated with mimosas in the Wine & Dine Festival Center.

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One of the best perks of the race this time around was that I was able to download all of my race photos since Photo Pass is included with our annual pass. We made every effort to get our picture taken by every Photo Pass photographer we saw!

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It ended up being my worst race on the clock, but my best race on the course. I absolutely love running though the parks, seeing all of the Disney characters, hearing all of the entertainment, and enjoying the entire Run Disney experience!

Chicago Marathon 2017 {race recap}

On the one year anniversary of my first marathon, I figured I would finally share about my race experience.

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My alarm went off at 4:45am on race day. I surprisingly slept pretty well but I woke up anxious that the day had finally arrived. I met the girls downstairs at 5:15am and we were off. We were on a tight schedule to pick up Jamie at her hotel, then head over to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) tent in Grant Park. I was super amped up at this point. I was jittery because of the nerves and the chilly air at 5:30am. The walk didn’t seem too bad at the time, but looking back, it was a long walk before having a run a marathon.

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We arrived at the tent to find a full breakfast spread, the DJ pumping up the runners, and an area to stretch and foam roll. I had breakfast, used the potty, stretched, and finally checked my bag at the tent. We took a large RMHC team photo then waited until it was time to head over to the corral. Majority of the RMHC team was in corral H since that was the charity corral, but the tent cleared out a little bit from runners in the faster corrals.

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The volunteers led us to the corral around 7:20am. We headed in through the security check points and continued to walk until we found corral H. There was a lot of walking before the race ever started! We waited in the corral until about 8:10am when we finally started moving up to the start line. The nerves were really setting in at this point.

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I started the race with Heather and Julianna and we made our way across the start line. The start of the race was pretty congested and we were in the city surrounded by the tall buildings. The weather was amazing since we were in the shade of the buildings and the crowds were insane. My adrenaline was pumping hard. Right away, my watch lost signal and my first “mile” clocked at the 7 minute mark. I expected this to happen due to my last Chicago race, but I was hoping my new watch would be a little better. I shouldn’t have been worrying about my pace at all, but I immediately wish I had a pace band since I knew my watch was going to be completely inaccurate.

I will say this several more times, but the crowds were unbelievable. I was so happy during the first miles of the race, I was running with a huge smile on my face the whole time. The city was so loud and I was taking it all in. Greg texted me the first time around the 5k mark to tell me where they were set up. It was a whirlwind and I was so happy to see them so early in the race. Unfortunately, I did not give proper hugs or hang out as long as the kids would have liked and they were sobbing after I ran off.

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I was cruising for the first nine miles and feeling good. Greg texted me again around the 15k mark to tell me where to look for them. Just knowing which side of the street they were on was so helpful. The streets were absolutely packed for the entire race! Greg said that the spectators were so amazing and would let them get to the front when they knew I was close. I lingered a little bit longer this time. Greg rubbed my calf and I was texting with Amanda to see where she was in the race.

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Amanda and I texted for a little while. She offered to hang back so I could catch up, but I felt like that was a lot of pressure for me to get up to her quickly. My calf was starting to ache pretty bad. Around the half marathon mark, I stopped at the medical tent for Biofreeze. I stopped at a second tent a little bit later for Tylenol. My half marathon split was 2:23:21.

I kept an eye on my pace, but I knew that I just wanted to finish. I kept calculating in my head what my finish time would be if I kept my current pace. However, the likelihood of me keeping that current pace was slim. Towards the end of the race, I was running slower and walking more.

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I saw Mary Beth and Mandy (who flew in from Kansas City to surprise me!) in Chinatown, which was such a great motivator. They were so positive and it was so good to see their smiling faces! Just down the road, I saw Greg, Michael, and Rachel again. My parents had taken the kids back to the hotel by this point. I thought it would be the last time I saw them and we discussed how and where we would meet up after the race.

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I was down to the last five miles or so which seemed to last forever. I knew some of the other girls would be finishing the race soon since they were ahead of me. As it was reaching the middle of the day, it was insanely hot. Unseasonably hot for Chicago actually. I thought it would be fine since I had trained in the humidity and heat all summer, but we never ran at noon in the middle of the day, so this was all new territory. As I made my way into the last couple of miles, I spotted Greg, Michael, and Rachel again. I almost started sobbing. They had gotten ice water from Starbucks and refilled my Camelbak. I gave them my headphones and prepared for the last couple of miles. After they saw me in Chinatown, they decided to go ahead and find me again. Bless their hearts. I so needed it.

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I probably walked more than I should have in those last couple of miles, but I made my way back to the city and the finish line. I crossed the finish line at 5:23:14. I was emotional, but also so hot and so happy to be done. My finish time was slower than I anticipated or hoped it would be. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed with how the race went, especially the second half. I was bummed about the weather and aggravated that my calf started bothering me so early in the race.

On the other hand, I was extremely proud just to have finished the race! I joined the 1% of the population that has completed a marathon and that was something to be proud of!

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After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a banana and a beer. Like before the race, there was an obnoxious amount of walking after the race to get back to the RMHC tent. My feet hurt and all I wanted was to sit down. I was so happy to see some of my cheer squad waiting for me at the tent.

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I will say again how amazing the entire race was. The crowds, the city, the support. So many spectators looked me in the eye, called me by my first name, and said such encouraging words to me. I was overwhelmed with emotion throughout the race. I will never forget how the city rallied around every single one of the runners out there for the entire race. I will definitely be back Chicago. I am coming for a redemption run.

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I also cannot express the gratitude that I had for my own cheer squad that day. They conquered that city for me showing up at the most needed spots during the race and wearing the most appropriate shirt of the day. Each time seeing them gave me that boost of courage and energy that I needed to keep going.

Finally, I trained with the best runner friends that anyone could ask for. These girls made the 16 weeks of training not only bearable, but fun! We spent countless hours together before the sun came up. They were there for me in the good times and the bad times. I was so grateful to have run this race with them.

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Cheers to 26.2 miles!

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Chicago, you did not disappoint. See you in 2020.

USA Beach Running Championships {race recap}

On Cinco de Mayo we loaded up the SUVs and headed to Cocoa Beach for a girls night 10k race. We spent the afternoon getting settled in the hotel, picking up our race packets, and shopping at Ron Jon Surf Shop before heading to the port for dinner.

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We listened to live music, enjoyed some margaritas, and had dinner before heading back to the hotel. Once we arrived back, Vanessa and Juliana were ready to join in on the fun! We stayed up way too late laughing and enjoying our time without having to worry about bedtime routines, considering we had a race the next morning.

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5:45am came very early and we all reluctantly rolled out of bed to make our way to the beach for the 10k. The race had a half marathon option and a 10k option, both entirely on the beach. We all were running the 10k, so we waited for the half marathoners to be on their way fore it was time for our race to start.

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While others have run this race in previous years, it was my first time (spoiler alert, also my last time). Heather and I started off playing catch up with group because it was pretty packed at the start of the race. We ran pretty quick for the first mile and caught up with Cristina and Tracy. That was the end of the quick running. Once we caught up with them, we decided to switch to intervals, which eventually turned into more walking than running.

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It was a beautiful day at the beach. The ocean and the waves were gorgeous, but the part of the beach where the sand was nice and packed was covered by the tide. As we were running, we would creep down to the packed sand only to be dodging the incoming tide in order to keep our shoes dry. The dry sand was loose and slanted. From what I’ve heard, the hurricane really impacted the beach and the race conditions in previous years weren’t as bad.

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The race was 3.1 miles out and 3.1 miles back. As usual, the way out felt longer than the way back. By the time we were at mile 5, I was just ready to be done. The finish line was pretty far up the beach away from the water so the sand was very loose making it that much harder to get the seahorse medal. But alas, we finished, snapped a quick picture, and headed straight for the food.

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We headed back to the hotel for a quick shower before our families arrived to enjoy the rest of the morning at the beach. Overall, the beach race was a great experience. I am so glad that I did it. We had such a great time the entire time we were there. But, with that being said, I’ll be okay not running it again! I think I’m going to stick to road races.