Monday, December 26, 2011

Goals for 2012!

I am thrilled that I managed to achieve all of my goals for 2011! Here's how I did...

1. Run over 350 miles. I actually managed over 440 miles this year :).
2. Do at least 6 fitness events. I did 14 'in-person' and 3 virtual events in 2011!
3. Complete a 15K or a Sprint Triathlon. I did a 15K, a Half Marathon and a Sprint Tri this year!
4. Finish a 5K race in under 30 mins. I PR'ed at 28:24 at the beginning of 2011 :)

To say that I'm stinking proud of myself is an understatement. I think my highlight of the year was the realization that I was only a half a mile from the Half Marathon line in November and wondering what else (in running and in general life) I am capable of. Such an amazing feeling...
Anyway, here are my goals for 2012...drumroll please...

1. Run over 450 miles
2. Do at least 12 events, including one that is not solely running
3. Complete two Half Marathons (yikes!)
4. PR at two different distances

My fitness level has already suffered from too much Christmas season indulgence so I'm really going to need to step it up. Nutrition is going to be critical too if I'm going to feel my best. And it's time for those new Newtons I've been hankering after - I know I deserve them ;). Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My First Half Marathon!

I think today is one of the proudest days of my life :). This morning I completed my first Half Marathon, the Women's Running Magazine's Women's Half in St. Petersburg to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! Back in February, several of my girlfriends completed their first Half Marathons. When I was approached by another friend to join her team for this race I thought it was about time that I gave it a shot (they later bailed so I actually ended up running alone :(). I registered online and got a free 12-week training program so I decided to follow it as closely as I could and only run on raceday if I had completed the training. For me, I found it easier to commit to doing a training program rather than the actual race which felt like a mountain to climb at that time. Anyway, the training went really well - one of the biggest challenges was learning to do long runs alone since I knew Mike wouldn't be joining me on the day :( - until about week 9 when I injured my ankle. I had already started to exceed the mileage on the long runs a bit so I think it was a case of too much, too soon. Anyway, after a particularly bad run one night, I actually passed out from the pain in my ankle! I took this as a sign to take a week off and instead of giving up altogether I decided to substitute the training runs for the crosstrainer at the gym and be a lot more careful, particularly on long runs. I was very nervous when it came time for the only 10-miler during training (the program only went up to 10 miles based on the assumption that adrenaline would get you to 13 on the day:)) but I managed to do it without too much trouble at all! That was the point at which I decided that I would go for it and do the race itself :).

There were about 7,000 registrants so the bib pick up is all handled the day before. We booked a hotel in St. Pete for Saturday night and drove over earlier in the day to get the fancy bag of goodies and T-shirt.


Just a little terrifying to see my name on the list...


One of the best pieces of advice that I had was not to do anything different from training on the actual day. With that in mind, I ran in my old Newtons and promised myself a pair of these if I actually managed to finish (and ever wanted to run again :))...


We caught the sunset after the Expo and took a walk on the beach on the way to the restaurant to 'carb up.'


When we got to the hotel, there was a wedding reception by the pool. They had fireworks while Maddy was taking a swim!


To ease my nerves I got everything organized and laid out for the next day. It didn't work; I barely slept at all :(...


We woke up to leave at just after 5am. At this point I just wanted for it to be over...


Aside from all the runners wearing pink, everything at the hotel was pink, including the Christmas tree!


When we arrived I was totally overwhelmed by the scale of the whole thing. It was quite reassuring to know I wasn't going to be suffering alone. That didn't stop the tears though and I didn't stop crying until we actually started running...

video

I planned on taking millions of photos during the race but very quickly decided to just focus on being present with the whole experience. The course route went past several landmarks in St. Pete and there were 7 live bands. I barely even used my ipod, the spectators were just incredible and I also met several fantastic ladies throughout the race! I did get a picture of the pier at mile 8...


After 10 miles I started to feel very nervous since I hadn't ever run that far before. It was starting to get a little too hot, the breeze had subsided and my feet were starting to get really sore. My favorite part of the whole race though was running through the air-conditioned Tropicana Field stadium on the astroturf and seeing the 12th mile marker right outside! I couldn't believe how close we were to the finish but I still didn't believe I would actually make it until I had less than a half mile to go:). I was also amazed at how close I was going to be to my fantasy time of 2:30! It suddenly occurred to me that I was just about to do something that I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I was capable of and I burst into tears (again) as I crossed the line and hugged the lady who gave me my beautiful medal :). 


The start/finish line was right outside the beautiful Dali museum...


Mike was so very proud of me!


After a couple of pics I was ready to go home and get some food and rest. When I woke up later on I took a walk to stretch out my legs a bit and reflect on the whole experience. I saw online that my time was 2:31:54 which I am completely thrilled with! So what next??? I'm really not sure. I'm pretty sure that I don't ever think I could take on a Full but I'm also pretty sure that I would do a Half again. For now, I'm going to celebrate for a while and wait and see how I feel later on :)...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Celebration Founders' Weekend 10K!



As part of the Founders' Weekend festivities in Celebration, they have an annual 10K race. Since I had a 6 mile run on the schedule anyway, I figured I'd sign up and try and run without any intervals to see how it went. They had a ton of entertainment for participants and the course was very pretty as it went through the different parts of the town. I really enjoyed the hot air balloons as we arrived, the bag pipe player who played us out (and back in again) and especially the neighbors who sat out cheering and waving as we went by. One of them played the theme tune for Rocky which really picked me up just as I was flagging! It was a really enjoyable run, I felt great throughout and finished with a PR of 1:05:09 which I was thrilled with!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cupcake Virtual Race

I did The Cupcake Challenge in October - a virtual run for Jess (blog here), one of my favorite bloggers. She has been such an inspiration to me! Part of the challenge was to have your post-race pic taken with a cupcake. I got creative since I can't be trusted with the real thing :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tampa Gorilla Challenge!

Today we did our first scavenger hunt race and it was a lot of fun! The Gorilla Challenge website describes it as a "fun outdoor event, where you race around the city to complete 10 out of 12 clues. Some clues require you to take pictures and others require you to complete small challenges (Field Day or Fear Factor'ish type). You can get prizes along the course or at the end of the game AND we always team up with the local food bank to raise food." We decided on "Guerrillaz" as our team name, got dressed and met up with Alex and Kirk at Game Time in Ybor ready to win some cash!

Every good freedom fighter knows to load up on sunblock when you're starting a revolution...


Mike was worried that people might think we were "Occupy Tampa" but I'm pretty sure that no one was taking us seriously, particularly with the water pistol...


Thank goodness we dressed up since we didn't see a single other person that hadn't. There were some great costumes...


For my outfit I bought a child's costume in Target for $14.99 and cut it up to make a top. Unfortunately it was made of some kind of cheap polyester-type stuff which didn't exactly "breathe." Combined with Mike's cargo pants and running around in 85 degree temperatures it wasn't long before I smelled like a jungle-dwelling freedom fighter too...


Kirk was already the proud owner of this shirt prior to the event. Alex told him that this would be the first and last time he would be wearing it when out in public with her :)


Alex really wanted to win. She was the only person there with an ipad to help with the clues. She's a clever one that Alex :)


Everyone really got into the spirit of the whole thing and with about 500 participants it was absolutely packed. They collected over two tons of canned goods for the Tampa Food Bank too!


We had to run around Ybor solving clues, taking photos with various poses, and doing challenges. Mike and I were pretty hopeless and didn't know our way around at all. If it hadn't been for Alex and Kirk we probably wouldn't have completed it. Which goes to show - it's not what you know but who you know that counts :)


Mike did take one for the team though and let us spray vinegar in his mouth for one of the challenges...


Charlie's Angels pose with two random strangers from a state beginning with the letter "N." I think they were actually more into it than we were which scared me just a little...


Thanking a fireman...


Don't drink and drive billboard...


Sizing up a picture of Zeus outside Acropolis. We couldn't find the real picture and the restaurant staff drew this one in chalk for us. . It totally worked - the guy validating the answers didn't care and gave us the points anyway :). Look at how excited Mike gets when he thinks he's cheating...


Striking a pose outside the Roosevelt Building...


Praying outside some church. Alex really wants to win that money...


We're in! And we solved 11 out of the 12 clues (with only a tiny bit of cheating). You only needed 10 but we wanted to be sure that we completed it just in case we had done one incorrectly. We didn't win but actually did really well! The official results won't be out for a while but it looked like we were pretty close to winning some cash!


Overall, we had a great time, laughed a lot and really enjoyed the day. I've heard that some of these types of events are more 'athletic' than others and this one was definitely much more about solving clues than running - at least for us! The route was probably about 5 miles and we solved clues in between locations. In retrospect, we probably would have been much faster if we had taken the time to map out the route before heading out. So we're going to do another one. Soon. And I'm going to wear more deoderant. And next time we're going to win:)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tampa Police Memorial 5K

Today was my anniversary race - it's now been two whole years now since my first 5K! I rode over with Catherine and she introduced me to some of her 'Run Tampa' friends when we arrived. I've never tried running with a group and they seem like a really nice bunch so I may try that soon.


I've done this race three times now with the adorable Emily :)


Darren was right when he said "all the cool people will be there" - but there's nothing like taking a photo with him to make you feel really short...


There was a good turnout as usual and we warmed up by taking silly pictures of ourselves at the start line...


Amber was nursing a nasty hangover but still managed to look fabulous and run like a demon!



Everybody loves it when they release the American flag at the top of the Police HQ Building during the National Anthem at the start of the race...

video

It was really nice to have some overcast weather as we ran down Bayshore...


I was aiming to beat last year's time of 31:16 so I was really thrilled with my time of 30:04! That's my second fastest to date! Increasing my weekly mileage is definately paying off. Good time, good run and good friends - what a perfect start to the weekend!