The Rest of 2014 Races

22 Oct Orlando_Half_Logo

After overcommitting myself to training for the Chicago Marathon last year and working on my MBA, I decided to take it easy this year. It was that or clone myself. That said, after running this past weekend’s U Can Finish 5-miler 4.5 miler I only have two confirmed races for the rest of the year. That, and I have to somehow make it through this semester.

Orlando_Half_Logo

OUC Orlando Half Marathon

I needed a half marathon to at least get me out of bed in the mornings. I wrestled back and forth between running this half because D is running it. This will be his first half marathon since he injured his foot a couple of years ago and had to get surgery so I wanted to be able to cheer him on. But… I also LOVE this local race. Finally I decided to run the race and instead recruit family and friends to come cheer him on. I’ve run this race twice before (read about the races here and here) and look forward to running it again this year. You can register for the race here.

Turkey_Trot_logo

Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k

This year will mark my seventh year in a row running this Thanksgiving morning race. It’s always a great way to start the day and I look forward to running this with friends and family. You can register for this race here.

What races do you have on deck for the rest of 2014? 

Race Recap: U Can Finish 5 Miler

20 Oct

Or can you?

No. You can’t. Which is ironic given the name of the race.

In case you’re wondering why you can’t finish, it’s mainly because the course wasn’t actually five miles in distance. It was closer to four and half miles. Seriously. Check out my Garmin at the end of the race:

Not quite 5 miles.

Not quite 5 miles.

But I digress. Let me start at the beginning.

My husband is running the Track Shack Running Series and this is one of the races in the series. Last week he asked me if I wanted to run this race again (we also ran it back on 10/10/10). After looking over my half marathon training schedule to see if the race would be a good fit and then checking with my trusty training partner Beth, I signed up for the race. And because I am alumni, I saved a couple of bucks on my registration. Score! All three of us are UCF alumni, so it’s always fun to take a jaunt back on campus.

Sunday morning, D, Beth and I set off for the main campus. There were jokes to be made about trying to find an actual current student that was awake since it was eerily quiet near the dorms.

A household united.

A household united.

Beth and I did, however, run into running friends and took the opportunity to catch up. Also, the sunrise was a gorgeous backdrop to the start of the race.

I'm a sucker for sunrises.

I’m a sucker for sunrises.

And did I mention the weather was perfect? Because it was. It was in the 60’s and cool, perfect for a run around our old campus. The race started on time (or at least I didn’t notice it starting late) and Beth and I set off running mile intervals (run one mile, walk one minute, repeat). We were busy reminiscing about our college years as we ran the first couple of miles. However, when we passed the three-mile marker, I noticed that my Garmin didn’t match up. And then when we passed the four-mile marker, Beth pointed out that the last mile seemed to go by too fast. Sure enough, when I checked my Garmin, I had a shorter distance.

We also started to notice that the course was getting confusing. There were cones lining a route, but runners going in a different direction. We noted that having volunteers there would probably help with the confusion. In fact, volunteers on the course seemed to be scarce. We later heard from our friends that they ran the wrong direction and had to turn around. Even with that error, they still didn’t hit five miles.

Also, I also couldn’t help but feel like the race course wasn’t quite taking advantage of the sprawling UCF campus. There were a couple times that we ran down one street just to double back. I’m not a big fan of doubling back unless I’ve lost something.

As we neared the finish line, I knew something was wrong. We weren’t supposed to finish yet! And sure enough, when we passed the finish line my Garmin showed our distance completed to be 4.54 miles. Enter all of the “you can’t finish” jokes you can think of. Oh, the irony!

Race Stats:

  • Distance: 5.00 4.54 mi.
  • Time: 50:46.92
  • Avg Pace: 11:10/mi.

PROS:

  • Get to run around campus without being chased by campus police
  • You’ll PR for sure since there aren’t many 5-mile races … or 4.5-mile races
  • Nostalgic race for UCF alumni
  • You get to see all of the new buildings that weren’t there when you were a student

CONS:

  • The 5-mile race wasn’t actually 5 mile in distance
  • Course was confusing at times
  • Volunteers were scarce
  • Only those that completed the double distance received medals (I saw way too many racers walk up to get a medal only to be turned away… AWKWARD)
  • Not a lot of spectators

FINAL VERDICT: I’m a big fan of Track Shack events, but this one seemed to lack the organization that their other races typically have. Also, I like people to cheer me on and this race didn’t have a lot of that going on. And, like a friend on Facebook said, I paid for five miles and only got four and a half miles. Overall, I probably won’t run this race next year. However, I will consider streaking on campus. :)

Did you run the U Can Finish 5-miler this year? What did you think? 

 

 

 

2013 Me vs. 2014 Me on Running 6 Miles

26 Sep

2013 Me: “We’re only running six miles? Sweet!”

aw_yiss

Image Source

2014 Me: “Whoa… We’re running six miles?!”

Not doing that

 Image Source

Why Runners Should Never Trust People

7 Aug

Two days ago a person almost killed me and my friend Rachelle. This was a person that I trusted to do what was right. I learned a valuable lesson. Never trust people.

Let me start from the beginning. It all started around 6am. My friend and I were a couple of miles into our four-mile run when we approached a four-way stop. As always, we slowed down to see if there were any cars approaching.

We saw the car coming, but it was still slowing down for the full stop. Since the car wasn’t full braked yet and would still have to stop at the stop sign, as you should always do at a stop sign, we thought we had time to cross. Also, by this time we were in the driver’s headlights so surely they could see us, right?

Wrong. Don’t trust people. The driver totally pulled one of these:

clueless

Source

As we were running right in front of her car, the driver shifted from slowing down to pausing to then accelerating. And we did this:

chelsea

Source

And just as she was about to hit us both, she slammed her brakes. I had jumped back and my friend had jumped forward to finish crossing the street. The driver tried to signal me to go ahead and cross in front of her. To which I gave her a look similar to this:

disbelief

Source

There was no way I was going to cross in front of her car. I didn’t trust her. So we went into a stand-off until she finally drove away and I crossed the street.

My friend and I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. How did she not see us? Why didn’t she stop at the stop sign? Why couldn’t we run a 9-minute mile? (Okay, maybe that last question is off topic, but when your life flashes before your eyes you can’t help where your mind goes.)

Tuesday morning I learned my lesson as a runner: Never trust people. Unless they are handing out free pretzels during a marathon. Then, by golly, take all the free pretzels you can get your hands on.

Have you ever been almost hit by a car while running?

 

 

I’m back.

3 Aug

“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret is how much I believed in the future.” – J. S. Foer

Life has a way of taking sharp turns when you’re least expecting it.

At the end of February my life took one of those turns. And while I’m not quite ready to share the details of the life-altering event that rocked my family (mainly out of respect for the privacy of my family), I will say that it was a health diagnosis that caused us all to change the way we look at life. In those early days, where the prognosis was unclear, I experienced a fear like I have never felt before. And a helplessness that left me feeling paralyzed.

I’m happy to say that after the first round of treatment, my loved one has seen some positive results. They have shown and continue to show a bravery that inspires me. However, my family now lives with the heightened awareness that the future is not promised to any of us.

As if life wasn’t already hard enough to handle, it decided to hit me with two more blows: I lost the new job I started at the beginning of February and then I was hit with my own medical scare.

The new job had been my dream job on paper, but failed to stack up in real life. Rather than settling into my place on the team, I found myself questioning my role. It didn’t help that my role was constantly being redefined for me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I increasingly had the feeling that this wasn’t the place for me. Instead of getting excited to work every day, I dreaded the moment I would start my work day. I knew something had to change soon and was relieved when it did, even if it meant that I would be unemployed.

Not long after, I had my own medical scare. This time it wasn’t life-threatening, but it was heart breaking. During this roller coaster of life that I like to call “May 2014,” I also couldn’t run. This, quite frankly, sucked. I needed to run and it seemed like a cruel joke that I couldn’t at least have that. I craved the endorphins released from a nice sweaty run and I yearned for the laughter I often shared with my friends during our early morning runs.

The days were dark and you would often find me saying, “Is 2014 over yet?” The good thing is, I never lost hope that things would turn around. It was just my impatience for it to happen that was hard for me to control. Patience is not my favorite virtue. I like things to move fast and for me having to sit back and “wait” is like placing a cupcake in front of me and telling I have to wait until after dinner to enjoy it. Screw that. I want it now.

Then June 2014 came and I found myself slowly healing. But I can’t take the credit. I credit my husband for holding me up when I couldn’t stand on my own anymore. And for letting me cry a lot. And for taking care of our little family. I credit my family for banding together in a way I never thought possible. I credit a close group of friends for listening and reminding me that good things were just around the corner. I credit school for creating the perfect distraction.

And then I found a job, one that I was genuinely excited about. I found myself able to breathe again. I found myself able to run again. I found myself smiling more, crying less. I found myself again.

So … I’m back, but I’m not the same. I know tomorrow isn’t promised and I’m going to try to honor that lesson daily, but without letting it overcome me. Life is short. Let’s have some fun with it!

 

I did it again…

6 Feb

I ran through another spider web this morning. I’m not sure why spiders keep spinning webs across streets and how it is that I keep hitting them first out of the group, but I don’t like it one bit.

Thanks to my girls, who attempted to de-web me while laughing their heads off.

Meanwhile, this was me:

does_not_want

2013 in My Rearview

2 Jan

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’m always sad that the holidays are over, but I’m thrilled to have some time to rest. This year that rest is especially important to me. My MBA semester ended just 12 days before Christmas, giving me that long to finish Christmas shopping, wrap and ship gifts, catch up with my lovely friends and family that I neglected all semester, and hit up holiday gatherings. Let’s just say that I’m perfectly happy spending the first day of 2014 resting and using the time before UCF, my alma mater, plays in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl to reflect on 2013.

I anticipated that 2013 would be my best year ever. And it was… I married my best friend! But if you would’ve told me at the start of the year that I would  decide I wanted to get my MBA and actually start the program within months of this decision, I would’ve laughed at you. Hard. I may have even had tears running down my face. With the start of my first semester, my best year ever slowly transitioned to my most challenging year ever. I spent my days trying to strike balance in every aspect of my life, and learning to let go of the things I couldn’t control.

Looking back, I am forever grateful for my husband and his support all year. He cooked. He cleaned. He took care of our dogs. He kept our house together. He kept me together. He reminded me to slow down. He made me laugh. He cheered me on. He reminded me that I can do anything I set out to do. He let me cry. He worked around my crazy schedule. He made me a lot of coffee. And when the semester ended and I had just submitted me last paper, he walked over with drinks to celebrate.

I’m also grateful for my friends. They gave me epic nicknames like “HeMBArie.” They insisted I was destined for greatness. They ran alongside me. They surprised me at my marathon. They listened to me. They made me laugh… a lot. They understood when I couldn’t make it. They kept inviting me. They let loose with me.

It was a great year. Here’s a look back at 2013:

I married my really, really hot best friend.

wedding pic

Just married!

We took a quick minimoon to Amelia Island…

Amelia Island

Our lodge in Amelia Island

And then went on an unforgettable honeymoon trip to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica

Ziplining through the canopies of the Costa Rican jungle

I lost 9 lbs. by cutting my dairy and gluten intake and managed to keep them off during my marathon training.

My little sister married her best friend.

IMG_7257

My gorgeous Sis and her husband

I started my MBA program.

I ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon…

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

And the 2013 Turkey Trot.

The 2013 Turkey Trot with my friend Hong

The 2013 Turkey Trot with my friend, Hong

D and I finally visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and tried butterbeer.

The butterbeer stand

The butterbeer stand

I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings my way. I wish you a very happy 2014!

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