Archive | Races RSS feed for this section

Race Recap: OUC Half Marathon 2011

7 Dec

After my Friday spent downing Emergen-C, I was surprised to wake up Saturday feeling decent. Since I had felt so awful all week I hadn’t gotten around to going to the grocery story so my pre-race breakfast ended up being a bowl of rice cereal with vanilla soy milk and a scoop of peanut butter. Not my finest meal, but it did the job.

Since the OUC Half Marathon starts at Lake Eola, my friend Rox met me at 6:15 am for our warm-up walk to the start line. There we met with our friend T and one of her friends.

Here’s the view from our meeting spot:

And here we were:

When Rox and I trained for our first half marathon, T had trained with us until an injured hip forced her to stop, followed by her short-lived breakup with running. When I found out a few weeks ago that she was training for the OUC Half, I got really excited… we could finish what we started a couple of years ago! I signed up for the race last week and hoped to run it with her.

We headed to the start around 6:55 AM, five minutes before the start. I always love the energy at start lines.

If this picture looks familiar, it’s because it’s essentially the same start as the Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k.

And we were off. Below are some pics from the race.

Here we are around mile 3:

We had just run into Carolina from Peas in a Blog who was wearing the best t-shirt ever:

Shortly after we saw more of T’s friends wearing shirts with T’s mug on them:

I have now requested that Donnie make and wear a t-shirt with my face on it for the Walt Disney World Marathon. He said he will oblige.

I’m sad I didn’t get a photo of the two finer ladies sitting at a small table in the middle of a median around mile three drinking mimosas. Now that’s how ladies spectate!

Somewhere mid-race we saw the local Lululemon ladies:

Here’s T and I around mile 7. One of us had just pointed out that we were more than halfway finished:

The marathon was a mix between running in downtown neighborhoods and some shared highways. Here’s a long stretch of a shared road in front of Boone High School:

Here we are giving it a final push along mile 13. I love that T was a good sport with all of the pics I was taking. At this point she was digging deep to find energy she didn’t know she had. And there may have been cursing…

T finished her first half marathon! I’m so proud of her! Rox finished too… Way ahead of us… I’m proud of her too.

Here’s a shot of me with Rox and two of my running group ladies, Erica and Beth:

I knew I would be facing challenges in running someone else’s race . I wasn’t  able to run my usual pace, which was at times extremely difficult. And I had to play the role of encourager, which doesn’t always come naturally to me. But before the run I had decided that the rewards of being a part of T’s first half marathon would far exceed any personal best time I could get.

And even though it took us 3:01:06 to run the half, this half became a different kind of personal best for me.


  • Local half marathon
  • Easy for your friends and family to come cheer you on
  • Track Shack always puts on a good race
  • Easy, flat course
  • Nice, long-sleeved tech shirts


  • While it’s a spectator-friendly race, we didn’t really see many spectators outside of the beginning and the end
  • There are stretches of shared road with vehicles

I’ll definitely run the OUC Half Marathon again next year.

Have you run the OUC Half Marathon? How was your experience?


Spectator Race Recap: Space Coast Marathon 2011

28 Nov

Yesterday I got my spectatin’ on at the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa, FL.

The day started early with a 3:15 am wake-up and a 4 am meet-up time with friends that were running the race. We got to Cocoa in less than 45 minutes so that gave my friends plenty of time to warm up and get to the start line by 6:15 am.

The start of the race was signaled by a big screen rocket launch and a simple “Go!” on the speakers. I overheard a couple of racers complaining that there was no gun or bull horn to start the race. Personally, I’m never at the front of a race start line so I don’t care either way. I go when the people in the corral in front of me go. Or someone pushes me forward.

I watched the runners take off then ran over to King Street to catch my friends again when the looped around. By then it had started to lightly drizzle so I walked back to the car for an hour of rest before I headed back out to the finish line to catch the half marathon winners. I got there just in time which was awesome because fast runners are so fun to watch.

Afterwards I walked back to Brevard Ave. where I was scoping out somewhere to get some coffee. This woman caught my attention along the way:

Can you believe that she ran the entire marathon with that stroller? There were three kids in that bad boy and I think I saw her come in under 5:00!

Shortly after, I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across Ossorio, a cafe and bakery with tables outside. I ordered some iced coffee and decided I deserved a chocolate croissant for waking up so early.

Here was my view:

I sat here until I saw the 5:00 pace group run by then moved up the street a little. While I waited for my friends in my new spot I caught a few fellow Marathonfesters as they ran by. I was standing somewhere around the half marathon marker and loved that I saw so many people still smiling.

When my friends approached I could tell this wasn’t their best run. They talked me into walking a mile with them while they tried to muster up the energy to run the rest of the marathon. They begged  me to say something funny but it was a bit too early for me to think of any jokes. I was stumped so it’s a good thing that seconds later we came across this sexy volunteer at the next water stop:

I walked a little over a mile with my friends then dipped out to get out of the sun. By this point the clouds had cleared and the sun was beating down. This did not fare well with my black jeans.

I walked back towards the finish line and stopped to watch some dolphins that were feeding in the inter-coastal. I love me some dolphins!

Back at mile 26, I settled on the grass in the spot that I would remain in for the next several hours:

Time flew as I sat and watched runner after runner round that corner and realize they were almost finished running 26.2 miles. I saw them suddenly shed that weight of months of training and hard work and pick up their heavy legs. I saw them cry in pain, or relief, or joy, or a combination of those all. I saw kids running that last .2 miles with their parents, looking proud and excited. I saw complete strangers encouraging runners to “Keep it up” and “Finish strong.”  I saw hard work, determination and accomplishment cross in front of me in all shapes and sizes and ages. I saw badass in men and women 2.5 times my age. I saw amazing.

If you’ve never stood at the finish of a marathon, I strongly recommend it. It’s one of the most emotional and incredible things to get to witness. Make sure to bring a tissue, because you’ll more than likely cry at least once.

Back to the Space Coast Marathon… here are the pros and cons that I overheard, noted, etc:


  • Beautiful, scenic course along the water in historic Cocoa Village, FL
  • Local for Central Florida residents
  • Great race for spectators
  • Nice medal
  • Five of the runners I knew said this was their worst marathon performance ever. Two of them said every year it’s their worst marathon performance.
  • It’s two days after Thanksgiving
  • In November there’s still a chance it will be hot or humid (yesterday’s run was both)
  • The marathon course is two out and backs

I would consider running the half marathon course, but you won’t find me running any full in November in Florida two days after Thanksgiving.

Have you ever run the Space Coast Marathon or half? If so, how did you like it?

Race Recap: Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k

26 Nov

Five years ago I ran my very first 5k on a cool Thanksgiving morning. The Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k has quickly became one of my favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions and is the only 5k that I make sure to run every year.

This year my boyfriend Donnie was sidelined with a bad case of tendonitis, so he decided that he would cheer his Pops and I on from the sidelines with our two pugs. I felt bad that he couldn’t run, but he had to do this last year too and I knew that I would love seeing his face along the run.

The race started at 8 AM, so Donnie’s Pops and I set out on foot to Lake Eola around 7:20. Pops commented on how this would be his first time to arrive to the race on time. You see, Donnie doesn’t have a good track record with getting to races early.

We got to the start line about 20 minutes later and did some stretching before we jumped into the start line crowd.

Here are a couple of pictures from the start:

Me and Pops at the start line. I look like at I could've used a couple more hours of sleep. 🙂

At the start of the Turkey Trot

Usually Pops and I race each other, but this year we decided to just cruise and enjoy the race. Since my other foot is now hurting me, I welcomed the relaxed pace, rather then the usual bobbing and weaving I have to do in such a large crowd:

Mile one. Pops is in the zone. 😉

A little after mile one we saw these three:

We had the cutest support team.

Rex (the fawn pug) was a little preoccupied with all of the runners to pay little ol’ me any attention, but Tank (the black pug) wanted to be pet. I quickly obliged then off we went again.

Running down Amelia

Here’s a shot of the last mile. I always like this stretch, it means we’re almost done.

Mile 3 of the Turkey Trot

I sprinted the home stretch so I didn’t get any pictures of the finish line. I finished the 5k in just over 34 minutes. Certainly not my best time, but it really was a beautiful run and I love that I got to take it all in this time.

Afterwards I went to get a banana with Rex in tow. I didn’t realize that he’s basically a rock star and would get so much attention. A little of this special petting attention resulted in Rex getting sprinkled with red energy drink:

Rex's dye job

He didn’t seem to mind.

While Donnie and I waited for Pops to get his post-run snacks, Rex and Tank had a small group of runners petting them. I looked up and recognized one of the runners when she mentioned her new dog Molly. It was Andrea from from one of the running blogs I follow: Run, Eat, Date, Sleep. It’s always fun to meet people face-to-face!

Pops and I caught a ride home with Donnie and the pups:

Tank and I on the ride home

When we got home I made us some yummy pumpkin pancakes to celebrate.

Did you start your Thanksgiving Day with a run?

ING NYC Marathon Recaps

10 Nov

The New York City Marathon is at the top of my marathon wish list. It holds an extra special place in my heart because I’ll never forget living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and watching the marathon runners run up Fourth Ave and thinking “I could never do that.”

Here are some of my favorite recaps I’ve read so far from the 2012 ING New York City Marathon:

Peas in a Blog

Losing Weight in the City

Healthy Happier Bear


Runner’s World (added 11/13/11)

Did you blog about your ING NYC Marathon? I would love to read it! Post the link to your post in the comments section. 

Running in Grass Skirts and Coconut Bras

4 Nov

I was recently introduced to the wonder that is, which is a blog that consists of… well, people jogging in jeans. Which is preposterous, yet hilarious. Well maybe it’s not that crazy. I mean as kids, didn’t we play and run in our jeans all day, every day? It never seemed to bother us then, right? You never see a kid stop their fun and say ,”Wait guys. Let me put on some more appropriate clothing for running.” Nah, they just take off.

This got me to thinking about the most ridiculous things I’ve run in:

  • Cross-trainers – When I first started running almost five years ago, I ran in an old pair of cross-trainers I had in my closet. It pained Donnie to see me run in these and he eventually bought me my first pair of running shoes when I started to complain of ankle pain.
  • Street clothes – Recently my friends and I traveled to Cleveland, OH for a wedding. We had a layover in Atlanta. Due to bad weather and a delayed flight, we had less than one minute to get across the Atlanta Airport. Despite this being an impossible challenge, we tried anyways. Running in low-rise jeans, a regular bra and flats was a massive fail and my sprint quickly turned into a really slow jog. We missed the flight (not because of how slow I was, but because the plane had already left without us) and ended up sleeping in Atlanta.
  • Street clothes (again) – When a friend was struggling during her marathon earlier this year I threw on my running shoes and started to run along side her for a little motivation. I’m so thankful that she said she was fine, because running in tweed shorts was sure to give me some massive leg chafing.
  • Coconut bra, lei and a grass skirt – In 2008, Donnie and I ran Muddy Buddy here in Orlando, FL. They really encourage you to dress up for this bike and run obstacle course so I hit up the dollar store for inspiration. The two grass skirts, two coconut bras and two leis later I had our costumes for under $10! Who cares that our grass skirts caught caught in our borrowed bike’s spokes and we were picking out skirt for hours? At least we had epic race pics:

Donnie and I on the final stretch of Muddy Buddy

Around mile 3 we figured out that it was best to tuck our grass skirts into our shorts to avoid getting caught in the spokes. Wish we would've remembered to untuck for this pic.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve run in?

How I Got Into This Mess

15 Oct

And by ‘this mess’ I mean running.

When I lived in NY, I went to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. My gym was only a block away from my Astoria, Queens apartment so it was really hard to talk myself out of going. I usually spent my time alternating between the bike, the stair climber, the elliptical and the weights. I stayed as far away from the treadmill as possible. To me running was the devil.

But when I moved back to Florida, I lived in Tampa for 10 months and money was tight. Plus my hours at the office were long and the thought of coming home and working out within more walls made me cringe. So I started to walk along Bayshore Blvd. And then I started running ‘until the next light post’ or ‘until I passed those people walking their dog.’

Not long after, I moved back to Orlando and continued setting short term running goals:

  • Run around the block
  • Run around Lake Eola one time
  • Run 2 miles
  • Run 3 miles
  • Run the Turkey Trot 5k

I met a lot of these first goals with the help of my boyfriend Donnie’s support. He would run to Lake Eola (I would drive there) and he would run laps with me. He would tell me to dig deeper and push harder when I needed to hear it (and sometimes when I didn’t care to hear it). And he bought me my first pair of running shoes. Up until that point I had been running in old cross-trainers and had started to feel some pain in my ankles. Without his help, I would’ve given up early on.

Shortly before that first 5k I started to run with some ladies from my job and after running a few 5k’s we started talking about running a longer distance. Our friend Tim, who was also a co-worker, got tired of hearing us ladies talk about it, but never actually do anything about it. So he picked a small half marathon held in Baldwin Park in November 2009 and told us we were training for it. From then on we called him “Coach.”

Running with this group of friends was an incredible motivator. Together we ran, we laughed, we got lost on runs and we commiserated. We dragged ourselves out of bed on weekend mornings, we struggled, we got injured and we learned the importance of listening to our bodies. We encouraged each other and we pushed each other. By the time the half marathon came around, two of our ladies were injured and had to run the 5k instead. But we all showed up that morning ready to run:

Before the Baldwin Park Half. I am the one feeling strong. Donnie is the one tying is shoe. Roxy is waving and Tim is trying not to look nervous. Both Roxy and Tim placed in their age groups!

Donnie, Me, Tim (aka “Coach”), Roxy (all Half Marathon) and our 5k runners Theresa and Amy. Both Donnie and Tim smell like sweaty boys, which is why I’m keeping my distance.

Because we all have different paces and jobs now, we no longer run together. But occasionally you’ll still see us at the finish line cheering on our old running buddies.

Tendonitis Stinks

15 Oct

Just last month, I got to run 16 miles in New York City with a new friend. Sixteen miles in Central Park, and not a boring mile! It was absolutely amazing, and entertaining and everything I hoped it would be. The subway ride back to my hotel, however, was not quite as enjoyable for my poor legs. Nor was the full day of walking that I ended up doing.

My Route for the 16-miler in NY

And just three weekends ago I ran the Miracle Miles 15k here in Orlando. It was a hot morning and a quick reminder of how harsh Florida running can be in comparison to the cool New York running I had been doing for the past two weeks. I was dehydrated and ran a bit sluggish, but my legs felt fine.

My legs holding up just fine during the 15k

Then two weekends ago I ran/walked 15 miles of Sue’s Candy-Ass 50k Birthday Run. It was a birthday celebration, so of course, there were cupcakes. And red cups. I can neither confirm nor deny what was in those cups, but I’m certain we made Sue proud. It was around mile 11 that I started to feel the pain in my foot.

Me and My Group Leader Emily at Sue's Candy-Ass 50k Birthday Run

The day after the 50k I woke up with a pain in my left foot, just in front of the ankle and towards the top of my foot. After some good ol’ internet research, I self-diagnosed myself with a tibialis anterior tendonitis and have been on running hiatus ever since. And after two weeks of resting, icing and stretching I’m not seeing any improvement.

Right now would probably be a good time to point out that self diagnosis should be frowned upon. I agree. I frown at my own actions often. On Monday I’m calling a foot doctor that my friend recommended and I will have the good doctor confirm (or dispute) my diagnosis and beg them to help me get running again.

When was your training brought to a sudden halt by an injury? How long before you were back on the road? It’s only been two weeks for me, and I’m beyond restless.