Monday, March 26, 2007

Celebrity 5K

We had another race this weekend. Luckily it was 10 miles shorter than my last couple of competitions.

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The Celebrity 5K to benefit the Homeless was this past Sunday on Miami Beach which we went to with our friends Andy, Glenna, Kevin and Marissa.

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The weather was beautiful (sunny, breezy and in the upper 70's), it was well organized, lots of entertainment and there were plenty of Port-O-Potties at the start (my personal favorite). They did however use the term "celebrity" pretty loosly in this case. With the exception of course, of the Queen of Miami herself, Ms. Gloria Estefan.

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Don't ask me who the guy is behind her.

The race started at the Miami Children's Museum. While we all hung out before the race, we split up at the start since I wanted to run for time. I hadn't done a 5K since the Turkey Trot in November and wanted to see if I could beat it (28:31). Jer and I took off at the start and maneuvered our way through the throngs of people in front of us. There was a pretty decent crowd, around 3,000 and we we didn't bother to make our way up to the front in the starting gate while we were waiting, which we paid for when the race started.

I have to admit, I dont really remember much about the run. It seemed so much shorter after running a couple Half-Marathons, but it wasn't easy since I was running at a faster pace than I normally do. Plus the whole race was into a headwind facing the Miami sun, which is NOT cool. Oh and the bridge...I forgot about that. That sucked too. So basically I was not happy the whole time I was running. Jeremy told me later, he looked over at me during the run and I looked really angry, so he didn't talk to me. Funny, that's WHY I needed him to talk to me, to take my mind off my misery. It was pretty nice to see mile marker 3 though and know I didn't have 10 more miles to go.

All my grumpiness paid off. I came in at 26:45, a new 5k PR!!!!

My chip time said 27:42, but they didn't have a mat at the start and were going by clock time. Here are the old splits:
1) 9:10
2) 8:26 (not bad for the wind and bridge)
3) 8:21
.1) :45

I came in 11th out of 137 in my female age group (30-34)!!! I thought maybe we were just slow, but I looked in the age group under mine (25-29) and I would have been 19th out of 160, so it's still a pretty decent time, (dumb I know, but I was curious). :)

I was so excited! That is 1:44 off my best time! I have to say alot of this is thanks to Jeremy. Even though he didn't "talk" to me, I would have slowed down without him. Of course, for 26 minutes he pissed me off, but my lazy-ass needs that push. I would have never run that fast if he hadn't been there. Funny how he pushes me without saying a word.

After the race we met up with everyone and went to the afterparty at Nikki Beach, where they fed us a gourmet brunch (fancy bagels) and gave out awards.

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It was really nice and I joke, but the spread was really good. Also, it was the first 5K I have ever been in that gave out medals to all finishers. And not dinky ones either, but really nice spinner medals, pretty impressive. Afterwards we hopped on a shuttle that took us back to the start (another very well organized part of the race).

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All in all it was a great run. If anyone is in Miami in March looking for a 5K to run, I highly recommend it. And it's for a really good cause.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Listen to Your Instincts

Sometimes it's hard to hear that little voice inside your head that is telling you to do all the things in your life that are good for you.

Even if it's screaming at you.

Jeremy and I had planned to go for our 5.6 golf course run early this morning which was totally fine with me. Until I decided to polish off a bottle of red wine last night while catching old episodes of Sex and the City. I woke up without a hangover but was really tired. As Jeremy sat in the living room at 5:45am waiting for me to get dressed, I hemmed and hawed in the bedroom trying to think of every excuse in the book not to go. Although the windows were open and the last few remaining days of humidity-free Miami weather were calling to me, I just wasn't having it.

I walked to the living room and whined.

"I don't feel like going..."

Instead of encouraging words, his response was brief.



This is why running with your husband is wonderful and terrible all at the same time.

Anyway, I went (stupid guilt) and it was a beautiful morning. Once I got out there I felt great, very light and calm for some reason. Our friend Kevin was there when we arrived so we started our run together.

One of my goals for this year is to try to run a 10k without doing walk breaks. I always do 3-4 miles walk-break free, but anything beyond that I usually add them, including our 5.6 mile runs in the morning. Even if we cut the walk breaks back, I usually do at least three. Since Kevin was there and he doesn't do them I told Jeremy we should try to just run the whole thing (by WE I meant ME since we all know they can run circles around me walk breaks or not). He asked if I was sure and since I was feeling so well around mile 1 I decided it was a good day to try.

Long story short. The run rocked. Not only did I cut out all walk breaks (with the exception of the mandatory stop we do for water around mile 2), but I also ran an average of a SUB 9 MINUTE MILE the WHOLE TIME!!! The 4th mile was rough, but having the boys there talking helped to take my mind off things.

Final stats:
5.6 miles
50:14 minutes
Ave pace: 8:58 per mile
PR for course!!! Next goal sub 50 minutes (soooo close)!

Moral of the story: Always run when you are trying to find excuses not to. They are always your best bet. It's fate's way of tricking you into keeping up the excercise.

I'm on to you Fate.

Monday, March 19, 2007


...well, until today that is.

I have to admit, I didn't run 5 steps the week after the Sarasota Half Marathon. Is that a good idea for the whole "training" thing? Probably not. But it felt sooooo good to be totally lazy again. Lucky for me, I now know better than to stick with that plan for too long.

I did manage to make it to the gym a couple of times for some weight training and some fun on the elliptical machine. But that was about it. With the whole early time-change, it seems harder than normal to drag myself out of bed in the morning. So I pretty much slept in every day and went to work. Imagine my surprise when I would come home from work stressed out and mad every night and couldn't figure out why.

Then last Wednesday after work the sun was still shining and the weather was beautiful so I decided to go for a short 3.2 mile run around campus. It was so much better than I had expected (29:31), considering I hadn't run since Sarasota and the difference in how I felt when I was done was amazing. All the sudden my stress was gone...imagine that. So yeah, I started running again.

Saturday, Jeremy and I went on a 7.2 mile morning run up to Cocowalk and back (1:12). It was a little warm out, but only because we didn't start till 10am. Then this morning we went for our morning 5.6 mile run (53:51). I was perfect. Not too fast, but not slow. It stayed nice and dark almost until the very end (which I love) and the sunrise at the end was beautiful. Oh yeah, the no humidity, slight breeze and cool weather helped too.

Guess it's time to stop being lazy and enjoy the cooler mornings.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The 2007 Sarasota Half-Marathon

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Well, the Sarasota Half Marathon is over and it was a huge success. So huge in fact, I still can't believe it myself.

Chip time - 2:09:32.

That's right, 15 minutes off my Half Marathon time from just 5 weeks ago! I knew I was holding back a little bit during the Miami Half, but I really didn't expect to do a sub 2:10. I think maybe I was hoping it somewhere in the back of my mind, but I didn't want to say it outloud in case I jinxed myself. Actually, had the weather not been so perfect, I'm sure it would have added a minute or two (or five) to my overall time.

Jeremy and I drove up to Sarasota on Thursday night after work. Since it is about a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive, we got in around 11pm, talked to my mom for a bit and went to bed. Friday we got up early and headed downtown for lunch. Afterwards, we strolled around the bayfront as I played with one of my new camera lenses.

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We went to the expo at around 4pm to pick up our packets but didn't stay too long. It wasn't the biggest expo in the world, which made it easy to walk through it quickly and avoid spending too much money. The race tshirt was cute too with the little grouper logo on it.

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Sunday morning we went to the Broken Egg for breakfast with my parents and ate blueberry pancakes the size of my head. We all hung out the whole day and later my dad made an awesome spaghetti dinner for us with garlic bread and a salad. I didn't get to take a bath like I like to do the night before a race but I did stand in the hot shower for about 20 minutes. It helped loosen up the muscles and relax me for a good nights sleep.

On gameday we woke up a little after 4am. We packed our bag the night before so we pretty much just got dressed, drank water, ate half a Cliff Bar and took off. By South Florida standards, it was pretty chilly outside (HA! - in the 50's) with just a slight breeze, so it was really, really nice. Pretty much perfect conditions for running.

We drove to Ringling Museum of Art where the race began and parked fairly easily. Of course as soon as I got there I had to use the bathroom so I got in line to wait.

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But after about 15 minutes of standing still, I decided to just find a bush. Aahhh, the realities of running. Why is it there are NEVER enough port-o-potties?

After that we gathered in the corral and only waited about 5-10 minutes before the race started. The weather could not have been better and I felt great. I was also really excited about running with Jeremy. Since the Miami Race, we have been running together at least 3 days a week and it has been really nice. He gets me running faster, but he never pushes me or makes me uncomfortable. He is truly a great running partner.


The race began at 6am with the Half and Full starting together. The first few miles were through a neighborhood that had NO lights, so that was a bit rough in the dark with 2,500 other people. Somehow we managed to not get run over. It also made it a bit hard to take walk breaks at first so we tried to jump up in the grass when we had to slow down. Jeremy did a pretty good job of giving me a fair warning when our breaks were coming so I could maneuver around everyone. We had decided to try to run the first few miles around a 10:30 pace (with 5:1 walk breaks) and did a good job of pacing ourselves right on. As the sun came up and the miles wore on, we both felt great and the scenery started getting better. As a matter of fact, for about the first 8 miles, I barely felt like I was running at all. I attribute this to the perfect climate and good company.

After the neighborhoods, we did a stretch down US 41 which was a bit boring and a little scary since half the road was still open to traffic. We were a little to close for comfort to some of these cars driven by random retirees when it's barely light outside. Who drives that early on a Sunday morning anyway?

Then we came to the new John Ringling Causeway which is beautiful, but a lot taller than I remembered.

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Especially the second time we had to run across it...with a mile 8.

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As we turned around and headed back to the museum, that's when I started feeling it. US 41 didn't seem so short and sweet on the way back. And since when was it uphill? I lived in that town for 12 years and never remember 41 being on an incline. Once we got back to the neighborhoods, I didn't care as much to look at the quaint houses in the daylight as I had thought I would when we were running out.

Our strategy going into the race was to see how I felt at mile 10 and then we could forgo the walk breaks if I was up for it. I thought I could do it, but luckily Jeremy made me stop one more time at mile 11. Good thing, because the last 2 miles were a lot harder than I had expected. I knew I could do it, but I was feeling a little nauseous and I REALLY wanted one more walk break. The hard part was, I had no idea where we were or how far we were from the finish. The final half mile was filled with all these twists and turns and banyan trees. I saw what seemed like a million runners walking towards us with their medals around their necks cheering us on, but where were they coming from??? I wanted to kill one guy when he said,

"Good job guys...come on...only two more football fields to go!!!"

Um...I am no football whiz, but at that moment he may as well have told me I had another 20 miles to run. Football fields are HUGE!!!

But there was Jeremy, whispering to me how strong I was and how I could do it and not to leave it at mile 12. It sounds so stupid, but for once, I really, really neeeded someone to cheer me on. A hard thing for me to admit.

When I finally saw the finish and looked at my watch I realized I was very close to running a sub 2:10. We took off as fast as my feet could go and ran across the finish. It was a total blur and definitely much harder than Miami, but I wasn't dying and after about 3 minutes, I felt fine. It was an awesome run, perfect weather and so much fun.

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Here are my splits:
1) 10:37
2) 10:21
3) 10:24
4) 9:47
5) 10:14
6) 9:32
7) 10:19
8/9) 19:36 (missed a mile marker?)
10) 9:44
11) 9:28 (no wonder I was getting tired)
12) 9:35
13.1) 9:51

It was such a great day and a huge accomplishment for me. I kind of feel like a dork saying it, but I am really proud of myself for this. It's amazing how much a 13 mile journey can change someone's perspective.

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