A1A Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon Expo

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So since about Tuesday night I hadn’t ran since I seemed to pick up this horrible virus/cold/bad germs from my toddler with the idea that a lot of rest would heal me up before race day. Off I headed to the race expo, which is about a 45 minute drive away from my house with my toddler. I did not anticipate the traffic getting into Port Everglades and I had never been there since I have never been on a cruise. Major traffic right at the entrance, unknowing that there is another entrance to the convention center, I just went where my apple maps told me to go. I pulled into a massive parking garage with no real signage about pricing on the outside (I didn’t see anything) but with a ticket to take when parking. I had only planned to spend an hour or less anyways so figured if there was a fee it would be a low rate since I was barely there.

First con of the expo: paying to park to get your race packet. Or maybe sharing a garage with lots of overnight parked vehicles. It was somewhat difficult to find parking and pretty dark, not something I like to do with my kid in a stroller, just doesn’t seem safe. I think that in the future it would be nice if they could have some sort of discount or fee waived for packet pickup vehicles if they show their bib at the end. I was very surprised when pulling out of the garage to finally see pricing in tiny print on the cashier window. 0-1 = $3, 1-3 hrs = $6! So I basically paid $6 to park for a little over an hour! Pretty ridiculous, in other race expos I have paid way less for more time spent looking around at the vendors. I was hardly there because after 30 minutes or so I was starting to feel very weak due to being sick and needed to leave.

Actual packet pick was so easy, there was no line for my last name initial and got my bib and shirt in a minute or less. Everyone was nice and fast, no issue here. In fact I would say this was one of my pros of this expo: speedy packet pickup. If I wasn’t interested in looking around and taking some pictures I would have been out of there in 15 minutes or less, which would be good for someone in a rush.

Backing up to as soon as I stepped into the expo, there was some massage tables and people getting massages to the right of the entrance and some Lexus cars to the right. One of which was wrapped in all the participants name, which was pretty cool in my opinion. I found my name quickly and got a pic with it. As soon as I was done I walked right to the pack of the room and picked up my race packet. There were plenty of volunteers helping direct runners and visitors, which was nice and helpful. Usually expos are such a huge mess of everyone crowding around certain booths and just generally a headache. This one was set up well with enough space for me to push a stroller through without any issues.

I walked through every aisle, checking out different booths with other race info and tried to hit up a couple of photo ops in the process. Also got to try a few new things, one that really stood out was the Yasso Frozen Yogurt booth, where I got to try a chocolate chip yogurt bar. Yummy, and of course I shared some with my toddler because I did not want a meltdown to happen. They also gave me some coupons, which I used when I went to Publix right after the expo to get some groceries. I love finding new food favorites at race expos. There were a few more things and some wheels to spin to win certain things. I spun the wheel at the Publix booth and chose a snack container because with a toddler, snack time is all the time!

Another pro of the expo was the cool 13.1 and 26.2 signs that were set up so runners and their families could take pictures by. I liked that and liked it even more that I didn’t have to wait in line to get a pic with them. I didn’t realize till later that there was a wall behind that for runners to sign their name and write things on, I missed that part.

I would say that the expo had a lot of pros but a few cons like the parking fee situation. I did not collect as many freebies as are available at some expos but I really do not need any more junk. I have enough plastic promotional water bottles to last me a lifetime at this point!

The night before the race I kept going back and forth about whether it was smart to run the race while still feeling very sick and congested. The decision was made for me when my daughter kept waking up multiple times during the night and even after giving her tylenol to get her fever to go away, the temps kept spiking to the temp of 102.9. It was at that point that I said it was not safe for me to run in my current health plus I was going to have to take my baby to the ER to get her high fever checked out. So at 3am I made the decision and a few hours later when the fever was still very high I took my daughter to the children’s hospital to get checked out. Her diagnosis was upper respiratory infection with the beginning of an ear infection. I have since been to get checked out myself and they are ruling what I have as an upper respiratory infection with some water in my ears. My recommendation from the dr has been rest and lots of hydration as well as an inhaler to get rid of this cough. Luckily I have been doing that because I really, really want to get better and miss running.

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My planned attire for the A1A half marathon and race bib.

 

 

Sunday afternoon I spent having some serious FOMO about those A1A race medals but also reading about multiple incidents of people needing medical help from the hot and humid conditions for the race. Still sad I had to miss the race but there’s always next year!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to A1A Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

 

 

Weston Rotary Club Half Marathon – December 11, 2016

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The whole reason I signed up for this race is because the West Palm Beach half marathon was cancelled this year and I really wanted to do a half marathon in December. I went into this half marathon with only one goal: under 2 hours. The weather was looking to be rainy all that weekend and it had started the Friday before. Even at packet pickup which was held in the same park beside where the race started it was drizzly. Running races in the rain is not something that makes me happy, chaffing usually happens and sometimes I even get sick afterwards. Packet pickup was a breeze, I brought Phoebe along with me and we ended up getting a vanilla bean frapp at a nearby Starbucks after. It was one of the fastest packet pickups that I had ever been to, literally I got out of my car and collected my bib in less than 2 minutes! Anyhow I spent the rest of the day trying to rest my legs but failing miserably as I chose to go by Target on the way home and get some Christmas shopping.

Race morning I woke up very early because the race was a bit farther from my house than usual, about a 45 minute drive to Weston. I got there an hour early and was able to use the port-a-potties before the race started. And these were were some very nice port-a-potties, that is one sentence I never thought I would write. LOL. PortaJane was the name of the company and all the potties were pink! They all had a small light, which is much needed when navigating those things, a mirror (haha) and a sink with running water by pushing down a foot pedal. And the toilet was flushable too, think a toilet in a motor home, it was just like that! As you can see I was pretty impressed with the bathroom options at this race, which is rare. Anyways back to the race stuff, Everyone lined up pretty well at this race which is a pet peeve of mine when a bunch of little kids or run/walkers line up in the front and I have to dodge and jump over them at the start.

I heard some complains about the course afterwards and although it wasn’t scenic like some of the other races in the past, it was easy and clearly marked. It was an out and back course in the shape of an L and as far as I heard no one got lost. Most of the time I enjoy out and back courses because I can see faster or slower friends somewhere along the course and be able to cheer them on but sometimes it does make me feel a little dizzy if I focus too much on finding people in the crowd.

It was overcast and drizzly for the whole race. No big downpours but just drizzly light rain the entire 13.1 miles, my feet were soaked by the end but I didn’t really notice it at the beginning. Thanks to feetures socks I didn’t acquire any blisters during the race. After I crossed the finish line and collected my medal I walked over to the covered patio of the high school where they were serving food. I now regret not trying the vegetarian breakfast wrap but I generally don’t trust things being handed out by high schoolers. I got a muffin and a banana and headed to the car to change out of my soggy shoes and replace my soaked singlet with a tee shirt for the drive home. I would definitely sign up for this race again, it had a smooth packet pickup, good bathroom facilities and a very easy course.

Later that afternoon I had to refuel and figured the best way would be to go to Jaxson’s Ice Cream parlour with Phoebe and some friends for a gigantic sundae! It was a good ending to my Sunday.

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Last Call for A1A Marathon and Half

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This is your last chance to register online for the race this weekend. Registration for the half and full close tomorrow at 7pm. I believe you will still be able to register at the Publix Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday as long as it doesn’t sell out, which is looking like it likely will. So hurry on up! Use code: BIBRAVE (all caps) for 20% off.

Training in the past few weeks has been slow going as I am coming back from a huge marathon PR at the Miami Marathon. Only the past week or so have I felt like my pace is returning since the marathon. I will write a race recap soon about it, I promise, I have just been super busy lately.

I’m really looking forward to this race and even more so now that I know that a good running friend of mine will be pacing the 2:00 group. Hoping to be ahead of them but it will be good to know that if I fall a bit behind they will be there to motivate me to speed on up! Still not sure of how I will do and how the weather may or may not cooperate. According to the weather forecast right now it seems like it will be a warm race, just crossing my fingers that a freak cold front comes through with no wind for race morning.

I have decided to stop focusing on PRs for a bit and focus more on having fun at races. It will take a lot of pressure off me and make things a lot more fun. I will go into races like I do when I run a race with the stroller, for the fun of running. Plus I have a lot of high mileage weeks coming up, almost like marathon training but 50k training instead.

Be on the lookout for a post about the A1A half marathon soon and if you are going to the race, keep an eye out for me in my bright orange Bib Rave tank top.

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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to A1A Half marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips- A product review

I have been on the search for a product to make my Bob running stroller more visible at night. I take it to run clubs pretty often and now that the time has changed it gets dark pretty much before run club even starts. I always try to wear bright colors on my evening runs and especially so when I bring the little one along but I still don’t feel too safe. I have looked into wheel lights (not sure if they fit my stroller wheels) and installing flashlights to illuminate our path but haven’t came up with anything solid.

That is where Brilliant Reflective steps in, I received a set of the stick on reflective strips as well as the iron on reflective strips. Immediately I knew that I would be applying the stick on ones to my running stroller to help us be more visible on night and early morning runs. Not sure when I will be using the iron on ones as I do not know exactly what I want to iron them permanently on but I’m sure I will figure something out soon. Most likely I will iron them onto  some winter gear, but since it’s not really feeling like winter here yet, I’ll have to wait.

The brilliant reflective strips are very sturdy and easy to apply, I started with applying them around the stroller base and was done fairly quick and used all but one strip. The stick on strips come in 4 colors (black, red, blue, and purple) I got the black ones, which works well with the stroller because you don’t even notice they are added on in the daytime. The iron on strips come in the same colors as the stick on ones. I took a picture before applying the strips and one picture after and if you are not looking very closely, you cannot even tell a difference. The difference is when a flash of light hits them and then it is very noticeable where the stickers were applied.

I took the stroller out on an evening run, I do that fairly often when I cannot find someone to watch Phoebe in order to get my daily run in. We started running when the sun was just starting to set and before the final half a mile was done of our 3 miler it was already getting pretty dark. I’m so not a fan of this early sun setting season, I feel like my running gets a bit more dangerous to do and I usually shorten my weekday runs. My boyfriend was so kind to take these pictures while I ran back and forth along the road to get the best shot of how these reflective tapes work. Took some time to get the right shots as the flash is not the fastest on the iPhone 6s but I think it shows how the tape is visible in the darkness with a light shined on it. We even encountered a few cars while taking the photos and one of the pictures shows just how the tape lights up when the car is starting to pass by us. This is a great product and I will be definitely showing this post to all my mommy stroller runner friends, they could really benefit from this product as I have so far. I cannot wait to try it out again at run clubs this season. I plan on getting another pack of these stick on ones and putting them on my clothes as well to try it out, but I felt safer running with this on the stroller for sure.

For more info and to order Brilliant Reflective strips.

Use code “BIBRAVE25” for 25% off the full order (one time use per customer). The code will expire on Tuesday at 11:59pm.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

3rd Annual Holiday Family Fun Day 5k presented by Mitchell & West LLC – December 3, 2016

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I knew I wanted to do some sort of holiday race this year but not per say with wearing an itchy Santa suit so I decided on this race. Going into this race I knew that I was never going to place as it always brings in all the speedsters in the area (I have seen pics from previous years). Also there is a mile option as well. I’m kinda thinking about signing up for that option as well next year. Awesomely enough the winner for both races was the same, Baptist Health South Florida Kendall Run Club pacer, Ethan Clary.

Anyways back to the race morning, I got ready and was on site an hour before the race, I wanted to make sure that I could hit up the Publix bathroom before the race started. I picked up my race packet, which was a super speedy process and headed back to the car to change Phoebe’s diaper. Of course when you choose something for a toddler to wear you must always keep an extra outfit on hand for any unforeseen issues. Just my luck Phoebe’s diaper leaked right before we got out of the car so I had to do a whole clothing change in the car before setting up the stroller.

The weather was pretty nice on race morning too, not too warm and slightly breezy, which was a bit of a problem on the final jaunt to the finish line. No one realizes just how difficult races with a stroller can be in windy conditions, I felt like I was going nowhere pushing 50 lbs of stroller/toddler. The course was different from the typical Coral Gables course around the Granada golf course and instead ran us through very shaded areas (awesome!) and in front of the Biltmore Hotel. For most of the race I followed a speedy girl whom I knew was finishing her long run at the 5k, figuring if I could keep up with her I could do pretty well. Well I did keep up with her pretty well and ended up with a new stroller PR! Official time: 23:58, 7:43 pace, almost an overall stroller less 5k PR, amazing! I stuck around to cheer on my friends still running the 5k and then for the mile race. Great event and I will definitely be back again next year, most likely doing both races, the 5k and then the mile race 🙂

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The start of the mile race. Speedsters are off!

The next day I had my first 20 miler of marathon training and by Monday morning I was feeling that speedy 5k + the 20 miler.

Turkey Day Miami – November 24, 2016

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Running this race on Thanksgiving Day morning has become a tradition for me, been running this race since 2012, the first year I started running. The first year I only ran the 5k and since then I have ran the 10k. Phoebe has already done this race twice now. Last year it was horribly rainy and although it started out a little drizzly it cleared up before the race began. I was crossing my fingers that I would not have to run the stroller through massive puddles again. I got to the race site early and met up with some of the other ladies in Every Mother Counts South Florida team. Parking is always a bit of a problem for this race but if you get to the site an hour early its a breeze, everyone else is stressing out and you are parked and can relax a bit.

 

I had the rain guard over the stroller for most of the run since the weather was sprinkly most of the way. But towards the end, in the last mile I believe I was able to lift the weather guard so Phoebe could get some fresh air since it was not raining anymore. A few years ago this race was very chilly, in the 50s but this year it was unseasonably warm. I like the out and back way of this course so you can cheer on and get cheered on by friends passing by. I finished at a respectable 54:36, which 6 minutes faster than last year’s time. There was a bit of clogging in the finisher chute, due to the race backdrop with photographers too close by. I can always expect some sort of line there but this year it was insanely long and I ended up slightly bumping someone as I tried to get through the crowd to get out into the open again. This guy ended up screaming at me for bumping into him and saying I need to pay more attention and not run over people. Very, very rude participant all because of the overcrowding in the area. Phoebe remained sleeping through it all and was finally able to escape the rude guy and the crowd. I met up with Derrick and some of our friends from the 1k run club and then we walked over to the Every Mother Counts tent to see everyone there. After some time there we headed to the food tents and I stocked up on the Picky Bars?! Again, at another local event! Never have I been so happy with the food options at a Lifetime Fitness event. Overall, another great Turkey Day race with my little running partner.

 

Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1 – November 13, 2016

Third time doing this race and the course is a little different than last time I did this race, back in 2014. Less twisty turns this year and more A1A.

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The morning started with a wake up alarm at 3:30am in order to have enough time to get to the race by 5:30am. Once we arrived in the parking lot closest to the starting line I quickly headed to my favorite place to pee before the race, McDonalds across the street. I was not the only one who had this idea this year, apparently people are realizing that it’s better to pee here than in a portapotty! After that I headed quickly to the starting line since the line for the bathroom had taken up a lot of time. There I saw a couple of friends and we took some pics before the race started.

After the gun had went off I stayed ahead of the 2:00 pacer, I was trying to keep the 1:50 in my view but soon after I lost him in the crowd. Going through the small tunnel is always a fun part of the race since everyone wastes their energy early in the race by screaming and cheering once in there since it echoes. The neighborhood parts were nice and quiet with shade from the large trees which is always a plus in SoFla races. The major flaw that I saw in the race was something that was uncontrollable, mother nature. Apparently it had rained a lot in the past couple of days and there was a lot of standing water in the street, covering the whole road in most places. Treading through water at the 5 mile mark was not a good feeling, I was scared of the possibility of blisters and the squishy sound of wet sneakers around me was oddly gross to me. Anyways I seemed to do pretty well in this race, in fact much better than I expected. At this point in my running I just kind of want to finish a half marathon by the 2 hour mark, funny how only 2 years ago that was my ultimate goal. So much has changed since then, I’m beginning to think that whole “faster after baby” isn’t really a myth after all.

Finishing time was 1:54:37! Somehow I stayed ahead of the 1:55 pacer without even realizing it. Saw a couple of my 1k run club friends before the finish line which helped boost me to the line. After I crossed, I collected my medal, got a pic with Derrick, who finished just a minute before me and went to find the beer. Just kidding, well kind of, I first dropped a Nuun tab into my finish line water and headed to the food tent. Got a banana and a few Picky Bars. I was super stoked to find they were giving out Picky Bars at this race, they are $2 something and only really sold in Trader Joe’s so I made sure to get some for the road. Love those bars, but that’s another post all together. After I had an Ah, Fudge Nuts! Picky Bar I went to the Michelob tent to get my free beer. In the past I have been able to get more than one but they have gotten a bit more strict to only allowing one per beer ticket on the bottom of our bibs, kinda lame. They gave out a nice drawstring bag with white sunglasses and a Michelob Ultra visor, pretty good swag. Anywho I got my beer and had a couple of sips before I just gave up on trying to drink it after the race, I was extremely tired from waking up so early and ready to go. So we looked at the sand sculpture and headed to the buses to take us back to the starting line. These were not the nice a/c buses but school buses, luckily it did not take too long to get back to the car, I did hear a story that one of the bus drivers got lost and took a detour through Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood airport, haha. I had not heard until I had already left the race that there had been a runner hit while on the course, later we found out he died. I do not blame the race directors or volunteers for this as the race was blocked off and nicely directed by the cones but the inconsiderate driver who hit the runner. Unfortunately the police did not charge the driver with any offenses, hopefully this does not happen at any future events. #MilesForArthur

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