Run Wild – February 8, 2014

Running a 5k six days after my first full marathon seemed like a dumb idea when I signed up for this race about a month before. Luckily it ended up really well for me. I usually really hate races that start later than 7:30am but I did this race last year and had a lot of fun so I tried to not be too bothered by the 8am start time. Plus races at Zoo Miami are a lot of fun, getting to run by all the animals. Sometimes I even go and walk around the zoo afterwards but this year it was just too hot by the time the race was over. My aunt said she would be there but I never saw her till after the race was over, I did run into Matt and a girl from FIU Run Club. It was her first 5k race so she was pretty excited. I lined up 10 minutes before it started and the announcers kept telling people to not have their kids up at the starting line but most people did not listen. That is the issue with zoo runs, the beginning is always a mess with dodging and practically jumping over little kids or strollers but then it gets better when you get around them.

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Hop!

Hop!

I felt pretty strong despite only doing one post marathon run before this race. Another great thing about zoo races is that they almost always have finisher medals. Finished the race, jumping over the finish line timing mat, seems to be my signature move. Haha. I got water, picked up some reusable bags, coconut water, some greek yogurt and a banana before heading back to the finish line to see my friends cross the line. Then I waited on the side to see my aunt and her friends cross the finish line, cheering them on as they reached it. Afterwards we took way too many pictures and waited in line for some yummy baked goods from Corner Bakery Cafe. Then watched the awards ceremony, and they started giving awards to the top 4 in each age group! So I ended up being called up and cheered on for my 4th place finish! Wish all races would have top 5 finishers in every category. The course for this race was a little bit short, and they told everyone at the start of the race, this was a new PR for me. Who would’ve thought I would PR less than a week after a marathon!

4th place in age group.

4th place in age group.

Close Up.

Close Up.

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Miami Marathon – February 2, 2014

A year ago I told my coworker that I had just signed up for a half marathon, at the time he had said soon you will be signing up for a marathon. At that time I said “No way! A marathon is way too much for me” actually believing that I could not do a full marathon. When I signed up for this race I had just finished the Tropical 5k, which is the 5k the day before the big race. There was a race blitz and I decided to sign up for the half marathon distance since it was 20% off by the time I got a chance to sign up. At the time I hadn’t even ran my first half marathon, yet was planning for a year in advance to run another one, the Allstate 13.1 Miami Beach was still a month away.

Fast forward to June, when I finally was cleared to start running again after my surgery I decided then that if I could survive such a big scare then I could run a full marathon. I started training a bit early in September since I was not sure how the holidays would go and effect my long runs. It is a good thing I did since lots of things came up the last few months of the year: a friend’s wedding & all the events that come with weddings, baby shower, unexpected races and travel. Since the Fall here is generally (not this year) slightly cooler than the rest of the year there are tons of races and I had to sign up for a lot of them I had to alter my long runs at times. For the most part I got in most of my long runs and two 20+ milers during training luckily still.

sparkle duct tape lettering, got the idea from Fannetastic.

sparkle duct tape lettering, got the idea from Fannetasticfood.com. Amazingly stayed on through sweat & rain!

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When race day started to approach and I started to taper a bit it was a very strange feeling, since I hadn’t tapered for any races since March. I will admit I might have been a bit more agitated by things around me also at the time. Otherwise I was feeling very confident in my training and the goal was to just finish the race feeling good. I’m proud to say I accomplished that goal and was able to make my final mile the fastest in my splits.

Before the race selfie.

Before the race selfie.

Waiting with Matt in Corral F.

Waiting with Matt in Corral F.

Race day morning I got up early, I’d say 3:30am and got ready to leave for the race, packing a small bag of things I might need. I got a ride with my aunt, who was doing the half marathon that day, she kept being negative about how she was probably going to get a call from a race official to pick me up from the road. Those kind of comments do not get me down, instead they just make me more determined to prove them wrong. I dropped my bag off at my aunt’s Galloway group tent and headed to the AAA to use the bathroom. When there’s a real bathroom I will take it any day over a smelly port a potty and luckily I got there just in time for them to open up another ladies bathroom. Then I headed to find the F corral where I would wait till the race started, it was a bit confusing to navigate especially with sooooo many people waiting around. Eventually I found it and sat down on the curb to wait, I find resting my legs as much as possible before the race begins helps me conserve more energy. I’ve never been one to stretch and hop around before a race and it’s always worked for me. My friend Matt met up with me in the corral and we started out the race together. I did not want to start out too fast so he kept me slow for the first couple of miles till he dropped off at the first water spot to stretch out his legs. I never really understood why people put their names so big on their shirts for races till I did the same, at first it was a bit weird having strangers scream “GO LISA” but eventually it really really helped me. I liked all the crowd support right over the Venetian Causeway, a giant mob of cheering faces. I stopped at a few water stops in the first half but all the water stops in the 2nd portion, by then it was getting very very warm. Even when the race started at 6:30am it was already close to 80 degrees so I knew I had to stay as hydrated as possible.  Basically the first 12 miles were super crowded since 75% of the people were signed up for the half marathon distance. Just around the time of the split I saw a couple people start to walk, I started cheering and telling them to get going and finish the half strongly. By the time we split off it was desolate and only a couple runners ahead and a couple behind but pretty quiet. Less cheering squads except at the water stops, usually there were cheerleaders there which were helpful and cheered for me by name. I have to say the Coconut Grove residents who were out in their front yards cheering and giving everyone water/snacks were awesome! At around mile 16 in Coconut Grove the skies started getting dark and when the wind picked up I knew we were about to get some rain. Quickly I pulled out my phone to put it in a plastic baggie so it wouldn’t get soaked and my grandma was calling. I picked up and told her I had 10 more miles to go and had to get off the phone because rain was coming. Five minutes after I hung up with her it started pouring, so for the next 5 miles I ran through the rain. Ran by an awesome resident giving out ice cold beer just before the Rickenbacker Causeway but didn’t partake in any. I just wanted to keep up the momentum because I knew if I would slow down for too long I would get lazy and walk too much. That was the hottest part of the race, there is no shade out there with Biscayne Bay beside you. Back in Brickell I passed lots of brunch’ers who cheered me on drunkenly while stumbling down the sidewalk, that was pretty amusing. I was so happy to see that mile 25 sign that I increased my speed and it ended up being my fastest mile of the whole marathon! But that last mile did seem the longest with a steep bridge just before the final .40 , I trudged over it and once I turned the corner and saw that finish line arch I sprinted to it. Never had I felt so accomplished after crossing that finish line. I got my medal and put a Nuun tablet in my water immediately and grabbed a banana from the food tent. Then met up with my aunt and her running friends at the Galloway tent to rest, I knew I had to keep moving for a bit longer so that I wouldn’t get really stiff afterwards. By that time the side of my knee was aching and I was kind of hobbling around, my IT band. Never have I had a problem with it before, but probably going those 26 miles for the first time aggravated it. When I got home later that day I made sure to ice it and put my Zensahs on, seemed to help. For the next few days my quads and hamstrings were achy but nothing crazy, so I rested and did not run for 3 days after.

Almost to the finish line!!

Almost to the finish line!!

1st Marathon medal.

1st Marathon medal.

Got my trusty Zensahs on & still got all my toenails!

Got my trusty Zensahs on & still got all my toenails!

Here are my mile splits:

splitssplits2

Overall I felt that this marathon experience was a great one. I didn’t worry about my finishing time, this race’s goal was just about finishing and feeling good still. I succeeded and signed up for next year’s marathon again. Can’t wait!

Running on vacation.

Since starting to run I hadn’t taken too many trips, but definitely not any longer than a day or two at the most. For new years this year I went to visit a friend in DC and decided I could get in a couple of runs while there. I was at the end of marathon training and needed a semi long run at least one of the days I was visiting. I had ran 12 miles the day that I left Miami so that I would be relaxed on my flight and not feel antsy. Two days later I got up around 9am and got ready to run, I had looked it up on my phone to see which would be the easiest way to not get lost going to the Lincoln Memorial. Found a straight shot that took me by the Capital also and took it. Now I see why locals in big cities get annoyed with tourists, they block the entire sidewalk when you are trying to get by. I suppose I looked like a local too until I took out my phone at the Lincoln Memorial and snapped some pics with Abe. Friends commented when I posted the pics on Facebook asking why I wasn’t relaxing on my trip. Running actually relaxes me plus I got a chance to see the city from a different perspective than I have before. I hadn’t ever ran anywhere from my friend’s house before, always taking the metro anywhere I needed to go. It was nice seeing the city and running by the locals, getting a chance to cross the roads with the long crosswalk lights. That first day I ran a little over 7 miles and stopped at SweetGreen for a spicy warm salad. It was around 45 degrees out that day and I was frozen. I hadn’t ran in that kind of weather since the February before.

with Abe.

with Abe.

yummiest salad i've ever had!

yummiest salad i’ve ever had!

The next Monday I got in a shorter 3.5 mile run to the Capitol and back. My pace was faster too because I got out earlier before all the tourists hit the streets. It didn’t feel as cold that day but I’m pretty sure it was the same temp as the run before. I was really hoping for it to start snowing one of the days while I was out for a run but alas snow in DC does not seem to be in the cards for me. It sucks that I didn’t get a chance to partake in a November Project workout while I was there.

The Capital.

The Capital.

I personally loved running while on vacation and plan on doing it again next time I go on vacation. Such a fun way to explore the city and get in a good workout too.

YMCA of Homestead Jingle Bell Run 5k – December 14, 2013

Starting line.

Starting line.

Onward to race #2 for the day. This race is actually really special to me because it is the first race my parents have ever attended. Arrived early at Baptist Hospital in Homestead, where the starting line was. I decided to be festive for this race and wear a santa hat, which I later realized was a dumb idea since it was over 80 degrees out and my head needs to breathe. About a mile into the race I just wanted to rip the hat off but kept it on for finish line photos. Convinced a friend from run club to run this race and ended up running it with him the whole time. We are used to running the same pace at run club so the goal was to stay with him and kick up the pace at the finish line. I talked most of the way, not that he could probably hear me as he was wearing headphones but still kept my mind from focusing on the pain of running so quickly. I even mentioned that we might actually place high in our age group when we were about a mile from the finish line. Well I set a new 5k PR that day and placed 1st in my age group. The first time ever being 1st! Plus we set a course record for our age groups as it was the first race on that course and the first year of this race. Never had I felt more high from racing than that moment, plus my parents and grandmother were there to see it happen. We got Christmas ornaments with the race info on it at the finish line. There was also free local craft beers but I did not partake in those this time, but I did have some pizza from The Big Cheese when I went into the YMCA for the awards ceremony afterwards. After carbing up and getting my medal I headed home to change and get ready to go out with some friends for a night of dancing. This race was dedicated to Angelika, who loves all things Christmas related.

Finishers received this ornament.

Finishers received this ornament.

pizza!!!

pizza!!!

#1!

#1!

Close up of medal & my cute polka dot running skirt.

Close up of medal & my cute polka dot running skirt.