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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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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iRun 10k – November 6, 2016

This is the 4th time I have done this race and the 3rd time doing the 10k distance. Last year I was only a couple months postpartum so I ran the 5k to keep it easy. I set my sights on a faster 10k this year and a day after my fastest stroller 5k, kind of a lofty goal. Finish time: 51:32. Officially my fastest stroller 10k! Two new distance PRs back to back!

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The morning started off cool but sprinkling, when I left my house the rain was coming down pretty hard. The weather luckily cooperated and stopped raining but the temps stayed cooler for a little while during the race. Before the race I had to use the bathroom so it was Phoebe’s first time in a portapotty. ICK. I made her face me the whole time and not touch anything in there while I peed, definitely an experience with a toddler but with no one to watch her it had to be done.

The race started on time and we were off for our two loop course that passed by an early voting location with a few news crews interviewing people. I didn’t feel like I was really pushing myself during this race, like it felt pretty effortless and was able to cheer on friends through the course. At the end of the race I was even able to pass a guy going at a hyper speed with the stroller. I apologized as I passed him quickly. After the race I got to try some juices and grabbed a slice of watermelon. Hung out with some other runner moms and then headed home. Again 4th place in my age group, by seconds!!! One day I will break into the 3rd place, one day!

Again another lovely race with some awesome iRun-ners and great race organization. I will do this race every year as long as I am able, hopefully that’s a very long time.

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Honor Our Veterans 5k – November 5, 2016

This weekend was jam packed with races so I’ll start with the first race of the weekend and make another post about the 2nd one. This 5k was kind of a last minute race. I had originally planned to do a free 5k it was on Hollywood Beach, which is about a 45 minute drive for me. When I found I could get a discount on this race I decided it was a better idea to do this one since it’s only 5 minutes from home and I would most likely be doing it alone with Phoebe. It worked out great, just kinda sad that there were not awards for age groups because I totally would’ve placed in my age group. I am proud to say that it is now my fastest stroller 5k to date!

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When I walked outside Saturday morning I knew it would be a great race day because the weather was cool for once and not raining. I got there about 45 minutes early to pick up my race bib because with the timing company they used for this race they take back their timing chips after the race so only bib pickup the day of the race. I was a little nervous because this was the same company who timed the Derby 5k back in April and who totally left me off the results. I got my bib and took Phoebe with me to the bathroom, not an easy task in a tiny bathroom with a big running stroller but I got it done. As I was heading back to the starting line I overheard some college guys joking about how they would keep up with me and be fine for the race. I laughed in my head about this and thought “yeah right!” Later during the race I saw the group again and they were a mile BEHIND me, hehe. Their shocked faces were just the right amount of fuel to push through at a much faster pace for the next mile. Also the owner of Go Run, Doug passed me while on his bike pacing the top guys and mentioned that I had great form, it really helps when you get praise like that from a top runner. There was a lady in front of me the whole time but during that last .50 I managed to pass her and stay ahead of her. Sometimes like in Ragnar I like to count the amount of people I can pass in the last mile. Like usual, Phoebe was asleep after the first mile and continued to sleep for another 30 minutes after we finished.

Later when I checked my nike + run club app I discovered that I had ran progressive miles the whole race! That is amazing for me because I usually run the first mile the fastest and get progressively slower during a 5k. When I finished I grabbed a water for my Nuun, a granola bar, and a banana and went back to the finish line to cheer on the rest of the finishers. Overall I think it was pretty well organized and due to the small field of runners there was no weaving in and out to get through the walkers and slower runners, which is a pain with the stroller.

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RunWild 5k – 2016

I’ve done this race since 2013, almost every year that it has been happening. And every single year I try to place in my age group, one year I was actually 4th place and they happened to be giving out medals for 4th that year. But never did I think that I would place while running with Phoebe in the stroller, let alone be first in my age group!

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Phoebe’s 1st podium pic!

 

It was a chilly morning, when I checked the weather app on my phone it showed 47! Phoebe was super bundled up, only her face showing. It was as cold as Miami Marathon started out this year! What’s up with all the races being cold so far this year? I was prepared and wore a long sleeve over my Oiselle racing singlet and Oiselle fleece lined sleeves. I was wearing shorts and remarkably my legs weren’t too cold. We had to pick up our packets on the morning of the race because there was no time to head over to Footworks in South Miami during the week.

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All bundled up & ready to start!

The race started on time, unlike 3 years ago when it had to be delayed due to a lot of fog. I really did not know what to expect from this race and didn’t try to give myself any time goals. The course is super super twisty and the Bob Ironman stroller is not super easy to navigate with twists and turns. By mile two, I was hoping for it to be over already, I pushed myself pretty hard to get ahead of a lot of people at the beginning and I was not going to let them all pass me at the end. When I crossed over I found Derrick, who had a goal of a 20 minute 5k which he achieved with some seconds. We got our medals and were handed bouquets of daisies (there was also carnations being given out). We hurried to the post race party where I indulged in some tiny acai bowls. I love acai so I really enjoyed that post race treat. We walked around a little, saying hi to friends and waiting for the results to be posted. Finally they were posted and Derrick came back with a picture of the results and me as first in my age group & he got 2nd in his age group! What? I really didn’t think even placing 3rd was a possibility with the stroller. It seems that all those races I was forced to runner slower due to pregnancy and the weight gain of pregnancy has made me more determined post pregnancy to earn back my speed. At a slightly slower pace than I did the Tropical 5k a few weeks before, I came in at 25:53. A stroller 5k PR for me. Still slower than my solo 5k PR but it is great to feel like I am finally getting somewhere with my paces.

After the awards ceremony, where I brought Phoebe on stage with me (she did cross the line before me 😉 after all) we took a stroll around the zoo to see some animals. She had fallen asleep just as they were counting down for the race to begin and stayed asleep for another 10 minutes after we finished the race. I don’t know how anyone could possibly sleep with all those turns but I guess she’s used to it from all the training runs. She rode on Derrick’s shoulders and checked out the camels, elephants and giraffes. Just as we were heading out she started to get a little cranky but that was due to her feeding being an hour delayed. I fed her and then we went to Ihop to refuel after that fun race.

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Derrick won 2nd in his AG too!

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Post race fuel.

This is my 4th year doing the race and for sure I will be back next year again!

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Naptime finally!