Medal Monday – Palm Beaches Marathon & Half – December 3, 2017

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I signed up a year ago after it was announced that the 2016 race would not be held but that they were under new management and offering a low race price and free in training shirt for signing up for this new Palm Beaches marathon & half. At that time I booked a host hotel and planned on spending the Saturday in the Palm Beaches before the race. A week ago I traveled to the Space Coast Half marathon and decided against staying overnight at another hotel. No other reason really than just getting to sleep in my own bed the night before a half marathon. I knew going into this that I would be forced to drive up the day before to pick up my packet. I guess that is one way to get the surrounding county residents to stay in the palm beaches for the weekend but it was just not really possible this year. Maybe next year if I do the race again.

Anyways onward to the packet pick up stuff, it was held in a small building in a big mall like complex known as City Place in the downtown WPB area. Parking in a nearby parking garage was a breeze and parking was free for the first 60 minutes which is another plus that I wish most races would have. I didn’t plan on spending more than maybe 30-45 minutes to pick up the race packet so I could get home and get some other Saturday morning errands done. Found some signs pointing to where packet pickup was and followed some runners (their shoe choices are usually a dead giveaway!). Also had my toddler in tow so we werent quite as fast as normal but still did not take long to get my race bib and race shirt. Probably about 5-8 minutes, no line to pick up my bib and then went into this rotunda area where we picked up gear check bag and then the race shirt in another area. The full marathoners had an option of short sleeve or long sleeve shirt, which I thought was pretty cool. Not that this race ever gets chilly enough to require a long sleeve shirt afterwards but still nice for training purposes in the winter months. Half marathoners get an orange shirt and the full marathoners got a royal blue shirt. In the past some of the shirts I have gotten for this race are nice and some kind of boring, this one leans towards maybe not so interesting. So we walked around a bit and looked at some of the booths but this expo was tiny compared to the ones I am used to from Miami Marathon and even Space Coast Marathon had a larger expo with more to see. Maybe since it’s the first year for this crew they are just getting started and didn’t have as much experience in race expo stuff. They had a good variety of race branded gear from what I saw but I rarely purchase race shirts at expos. During the race though I saw a lot of those shirts being worn so must’ve been pretty good quality for running in. Right before I left I asked one of the official pacers to take my pic with my toddler in front of the official backdrop, he saw my Volee shirt and said “Oh Oiselle girls, head up wings out!” so he was definitely familiar with Oiselle!

Now for race morning, I woke up super early at 2:45am in order to be ready to leave my house by 3:30am for the drive up to West Palm. I took the Florida Turnpike and was able to get a prime parking spot very close to the starting line by 5:15 am, which is perfect because I love being at races at least an hour early. It took me 3 minutes to walk over to the port a potty area, I brought some Starbucks napkins with me anticipating no toilet paper but I guess I was early enough to get to be the first user of the port a potty! Hooray, it was almost like breaking the tape in a race, being able to unwrap the toilet paper for the first time in a port a potty. I have never done that before! And every runner knows that its hell to have to use a port a potty after 50 other people have used it, ICK! Just my luck as soon as I left the port a potty area I walked by a regular running water bathroom, FACEPALM! Yeah so I kept that bathroom in mind later on when the race was getting close to start time to get in a last minute pee, of course at that time the toilet paper was in low supply and the line was long but still less stinky and dark than those port a potties. I met up with an Oiselle Volee teammate, Amy right before and we walked over to the start/finish line. In the past for this race the starting line was a bit farther down the street but this time it was the same as the finish line so that was something different but convenient for me.

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Start time was delayed till around 6:20ish instead of the original start time of 6am, it was blamed on the full moon/king tide possibly having some of the course under water too early on. I am all for a slightly delayed start if it means that my shoes will not be soaked 2 miles into the race, no one likes running in soggy shoes. I stuck with the 4:00 marathon pacer for most the race but then fell back a bit around the halfway point. Something else new about this race was the course was different than than the past 3x I had done the race. This year we cross over two bridges, although they are not steep bridges they are still a bit of an incline. I never hardly train on bridges/hill so it was a bit of a small challenge for me, plus my hamstrings are still not healed up from Space Coast last weekend. Between mile 2-5 my right foot had gone numb, I just kept running but was a bit concerned about it since it is super uncomfortable to run with a numb/sleeping foot! Someone in the pace group I was running with decided that it would be a good idea to wear jingle bells around her waist, super annoying! Please do not do this unless its a short 5k as it is very annoying to all that are running with you, right up there with change or keys rattling in your pockets the whole time. I decided that it was getting to me and with the numb foot I needed to hang back a little bit to not hear those damn bells in my head. Around that point I saw my other Oiselle teammate & best cowbell/cheering squad of one, Tricia with her Oiselle cowbells cheering in the median, gave me a bit of a boost to get through the 2nd half of the race. The second part of the race was an out and back course that turned around by a FPL energy center and through a park beside the water. I was able to cheer on the iRun ladies, Ana & Michelle who came in 1st and 2nd overall female in the half and able to cheer on Amy who was going for marathon #8. Spoiler alert: she ended up 2nd in AG for the marathon when she just wanted to take this marathon easy! With about 2 miles to go people started talking about a fire, suddenly I turned my head and down a side street I could see a giant black cloud of smoke coming from the area. A few started running towards it but the majority did not, guess those that ran towards it were first responders doing the race. At this point in the race I was grabbing water cups from all the water stops and just ready to be done. Luckily there were plenty of hydration stops on the course and some even had gels for those who needed them. Something a bit heartbreaking about this course is that at mile 12.50 you run passed the finish line, so you see people finishing and think where the heck is the turn around point for me!?! I imagine it’s even more heartbreaking for those doing the full since it’s right there and you have to keep going, haha. Luckily it is not that way at Miami Marathon, at least you cannot see the finish line when you are breaking away to do the full.  Again I got to pass Tricia and her crazy cowbelling before I got to the finish line to collect my new shiny medal. Not my under 2 goal that I have been going by lately but only a little more than 2. Official time – 2:04:42

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At the finish line I grabbed a cold (YAY!) bottle of water and my medal. They were also giving out mini towels so I grabbed one to wipe away a little bit (no, really A LOT) of sweat before heading to the food tent. It was a small tent but the line moved quickly for the most part and they had a pretty good selection of food, the typical bananas and bagels but also pancakes/waffles/sausage options also. Oh and how can I forget, mimosas!! I definitely drank one of those down, probably a bit too fast but the orange juice actually tasted great after that long hot run and I’m sure the champagne helped a bit too! I grabbed a granola bar and went to congratulate the top 2 ladies on their awesome half marathon finish. Then I hit the bathroom for one last pee stop before heading back on the long  trek home. Personally I think I should’ve stayed overnight in Palm Beach for a little less driving and a lot more relaxing. Maybe next year?

 

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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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Miami Marathon & Half Marathon Weekend – 2016

Miami Marathon & Half weekend – Recap of it all!

Signed up for the Tropical 5k to run it slow with Phoebe in the stroller. Also for the nice looking gender specific shirt (but didn’t get the right one 😦  )  Unfortunately a week before she got a bad cold and could not do the race with me. Derrick & I ran the race, I was going to try to run it slow so that my legs would be fresh for the half marathon the next day. The last half marathon I had done was at the beginning of December and I felt like it was a complete failure, due to coming in at 2:06. But like every time that I try to restrain myself from going fast, I went fast. My first mile was 7:52 (way too fast) and from there I got slower and slower. Finish time: 25:18 – So much for resting the legs! I did this race back in 2013 and came in at 26:11. Back then I felt super fast lol. Anyhow the race ended, we grabbed our cold hard bagels & dropped my Nuun tab into my water. The medal is way prettier than it was back in 2013.

Checked the results & then jumped on a school bus and went back to Watson Island where we picked up our car and went home. Around 10:30 am headed to Wynwood to the Miami Marathon & Half Health Expo to pick up our packets. It looked like a daytime artwalk there was so much traffic down there. Brought Phoebe with us to check out the madness, and madness it was, very very crowded in the expo location compared to the previous years expos in the Miami Beach Convention Center. Picked up our packets and went over to Freshii for lunch.

Quick run down of how Sunday morning went:

3:15 am – Wake up Feed Phoebe

3:30-3:50 am – Pump 7 ounces of milk

3:50-4:15 am – Get dressed & ready for the race

4:15 am – Leave for the race

4:30 am – Get to AAA, find parking, hang out in the car for awhile, then venture out to use the toilets at the AAA. Except the AAA wasn’t open this year!! The only year that it was locked up tight, also the coldest year I’ve done this race. Last year was cold and we all ended up staying inside till 15 minutes before start time to stay warm. Major fail. Find a nearby port-a-potty and head back into the garage to stay warm in the car.

5:45 am – Head to Corral E (Moving on up from F last 2 years!)

6:14 am – Our corral gets to start line!

I have to say I wasn’t a big fan of the new course this year, I prefer the Venetian over the MacArthur. I haven’t ran over any bridges in quite a long time so this was very harsh on my legs. While running through South Beach we spotted CoatMan and Dr. Dribble. I was feeling fairly strong till we got back to running over the MacArthur, my brain was telling me I should just walk up the bridge instead of trying to run it but I didn’t. Sometimes you just have to override those thoughts and keep pushing through. This reminded me a bit of my first half marathon where I did not drink anything the whole race but in this race I didn’t eat my usual Honey Stinger chews either but I had them on me for post race at least. I guess the freezing cold weather didn’t mess with my hydration or nutrition needs or I’m evolving somehow to not require as many calories for a half marathon distance. I guess I will have to test it out on another day since I have just signed up for 2017 full marathon. It will be my 3rd full marathon & 3rd Miami Marathon.

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This year I ran as part of team Every Mother Counts/Oiselle Volee, I will post about that soon!

Finished the half in 1:58:25. My 2nd fastest half marathon. Hopefully 2016 brings a new half marathon PR and only sub 2 hr halfs. Overall I had a fun time, despite those bridges and now a few days later the soreness in my quads and hamstrings has gone away. Ready for another half!

Palm Beaches Half Marathon – December 8, 2013

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This race was a last minute decision race, I actually ran it for a friend of mine who was not able to make it to the race. And who could turn down a free race? I knew that even though this race would not count towards my Storm Series medals I would still have the satisfaction of being a secret category 4 runner. The only thing that had me stressing about this race was the fact that it was 2 hours from home. I tried to weigh the pros and cons of getting a hotel and staying overnight there or driving up there very early the day of the race. I ended up driving up there the day of, which I will not do if I choose to do this race again, next time I will stay in a hotel and get some rest rather than waking up at 3am to drive on a very lonely highway. On the way up there I noticed a couple of cars swerving so I was  a little paranoid about getting hit by a drunk driver on the way there. Turns out I did end up getting hit by a car, but not on the way, but rather while I was parked and racing. Not a terrible hit, but still a dent in the side of my car from apparently someone who does not have a cell phone or phone number to call and report.

A sweaty thumbs up.

A sweaty thumbs up.

Finish line focus.

Finish line focus.

Anyways back to the race, I had never been to beach area of West Palm Beach, only to the concert venue up there, which is not close to the beach at all. I drove up the day before to pick up my race packet since there was no race day packet pickup, and ended up making the day of it, stopping by Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale to go shopping. For the race I decided to again find a pace group and run with them, I choose the 4:20/2:10 group. This race was a half and a full marathon and some of the people in the pace group were doing a relay option for the marathon. I talked to a lady who had been running for 20 years while I ran the first 7 miles. Then I started to feel really bad, crampy and just lightheaded so I started stopping at the water stops and walking through them, at that time my music started getting screwy and skipping songs after 30 seconds. It was an extremely hot morning, I’m pretty sure I got a tan it was so hot. I knew I had to stay as hydrated as possible and keep going, even if I had a bad time it would not count against me. There was hardly any shady areas in this race, meaning we were being roasted by the sun the whole time. I was never happier to see a finish line when I finally got there. Another kind of bad thing about this race was that we had to run by the finish line when we still had about 5 miles to go, kind of annoying. Something I really liked about this race was the fruit on the course, they had strawberries, I normally do not eat the food/gels on the courses since I bring my Honey Stinger energy chews but this time I walked eating a cup of strawberries. I finished the race in 2:16:01. I exchanged my race shirt for my size and went over to World of Beer for my free beer, I choose Sierra Nevada since it’s a pretty light beer. I normally get a banana at the end of races but this time when I went to get one they were green so I passed on that. I ate a Luna bar that I had in the car instead. I rested a bit before the long 2 hour drive home and then journeyed home to later discover the dent on the side of my car that I overlooked while in my post race daze. This race was dedicated to Matt, who could not race this one.

Pretty sand castle.

Pretty sand castle.

Sierra Nevada & new medal

Sierra Nevada & new medal

Close up of my 3rd half marathon medal.

Close up of my 3rd half marathon medal.

Allstate 13.1 Fort Lauderdale – November 10, 2013

I didn’t sign up for this race till mid summer, when I was still recovering from my myomectomy. I believe at the time I really needed to sign up for this race to help push me to train for another big race. 5k’s and 10ks are easy enough but that first half marathon was a challenge to me. At the time I had no idea why but now that I look back at it I realize it should’ve drank some water and stayed hydrated during the race. Lessons learned loud and clear. This time my aunt came along with me, to cheer her friends on and me during the race. And I didn’t have to check any bag, she was my bag check, carrying my stuff from the starting line to the finish line

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starting line in the dark

starting line in the dark

This race was about an hour away from home so I had to be up pretty early to make it there by 5:30am. Got there in enough time to hit the port a potty line before it got crazy, which happened about 15 minutes before the race. My plan was to hopefully PR but that was not in the cards. The morning was cool considering the normal 80 degree temps and also overcast, I was slightly worried that it might rain. It did not rain at all and became pretty sunny halfway through the race. I was hoping to stick with the 2:00 pacer and beat my previous half marathon time but he started out way too quickly and I could not keep up. At that point I just hoped to run the whole way but stopping at water stops to walk through them. Running through a tunnel in the city was pretty interesting as most of the runners started screaming and making noise to get it to echo off the walls. The wind was so intense at this race & affected a lot of times. I know that I worried a bit about being blown off my feet by it a couple of times. Running along Fort Lauderdale beach was a great view though, it’s so lovely to see the sun starting to rise above the water. There were also a lot of kite boarders in the water so when I started to slow down I looked over to check out them to distract myself. I knew this race would not be my best but I powered through it and thought about other things. I probably stopped at 6 of the 12 water stations on the course so I was not feeling so horrible when I crossed the finish line. Right after I found my aunt I threw a Nuun tablet into my water bottle and felt even better. My friend German drove up to hang out at the beach and when I went to the beer tent to get a free beer he came along and got some free beers too. They were giving 2 beers per person at the time, I didn’t even finish one of my beers but it did taste pretty refreshing at 9am. Michelob Ultra in case you were wondering. This was the first race in the Florida Storm Series for this season, meaning you gain more medals the more halfs/fulls you complete in one season, up to 5 big races and a giant 5 medal if you complete all 5. I signed up for 3 races this season so I will be gaining a 3 medal in March. This race was dedicated to my friend Priscilla whom is having a high risk pregnancy.

some action.

some action.

right after finishing!

right after finishing!

beer!

beer!

Race Recap – 13.1 Allstate Miami Beach – March 9, 2013

Sorry this post is a month late, I’ve been slacking off big time lately on this blog, but no fear, I am back!

Finally the day had arrived for my first half marathon, I had been training pretty seriously for the past 3 months, not even having any alcoholic beverages during training. I figured it was a much needed detox from all the holiday parties I had attended the month before. I tapered the week before and ran a 10k six days before, I was pretty confident I would finish, my goal was to finish in 2:30 or better.

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On the morning of the race, I woke up at 4am to get ready & eat something, I left my house around 4:30am and got to Miami Beach around 5am, where the clubs were still hopping and people were stumbling into the street. I found a metered parking lot and when I went to pay, it said the meters didn’t start till 9am. Free parking! I walked over to the start line, used the porta potty before it got really crowded, another good reason to get to a race an hour early.

13.6                                                              early morning starting line

The race was supposed to begin at 6:15am but started closer to 6:20am as the directors had to get police clearance for us to start, then all the elites started 2 minutes before. I lined up close to the 2:20 pacer, hoping that would keep me paced correctly and get me to achieve my goal of 2:30 or better. But as soon as the gun went off, I sped out of there quicker than I wanted to, but I was pumped after not running for 2 days before. At about mile 3.5 I encountered the first and most deadliest of bridges, The Julia Tuttle Causeway, it was hell since I’ve had no hill training, since I live in flat Miami and we hardly have any bumps in the ground. I survived it but it slowed me down a lot, to the point that I was even walking along the bike path at some points. After that bridge was conquered, everything seemed a bit easier for awhile. Ran through some streets in Wynwood/Downtown and saw some places I would like to go to, like Bunnie Cakes, an organic & vegan bakery. Around mile 8.5 I ate 2 Honey Stinger chews for energy but was starting to fade. I know around those next few miles I slowed down a lot. I knew I was not going to negative split and I couldn’t calculate my finish time, my mind was starting to go mushy. Around mile 9.5 the 2:00 pacer group from iRun caught up with me & kept urging me to keep running. I was at the point that I just wanted to walk for a few minutes to get my mind back into it. The pacer grabbed my arm and pulled me to run again, so I started running again, and got a bit ahead of them, maybe 100 feet or so. After a couple minutes I started walking again and they caught up with me again, and grabbed me and urged me to keep running with them. I stayed with them for a few minutes and eventually slowed down and watched them ahead of me. I think it helped that the pacer was a cute guy, that definitely was a motivating factor. The last 2 miles were the roughest I think, up until that race, I had only ever run 12 miles in training. There wasn’t too many people out at 8am on a Saturday, which was surprising. I did see a surfer heading to the beach just before I made it to the finish line, not sure how well the waves were though since it wasn’t very windy.

13.3                                                             in the zone – almost to the finish line!

Finally when I started seeing more people ahead, I knew the finish line was close by, I tried to push it for the last little bit, not sure how fast I was going though. I was probably starting to get dehydrated because I don’t like to drink water during a run, and for sure my glycogen was burned. I crossed the line while Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” was playing & almost could not believe the numbers on the clock. I finished my first half marathon at 2:03:34!! At that point I think the runner’s high hit me, because as I was walking to the food I noticed the 2:00 pacer and I went up to him and thanked him for helping keep me motivated out there. I grabbed a banana, water and headed out of the crowded food area. I went right to the Naked Juice truck and got a juice sample, collected some free Neutrogena sunscreen. Then I made a big mistake, I found an empty Boucher Bros cabana and sat down on the lounge chair, my legs were just so tired by that point, running 13.1 miles and then walking around for around 10 minutes. I figured I would be okay since I had slowed down slowly and walked a bit after I finished the race.

13.8                                                                           showing off my new medal

13.10                                                        the resting my legs right after: mistake!

After watching the elites awards ceremony, being shocked at their finishing times I got up to walk back to the car. Suddenly the soreness came over over me as I walked back to the car, my ankle started aching and I started walking like an old lady. Haha. Also walking back to the car I was almost hit by a big truck and a car, nice, I survive 13 miles but then get killed by a car, I can see that headline now. So I left Miami Beach before I got a parking ticket, I wanted to go to Coldstone’s but apparently they don’t open till noon. Sad. Went home, ate something and took a nice long nap and prepared for a night out with the girls. Little did I know we would stay out till 6am on Sunday, ha!

Overall I was very happy with the organization of the race, and I may try to start learning to drink water on my training runs. I’ve already signed up for the 2014 13.1 Miami Beach, and might sign up for the 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale that’s happening in November, I want to collect some of the Florida Storm Series medals. I can’t wait!

13.9                                                                            close up

13.12                                                 my favorite picture from the race – on the 2nd bridge