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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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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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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iRun 10k – December 1, 2013

I cannot express how much I love the iRun events, their pacers are motivating and the group is just really positive. Plus their events are very well organized and I never have to fear of them running out of water at the finish line. And they give out medals for their events instead of heavy cotton race shirts that hardly anyone wears anyways. I personally do not wear race shirts unless they are gender specific and that is rare except for half marathons. When I went to pick up my race stuff the day after Thanksgiving they put the bib number and ads along with a reusable water bottle in a cute green gift bag. Felt more like a present than a packet pickup, in other words really special.

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taking off!

Taking off! Can you spot me?

The race started early and we were off and running through neighborhoods. This is the 2nd iRun 10k I have done, the first one was back in March, check out my recap here. After the race I wore my medal proudly and tried out some of the sponsored juices and fruits. I waited for the results and came in 4th place in my age group, I’m pretty happy with that, I can only hope to be 3rd in my age group next time! This race was dedicated to my friend Chez.

Extreme close up.

Extreme close up.

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Miami Turkey Trot – November 28, 2013

I did the 5k race last year as my first timed race and this year I decided to do the 10k. There really is not enough 10k races in the Miami area, I hope this changes sometime but I do not see it happening anytime soon. 10k is really my favorite distance. For this race I didn’t want to kill myself for a good time really but rather use this as a warmup for my iRun 10k happening 3 days later. Funnily enough the iRun running group were the pacers for this race so I ran with the 54 minute 10k girl. This race started at 7:30am, I always prefer much earlier or at least 7am races but the weather was great for running that morning. Around 55 degrees or so, I wore a lightweight long sleeve and capris, lots of others were wearing full length tights and hats, I knew they would be regretting that decision pretty early. Because seriously in Miami we never really see these kind of temps, sometimes in the coldest months January & February but otherwise its always hot. Plus this race is a big family race so there’s a lot of strollers and families running/walking together. This race was dedicated to my friend Tony, who does not eat turkey on Thanksgiving either.

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my great finish line photo. major fail race photographers!

my great finish line photo. major fail race photographers!

It was a lot of fun doing the 10k distance this year and running through a neighborhood and talking with the runners who were also running with the pacer. Still had my headphones in case I got bored and needed some music. The last mile I took off and left the pacer and rest of the group behind, thanking them. Unfortunately I do not have a finish line photo for this race, apparently I was too quick to photograph. Haha. After I battled the crowd at the end of the finish chute I walked around a little and skipped the line to grab a banana when I spotted a friend. We sat in the grass talking while watching others finish and looking for her friend. It was a great start to a Thanksgiving and perfect weather for a race.

Having a banana with Lisette after.

Having a banana with Lisette after.

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!