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.

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.

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!

Divas 5k – November 3, 2013

I never thought I would a women’s only race especially with a very girly aspect but I figured why not do something different.There was a whole lot of pink involved as you can imagine.

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Starting line.

Starting line.

Before the sweat.

Before the sweat.

It’s not everyday that you finish a race wearing a tiara and boa to be handed a rose and a flute of champagne. Also this race had a finisher’s medal so that helped since I started getting medal crazy towards the end of the year. I was in the first wave so I had to line up pretty quickly and also felt pretty good about being in the first wave. I never thought I would be fast enough to be in the first wave of any race. As soon as the race started we were off and for half a mile I was in the fast pack, about 6th woman back, I felt like Kara Goucher for that moment, being so close to first place. It was a great feeling to be so far in the front. Towards the end of the course is where we ran through a group of kids handing out the tiaras and boas, probably the last half mile from the finish line. I quickly put the tiara  & boa on as best as I could without losing too much momentum.

Action shot!

Action shot!

I didn’t mind the tiara too much but that boa got very hot very quickly and started to feel like a boa constrictor on my neck. Was 14th overall and 2nd place in my age group. It was the 2nd time I had ever placed in my age group so I was super excited. But I didn’t know I had placed till the awards ceremony when they called my name! By that time I had met some other women and had been talking to them about some races and when they announced my name they all cheered for me. Thank you awesome strangers! Along with the 2nd place medal I also got a certificate for laser hair removal. Haha. At least I did not place 1st in my age group, that prize was Botox. It was quite an interesting and different race but champagne is not really such a refreshing drink for right after a speedy 5k. Afterwards I went home and watched the elites finish in the New York Marathon. Also I would like to say, those Adidas capris seem to be my lucky pants, every time I wear them for a race I place. Perhaps I need to wear them more often!

Champagne & rose at the end.

Champagne & rose at the end.

Best podium pic (I have my eyes open!)

Best podium pic (I have my eyes open!)

Close up of the medals, because that's why you clicked on this post, right?

Close up of the medals, because that’s why you clicked on this post, right?

Miami Beach Halloween Freaky 4 Miler – October 26, 2013

This race distance was new this year for this event, usually it is only the half marathon distance and I was not sure of my ability to run two half marathons so closely. When I found out they had a 4 mile race I thought it would be fun since I had never done a 4 mile race, and since most of my weekday runs are 4 miles I knew it would be easily doable. Plus the aspect of dressing up in a Halloween costume and running was a good combo. Took some time to figure out what I would wear that I could run in. I chose a gladiator costume that was short enough to wear a running skirt underneath and easy to run in (did a very short test run in my backyard to test this).

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On a bridge.

On a bridge.

Finishing with my sword out!

Finishing with my sword out!

I was just unsure about the whole carrying a shield and sword throughout the race. I came up with the idea of putting the sword in a loop on my skirt and holding only the shield to run till the end when I would whip the sword out for the finish line photo. I have to say that idea really worked except for the fact that it was a very windy morning which was not ideal for running with a shield that was determined to hold me back. I ran the 4 miler pretty quickly despite my pace being  a minute slower than normal. I lost the headband that came with my costume on the first mile, it was that windy! After the race there were buses to transport everyone back to their cars but they said it would be awhile before they left so I took a little walk down to the sand. When I was starting to walk back to the finish line and bus area I got to see the first female half marathoner finish. I love finishing races at the beach because there’s nothing like walking out onto the sand after a race and just seeing the calming ocean to relax you. I couldn’t stay too long after this race because I had to race home and get ready for my friend’s bridal shower.

The beach is the best finish line.

The beach is the best finish line.

This was also the race that I decided to start dedicating my races to my friends. It really helps me stay focused and keep going despite my mind telling me to stop and walk. This race was dedicated to Gio.

Mini werewolf medal.

Mini werewolf medal.