Run DMT

I'm a mom on the run!

Run DMT - I'm a mom on the run!

Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Sometimes the word “inaugural” scares runners from registering for a race, but not me.  When a friend shared the Active link for the Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon, it intrigued me. I love the town of Celebration and the idea of running through its small town streets really appealed to me.

My instincts were right about this sold out race. When I inquired the race director about an opening, he immediately emailed me back and hunted down a bib for me, which is costumer service that you come to love when supporting local hometown operations. From the packet pick-up at the expo to the finish line, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the inaugural Celebration half marathon.

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

The expo had all the usual brands and vendors you expect to see.  I even discovered some new-to-me brands, such as Hot Chic Sport running skirts.  Of course, that’s where Marcia discovered me.

IMG 20140125 162946 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

My family tagged along for this race and we stayed at the gorgeous Bohemian Hotel in the heart of Celebration. (A review of the hotel will follow the race recap.)

IMG 20140125 164902 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Since it was Marcia’s 40th birthday, we celebrated her 40th birthday at the Columbia Restaurant. Carb loading with Cuban food and sangria in Celebration seemed so fitting.

IMG 20140125 172806 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

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With a race start time of 7:00 a.m., I loved being able to roll out of bed and walk to a start line. In the early morning hours, the town center was hustling and bustling with happy runners and a lively DJ entertained everyone at the start line.  There were approximately 2300 runners and we were all packed in between the start line and Celebration Park.  I parked myself between the 9:15 and 9:55 pace group.

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Despite not being able to find any of my friends (Marica, Christina Marie, Becky, Jolene and Run Jodi), I felt really good.  I felt confident, not riddled with anxiety like I experienced Space Coast Half Marathon a few weeks ago. I felt ready to do this race. Trust the training.

The crowd started slowly moving forward and we were off. No national anthem. No fireworks, just the pack pushing you along to start the race.  As the course led us through the streets of Celebration Village, I held an easy 10:00 mile. The turns would help me slow down, too.

One we reached the long stretch down Celebration Avenue to Celebration Place and onto Celebration Boulevard, I picked it up a bit holding onto a 9:15-9:30 pace.  This was my favorite part of the course, flat wide spaces that really helped me find my groove.  We were warned that the runners would share the road with traffic, but I never felt threatened by the cars and the police were very attentive.

The numerous spectators, cheering squads, supporter, funny signs and even a rock band lifted my spirits and helped me run my best race for that three mile stretch. Even the runners around me helped keep my spirits high.  I couldn’t believe how many running groups were out there in full force supporting one another. It was wonderful to see that team camaraderie. (I learned after the race that running groups received a discount. That would explain all the happy runners and runner love. Saving money makes me more cheery too.)

IMAG0739 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

I managed to hold off stopping for water walking breaks until mile 7 when I had my first Salted Caramel Gu energy gel and some water to wash down. As I regained my momentum after a quick snack break, the fun and happy pace ended at mile 7 as we detoured down the boardwalk for the next mile or so. The turns were tough and the change of terrain to wooden planks forced me to slow my pace down to almost a 10:30. I quickly realized if I ran more in the middle, I would have less turns, but then no one could pass me, which would frustrate people.  I know not being able to pass other runners frustrated me.

IMAG0740 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Though the course had been USAT certified, the turns would record longer on my Garmin. (Watch a video of the course here.) Once past all the boardwalks and sidewalk turns, I could focus on my pace. (The poor marathoners had to run that twice. Ouch.  Thank goodness for spectators!)

As we came around mile 10, I stopped for a quick walking water break (only my second break thus far) and then pushed it again. I felt really good!  I thought I *might* even PR.

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I was still feeling good at mile 11, like I had some sprints still in me, until we ran a narrow path around the lake.  I could tell the runners around me were losing steam, including my new friend, Minne Marlie, whom I joked and sang with only an hour ago.

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I still had some umph in me and I felt good. I only had about a half mile left to go although Granny Garmin read 13.12. As I hit the lap button to record the time (2:11), Granny Garmin died but I was still feeling alive and ready to finish strong.  I sprinted that last half mile to the finish line.  I pulled out an even faster sprint when I turned to the corner and saw the finish line.

IMAG0767 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Still not a PR for me, but it’s definitely a PB-PB (Personal Best Post Baby). Did I mention that my “baby” is almost three now? *sigh*

Age group Division 49/192
Chip Time 2:12:13.7
Clock Time 2:13:42.6
Ave Pace 10:06

The after party was hopping thanks to the DJ  AND a rock band at the finish line. The lively post-race atmosphere took my mind off not hitting a PR. Each runner received a card which offered special treats, such as beer, pizza, baked treats and Starbucks coffee.

IMAG4187 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

My favorite was the mimosa.

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 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

My kids preferred the balloon animals and the lady that created them.

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Sadly somehow between finding my family and finding food, I lost my phone.  Thankfully, a very kind and smart person handed it to the DJ. I was so grateful for that which warranted a selfie with the DJ!

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We stayed for the awards because I knew Marcia would win one and she did. First day in her new age group (40-44), she placed first.

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

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As for our other friends, they all gained PRs, including Jolene who earned another BQ just weeks after her last qualifying race.  Becky earned a new PR by shaving 20 minutes off her marathon time.  I love being in the presence of amazing atheletes. It motivates me to strive for improvement and reach a BQ goal.

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Even with all the twists and turns, I really loved the scenic course and the overall vibe of the race. I later learned that this was the race director’s first race he ever organized.  His stellar inaugural Celebration race went so smoothly; hopefully, it won’t be his last because I will definitely be back next year!

 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

Music Monday: {run} Happy

 Music Monday: {run} Happy“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say…”

I’ve had some great runs this past week starting with a tempo 6 miler last Thursday and then the Celebration Half Marathon yesterday.

I ain’t gonna lie. On Thursday, I did not want to get up an run in 38 degrees which is very cold for Florida standards. If it wasn’t for Mica texting me and making me accountable for that 6 miler, I would have totally flaked, postponed or even opted for a rest day. Despite my resistance to run in cold temps, it turned out to be a GREAT tempo run for me! I even held an 8:30 pace for a half mile. I was totally feeling a runner’s high!

On Thursday, when I turned the ignition, I heard “Happy” by Pharrell play on the radio. With a gorgeous hot pink and orange sunrise for a postcard backdrop, it was a perfect song for the drive home after my run happy 6 miler I just experienced and a perfect symbol to a wonderful weekend to follow.

Over the weekend, my family and I spent one night in Celebration for the Celebration Half Marathon which coincided with my friend, Marcia’s birthday.  She wanted to run the race for her 40th birthday.  Who could argue with that?!  

And on her birthday, the very first day in her new age group, she placed first in the 40-45 age group. Marcia is amazing!

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For her birthday dinner, we dined at the Columbia Restaurant.  Of course, I carb loaded in my favorite way with some sangria and Cuban bread.

IMG 20140125 172806 Music Monday: {run} Happy

All of these run happy highlights deserve their own posts, which will follow over the next couple of days.  In the meantime, check out 24 hours of happy.

Also check out Xmas Dolly for more Music Monday fun.

Music Monday: Counting Stars

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the PR that could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been training hard,
Said, no more counting miles
We’ll be counting stars, yeah we’ll be counting stars


I’m into week three of my Asics-Kastor 6-Weeks to Train Marathon Plan.  I’ve been really good about sticking to the plan and waking up in the wee early morning pitch black dark hours to fit in my miles.  Yeah, I’ve been counting a lot of stars during those miles.   I’m not going to lie.  It’s tough but like OneRepublic says, “everything that kills me makes feel alive.”

This week means even more miles on my feet as I draw closer to the A1A Marathon.  I‘m participating in the inaugural Celebration Half Marathon on Sunday and according to my running plan, I need to run five miles more to hit 18 miles that day.  Looks like I’ll need to run 5 more miles after I cross the finish line.

All the sweat that drowns me makes me wanna fly.

MLK move forward Music Monday: Counting Stars

 Music Monday: Counting Stars

Pretty Muddy Returns {Giveaway}

PrettyMuddy Pretty Muddy Returns {Giveaway}Last fall, I experienced my very first endurance mud run at Pretty Muddy.  Although prior to the race I had such anxiety and trepidation about the mud and the physical challenge of the obstacles, I truly loved the experience.  I just had to think outside my usual running comfort zone.

Like a newbie endurance runner, I ran the 5K race like a runner trying to hit a new PR.  I put all my efforts in trying to complete the course in a set time, which meant I missed out on all the camaraderie and team work of the race.  As I struggled with some of the muddy hurdles, I observed other teams helping each other.  With each squish and mud slide, I watched others tumble and roll with laughter.

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Pretty Muddy is not a competition.  It’s about pushing yourself beyond a run and enjoying the sport while doing it with your girlfriends rallying around you.  But even if you don’t want to push yourself, Pretty Muddy allows you to pass on obstacles without penalizing you.

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During my beautiful, muddiful experience, I also learned that Pretty Muddy partners with many local charities and provides.  New for 2013, Pretty Muddy proudly supports Project Sole, a non-profit shoe charity.  At each event, Pretty Muddy will collect muddy discarded donated running shoes and deliver them to Project Sole who in turn distributes footwear throughout the world to disaster and poverty stricken areas.  So, wear old running shoes and donate them after your mud run.

project sole logo Pretty Muddy Returns {Giveaway}

Pretty Muddy returns to the Tampa/Orlando area on December 7 and will be held at the beautiful Colt Creek State Park in Lakeland.   This year, the organizers have added an all new Pretty Muddy Family Edition.  Now ladies can choose to participate in a team with their girlfriends or enjoy the fun with their kids, husbands and significant others in the last wave of the day for a one-of-a-kind family muddy adventure.  “From ages 6 to 96, everyone is guaranteed to feel like a kid (again), creating muddy memories that will last a lifetime.” – Pretty Muddy

I was really looking forward to participating in the Pretty Muddy Family Edition with my Run DMT clan, but due to a scheduling conflict, I am unable to attend the event.  However, the good people of Pretty Muddy have arranged for me to offer my spot to a lucky Run DMT reader in the Tampa Bay area!

To win my Pretty Muddy spot, simply visit Pretty Muddy and tell me in the comments below what obstacle(s) you can’t wait to try or to pass by.  

Giveaway ends 12/3 at 11:59 pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013 – 5K and Half Marathon Recap

I longed to PR both the 5K and the half marathon at the Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge.  With all my speedwork efforts, a new PR seemed like a reasonable expectation.

IMAG3639 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

Due to unforeseeable events, the race officials had to move the race to a new location.  Honestly, I preferred the new location over the previous location at Starkey Park simply because refreshments served post-race now included ice cold beer.

 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

For this costumed race, I wore my TARDIS Doctor Who dress for the 5K and a few people recognized the bright blue Police Box costume.  I decided to remove the headband light because it kept slipping and that annoyed me.

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The mostly flat course started at Gill Dawg Marina and led us through the residential gulfside of Port Richey.  I really pushed it to hit that PR and once we returned to the start line, I pushed out a sprint because I mistook the start line for the finish line.  That limerock path kicked up a lot of dust while we ran which choked me.  Trying not to slip on the limestone, I slowed a bit and sprinted once more when I hit the edge of the park.

5K (3.1 miles)
Gun Time 27:32.1
Chip Time 27:29.3
Ave Pace 8:53
Overall Place 59/252
Div Place 3/26

I shaved SIX SECONDS off my previous PR time and I earned an Age Group award!  I placed third in the 40-44 female division!  No costume awards for me this year and I’m good with that.

IMAG3669 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

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After the race, the Striders and I posed for photos with Frankenstein and celebrated our achievements with a few beers.

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 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

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The next day, I arrived early enough to freeze my Finn compression socks off but at least I made it for the Striders’ group photo at the start.  Deciding to dress as a theme, I went as Finn and Chrissy dressed as Jake from Adventure Time.  Thank goodness, Finn wears a fuzzy fleece hat!  Although once the race started, I swapped the fuzzy Finn hat for a baseball cap.

Striders HalfStart Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

IMAG3681 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

With 20 minutes to spare before the start of the race, Chrissy and I jumped in line for the restroom, however, the line didn’t seem to move.  The crowd waiting was anxious and restless waiting to use the restroom and some people squatted behind trees.  I have peeing in public issues and I couldn’t take advantage of the trees like others.  (I have pee envy.)  I finally made it into the stall at 7:58.  Two minutes is plenty of time to pee!

Once we emptied our bladders, we bolted over to the start. With the weather being so cool, my muscles were cold and I failed to stretch them before the start.  I should have performed some callestics while I waited in line to stretch my muscles to ready them for the race, but I didn’t.

For the start, we followed the limestone path once again out of the park.  I tried to pace with my friend, JM, and maintain an 8:30 pace.  About a mile into the course, I couldn’t stay with her and I fell back to a 9 mm pace.

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The course led us along Highway 19 and turned down Pier Road.  I really enjoyed running through the scenic streets and exploring the residential neighborhoods along the Gulf.  Even though I grew up in this area, I discovered lots of fun little parks along the way that I never knew about and my kids would love.IMG 00001193 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

About 6 miles into the race, I began to feel the effects of not stretching.  My hamstrings were aching.  I walked the water stations but still never stopped to stretch.  Even though I needed to slow my pace down, it looked as though I could still make my two hour finish time.

Around mile 7, Chrissy caught up with me and then passed me.  I couldn’t keep a 9:30 pace and I watched Chrissy pull away from me.  We passed each several times along the course and she looked so strong.  She was going to make her goal.

I seemed to be a few minutes behind Mike, playing the role of a zombie cheerleader for the Halloween themed-race.   I enjoyed watching him attack other runners and spectators.  Watching Mike play zombie took my mind off my hamstrings.

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When I hit mile 10, I realized I wouldn’t beat my PR and I became frustrated with myself.  Even with all that speedwork and training, I wouldn’t hit the two hour mark.  It just made me so sad and disappointed with my performance.  I decided to shake off the sadness and disappointment and focus on the runners around me.  I cheered for the runners as they passed me on the return trip.  Was anyone else struggling like me?

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Around mile 11 the course continued with more turns through harborside streets, I tired of all the turns and I wanted to be finished.  I took one last walking break at the water station and decided to try and push my pace back to a 9:30 until I crossed the finish line.

Half finish Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

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Half Strong Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

I heard the Striders cheering for me, but then I saw the clock and I tried not to cry.

IMAG3679 Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
Gun Time 2:17:02.3
Chip 2:16:48.8
Ave Pace 10:28
Overall 109/228
Div Place 8/25

I don’t know what hurt more my disappointment of not beating my PR or my hamstrings.  After a few congratulatory hugs from the Striders, I hobbled and limped my way over to the massage therapist.  I hurt physically and emotionally and I just wanted someone to make the feelings go away.  Even the free beer couldn’t cheer me up as I felt nauseous.  I couldn’t even stomach the idea of beer.

zombie attack Frankenfooter Living Dead Challenge 2013   5K and Half Marathon Recap

Unbeknownst to me, a zombie cheerleader tried to eat my brains druing my recovery massage.  Isn’t there a horror flick rule that states “Never fall asleep or you’ll die”?  After the massage, I felt so much better but I still couldn’t stomach a beer.

Despite my own issues, I really did enjoy the new race location and its course.  I hope the Frankenfooter enjoys its new found home, because I’d like to finish the half marathon again next year with a PR and an ice cold beer.

Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Disclaimer:  I served as a Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure RAC Pack Ambassador and I received a complimentary entry to the Race for the Cure 15K Challenge in exchange for promoting the race on a variety of social media platforms and my honest review of the race.  The photos and opinions shared in the race recap are my own.

After last year’s sweat fest in my pink tutu, I decided to wear less layers for this year’s Race for the Cure.  With taking on the Race for the Cure’s 15K challenge honoring 15 years of racing, I thought less is more when it coming to racing.  I need to wear less to put more effort in than I did last year.  I still wore a pink, of course.

IMG 00001036 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

IMG 00001027 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

We found our way to the start before the sun even appeared in the sky.  I wanted to be close to the start line to avoid the walkers.  A 6 minute pace seemed like a good place to start.  Sure.  Why not?  The 6 minute pace signs didn’t scare many people as I found Marie, David and Scott in the same spot.

 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Due to parked cars on the race course, we had a ten minute delay to the start of the race, but it gave us plenty opportunity to create Kodak moments while we waited.

IMG 00001029 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Once the fog horn sounded, I paced along side of David.  Even though I knew he had started off slow, I loved trying to keep up with him that first mile.  As we ran towards Pier, the sunrise was amazing.

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Since the pier is undergoing renovations, we weren’t able to run to the end of the Pier as in previous years.  Instead, we turned sooner and ran back towards downtown.   Once on Bayshore Drive, I briefly stopped for water at Mile 1 forcing myself to drink and run at the same time.  Just after the water station, we continued south in the direction of the Mahaffey Theater with a gorgeous view of the bay.

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As I enjoyed the sights, I heard a muffled voice yell, “Pffattaafone down!”  I turned in the general direction of the voice.  “Pffattaat phone down!”

It was Josh and Kim yelling and teasing to “Put the phone down!”  “Quit taking pictures and run!” They hollered.  I laughed and slowed my pace to run with them.  I relished in the fact that I was ahead of these two speedier than me runners.

IMG 00001072 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

“How am I ahead of you?”  I asked.

“Maybe because Kim fell back there on the cobblestone?”

“You mean you pushed me on the cobblestone!”  Kim hollered at Josh.  They playfully teased each other as they pulled ahead of me.

IMG 00001076 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

“Hey!  Wait a minute!” I hollered as they ran off and a gap formed between us.  “Oh I see.  This is your strategy.  Distract Denise, get her talking and she’ll slow down.  Very cunning running strategy indeed!”  I said jokingly.  Kim and Josh are way faster than me but for one brief moment, I smiled to know I was ahead them of taking photos as I ran.

IMG 00001078 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

IMG 00001086 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Once we passed the Dali Museum, the course led us back into downtown.  I always dread the downtown St. Pete part of the course because of its slight inclines.  As we passed Mile 2, I needed water but only Gatorade was available and I was told I had to wait a bit longer for water.  I was not happy!  It was way too hot out to wait a bit for water.

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Even though the course was closed, the police officers would let cars occasionally pass through the course.  It made nervous as I saw the police officers randomly wave on cars.  It seemed like cars crossed my path on more than one occasion.  Also on more than one occasion, I spotted Brian of Digital Running fly by me.

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We ran through downtown and followed the course around Mirror Lake.  Once again, I heard a muffled voice call me.  Mike eventually caught up to me and I was happy to pace with him for a short distance.

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Once around Mirror Lake, we turned onto Beach Drive and reached the mile 4 water station, my favorite water stop in the whole race.  The large, enthusiastic purple group cheered for the runners and their energy fueled us just as well as the water they happily handed us.  They were my favorite water station and as I took a walking break through their stop, I absorbed as much of their high-spirited energy as I could to finish the race.

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We continued on Beach Drive for another mile and then took a brief run along the bay once more.  Once again, I passed Mike and his smile boosted my spirits to finish strong.

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At mile 6, I noticed that the course seemed to be a little long and I worried that I may not finish under an hour as I hoped.  I put the distance out of my head and simply focused on pushing myself to finish.  As I concentrated on sprinting to the finish line, I spotted Scott and Tara running back along the course to cheer for their friends as they drew closer to the finish.  Their encouragement motivated me to run harder.

IMG 00001181 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

IMG 00001183 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

I finished just under an hour and met my goal.

6.2 miles
Garmin Distance 6:37
Garmin Time 59:23
Chip Time 59:17
Gun Time 59:20

Ave Pace 9:19
Max Pace 6:02
Age Group 22/95
Overall Place 184/652

As I crossed through the finish line, I felt overheated.  My Achilles ached and my plantar fasciitis hurt.  I needed water.  I needed to stretch.  I needed to shake off my negative mood to face the 5K.  No water was available at the finish line and I had to fight the crowds milling about in the park to find it.

IMG 00001184 Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Since the 10K had a delayed start, the 5K also had a ten minute delay, however, with hunting down water, stretching my legs and taking a selfie with Jenny and Raffi, the time between races flew by.  The 5K participants filled the street and I had to fight my way to the start.

Once the foghorn sounded, I had to weave in and out of walkers.  Feeling frustrated with the number of walkers, I knew fighting my way through walkers would add time to my overall finish 15K time.  I often tell people to enjoy the forced slow start of crowded races, but like a bitter pill, it was hard for me to swallow my own advice.

Just after my selfie photo, my cell died and sadly, I have no photos of the 5K although it followed almost the same course as the 10K, just 3.1 shorter obviously.  I anticipated a water station at mile 1 and drank my fill at mile 1 as I walked, which is also the time I discovered my Facebook friend, Nancy, whom I haven’t seen in person since she lost all her weight.  She looks amazing!

Once again, the purple cheering squad at mile 2 lifted my spirits.  With fairy wings, cowbells and smiles, they were truly spectacular!

Once again, I came around the bend to the finish line and tried my best to sprint.  My finish time wasn’t as great as it could have been, but it was really hot out there.

3.1 miles
Garmin Distance 3.15
Garmin Time 31:52
Chip Time 31:54
Gun Time 33:13
Ave Pace 10:06
Max Pace 7:29
Age group 25/94
Overall 250/691

15K Finish Time 1:32:33
15K Overall Place 43/182

Not a 15K PR for me but I certainly beat my post-baby 15K by 13 minutes which makes it a PB-PB (post-baby personal best) for me!

Once I crossed the finish line, I searched for water again.  It really annoyed me that no water was handed to us.  Plus, I had to hunt my medal.  Feeling weary and deliriously dehydrated, I wandered around Vinoy Park through the vendor tents trying to find water and my 15K medal.  I finally found the runner award tent near the start line and was awarded this big hunk of bling.

RacefortheCure15Kmedal Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

Now, I had to search for my friends.  I found Raffi near the Run for Brews tent where I also found Shirley.  In the distance, Shirley pointed out the Striders huddling together for a photo.

“Wait!” I shrieked and wailed as I ran over.  “Wait for me!” finding my second in a quick sprint asI ran towards the group for the photo.  They took another just for me.  That’s real runner love there.

Striders RacefortheCure Race for the Cure 15K Challenge Recap

If the  Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure hosts another 15K challenge next year (which I hope they do), there are so many areas for improvement like offering water at the finish line and walkers corralled in the back for competitive races.  If the 15K challenge is offered again, I will sign up for another challenge. And if the Race for the Cure will have me as a RAC Pack Ambassador, I’m definitely up for that challenge too.

Run to Remember 9-11 {2013 Recap}

For its 12th year, the Hernando YMCA, its volunteers and organizers hosted the Run to Remember 9-11 5K.  From the ROTC rifle team to the singing of the National Anthem by Lisa Watson of John LEggio’s Center for the Performing Arts to the moment of silence, it was a humbling experience and a well orchestrated race.

IMG 00000983 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

IMG 00000987 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

This would be my second year attending the free race and for this patriotic occasion, I decided to wear the same red, white and blue tutu I wore last year and to the Lutz Independence Day Run.

IMAG3141 1 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

There was a slight breeze mixed with cooler temperatures, which is something I always miss about the sleepy town of Spring Hill.  The weather is always slightly cooler only 30 minutes north.

Faster people and runners were directed to find their way to front of the pack close to the start while walkers were directed to move to the back.  Runners were instructed to follow the lead runner with the flag and if we passed him, we were told to grab the flag and go.  After all, this remembrance race was about the flag finishing first.

IMG 00000989 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

However, this race was still a race and the top three male and female finishers would receive a prize.  I knew I wouldn’t make the top three, but I hoped I would make the top ten female in this small town race.

The foghorn sounded and we bolted from the start.  Sadly, my Garmin was dead so I have no idea how fast I took off or my average pace.  I just ran.

And then, I ran uphill.

Funny, when I lived in Spring Hill, I wasn’t a runner.  I frequented these streets and never appreciated the hills from a runner’s perspective.  I still don’t appreciate the hills, but I acknowledge that I need to add them into my training runs more often.  They are definitely great training for the killer Clermont hills I’ll face at Iron Girl at the end of the month.

Hernando County Sheriffs directed traffic on Mariner Blvd to offer a safe path for the participants.  As we ran through the neighborhood, we shared the road with passing cars.  A few high students waiting to catch their bus became accidental spectators and smiled as we ran by.

Other folks elected to be spectators and stood outside their homes to cheer as we ran along the streets.  The cool breeze I felt only moments ago now faded away, but the occasional flag still swayed reminding us why we were running these hills.

IMG 00001009 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

To take my mind off the hills, I counted the female runners as they passed me.  I think I held my rank among the top ten, even with one quick walking water break around 1.5 miles.  Steve, a runner who looked similar to an old high school friend, and I paced together to the finish.

IMG 00001003 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

IMG 00001004 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

Some people would sprint to pass the runner in the tutu and eventually Steve and I would catch up to them again.  “Slow and steady wins the race”, said Steve with a smile.

IMG 00001001 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

IMG 00001011 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

It sure does.  And it helps you overcome hills too.

IMG 00001015 Run to Remember 9 11 {2013 Recap}

5K Finish Time 27:57

It wasn’t a 5K PR but I beat my time from last year (28:01) and in my guesstimation, I finished among the top ten female runners.

Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

I have some truly amazing friends.  I know, everyone says that.  But I hope that you have the same kind of support system in your life, so that when you post a Facebook message out there encouraging your friends to get out there and run…

FB VirtualBirthdayRun edit Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

…they respond.  They hit the roads and run with you and for you.

MyBirthday Striders2 Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

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MyBirthday Striders4 Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

They will run with you in spirit like virtual running partners.

Lori my very first running partner and coach

MyBirthday Lori Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

Amanda of One More Mile to Go

MyBirthday Amanda Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

Coach Brian of Digital Running spells “D & M” in ASL. Nice touch!

MyBirthday Brian Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

Chris – Notice the shirt? Not even planned.

MyBirthday Chris Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

Rachel’s trail view

MyBirthday Rachel Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

And they sing “Happy Birthday to you” across the countryside with cupcakes and lots of love.

Happy%2520Bday%2520from%2520the%2520Striders Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

MyBirthday Striders3 Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

It’s wonderful to feel so loved for your birthday.  That truly makes it the Best Damn Birthday.

And one damn great event deserves another, like the Best Damn Race.  It wasn’t just a clever marketing ploy.  It truly was the Best Damn Race.  Read my recap/review here.  And then you can decide for yourself on February 1, 2014.

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One lucky Run DMT reader will win an free entry to the Best Damn Race. Giveaway Ends 8/1.

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5thBlogoversary RunDMT Best Damn Birthday {Best Damn Race Giveaway}

FITniche Gift Certficate {Blogoversary Giveaway}

5thBlogoversary RunDMT FITniche Gift Certficate {Blogoversary Giveaway}At the Best Damn Blogging Event a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet the owner of Fitniche, Rich Wills.  With a down-to-Earth and friendly way about him, Rich represents and reflects the atmosphere FITniche offers to its costumers.  His mission to build FITniche as the authority in a community of runners has certainly been well established in his stores.

Walk into any FITniche and you will be greeted with smiles and helpful associates who want to help you find the fit for your niche. (Pardon the pun).  Whether you’re a walker, beginner runner or a long-time lover runner, FITniche can accommodate your needs.

fn logo shadow largest FITniche Gift Certficate {Blogoversary Giveaway}

More than a runner superstore, each FITniche also offers weekly running events as well as clinics and workshops.  If you are a regular Run DMT reader, you may recall the Boston Strong run my girls and I attended at the FITniche at the Shops at Wiregrass.

FITniche offers so much but don’t take my word for it.  Judge for yourself.   Experience the world of FITniche with a $20 Gift Certificate in your pocket.  FitNiche has three locations in the Tampa Bay area: Lakeland, Wesley Chapel and Hyde Park.

One lucky Run DMT reader will be selected at random to win a $20 FITniche Gift Certificate on Wednesday, July 31 and just in time for Florida’s tax-free days August 2 -4.

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5thBlogoversary RunDMT FITniche Gift Certficate {Blogoversary Giveaway}

Celebrating Run DMT’s 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}

5thBlogoversary RunDMT Celebrating Run DMTs 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}I started this blog as a means to record my training and hold me accountable. Over the years and miles, I’ve shared many running stories and adventures with numerous running partners.  Some of them you can relate to and others you may not have had the pleasure to experience.  It has been quite a journey.

All those races and training adventures made for great blogging material.  The women I shared those miles, tears, laughs, struggles and pains were some of the most dedicated, passionate, driven women you will ever meet.  Like me, these strong women find time to fit in the miles while raising a family.

This post is dedicated to all the BAMRs (Bad A$$ Mother Runners) I have ever had the pleasure to pace with.

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IronGirlGrace Daffodil Celebrating Run DMTs 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}

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IMG953536 Celebrating Run DMTs 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}

Though these are only a handful of photos of my BAMR running partners over Run DMT’s five years, there are so many more and each one deserves to honored and celebrated.

BAMR Bands wants to honor these women and all the Bad A$$ Mother Runners out there and their accomplishments.  With the timing of Run DMT’s 5th Blogoversary, what better time to honor women than with BAMR Bands giveaway?

I recently reviewed a floral BAMR band and loved it.  I never wore bands before, but my BAMR band was so comfortable.  I wear it all the time now.

IMG 00000704 edit Celebrating Run DMTs 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}

One lucky winner will win TWO BAMR bands of your choice!  Visit BMAR bands online.  Then add a comment below stating which patterns you like.

Giveaway ends Monday, July 29 at 11:59 pm.

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5thBlogoversary RunDMT Celebrating Run DMTs 5th Blogoversary and Mother Runners with BAMR Bands {Giveaway}

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