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Core Power and The Protein Revolution

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Disclaimer: I received samples of Core Power Protein Shake in exchange for my honest.  The opinions shared are my own.

Years ago, I would follow up a good hard run with a protein shake; but when my cholesterol hit over 225, I realized it was the 55 grams per serving in my protein shake that caused my cholesterol to elevate.  So, I shook that protein shake right out of my running routine and began drinking chocolate skim milk as my post-run recovery drink.  However, one glass of skim milk only has 9 grams of protein in an eight ounce serving.  For a long distance runner like me, that is only 10% of the amount of protein I need in a day.

In an attempt to fill my body with the protein it needed, I began to eat more nuts and peanut butter which would also help reduce my cholesterol level.  Unfortunately, my nut allergy began to escalate and I had to eliminate nuts from my diet all together. (That was a very sad day because peanut butter and almonds were my go-to foods.)

While training for my marathon, I found my appetite increasing with the miles.  I also needed something to curb those cravings and nourish my body with good proteins and amino acids to rebuild and repair my muscles.

Then, I discovered Core Power.  I’m usually pretty skeptical of packaged drinks, but when I read the label, I was in intrigued. Real cane sugar, cocoa, green tea and honey (another repairing agent) was listed as the ingredients.  Plus, Core Power is made with real milk and provides up for 70% percent of my daily calcium intake, which is such a big deal for women.  But how would it taste?  Would it be chalky and have an after-taste like so many other recovery drinks?

CorePower chocolate Core Power and The Protein Revolution

Since chocolate milk is already part of my recovery after a run, I tried the chocolate first.  It was surprisingly good.  The curvy Chocolate Core Power also caught the eye of a few of runner friends.  They were jealous of my chocolaty goodness.

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After my next long run, I sampled the vanilla. Much like the chocolate, it also had honey, green tea listed as the ingredients with real vanilla and it was just as tasty as the chocolate.

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Honestly, I preferred the vanilla over the chocolate, but Core Power is available in five delicious flavors.

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I’m totally hooked on Core Power and its “great taste, high protein and simple ingredients”. Look at me! I’m joining the protein revolution!

Core Power, the “Official Protein Drink of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games”, wants you to join the protein revolution and taste-test by offering one lucky Run DMT three bottles of assorted flavors of Core Power and a handsome Core Power t-shirt to wear as you sample those tasty flavors.  Enter below for you chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A1A Marathon {recap}

With 18 months in the making, I waited a long time to run A1A MarathonChrissy and I set off after the Gasparilla Jr race for our long road trip down to sunny Ft Lauderdale.  We arrived at the expo around 5:00 pm, which was just enough time to steal grab some free goodies and samples of beer and play around with the photo spots.

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When I noticed piles of FuelStrips, I mistook them for sample packets and tried to steal one. At first I was scolded for my greediness because after mountains of granola sacks and boxes of tampons, it was easy to mistaken the FuelStrips as samples.  After the incident, Zack and I became instant Instagram buddies and he tipped us off that the coveted FuelStrips would be offered on the course tomorrow.

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Once we checked into the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, we decided to grab some essentials at Publix and eat dinner in the room.  I just wanted to unwind and wine down and try to get some rest.  Our 4:00 a.m. wake up call would come fast.

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After arranging a late check out, we left the hotel and arrived at the start around 5:30.  With several parking garages around the Downtown Ft Lauderdale district, we easily found a parking spot and made it to the start line just as the national anthem played.

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The start line stood parallel to the Museum of Science and Discovery.  The half marathon and marathon participants started together with lots of pace groups to help gauge where to stand.  Although I had a goal to finish under 5 hours, I tried not to pay attention to the pace groups because they always stress me out when they pass me!

The first two miles led us along Las Olas Blvd through the streets of downtown Ft Lauderdale and for the first mile, we ran through a section that reminded me of Ybor City, clustered with two-story building with French accents, rod iron awnings like the buildings you find in New Orleans.

As we followed the course along, it would tease us with bridges in the distance, but we never crossed them.  When we passed an art museum on Andrews Street, I feared running over the tall draw bridge adjacent to it, but we turned before we even reached it.  We did, however, cross one small bridge but it was nothing like the Mama and the baby bridges of Sarasota.

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The sun began to rise as we approached the beaches which offered a gorgeous backdrop along the sandy shore. We ran briefly along A1A and then turned into Birch State Park.  In the park as we passed the five hour pace group, Chrissy informed me she needed to use the bathroom and since we were making such good time, she didn’t want me to wait for her.  She advised me to go ahead and eventually she would catch up.  I left Chrissy at the park restroom and ran solo for the remainder of the way.

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I was truly making such great time and the race was flying by on this fast, flat beautiful beachside course.  Before I knew it, I passed the half marathon and marathon split and watched several runners turn off to finish the half marathon, but I was still surrounded by other marathoners. In the opposite direction, the fastest runners were heading back to the finish already and I loved that I never felt alone on this course.

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By the time I hit 12 miles, I needed a toilet in the worst way.  At the first sign of a porta-potty, I detoured for a very quick bathroom break and even left my watch running to make sure I was quick.  I only spent three minutes in there, but it was just long enough for Chrissy to pass me and I never knew it.

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When I hit the half marathon mark, I was ecstatic with my progress and lack of pain.  If I kept this pace up, I would finish well under 5 hours.  And as I marveled at my marathon achievement, it seemed so minuscule next by Doctor Dribble’s amazing feat for charity.

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The course led us further and further down A1A Blvd to Pompano Beach cluttered with condos and lots of water stations manned by happy volunteers. As we approached miles 15 – 16, the course teased us with another bridge that we never crossed.  Instead, we turned into a more residential neighborhood full of people spectators handing out candies and water while they cheered for the runners.

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I thought for sure I would see Chrissy again as the course looped and overlapped through the residential area, but I never did.  I worried about her knee and IT-band troubles and wondered if she DNF.  At mile 16, I was still feeling good about my performance and my overall finish time.

Around mile 19, I spotted the 5:00 pace group out of the corner of my eye.  ”Nooooooo! How can that be?!”

“Are you running ahead of pace?” I asked the 5:00 pace group leader.

“A little bit”, he replied.  “What’s your goal?”

“To keep ahead of you!   Honestly anything under five hours, but whenever I see pace group passing me, I become riddled with anxiety. I have not had the best experience with pace groups. I start to stress if I fall behind.”

“Well, you’re doing great!”

I paced with him for about a mile but I couldn’t keep up and of course, it broke my heart whether he was ahead of pace or not.  At mile 20 with only 6.2 miles and an hour left to go, I watched the five hour pace group sign slowly slip away and I started to lose it.

My heel started to bother me.  The heat started to bother me.  Bad thoughts began to take over and I started to walk.  Where the hell are the water stations?  I thought they were every mile!

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Things really started to get ugly between miles 21 to 23 as I dumped more and more water on my head and fanned myself in attempt to cool myself down and keep myself from crying.  I even tried to clap away the sadness with Pharrell as he sang “Happy“.  When the patrol officers noticed my random two-beat clapping and subtle sadness, they offered some kind words in attempt to lift my spirits. ”You’re doing great!  Keep it it!”

I loved that the cops were so cheery and supportive throughout the course.  From the spectators to volunteers to the cops, everyone happily cheered for the runners along the way.

Even a beer station at mile 24 couldn’t help me. I felt as if I might puke if I drank beer.  The people at the beer station were so happy to offer beer too, but I just couldn’t drink it and that made me even sadder.

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Then, “Wake Me Up” by Avicii played on my MP3 player and I. LOST. IT. I mean, I seriously, lost it in a way I haven’t seen since Space Coast Marathon 2011. With my friend’s recent collapse and then my dad’s mini-stroke, I have had some real emotional rollercoasters lately but I always try to be a rock for everyone (my friends, my husband, my children, my sister and now my mom and dad) and this rock crumbled as an avalanche of emotion poured out of me.  I sobbed on the course and started to hyperventilate.  ”Why am I here?  Why am I doing this? What is this all for?  What am I trying to prove? I want to go home! I want to hug my husband, my kids and my dad!”

“God, please wake me up when it’s all over.”

As I dumped on yet another cup of water on my head, the volunteers at that water station saw my struggles and reminded me “You got this.”

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Yes, yes I do and then very next song to play was “Work B**tch by Britney Spears and the timing could not have been better. I shook off all that bad juju and worked it out to finish strong.  After struggling with a 12:00 mm pace, I pushed it for the Publix mile and I ran a 9:15.  People smiled and cheered as I ran by and it lifted me to the finish.  I sprinted even faster and stronger for the last 0.2 miles until I crossed the finish line.

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When I crossed, I cried, of course. Once I regained my composure, I looked up and saw Chrissy with her finisher medal.  She hobbled over to me, hugged me and congratulated me on my finish, but really she takes the crab cake because she shaved 8 minutes off her previous PR from WDW marathon only a month ago.

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“Great job, Tampa!” hollered the 5:00 pace group guy.  “You did it!”

He was right. I did it. I earned a new marathon PR. My Garmin read 4:59 but my official chip time read 5:00:24.  Regardless, I still shaved NINE MINUTES off my previous marathon time and finally hit a PB-PB (personal best post baby) which has taken years to do.

35/46 Age Group Div
473/993 Overall
10K 1:04:00
Half 2:20:07
Clock Time 5:03:55
Chip Time 5:00:24
Garmin Time 4:59:54
Ave Pace 11:28

Despite heel pain, changes with my body post baby and other motherhood hurdles, I finally came full circle to my level of athletic performance from five years ago.  I don’t care what the clock, chip or Garmin says. I know how this feels and it doesn’t feel crabby at all.

 A1A Marathon {recap}

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Best Damn Race 2014 {recap}

On the day of the Best Damn Race, I had 20 miles on deck to run to train for A1A Marathon.  I concocted this brilliant plan to run all three races (5K, the 10K and the half marathon) but Nick, the race director, talked me off that crazy train.  With the races overlapping, there would be no way I could make the start for the races or even finish before the time allotment for the races.  Not to mention, a frantic rushed race could cause injury.

So much to my dismay, I would have to stick with the Best Damn Race Challenge and run only two races: the 10K and the 5K.  I wouldn’t run for time or a PR, just to get in the miles and if I finished before Mica finished the half marathon, I could pace her to the finish line and help her PR.

Unexpected delays caused the race to start 15 minutes late, which offered time for me to stretch, take some photos and catch up with my Strider friends at the start.

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Like last year, I wore my red and white polka dot RunningSkirts and white top for two reasons. One, I wanted to show my love and support for the Best Damn Race by matching the colors of the logo.  Secondly, I needed the pockets in RunningSkirt to hold my Cliff Shots and cell phone.

Also like last year, the start line stood in front of Safety Harbor Spa and the first half of the 10K followed Basyshore Drive which parallels the bay.  This year, we ran further north along Bayshore Blvd and ran through more of the neighborhood surrounding the race.  At about a mile and a half, we turned onto Philiippe Parkway and ran back towards downtown Safety Harbor.

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Although the course is relatively flat, there is still some incline which is always a struggle for me and why I keep adding hills and bridges into my training. The streets of Safety Harbor have slow gradual sloping inclines that just kill me.  Around mile 3 of the 10K, I reminded myself I had to do this all over again in a short while.  And I wanted to run all three, remember?

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Thankfully, there were so many spectators and volunteers to keep our spirits up along with the Safety Harbor “hills” and lots of water stops to help cool us on this usually humid February race day. Just before mile 4, I stopped for water as we turned into another residential section of the course.

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Once I was clear of the houses and back on Bayshore of Boulevard, I hit mile 5 and pushed it to the finish.  I saw Beth at the finish line and hugged her as she placed a medal around my neck.

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Overall 265
Age Group Place 56/156
Chip Time 1:01:15.8
Gun Time 1:02:08.1
Ave Pace 9:53/M

As I cooled down and geared up for the 5K, I snacked on a Cliff Shot. During my brief race break, I met the Run DMC crew.

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After I introduced myself, we captured our chance meeting with photos, of course. Run DMT meets Run DMC.

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Before the start of the 5K, I caught up with Daffodil and Donna. Both ladies set to PR and once the airhorn blew, I ate their Best Damn Race dust.  Knowing the steepness of the course, I wanted to keep an easy pace and not push myself, especially when I had eleven more miles to do after the race.

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The 5K course followed the same start as the 10K. the second time around, I saw the same volunteers including the very happy lady with rainbow hair and my friend, Brad, who high-fived me when I ran past.

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Once past the 3 mile mark, I sprinted to the finish line as my Strider friends cheered for me.

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Overall Place 349/1332
Age Group Pace  17/127
Chip Time 29:40.9
Gun Time 29:48.9
Ave Pace 9:34/M

After I earned my 10K finisher medal and my challenge medal, I headed back to the spot where all the Striders stood to find out if anyone had seen Chrissy or Mica finish yet.   When I learned they were still on the course, I ran into the half marathon to find them.  I must have looked a bit strange running more after the race which prompted one guy to yell, “You can stop running now!”

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It was actually fun to run in the opposite direction of the half marathoners. I recognized so many faces and I cheered for them all as they ran by me.  I saw Nancy and Michelle H looking strong but Chrissy looked pretty miserable and ready to be done.  When Michelle B spotted me, she hollered “There’s the Best Damn Cheerleader!”

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Then, I found Mike and Mica with Haley pacing behind them, but Mica was NOT having a good race day.  She cried when she saw me. The ugly cry.  We’ve all been there. Running is just as much as a mental game as a physical game.  I told Mica that the finish line was near and encouraged her to shake it off and get it done.

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Mike had paced with Mica the entire way and was thrilled to have helped her earn a PR.  I was glad to help her finish strong and share the moment, too.  As we closed in on the finish line, Mike and I hollered, “PR! PR! Right here!”

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Mica’s family where there to witness her finishing strong and ringing the PR bell, an added featured to Best Damn Race this year which everyone loved.

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Between the Safety Harbor “hills” and the PRs, the ugly cries, the happy moments, the nine more miles I had yet to do after the race, there were so many highs and lows (literally and figuratively) at the Best Damn Race. Fortunately, the post race party with its unlimited beer and food maintained a happy atmosphere.

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With more miles left to run to hit my Big 20 miler, I had to keep my Best Damn Race festivities to a minimum, but at least I had the opportunity to hang with my Suncoast Strider friends and some of the Best Damn Tampa Bay Bloggers: Jessica, Chrissy, Genna, Jenny, Caitlyn, Meghan, Beth, and Pete.

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I also had the opportunity to thank Rainbow Brite for cheering for the runners.

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Next to the PR bell, the Best Damn Race organizers offered another fun bonus to this year’s race: a free race photo to everyone who registered early.  Well, at least I thought it was one.  Turns out, the early bird gets all the photos, another great feature added to an already stellar race.

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RANdom Thoughts about New Running Shoes, Bridges and Being Ready for A1A Marathon

My running shoes were toast and needed to be replaced. I wanted to break them in and get some miles in them before the marathon next Sunday.  Since Brooks no longer manufactures the Trance, I needed a decent replacement and STAT!  I visited my friend, Christina Marie at FitNiche and she fitted me in a pair of Brooks Ravenna 5.  The moment I slipped these shoes on, I was in love with them.

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I felt nothing. No pinching. No stiffness in my heels.  No pressure on my bunions. For me and my plantar fasciitis feet, the Brooks Ravenna 5 running shoes are perfect.  And they are so pretty too.

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I cannot believe A1A Marathon is this Sunday! Apart from tapering down my miles, eating right and staying hydrated, all I can do from here on out is trust the training, all six weeks of it.

Most marathon training plans follow an 18-20 week schedule with one to two 20 milers.  With the Asics-Kastor training plan, the miles were condensed and jammed into six weeks.  The plan offered adequate rest and a manageable amount of time between the longer runs.  Honestly, the whole training plan was manageable and perfect for a busy mom on the run with multiple marathons under her fuel belt.  (I wouldn’t recommend the plan for a newbie marathoner because the longer distances can be a bit challenging.)

Although the plan did not incorporate speedwork, I added some sprints and tempo runs into the shorter distance runs.  On the longer runs, I just focused on getting in the miles, even breaking them up into smaller portions throughout the day when my schedule wouldn’t allow me to run for hours at a time.  Basically, this plan is more about “time on your feet” than speed, but I did throw in the occasional bridge run here and there, as in the case this past Sunday.

I am so glad I planned a bridge run too!  When I saw the weather on Sunday morning, I totally would have flaked had I not organized and co-hosted the event.  Any other time I would have stayed in bed instead of facing those cold, foggy bridges.

And man it was foggy!

But the fog burned off quick once the sun rose.

Marcia, Nanci, Liz, Chris, Leah, Leah C, Jen G and I ran the two Clearwater bridges while two husbands, Mike and Patrick, cycled along as our bridge bodyguards.

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Since my area of Florida is so flat, running these “hills” forces me to run outside of my comfort zone and push myself in a good way.  These bridges are always tough for me, but on Sunday I held a nice pace which was a tad bit faster than last month’s bridge run.  Plus, it’s such great training for Sarasota Half Marathon and Iron Girl Half Marathon which both have big bridges on the course.

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Most everyone only had nine miles to run, but I had four more to do after the bridges.  So after a snack at our glorious runner tailgate at Sand Key Park, I ran along Gulf Boulevard for four more miles under the blazing sun.

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Miles 13.11
Time 2:22:16
Ave Pace 10:51
Max Pace 7:43

After the bridge run, the Asics-Kastor marathon training plan recommended one day off for rest. Who could argue with that?

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Today, I overslept so I swapped my work-outs around. I went to Body Pump at the YMCA and then ran three miles after the weightlifting class. That little switch was such a shock to my legs.  They were not happy about running after weightlifting! Plus, it was a bit hotter than I’m used to which is perfect training for A1A Marathon in sunny Ft. Lauderdale. I’ve heard that race has a tendency to be warm.

Last week, I ran three miles on Wednesday and six miles on Thursday. Both were decent runs, but Thursday was chilly and rainy. I swear, if I wasn’t training for a marathon, I would have totally flaked. This crazy up-down hot-cold-hot-cold is killing me!  Thankfully, my body is still hanging in there. *knock on wood*  I don’t want to jinx myself.

Wednesday, 2/5
3.11 miles
Time 31:30
Ave Pace 10:08
Max Pace 8:09


Thursday, 2/6
6.03 miles
Time 59:46
Ave Pace 9:55
Max Pace 8:10

Next Tuesday after the marathon, I am totally pampering these feet with a pedicure.  How’s that for a post-race celebration?

Speaking of celebrations, join me tomorrow night at 8 pm on Twitter for a Gasparilla Twitter #runGDC Party! Follow me (@denisermt) @TBbloggers and @GasparillaTBR and #runGDC for a chance to win an Gasparilla Distance Classic race entry.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

IMAG4189 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

 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!

IMAG4191 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

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

IMAG4197 Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon Recap

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

RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runner’s High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

Over the past month while all my favorite shows (such as Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Wonderland and Doctor Who) are on a TV hiatus, I decided to start watching a new-to-me series that I had never viewed before. I heard so many great things about Lost all those years ago, so I decided to see what all the hype was about.

Mystical island?


Some fantasy and science fiction?

Love, drugs and food addictions?

Lost Season1 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

It was totally up my alley and I was completely hooked.  For days, I watched hours of Lost.  Each episode ended with a cliff hanger and I hate cliff hangers.  Like a junkie, I needed more.  A week ago last Sunday evening, I finally watched the final of episode appropriately titled, “The End”.

Lost TheEnd RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

I totally predicted it from the very first episode and unlike many of the complaints I heard at the time the show originally aired, I wasn’t disappointed, but rather, I felt fulfilled. Of course, I also could have save myself the trouble and just watched the very first episode and the very last episode and saved myself all the melodrama in between.  Watching the show back-to-back, I picked up on so many clues and so much of the foreshadowing had been revealed.  The one thing I never picked up on though was Jack’s father’s name, Christian Shepherd, which should have totally revealed the premise earlier. But at least, I finally get Jimmy Fallon’s reference at the 62nd Grammy’s in 2010, because the joke was “lost” on me then.

But now I need another filler show until my regular favorites return.  I think I may give Breaking Bad or Sherlock a go.

It’s really hard coming off this Lost feeling, though.

Lost EntireCast 1024x640 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

But that Lost feeling was quickly replaced with a runner’s high because I had some truly amazing runs last week.

Mica met me on Wednesday for a quick 3 mile run in my neighborhood. I didn’t realize that I was pushing her to run faster which led to a deep discussion about my old, tired Garmin affectionately nicknamed, Granny Garmin. This antique Forerunner 305 Garmin is dying a slow death and apparently it isn’t giving a true read of pace, according to Mica’s much more modern 910, which she reminded me on more than one occasion. Never mind, Mica is running faster as a result of good ol’ Granny Garmin even though she is a bit senile and can’t keep an accurate pace.

3.14 miles
Time 32:04
Ave Pace 10:12
Max 8:42

If it wasn’t for Mica texting me and making me accountable for six miler on Thursday, I would have totally flaked, postponed or even opted for a rest day because I hated the idea of running in 38 degrees which is very cold for Florida standards.   Although Mica wasn’t really feeling it the run on Thurday, it turned out to be a GREAT tempo run for me! I even held an 8:30 pace for half mille.  I was on such a runner’s high that morning!

And then, I heard Happy by Pharrell play as soon as I turned the ignition. With a gorgeous hot pink and orange sunrise for a postcard backdrop, it was a perfect song for my drive home. (Sorry, no photo to share.)

6 miles
Time 1:01:00
Ave Pace 10:09
Max Pace 7:42

I saved my two rest days for Friday and Saturday, although on Friday I tortured my legs in a good way with Body Pump. Man, the lunge track in the recent release is a killer.

On Sunday, I had 18 miles on schedule according to my Asics Kastor marathon training plan. Although I ran the Celebration Half Marathon in the morning (full race recap tomorrow), I needed to fit in 5 more miles before my husband left for his business trip out of town. So, before hubby headed to the airport, I ran 3 miles when we returned home. Since Granny Garmin died during the race, I had to figure out my 3 mile finish time old school style using a clock.

After my 3 mile run, I raced off to take my girls to Girl Scouts, cook dinner afterwards and I still had 2 more miles to do. No dinner for me until I finished those 18. I headed out in the sprinkling rain with Mica’s Knuckle Lights which she let me borrow and that’s how a mom on the run gets it done. BOOYAH!

And my times weren’t too shabby, either.

13.1 miles (Celebration Half Marathon)
Time 2:10:35
Ave Pace 9:57
Max Pace 7:44

3.1 miles (Garmin died; guesstimated time)
Time 35:00

2 miles
Time 20:013
Ave Pace 10:01
Max Pace 7:50

IMAG4207 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

Glowing running shoes from the Knuckle Lights.

Since my oldest is training for Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K and my two younger kids are training for Gasparilla Jr Too Good For Drugs, they need to run more regularly than just one day a week at running club. So last night, the whole gang went out for a 3 mile run. My kids’ pace is much slower than mine; pushing a stroller also helped slow me down and keep a slow, easy shakeout pace.  The playground was our halfway point and reward for running.  They all did such a great job running!

3.1 miles
Time 41:29
Ave Pace 13:15
Max Pace 3:45
(That was Allana and I sprinting home)

IMAG4220 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

Today I had ten miles on the plan and for a change of pace, I decided to hit the Upper Tampa Bay Trail (UTBT) for those miles. The “hilly Florida” terrain and scenery was a welcomed changed.  I arrived at the trail after I dropped the kids off at school and the temps quickly warmed up.  The warm temps and steep overpasses added three minutes to last week’s 10 mile finish time, but I really enjoyed the challenge and pushing myself while maintaining an easy pace.  I actually ran the overpass three times to get the miles in.  As for the warm temps and “hills”, it’s good to mix it up because you never know what race day will bring.

IMAG4232 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4233 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

I especially liked that I had a bathroom close by at the Mickey D’s.

IMAG4236 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

10.10 miles
Time 1:51:14
Ave Pace 11:01
Max Pace 7:51

In true Run DMT style, I snapped some photos along the way.  I had no idea I would see mile markers as well as receive a history lesson about the trail while I ran.

IMAG4237 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4238 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4240 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

Like many of Florida bike trials, the UTBT is built on an old railway line and it’s simply gorgeous with a suspension bridge and fun tunnels to run through which take you under the railway line.  Between the wooden, narrow paths, this trail would have been perfect training for the Celebration Half Marathon.  I know for next time!

IMAG4241 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4245 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4246 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

IMAG4247 RANdom Thoughts about Being Lost, a Runners High, Some Hills and a Granny Garmin

I plan to run easy runs for the remainder of the week and I saved my rest days for Friday, the day before the Best Damn Race Challenge (10K and 5K) and Sunday, the day after my 20 miler.  Somehow I have to figure out how to run 9 more miles after the Best Damn Race!

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!

IMAG4197 Music Monday: {run} Happy

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

RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

As I mentioned last week, I am training for a marathon in less than 6 weeks (only five left now) by following the Asics-Kastor 6-Week Marathon training plan, however, I’m not following it exactly to the letter because my schedule forces me to shift things around.  I am giving myself at least one-two days for rest.

Basically, I’ve bumped everything forward.  So instead of Monday being an “off” day like the plan suggests, I will run on Monday.  Tuesday will be my ten miler day, Wednesday will be 3 miles and then on Thursday I’ll run six miles.  Depending on my mood and the soreness of my muscles, Friday may be a running rest day and that leaves Saturday for my long runs.  Since I have organized a Run DMT Clearwater Marathon Cheering Squad in Indian Rocks Beach for Sunday’s Clearwater Marathon, Sunday will be a forced rest day.

If you’re local, come join us at Guppy’s!

RunDMT Clearwater CheeringSquad RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

Once I get passed this marathon training, I’ll start cycling and swimming again.  I could always cycle on Sunday which would do my body some good.

Last week, I only made it to the YMCA on Tuesday.  I really want to make it to Body Pump at least two days a week to condition my muscles but sometimes my schedule causes me to miss it.  I always try to make the Tuesday class, because I love the Tuesday express class!  Leyna is so fun and she really watches us to make sure our form is correct.  Last week, she saw I was struggling with the weight.  Dumb on my part to add that much weight on, but I like that she noticed it.

I also opted for two rest days on Wednesday and Thurday last week.  The weather was really icky and I didn’t feel like running on the treadmill again.  The dreadmill is such torture for me.

After reading all the #runDisney posts on my Facebook newsfeed on Friday morning, I wanted to run a virtual 10K with all my runner blogger friends running the Dopey Challenge at Disney, but I had so much on plate and I didn’t get out to run until later in the morning.

Big mistake!  By 10:30 a.m., the heat cooked me and sucked my energy dry.  My experience was less magical than theirs. With temperatures in the low 40s at the start of the week and the high 70s by the end of the week, I believe my body went into shock.

Although I ran with a Nathan hand-held water bottle, I drank it all the water within the first two miles.  In an act of desperation during the last mile, I drank from a neighbor’s garden hose.  I even sprayed myself with it.  It was ridiculously hot for January.

Plus, there were no Disney characters on my course, only a smelly garbage truck! At the start of the run, my goal was simply to get time on my feet, but that goal eventually turned into trying to stay ahead of the garbage truck and its fumes.

Only a 10K but it felt very Dopey indeed.  The dreadmill is starting to look good again.

6.2 miles
Time 1:10:04
Ave Pace 11:17
Max Pace 8:08

Saturday, I met my friends Mica and Heather to run. I had 13 miles to get through, so I decided to make it another virtual runDisney run.  I even wore my Minnie Mouse outfit from last year’s Disney marathon, minus the ears because I forgot them.

VirtualDisney Minnie RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

13.12 miles
Time 2:35:11
Ave Pace 11:50
Max Pace 9:07

My parents popped over for a visit on Saturday evening and it turned out to be a late night.  So on Sunday, I was honestly too tired to run.  But in all fairness, I didn’t even mention being tired to the friends I partied with at our Annual Suncoast Striders Disney Marathon After Party.  I hitched a ride with the two Michelle’s and made it time to congratulate my running friends on all their outstanding marathon PRs and to applaud Daffodil and Mica for volunteering at the marathon.

 RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

Fro beat his Space Coast Time by 30 minutes.  Chrissy and Marie shaved 25 minutes off their Clearwater marathon time.  It was so inspiring to see everyone with their Disney medals, some even with multiple bling and faces gleaming with pride.  I was so happy I could share that victory moment with all of them, especially Chrissy.

 RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

Fro RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

 RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

Inspired by all the PRs, I started the week off with a strong 4 mile run.  I stuck to my altered Asics-Kastor training plan by running 10 miles in the dark AND in the rain this morning. It was so hard to stay motivated especailly when my music died around mile 5, but my Lorna Jane “Never Give Up” sports bra kept me moving.

NeverGiveUp LornaJaneTop RANdom Thoughts about a Virtual runDisney, a Disney Marathon After Party and Marathon Training

10 miles
Time 1:54:37
Ave Pace 11:27
Max Pace 7:47

One of my personal goals this year is to remember to upload my stats to my Daily Mile profile.  I’m horrible about that!  When I saw I didn’t even hit 800 on my Daily Mile account last year, I was so annoyed with myself.  I know I hit closer to 1000 miles.  This year, I’m going to make sure my profile displays the correct total AND I hit 1000 miles for sure.

I also noticed to please the Daily Mile, I need to run a tad bit farther than my Garmin displays.  I usually hit stop once I hit the distance I want, but sometimes my 4 miles isn’t a true 4 miles according to the Daily Mile troll.  That means now if I want it to show an accurate distance on my profile, I have to run just a tad bit (like 0.01 mile) more.

I know. I know. I can be a tad OCD like that.

If you’re on the Daily Mile, add me as a friend. And then, will you remind me to upload my stats?

Because I can be a bit flaky too.

But at least I “never give up.”

Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

I swore I would never go back.

And yet, there I stood in Cocoa Beach town center.

The panic attacks began to bubble over as I stood at the Space Coast Half Marathon. Although this was only a half marathon, all of my horrible memories and uncomfortable feelings about this race came racing back.  My friends, Mica, Chrissy and Haley tried to settle my nerves before blast off.  At least our outfits looked cute.  I called this ensemble “starry night”.

IMG 00001233 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

While we took photos to take my mind off the impending Space Coast race, I noticed we stood in the crowd ahead of the 2:15 pace group.  My goal was to stay ahead of them for the duration of the race.

IMG 00001237 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001242 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

Once the race was underway, I began to feel better.  Chrissy and I paced together for the first mile.  Then, just after the first mile water station, Chrissy sped ahead and I stay behind attempting to maintain an easy pace.

IMG 00001248 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

At the 3 mile mark, I still held onto my easy pace.  Although Space Coast’s definition of a “flat course” has more inclines than I’m used to compared to the very flat roads around my ‘hood, I still made relatively good time.

IMG 00001250 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

At the 10K mark, I impressed myself with my pace and managed to stay between the 2:15 and 2:30 pace groups.   My good spirits allowed me to crack jokes along the way.  “You down with OPD?  Yeah, you know me.”

IMG 00001245 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001251 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

Once we turned the corner at the 7 mile mark for our return trip to the finish line, the wind hit me like a wall and I felt like I couldn’t move.  My body fought the wind and my legs resisted running.  I knew I would struggle with the second half of the half marathon.

And then the 2:15 pace group passed me.

IMG 00001262 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

I tried to keep up with the pace group for as long as I could, but they slipped away further and further as the wind and my legs held me back.

Shortly soon after, I began to feel phantom pains in my feet as reoccurring Space Coast sadness and despair flooded my brain.  Why am I even here?  I hate this race.

I decided to focus on the spectators and volunteers instead of my Space Coast discontent.  A space themed race does have its advantages.

IMG 00001266 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

I only wish I had dressed as the TARDIS or marked my face and arms with tally marks to warn others of The Silence of Doctor Who.  Then like a blinking beacon in a starry sky, the only TARDIS in the entire race passed me and it made me smile.   I should have worn my dress too.

IMG 00001271 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001272 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

At mile 12 I thought to myself, “I’m almost there.  I can do this and finish close to 2:17.”  And then, I hit another wall.  My body just shut down and refused to run any more.  It was if my mind didn’t want to be there and wouldn’t let my legs run.

I was so angry with myself.  Why was this happening?  Was I doomed from the start?  Did I do this to myself?  Is it truly mind over matter?

IMG 00001273 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

There were several of us walking at this point.  I tried to stay positive and reminded myself that I was still ahead of the 2:30 pace group.  I found my momentum once again and tried to run the last stretch.

IMG 00001275 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001278 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001279 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

This last half mile looped us around the park through a colonnade as an emcee announced our arrivals at the finish line.  I don’t remember hearing my name or my finish time.  I was just glad to be finished.

IMG 00001281 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

IMG 00001282 Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

Time 2:20:22

Ave Pace 10:44

I found Chrissy and learned she had PR’d by a minute.  Mica had yet to still cross the finish line, so I waited for her.  As soon as I spotted her, the waterworks began and we swapped stories about our miserable Space Coast experience.

Of course, we smiled for our finish photos.

Space%2520Coast%2520Finishers Space Coast Half Marathon Recap

And like true bling whores and race junkies, even after all the loathing for this race, we promised to return next year for the Challenger medal in attempt to earn a Big Bang Series Medal.

One year down. Two more to go.

Can you believe I’m even considering running the full next year?  And I may even dress as the TARDIS.


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