Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

Runfyhp and Friends Best Races of 2013 in Pics

Over the past few weeks I asked my Facebook followers to send in pics of their best / most memorable running moments of 2013.  I received a vast array of pics.  Everything from Mud Runs and Spartan Races to kids and families.  I really enjoyed looking at all the pics and why they were so special to each of you.

I have been so blessed in 2013 with a fantastic year of running, including being healthy, having great weather for my races and a wonderful travel buddy and friend in Cara from Running In Sanity.

Congrats again to everyone on all your accomplishments over the past year and thanks for sharing your time, kind words and pictures with me.

Enjoy the holidays and here is to a wonderful 2014!!

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Reaching My Pink Goal

This past Saturday (and by the way did I ever tell you I love Saturday races) myself and some of my family & friends participated in the 1st annual Virginia Fallen Heroes 5k and fun run.  A great cause, but it turned out to be an even better day than expected!

Good friends of ours were coming to visit from CT this weekend and I have always wanted to run with my buddy Aimee, the timing worked out perfect and we all signed up a few weeks before they came down. The race itself was held down at Mt. Trashmore, a local park in Virginia Beach.  The weather was beautiful for running, partly cloudy and highs in the upper 50’s low 60’s.  There was both a kids fun run and a 5k run.

The kids fun run took off at 10 am and Mr. Cutesie Face rocked it!  Although it was a fun run he came in fourth.  Nice job Mr 🙂 My kiddos always amaze me!

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The 5k was held after the kids race.  The hubbies were granted the “privilege” 😉 of running with the strollers so the Moms could race together.  Don’t worry my hubby still rocked it and beat me by about 3 minutes even with the stroller!  I had a sub 30 minute race on my mind.  I have belonged to a Sub 30 Facebook Support  Group (yes we runners are a funny and supportive bunch) for quite a few months but had not managed one as of yet.  I told my hubby I wasn’t feeling a sub 30 today, his words “Hey you should always give it your all and at least try.”  He was right, sometimes I really need someone to set me straight.

The course was an out and back, sort of.  There were lots of runners of all paces that came out to support the great cause.  I told Aimee (who is a bit faster than me) prior to the race I would try to hang with her but to take off if she felt I was holding her back.  We stayed together until mile 2 when I told her to go on ahead.  I looked at my watch and saw I was holding a steady 9:50/mm.  Really?  Me?  Thanks Aimee 🙂  I kept Aimee in my sites for most of the last 1.1 miles.  I was determined to try my best for that sub 30.  To my elation I finished with 29:57!

OK here comes some TMI: After receiving my medal I nearly puked on both the volunteer and Aimee, who was waiting for me at the finish, lol.  NEVER have I come that close to actually puking.  I have felt like it but this was a little uglier than that, hehe.  I had to walk off to the side and come back for my water later.  But you know what, it was TOTALLY worth it!

FallenHeros

So why the PINK Goal you ask?

Well over the past few months I have been determined to accomplish a sub 30 5k for my “Pink Awareness Cupcake Race” (the virtual race I co-hosted to raise money for Komen for the Cure)  I have a strong family history of breast cancer in my family (my mom, sister and aunt)

So I dedicate my first sub 30 5k  ever to both my Mom and Sister and my late Aunt

who are breast cancer survivors.   

I love you so much, thank you for being so inspirational.

With the help of everyone who participated I was able to donate $1529.00 to Komen for the Cure!

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Color Me Rad and FUN – Review

A few months back I was given the opportunity to become an Ambassador for Color Me Rad.  I jumped at the chance as I had never participated in a fun run like this before.

A few Sunday’s ago myself and two of my kiddos participated in Color Me Rad 5k Virginia Beach.  I’m pretty sure my kids were even more excited than I was!  A few of their friends had done it in the past and it had definitely become a bucket list item for all of us.  One of the coolest things is that kids under 7 can participate with a parent for FREE!  Sweet!

Packet pick up was done at Sports Authority, a local sporting goods store.  The line was a bit long but moved fairly quickly.  We got our Color Me Rad Swag which included shirts, bibs and a color bomb (bombs were given out post race for the after party).  There was also a Color Me Rad store where you could purchase shirts, shorts, bandanas, etc.  We picked up a few items including extra color bombs, because hey we didn’t want to chance coming home clean 😉

Race morning was cool and breezy but we got to the race early and had plenty of time to park and hang out.  My kids were bouncing off the mini-van (which we affectionately call the mommy-mobile) walls.  Hey no laughing, I totally rock it 😉  We were signed up for the first wave at 9 AM.  Pre-race we stopped for “clean” pictures.  The DJ was already pumping some music and there was a Zumba warm up just before start time.

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And we were off!  The kids were so exited and my son must have told me 10 times how cool the race was.  Within the 5k we were color bombed and splashed with various colors and fun.  The Virginia Beach run was mostly grass trails and is NOT a timed race, Color Me Rad is all about fun!  I took it slow to hang with my little man and not twist my ankle because I had a half marathon coming up.

Post race we stopped for “RAD” after pics and joined the post race party.  The DJ played games, threw out TONS of swag and extra color bombs.  We were lucky enough to catch not one but two (one for each kid) extra shirts and a rubber bracelet!  The DJ and crew threw out tons of extra color and did countdowns that led to huge color bombs.  My kids absolutely loved it all!

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I would recommend this race as a some good clean  colorful fun for the whole family.  It was a great experience but not meant for the serious racer wanting to PR.  So if you have kids or your just a big kid yourself I am sure you would enjoy a Color Me Rad 5k.

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Wicked 10k Race Recap 2013

Last Saturday I participated in my third Wicked 10k race here in Virginia Beach.  The morning started out down right chilly with temps in the upper 30’s which is cold for this time of year in VA.  I was a tad worried that I was not going to be warm enough in my bunny costume, but in the end decided to go with it anyway.  I did however add a sweatshirt and gloves….brr.

This race is always an entertaining one.  While some run the race for time tons of people go all out for the costume contest and this year was no exception.  I am always amazed at some of the creativeness and just craziness of some runners.  There was a Scooby Doo crew complete with Mystery Machine Van, the entire Duck Dynasty crew running in a canoe and a Tiki….yes a Tiki and yes she finished the entire race wearing it!  Check out this awesome pics below..

PicMonkey Collage

For the first half of the race I Ran with my husband, something we never do because he is much faster than me.  He let me pace and we had a great time checking out the costumes and talking.  Problem is I paced a bit too slow.  By the halfway point we separated and both picked up the pace, at our own pace.  I was hoping to finish under last years time, but this day it was not meant to be.  I finished 1 min 15 sec slower than my previous year, but I still had a great time.

The after party had a live band, The Delorean’s 80’s band (check them out here) they were really fun to watch and listen to.  They play all sorts of 80’s music.  Everything from Billy Idol to Toto.  They are a very talented group of musicians and both my husband (who is also an accomplished musician) and I enjoyed the show.  People continued to dance and really get into their Halloween characters.  A big hit was hilarious guy dressed as “Richard Simmons”.  He and his side kick (a woman if full-out Jane Fonda brightly colored thong leotard and tight outfit) really got the crowd up on their feet and enjoying the music.  I wish I had gotten a good picture of them 🙁

J&A racing always does a great job.  Their races are always well run and the swag is always top-notch.  This year we got a long sleeve Halloween themed tech tee at packet pick up our finisher item (other than the awesome medal) was an insulated Wicked 10K coffee mug.  The only thing missing from the post race food was the usual delish bread bowl for our chili.  This year we just got chili in a cup, nevertheless it was much appreciated.  Thanks J&A!

 

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Motivational Monday – Running with Women for Women

This Motivational Monday is going to be a little different because it is also two race recaps.  Last weekend I ran Komen for the Cure in honor of my Mother, Sister and Aunt.  This weekend I ran for the HERA Foundation to help fight Ovarian Cancer.  It feels so good to be running two weeks in a row for great women’s causes.

I participated in Komen for the Cure with my entire family, all five of us.  I made us some cool Team Happy Pace Tie Dye shirts (with the help of Cara from Running In Sanity….ok she is the crafty one)  I added a little number bling to the back.  The kiddos got in to the spirt by wearing crazy socks and clothes.  Together the five of us walked.  We walked for Mom, Grammy, Auntie, Sister and Great Auntie.  Although my family does NOT carry the gene for Breast Cancer, we have had three cases within my direct female line on my mother’s side of the family.  My chances are raised each time, and therefore so are my daughter’s, sisters and nieces.  I was so proud of my hubby and kids!  We walked in the light rain together, sometimes holding hands, telling jokes and getting along.  It was a great day and a memory I will treasure.  Maybe it might seem silly to you, but it meant a lot to me.

Team Happy Pace

Team Happy Pace ;)

This Sunday I ran the Run Like a Girl an all female Trail Race in Virginia Beach.  I ran with team “Moms Run This Town, Virginia Beach/Chesapeake“.  This was my first official trail race and I LOVED it!  I love everything about trails…except snakes, I hate snakes. Luckily there were no snakes Sunday.  Whew!  I ran sans music ( also a  first during a race for me) and enjoyed the beautiful sounds and smells of nature.  Another runner actually said to me “Ahh smells like nature, I love it.”  “Me too” I replied.  🙂

The race was held at First Landing State park, a place my family and I love to run and hike.  As I ran I tried my best to enjoy the beauty around me and NOT look at my Garmin.  I wanted to take in everything about the race without thinking about how far I had left to run.  My feet felt light, the weather was cool and sunny, just perfect for a fall run.  The trails had slight inclines and declines, some sand and a few bridges.  I picked women to pace with and when I passed them I picked someone else ahead of me to pace, that works for me in a race.  The race was originally an 8k but had to be shortened to a 4 miler.

The race was held to raise money to help fight ovarian cancer through the HERA foundation.  After the race a few women spoke about their fight, and for some their continued fight with cancer.  It was very emotional and made me that much prouder to be part of the day.  This was a smaller race, only about 400 women, but I will say it was one of my favorites yet.  I wish it was a 10k or trail half marathon, that would be awesome!  The director of the race notified us that the race would NOT be held at First Landing next year, but for a good reason.  They have gotten too big for the park.  I am hoping it stays a trail run though, its different and it was a great experience.

Team Moms Run This Town Virginia Beach / Chesapeake

Team Moms Run This Town Virginia Beach / Chesapeake

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Pretty Muddy Richmond, VA

This past Saturday I got to participate in Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run in Richmond, VA.  This was my very first mud run and I was so excited.  Special thanks to Fit Approach (#sweatpink) and Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run for the opportunity!

I was also lucky to have my Sweat Pink sister and good friend Cara from Running In Sanity join me, because getting muddy with a friend is how to do it…or so my kids tell me. 🙂  Cara and I headed out to Chesterfield, just outside Richmond, (about and hour and a half ride from Virginia Beach) at 6:45 AM.  Not too early for a race, no Disney 2 am wake up call here ;).  The weather was already nice, not too hot or cold and temps in the low 60’s.   Our wave was expected to leave at 10 AM.

After arriving at Pocahontas State Park we headed to check in.  I was glad we were able to race day check in so we didn’t need to head up to Richmond 2 days in a row.   There was a hay ride (picture tractor/hay bails) from the parking lot out to the check in area.  We were happy to meet up with Anna, another of our Sweat Pink Sisters from Virginia just before boarding.  Cara and I had the pleasure of meeting Anna at Nike DC as she had also participated in Team in Training Virginia.  Check in was fast, we picked up our pins and numbers and headed off to gear check.  The first waves had started earlier that morning and we got to view some of the happy, muddy girls finishing up the course.  Now I was really excited.  Mud, real mud!  I mean how often does a Mom get to get muddy on purpose!  We hit gear check and the port-o-potties and got a pre-race pic together thanks to Anna before she checked her bag.  I had left my phone in the car because I had no way to keep it clean and mud free 😉

Cara, Anna and Myself pre-mud

Cara, Anna and Myself pre-mud

The start/finish area consisted of a DJ, a photographer, Pretty Muddy merchandise tent and a few food vendors with items for sale.  We headed to the start line while the DJ pumped up the corrals with music and a short impromptu pre-run stretch.  Countdown on let the fun begin!

The terrain heading into the first obstacle was grassy and very uneven, we were all very careful.  In my mind I was concerned the entire course might be this way, thankfully it wasn’t.  The first “obstacle” was a fun bubble type tunnel, it was a tad windy so I think some of the bubbles were getting carried away, but still fun.  The second one was all about slipping /sliding muddy fun…yeah!  We climbed up the backside of a giant slide and down the wet side directly into a mud pit!!!  I was able to keep the mud from the knees down, however Anna lost her shoe in the mud pit and I had to help pull her out, hehe.  Note to self and everyone else…lock laces not the best choice for Anna, however my double tied #sweatpink laces held up like a charm 🙂

The rest of the course terrain was mostly well beaten dirt trails and grass which was much more of what I am used to not to mention much safer.  I love trail running and this did not disappoint Pocahontas State Park was just beautiful.  I remarked to my buddies that God had done good because the weather and the views were so pretty.  There were a total of 10 obstacles for this 5k.  Some muddy, some not.  We climbed nets and walls, through tunnels, carried wood and got to crawl through mud a few more times.  The runner landscape consisted of beginners, birthday girls, experienced runners to tutus and good spirited fun.  All the runners at this race were respectful and encouraging.  Good, clean…well muddy girl fun!

My only wish was that there had been photographers at each obstacles.  Most people did not carry phones/cameras because of the nature of the mud.  I would love to have had the opportunity to look for and purchase pictures from all the obstacles, especially this being my first mud run.   According to one of the volunteers we asked there were photographers but they were roaming between different parts of the course.

Post race you were given your Pretty Muddy 5k medal, a Propel and a protein bar.  We also stopped for a post run muddy picture, you must have one of those!  The DJ was still pumping the music as waves continued to leave.  There was also a live band in the finisher area.  Just past the finish area was a rinse station with hoses set up to clean off and de-mudify.  Next to it was a large privacy tent for changing into some clean and dry clothing for our long ride home.

All in all I would say Pretty Muddy is a fun, muddy experience for women.  I had a great time with my Sweat Pink sisters.  I loved the number of groups we saw running together along with women who braved the course alone for various personal reasons.   There were bucket listers, birthday girls and more!   Everyone seemed to have a good time and the volunteers where encouraging and informative.  The course was well-marked.  Pretty Muddy also has family waves that were set to take off later in the morning.  Female participants were welcome and encouraged to run the course again with their families.

The medal we got was a nice bonus and a great memento.  Personally I didn’t find the course as challenging as I would have wanted, however with that being said I think it was the most fun I have ever had getting muddy 🙂  If your thinking of a first or a fun all female mud run Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run would be a great one for you!  I would do it again with girlfriends if given the opportunity.

Pretty Muddy Bling

Pretty Muddy Bling

So what’s next?  Tough Mudder maybe 🙂  Ha,ha…I think I have fallen in love with mud.

pretty muddy

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Rock n Roll Relay Recap

Last Weekend I participated in my 3rd Rock n Roll in Virginia Beach.  VB Rock n Roll was also the first half marathon I ever ran back in 2011.

After last years extreme heat I promised myself I would not run it again, it was just brutal.  I don’t remember much from after that race.  I do remember bumping into people (literally) on the way to get my checked gear.  I remember having no idea what the heck I did with all the power bars someone handed me after the race.  By the way I found them two days later in my Sparkle Skirts Pocket?!  I do remember my skirt was literally dripping with sweat onto my feet while I was waiting for some friends to finish and thinking “did I just have an accident?”  Seriously it was crazy hot and humid and the “feels like” temp was 102!  You get the picture.

I digress, so this year I opted for the relay.  My good friend Allie jumped in as my partner.  All the fun of RnR with only half the sweat 😉  Team Happy Pace finished in 36th place in the all women’s group, not too shabby.  My part of the relay left much to be desired however.  Again the weather this year is was hot and humid.  I ran too much on the treadmill over the summer and I paid the price during the race.  I didn’t finish as fast as hoped but I got it done.  I have to admit I was a bit envious of those I saw finishing the half.  I am sending big props out to my friends that did do the half, especially Cara from Running In Sanity.  She finished it despite some obstacles.  I am proud to call her friend and super half marathoner 🙂  I was also proud of Cara’s sister Sarah for doing her first race ever!   Do I regret not doing the half?  Yes and no.  I think this was the right decision for me this year, but my heart yearned for 13.1.

Here are some pics from last weekend.    Upper left some of the girls from MRTT Virginia Beach/Chesapeake, Upper right me and Allie “Team Happy Pace” Lower right Sarah at her first race ever!

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Nike Women’s Half DC with TNT

Well after months of fundraising and training I finally completed my 9th half marathon and my first with Team in Training, The inaugural Nike Women’s Half in DC.

First things first if you ever get a chance to do a race with Team in Training I would HIGHLY recommend you do it!  Now I understand fundraising is not for everyone, I get that.  But for me, I found it very fulfilling to run an event for a cause rather than to simply run for myself.  Its been something I have been thinking of doing for a while and I am glad the right opportunity came about for me.

I almost didn’t get to DC

In my case the planning for the trip became almost as big of a challenge as the fund-raising!  My husband was supposed to be home for the race.  However, an unexpected deployment changed that.  After a mad scramble and a bunch of dead ends in regards to child care for my 3 kids, my wonderful neighbors and church friends stepped up to make my weekend possible.  Without their help I would not have been able to complete my journey to DC.  So a HUGE THANK YOU to my friends!

Off to DC

Cara (Running in Sanity) and I left Saturday morning for the drive into DC.  We were joined by two lovely ladies (and TNT alumni) Donna and Cindy for the trip up to DC.  From home its about a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive.  We decided to head to the expo first thing rather than check into the hotel.  Our TNT inspiration dinner was at 4 pm so we wanted enough time for lunch, packet pick up, hotel check in and a little refreshing before the dinner.

We got our packets, grabbed a quick-lunch.  And headed to the expo.

Cara, me Cindy and Donna

Cara, me Cindy and Donna

The Expo

I have heard different takes on the Nike expo, or expotique as they called it, from “Loved it” to “Hated it”  I would say in MY opinion it was disappointing, actually I think I used the word “lame:.  It was just not the kind of expo I am used to. It was:

  1. Very small, it was literally held in a large tent
  2. I personally like a lot of different booths / and new running related items to check out
  3. It was strictly Nike based (understandable) with a few other vendors like Nuun (the course hydration) Paul Mitchel and bare minerals.  Admittedly I am not much of a high maintenance girly girl, so that may be part of my issue too)

Apparently there were some other things going on Friday night but we missed those.  However packet pick up for us was a breeze and I would say we were in and out within 10 minutes.  We did have a special check in for TNT runners and that saved a bunch of time.  I have heard there were very, very long waits at other times.  (up to 2 hours)

The location of the expo was great!  Downtown Georgetown is very pretty and we enjoyed walking around checking things out.  The perfect weather didn’t hurt either.  We visited the Nike store and Baked and Wired, our first cupcake stop 😉 where we purchased our post race cupcakes for Sunday.  YUM!  Thanks to another Sweat Pink Ambassador we were directed to Baked and Wired, and she was right, these were the best cupcakes!

Nike also had a huge board that listed all the runners by name.  Much like Disney Did for Princess.  Can you find me?

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nike wall

The Inspiration Dinner

The Inspiration Dinner was great, there were tons of TNT participants, 2000+.  So many in fact that there were actually 2 different dinners and 2 different locations.  It would have been great if we could have all been in the same location, but size wise that just couldn’t happen.  The guest speakers were Joan Benoit (she is super tiny! And a great speaker) and a survivor whose name I apologize I do not remember.  She was however a brilliant speaker, very smart, well spoken with an inspiring story.  She emphasized that without the support for TNT she would not be here.  During her cancer relapse she had received a new drug that LLS had helped fund.  Five years earlier that drug did not exist, without it they do not feel she would be here today.

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Our Race Day Outfits

Our Race Day Outfits

The Race

The weather was P E R F E C T!!  I mean you could not have asked for a more brilliant day, seriously.  I have been lucky weather wise with most of my races but this one was number 1 on the list.  Nike did take a moment of silence for Boston which I also thought was great.  Cara and I wore blue and yellow bands from Running Happy in honor of Boston.

I loved the course, nice because it wasn’t totally flat like it can be in Virginia Beach.  The great support from Team in Training cannot be beat.  My ONLY complaint …..Nike did NOT do a wave start.  We were separated into corrals but when 7 AM came we were all off…at the same time.  Miles 1 & 2 were sometimes a people jam.  I was forced onto the sides (grass and curbs) to pass people and even forced to walk a few times.  I am fairly sure this cost me my PR, which I missed by 20 seconds….ughh, seriously, ughh.  Other than that I think Nike did a wonderful job.

Mission Mile

Mission Mile

My Race

I have to say this was physically one of the best races I have had.  I felt great, never really breathless or tried until mile 12 when I realized if I really pushed I might PR again.  I was running great, my pace was above my average and things just were spot on.  I believe I could have beat my PR by minutes if all had gone well in the first few miles.  However I am very glad to say I definitely found MY HAPPY PACE in DC.  I was so in the “zone” that I forgot to look around, I tend to do that, I had to remind myself to take in the monuments around me.  I did take a pic of one of the t-shirts Nike had, it lists all the places we passed on our race.

And yes I did get a Tiffany Necklace, but honestly I forgot about that until I saw people getting their little blue boxes.  Each Finisher also received a really nice Nike DC Finisher Tee in Tiffany Blue and yellow.

Running Happy

Post Race

After the race Cara and I walked back to the hotel showered, fueled up and decided to walk back to Georgetown.  Walking after a half is actually a good thing!  We hit the Lululemon, Athleta and Nike stores.

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We enjoyed a nice late lunch at Serendipity with a HUGE Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate,  I ate a bit…ok I pigged out, because we all know CALORIES DON’T COUNT AFTER A HALF OR FULL MARATHON 🙂    Hey you can’t eat like that everyday or every training run but after the race it’s on!   Besides according to Runtastic I burned over 1200 calories 🙂 just at the race.

CUPCAKE TOUR

We decided to do a cupcake tour of Georgetown, because well we run for cupcakes for goodness sake!  We had our fabulous cupcakes from Baked & Wired (mine was “Pretty Bitchin'” Peanut Butter) they were FANTASTIC, by far the best cupcake I have ever had, and I have had a few 😉  We also hit up Sprinkles Cupcakes and purchased a few there.  We visited DC Cupcakes but the line was out the door and down the street.  We never did make it in 🙁  ……. next time they will be mine.

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"Pretty Bitchin'" and "Chocolate DOOM "cupcakes from baked and wired.  Oh and our little blue Tiffany boxes

“Pretty Bitchin'” and “Chocolate DOOM “cupcakes from baked and wired. Oh and our little blue Tiffany boxes

So all in all I give Nike DC an A+ .  Fabulous location, fabulous weather and a wonderful meaningful race with TNT!  Go Team!  

I have a feeling I will be doing another race with TNT very soon.

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Shamrockin’ PR

So as you may have guessed by the title I finally got my new PR (personal record) for a half marathon.  Its been a long time coming.  I haven’t PR’d since last May.  This was sweet on so many personal levels.  Its been a long training road both physically and mentally for me.  There are things I won’t discuss here but I was running this race with someone very special in mind and to that person I dedicate this race 🙂

After following the Train Like a Mother plan for Rock N Roll half marathon through the summer,  I wasn’t able to PR for Rock n Roll back in September due to the extreme heat and humidity.  Heck I was just glad I finished that one upright!  So for this race I was on a bit of a mission, I found my pace group and my plan was to stay with them throughout the race.

In the end I was proud to get a new PR by 6 minutes!  

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The Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach put on by J&A Racing is one of my favorites.  The course is flat and pretty…tree lined streets, not one but two lighthouses and an ocean boardwalk finish.  It just doesn’t get better than that, except for maybe the weather.

Last year was P E R F E C T weather, this year, well…not so much.  It was colder and a lot more windy than I had anticipated.  I usually buy a throw away sweatshirt from the thrift store before a race (don’t worry they collect them and donate them to charity) and toss it once I warm up.  But this year I wore that sucker until around mile 5 or so and then kept it tied around my waist after that.  I am soooo glad I did because I had a sneaky feeling I was going to need it again when the course ran through Fort Story.  And boy was I right!  Although beautiful (that’s were you pass the two lighthouses and get an ocean view) these was a biting cold wind that just went right through you.  So back on went the sweatshirt, good call.

After debating wether to do so, I stopped once for a port-o-pottie break but the line was sooooo long I finally gave up waiting and started running again.  The woods were starting to look like the best option for a “rest” stop.  Believe me there were plenty of people taking advantage of them…mostly men, lol.  But I got so cold I forgot I even had to pee 😉

Unfortunately my “stop” also cost me the view of my pace group!  Arghhh!!  So I just began to run along at what I felt was a good pace to catch up.  When we were getting ready to leave Fort Story (just before mile 10) the pacer appeared out of nowhere!  *** Insert Angela’s singing here. ***  He had looped back to inform us that we were still in good shape and that the group was slightly ahead of pace.  Wohoo!!!  That could not have come at a better time because honestly at this point I thought my PR was out of the question.  So thank you pacer man 🙂  you sham”rock”.

After leaving Fort Story  I picked up my pace and had my goal in my sites.  I cannot tell you the renewed spirit that pacer brought me.  It was like a shot of adrenaline, ok maybe the Honey Stingers Chews I had at mile 9 had something to do with it too, but I was feeling great!  At around mile 10.5  there was a group handing out bagel pieces.  An on the go snack, perfect that was also just what I needed, I nibbled on it for about the next half mile.  Yum, salt and garlic!   During that time I also ended up behind a very speedy slightly older women who helped me kick up my pace even more for most of miles 11 and 12 until I passed her.  (Believe me she was kicking butt and passing people left and right!!  Awesomeness.)

Around mile 11 I finally ditched my sweatshirt and I actually PASSED my pace group never to see them again!  The finish line was sweet victory and my 6 minute PR.  All the sweat, speed work and long runs had finally paid off.  Ahhh, and the best thing was I totally found my happy pace.  Both my girlfriends PR’d too!   Alicia, pictured below, PR’d by 13 minutes!  Wohoo!!

Alicia and I celebrating our PR's

Alicia and I celebrating our PR’s

And yes I did celebrate with one of these 🙂

Green Velvet Cupcake

Green Velvet Cupcake

Speaking of celebrating, what could be more perfect than this years surprise finisher item?  A Fleece Blanket!!!  Since I ditched my sweatshirt just a few miles back it was like gold to me 🙂 for the after party and the walk back to my car.

J&A Racing Rocks!

Oh we also got gatorade, pretzels, shamrock cookies, bananas, granola bars, a finishers hat, beef stew and beer!  (however I don’t eat beef or drink beer, but see what I mean about awesome!)

Shamrock Ninja...or just really cold half marathoner, you decide ;)

Shamrock Ninja…or just really cold half marathoner, you decide ;)

My only issues post race as far as physically is that my IT band on my right leg is causing me some knee issues.  I will need to do extra stretching and be careful before my next race.

Next up Nike Women’s DC in April with Team in Training!

** Please note the views expressed are my own.  I do not get paid nor am I officially affiliated with J&A Racing, Honey Stingers, or Train Like a Mother **

I just love them 🙂

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Disney Princess Half Recap: Part 2 Race & Recovery

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2 AM is early!  Especially when you hardly get any sleep.  I think I got less than 4, and that was interrupted sleep.  Sigh.  The good thing is I am a morning person and once I’m up..I’m up.  The four of us decided on a staggered wake up time in order to give each of us a chance to use the “facilities” and get ready for the first bus at 3 AM.

Ok so I know some of you are thinking why on earth would you get up at 2 for a race that starts at 5:30?  Well for one this….

Hello!  I have never seen so many open port-o-potties in my life!

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LOL, no but in all seriousness when you’re talking about 22,000+ Princesses running, the earlier you get out to the race the better.  I also lucked out an met up with these two lovely ladies, bloggers and fellow Virginia Beachers right after we got off the bus.  Pam and Christine from We Run Disney!  It’s always funny to run into friends when you are far from home.  We even got to stop for a quick picture, thanks ladies.

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We Run Disney Ladies

Pre-Race photos…check out that sea of princesses headed toward the corrals!

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After enjoying some tunes spun by the Disney DJ we headed thru the dry bag check and out to another waiting area where we chilled while awaiting the opening of the corrals.  The “walk” to the corrals is a bit of an experience all on its own. I didn’t remember Disney splitting up the corrals along the path headed toward the corrals last year, and I think that helped with the congestion some.  After hitting the port-o-pots one more  quite a few more times I finally settled into coral C with my friends.  Disney keeps you entertained with live MC’s and Fairy Godmother sends each corral off with a bibbidy-bobbidy-boo and some fireworks.  Just after the starting line I passed Dimity co-author of Run-Like-A-Mother (remember I had missed her at the expo) however there was no chance of a picture this time 🙁 I did yell out to her, cause I’m cool like that 😉 and she yelled back “have a great race.”

Off we went!  Did I mention the weather?  Oh yes the weather….80’s and humid, really humid.  That would be all fine and well for a southerner who had trained thru the “winter” in those conditions.  For the rest of us it did add an extra challenge.  I made sure to take extra fluids on the course, but by mile 10 even I was a little woozy.  I did switch to a walk run 4/1 for a good chunk of miles 10-12.  Better safe than sorry.   I also had some IT band induced knee pain.  The one unfortunate thing at Disney is there tends to be some slanted roads and sometimes narrow roads which forced me into the grass.  I think a combo of the two caused the pain.  Since Disney I have become besties with my foam roller again.  So far, so good.

Pictures, now I thought maybe this year I would stop and wait in some of the character picture lines, but my inner self-competitive side just wouldn’t let me do it.  I did stop for a few on the run pictures…check them out, but I didn’t do any of the character lines.  However both times I “stopped” the person taking the pics got blurry ones.  🙁

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Had to get a castle shot, one for my Dad who also plays the accordion, and the halfway point.

And I knew from last year there would be a few chances in the party area after the race.  Like this one with Jasmine.

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Now these days I only measure competitiveness with myself, or at least I try to.  So when I realized that it was possible I could PR well I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop,  and that just made me even more excited.  In the end I missed my PR by 1 minute!!!!  I did however get a PR for myself in a Disney race by beating my last year’s time by 11 minutes and 30 seconds over Princess 2012!!

Yeah! 🙂

I am really looking forward to Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach this month!  As long as I stay healthy I am sure I can get a new PR for a half marathon!

Celebration dinner at Chef Mickey’s!  All you can eat and Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy 🙂

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Monday we spent the day at The Magic Kingdom with our medals and “I Did It!” shirts.  It’s so fun to see all the princesses walking around the parks the next day.  And the workers at Disney are very gracious in asking about your race, if you had fun and how you did.  Disney may really be the happiest place on earth!

Oh and we also had our celebratory cupcakes!

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WDW post race

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