Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 - Elevation & Course Analysis

I was curious how many Florida hills (aka overpasses) there really were on this course, so I decided to take a better look at my garmin's mapping results...thought this was interesting...

Note: the numbers on the map link to the list below (these are not mile markers) which indicate significant changes in elevation.

1) Soon after starting you gradually ascend an overpass, right around the 2 mile marker
2) You descend quite quickly while merging off of one highway and onto the other (typical off-ramp connector)
3) Upon entering Magic Kingdom, you make a deep descent (where the trams go under the road to drop guests off)...and of course, when you go down, you must come up!
4) Running through/around the castle is a gradual uphill.  When you step back, its obvious that the castle is on a hill, but you really don't feel this at the time since there is so many visual distractions and the number of spectators is HUGE, so its surprisingly welcome!
5) slight descent upon leaving the park and entering the backlot
6) After quick a long segment of relatively flat pavement comes the dreaded Florida "hill"  ...the clover from one highway up onto the overpass of the other
7) Now you are running on the opposite highway from the original few miles and you must continue over that first overpass which surprised you in the dark of night!
8) Final overpass

So, the first 3 significant elevations are done in the you don't really stress over them.  Also, you have a TON of energy at first.  The second are right at Magic Kingdom, which you clearly see, but hey, its only the half-way point so you have energy...and besides, you can't walk with all the spectators around and the adrenaline pushing you.  The last few overpasses is what everyone hears about.  But, regardless of where you are on the course, the highs are pretty consistent and the lows are pretty consistent.  They really are not that much harder than all the other elevation changes....BUT....
  • You are tired at this point
  • No spectators are nearby so your ego isn't damaged if you let yourself succumb to the "walk"
SO, try not to fear the final three overpasses....if you can handle the first ones, you can certainly handle the last ones!

Other Princess posts that may be of interest include:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Athleta Stuff!

Go to and submit your favorite work song and for a chance to win a $150 Athleta Gift Card.

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Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) Explained

Heart rate reserve (HRR) is a term used to describe the difference between a person's maximum heart rate and resting heart rate (simple calculation). Sometimes this is presented as a percentage (eg VO2 reserve).

Since, as a person increases their cardiovascular fitness, their resting heart rate will drop over time, the the heart rate reserve will increase.

HRR = HRmax − HRrest

This formula is often used to gauge exercise intensity (first used in 1957 by Karvonen). Hmmm....but as we've already learned, an individual's maximum heart rate is an estimate only, as the only way to truly gauge one's rate is to stress the heart out too much (and while I love science, I'm not willing to die for it!).

Another failing...Karvonen's study findings have been questioned since the study did not use VO2 data to develop the equation AND only six subjects were used AND the correlation between the percentages of HRR and VO2 max was not statistically significant.

So, HRR is a theory only. It can't even be described as a hypothesis since there is truly no ethical way to test it. And thus, its tossed around like a scientific term related to exercise that has no significance.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The compassionate all of us.

At the Princess Half, there was a women who fell and broke her shoulder pretty early on in the race.  There were several runners who stayed by her side for a good 30 minutes until they she was taken away in an ambulance.  They risked not making the minimum time.  They risked being passed by the dreaded balloon lady!  30 minutes is a considerable time in an event hat has a strict cut-off...and yet, they did it without hesitation.

You know, this type of compassion is typical of runners...more so than any other sport. While we are all out there to compete, we are truly competing with ourselves, since the 99.99999% of runners will never be 1st in a half marathon and have no expectations of that. So, we have the benefit of waving to others while we run, nodding our heads as a greeting, and being nightengales on the side of a road, as in the case of the Princess half...because we are kindred spirits towards each others' successes, not obstacles to each others' success.

Half Fanatic #1954...Here I am!

I'm in! I qualified for "Neptune" status.

This is what you get by joining the club:

  • We have an interactive members only web site.
  • You can add and delete your name to up coming races in the Race Calendar.
  • You have your own page you can add your Half Marathon history to.
  • You have access to members only Fanatic Bulletin Board.
  • You get your race count tracked in the Fanatics Asylum ( Score Card ).
  • You can purchase Member only Half Fanatic race singlets and other merchandise.
  • You get discounts on certain races around the country. Check out the Discount Forum on the Bulletin Board.
  • You will have access to an online Fanatic Newsletter highlighting Members races.
  • If you would like to send in a brief race report we can add that in to share with others.

and more importantly, I can put a cute little icon on my website :)

What a way to discourage someone from running!

Is this the perfect way to scare a new runner away from the sport? If anything, you want to get to that point where you feel your body is working fluidly...where you can simply feel if your gait or cadence or arm motion is off.

Certainly giving someone this image would scare them away. No way that anyone can be aware of all of these and still enjoy the experience! Even now, if I tried to read every single area for concern (for fear of injuring myself) I would be overwhelmed.

And yes, this is from a published online article here. It wasn't simply an image that was floating around the internet. I hope they were simply trying to fill space and really don't believe that this is appropriate for their audience!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Post-Race Blues

You know've focused on one specific race for such a long time...and then the moment its gone, what do you do? Well, you focus on the next race scheduled...and if its not scheduled, you schedule one!

I have two upcoming races....first is the Gasparilla 15k (truth be told, once I saw the medal for the half marathon, I really wanted to do that race!) and the Sarasota Half Marathon. Next two weekends...I'm gonna be busy!

If I have nothing on the calendar, what do I have to strive for? I know I need incentive, and thats exactly the reason that I schedule races early on...when they are cheaper, of course...but more importantly so I can see a long-term plan ahead of me which puts running on the focus, rather than a temporary endeavor. I need to rethink my thinking. I've never been athletic, but focusing on some long-term goals, ones that I have already committed myself to, makes them real and doable and committed to.

So, the princess is in the lets move on to the Gasparilla and the Sarasota! Bring it!

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 - Race Recap

The plan was to leave the room by 3am to join my closest 19,000 friends on this balmy morning. My running partner was up at 2:15 getting prepped....she thought I was up since our bathroom light was on....was not happening. My phone alarm didnt go off!!!! So, at 3:05, she nudges me awake. I promise I'd be ready in 5 minutes...and I kept that. We were out the door in exactly 5 minutes! Now, I'm glad that I laid everything out the night before in the bathroom....and it was very smart of me to go to bed before the kids (I laid down at 7:30, and with the kid noise, I was asleep before 8:15).

The drive to Epcot was fine...there was a slight detour to our planned route due to some construction, but we still ended up parked at ready to go by 4am. Really, it was easy! I'm not sure what all the hype was about stressing that there was a parking lot on the roads due to this event. Seriously, Disney has car management covered to a T, in every day park events and these types of events.

We affix our bibs and do a final swipe of body glide in those precious places while parked in the car and then just looked at each....might as well walk over to the staging area. The place was packed. Concession stand, champagne booth (which opened after the race ended), race retreat amenities (may have to look into this next time), bandstand, etc...nothing really spectacular, so we sat at a picnic table near the concession area and waited and just people-watched for a bit. Right around 4:30, we decided to walk the 20 minute walk to the corrals. (The walk is highlighted in yellow in the adjacent picture) After all, we were told that if we were not in our corrals at 5am, there is a chance that they would disallow us entry! Now, I did doubt this, but it is possible that they would have told us to go to a back corral. We did get lucky by getting the A corral (which is beneficial simply for the time insurance that it offers) and we were not going to blow it!

The walk was were in the middle of a herd. There were tons of porta-potties in the staging area, but there were a ton on the walk to the corrals as well...better to go potty here than in the staging area. When we got to the corrals, E-H were first, and then you walked around E-H to get to A-D. Of course, A was the last corral...made sense. And while some people complain about the long walk, I thought it was perfectly fine. Sure, I brought my mylar wrap from the RNR Half to keep me warm...but its good to get a nice walk in before a long run....perfect warm up opportunity!

We get to Corral A (they were checking tags) and enter....I start to glare around and see all of these true runners. Svelte and athletic. Maybe they were not all perfect (like us) but there were clearly no walkers in our midst. Now, once you are in a corral, you cannot leave. So, imagine our left are the other front of us is the starting our right are some trailers/RVs and right behind them were some woods. Yep, you guessed it...tons of ladies were jumping under the corral gates (like the plastic wind/snow barriers put up to contain snow drift up north) and going 5 feet into the woods to pee. It was so dark that you really didnt see anyone's privates, even though you knew people were 10 feet away :) Yes, that was a first (as an adult) for me...peeing in the woods.

After a few announcements and mindless chatter by the MC, there were some introductions of some people, eg Jeff Galloway, Miss America. The wheelchair races started...I didn't even know there were wheelchair races (and I have the utmost respect for them on those darn overpasses...more on that to come!). 5 minutes later, it was our turn. The fireworks went off and there we are...running in the dark.

I must say, as soon we left the starting line...a man called from the sideline. Now, imagine each corral has about 2,000 runners in it. He yelled out "Have you seen my wife?" Of course its pitch black, and provided quite the chuckle among the runners.

Disney provided light quite often in the form of floodlights every 1/4 or so near the start. Our plan was to run the first 5 miles straight to Magic Kingdom and forego any photo ops simply because the lack of light wouldn't make them worthwhile. I'm glad we held up to this...even those photo ops that looked promising early on were longer lines, and by the way they were arranged, I thought for sure that they would be on our return. More on that as well.

The first 5 miles was pretty desolate, but there were some marching bands, characters, stilt people, etc to keep you entertained. When you round the corner and see the Magic Kingdom, you quickly realize that the halfway point is you promise yourself a ton of photos here. There are characters all over and some of the lines were only 2-3 people. Disney did a great job with these. While they had the official race photographer (eg to order later online for a fee) at each stop, they were quick to use your camera. In fact, most photo ops had one official photographer and two staff to handle your cameras. So, while person A was getting their picture by staff A, staff B already had your camera and was waiting for you to move into place for a pic. Really, it was quick. Even the longer lines were quite manageable....after all, their goal is to get you off and running FAST! They did that quite well.
Each drink station was extremely well-manned. I believe each was about 8-10 tables on both sides of the road (so maybe 16 tables all fully prepped). The first half were powerade, and then the next were water. Great layout. They were more than plentiful on the course as well. Absolutely no reason to ever bring water on your belt.

Once you leave Magic Kingdom, right around mile marker 8, you realize you are almost done...and yet those dreaded overpasses are coming....3 of them, to be exact. That...was....tiring! Totally doable, but tiring. We ran pretty much nonstop (except for the photo ops the first 8 miles), but decided to switch to intervals the last 5 miles. I hadn't ever really done this for a race before, but since I wasn't really going for time and I really was still hesitant about my foot (after all, maybe since my whole entire body was sore right now, maybe I simply couldn't feel the pain in my foot enough to determine if there was more damage?) intervals it was! Truth be told, I had only run 4 miles since the last half 2 weeks ago because of my foot, and a few days without running really tricks your body into forgetting somehow.

Right around mile marker 7/8, there was a Cliff tent....full of Gu, but no chomps or chews. Disappointing, but hey, I grabbed a few to try later. I do wish there was a water station right after the Cliff station. If you only have Gu, you need to drink right afterwards to get that stuff down!

I realized this with the RNR Half as well...but when you stop and you have already covered 9-10 miles, every time you start to run again...well, lets just say that those first 5-10 steps are incredibly difficult. You need to find your groove again, but your body is fighting it. Each time you start to run, it feels as if your body is 300 pounds. Every jiggle is manifested into dead weight. True, after 10 feet, you find your stride again and recover, but it is still painful. So, the intervals were not so happy for me, but then again, maybe running straight wouldn't have been either! Regardless, I felt stronger than the RNR Half at this point. Not sure if it was the photo op breaks or the fact that my foot wasn't throbbing! Right at the 10 miler mark at the RNR is when my foot hurt and that last 5k was difficult. I had a mental image of me NEEDING to pass that mile marker 10 and feel ok. I was very glad when that occurred, as the rest was going to happen without issue then.

The overpasses...well, let me just say that these are what us Floridians refer to as "hills and mountains" ...that, and bridges. I've been training on bridges once a week for quite some time, so I felt confident with them...but the damn camber was hard on my feet. I ended up running in the grass 2' outside the road for a large part of those, when possible. The level ground really put less strain on my feet/ankles. I know that I was told about these cambers, so I'm glad I recognized it before it caused injury.

We stopped at the next medical tent for some bio-freeze. It was nice weather right now, but slathering that on your legs really gives you a boost! It couldn't hurt, so I put it all over my legs and knees. It felt like running through a sprinkler! Very welcome at this point, especially since we had one more overpass to go.

After the final overpass we were entering the backlot of Epcot. The cast members were ready for their day at the park, but they were all there cheering us on. We rounded Epcot and made our way back to the Wonder Parking lot and there were thousands of people watching us come in. We finished strong, and donned our medals.

Walking to the food area, we grabbed bananas, tons of luna protein bars (these are tasty by the way), some gummy bears (for the kids, not me) and a box of snacks provided (hummus and chips, roasted soy beans, dark chocolate, etc). I liked the food options for sure. I also grabbed 2 waters and a powerade.

We sat down (I know you shouldn't, but I couldn't help it). I text Joe and tell him where to find us....they show up within 5 minutes. The kids are so proud. Love it! They want to store my medal for me. Not going to happen...I earned it after all! But, I did let them rotate wearing it all day.

So, my garmin didn't include my stops and totaled 2:27:48. Official disney time was 2:53:27. I wasn't going for a PR and just wanted to enjoy it and not injure myself any more, and I did just that! Will I do this race again? I think so! You definitely need to go into it without a "race" mentality, and if so, you will have fun!

As for the tracker results....Disney emailed my husband at each major interval....
NANETTE at the 5K point in 0:33:26.
Pace: 10:46 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:21:08.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 8:11:06.

NANETTE at the 10K point in 1:18:46.
Pace: 12:41 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:46:16.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 8:36:33.

NANETTE at the 15K point in 2:04:56.
Pace: 13:24 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:55:39.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 8:46:04.

NANETTE at the Finish point in 2:53:27.
Pace: 13:14 min/Mile.
Time of Arrival: 8:43:48.
Its easy to tell where we made stops! Overall, it was helpful for him to gauge when we would finish. He was charged with the care of 3 kids and getting them all to the finish line, so kudos to him!

And by the way, the weather held out...not a single raindrop until we were nearing the finish line...and even then, it was nothing! The running gods were there for us!

Other Princess posts that may be of interest include:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 - Expo & Kids Race

We were only going to visit one time, so we decided that we needed to get there early! 8:30am, we were parked in the lot...which was fine, sine there was no delay getting there this early. We walked the walk up towards the main entrance to the complex and it was busy! Lots of other activities games, dance competitions, etc. We walked down the long stairs (towards the kids races) and stood in line for the packet pickup line. We waited until exactly 9am, which the line began to move. We saw a photo op with the carriage and attendants, but decided to wait until we had more time....we were on a mission after all!

The packet pickup line was really long by the time 9am rolled around, but we were glad we were maybe 50th in line. When we got to the pickup line, we dispersed...Joe went to get the kids packets and I went to the booth based on my number. Three people ahead of me and it seemed to take forever. My running partner grabbed her basics yesterday, so she went straight to running relations booth for a corral change. Shockingly, she got into the A corral. Since we were both submitting identical 10k times, I immediately went straight from my bib pickup to the same person and also got into the A corral. We were excited!

We then headed towards Jostens center for the expo. You enter on the top floor and look down...its quite a sight!

We were glitterized by assistants from the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique and then made our way to the stairs down to the expo.

All the way towards the end is where you collect your shirt/bag. Shirts weren't bad...basic dri-fit white with a simple logo for the race. I like them, at least :)

Making our way around the expo was like corraling cats! Three adults and three would think this would have been easier! The girls were thrilled about all the girlie stuff, but my son wanted nothing to do with most of it. We spent some change and then made our way towards the kids races.

As expected, they started with at least 5 waves of the 100 meter run for 2-3 year olds. I took a few pics from the starting line at the 200 meter where my kids were, and then headed towards the finish line. The one thing about the kids way one parent can handle this for one child. But, at least we managed to handle it. There is my little Tinkerbell running...she was a bit saddened by the boo boo knee incident that happened earlier when we were at the expo line, but she ran like a trooper!

All the kids did great though...but I must say that they were tuckered out. Actually, its 6pm now and I am sooo ready to crash! We do need to get up before 3am after all, so I'm calling it a night. Think good thoughts for this princess!

Other Princess posts that may be of interest include:

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Princess' Motivation to Finish: Dedicate a Mile

Thats the focus that I plan to pursue when running this half. Each mile, I will chose another person to dedicate that 10 minutes to. Those people who have truly made a difference in my life, and how they helped mold the person I am today. Whether they are alive or have passed, I can definitely justify dedicating a mile to them....

Ella, my daughter

Zoran, my son

Joe, my husband

My Mom

My Dad

Gramma, who I knew unconditionally her love for me, even the day she passed

...and friends/family who have made a difference in my life

Princess #5484 is ready!

Look for me hobbling to the finish line....but even if my foot falls off, I will be smiling!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Expo Shopping

What are the items you buy at expos? Is there something you always look for (eg headband or visor to commemorate the run)? Or, do you always get something with the run's logo on it? Or, do you avoid the expos at all cost?

I would think that something little would be nice to collect for each big race, but honestly, each race's expo is so unique!
  • The St Pete Beach Classic was more akin to a discount running store with a variety of deeply-discounted merchandise, no flash, but all worthy items.
  • The Women's Running, on the other hand, I was compelled to purchase three sweatybands headbands. Strangely, they were all polka dots. Seriously, there are like 400 different styles, and I chose all polka dots? Not sure what was up in my head that day.
  • The RNR St Pete...I went there with every intention of checking things out...and only ended up buying some glow-in-the-dark flashy silicon rings (which double as ponytail holders) for the Princess Half. Since we are up at 3am in the dark...thought it would be perfect to glow a little (pre-sweat) as much as glow a lot after.
  • The Princess is a few days away...In fact, I'll be browsing the expo Saturday morning. I need to get something special, but its simply so hard when you don't need anything! I'm surely a gadget geek...accessory geek...and everything in between. I say that now, of course, but maybe I'll find something compelling!

Maximum Heart Rate Explained

Various formulas are used to estimate individual maximum heart rates, but maximum heart rates vary significantly between two people of the same age, same sport and same perceived endurance level. The most common formula encountered (with no indication of standard deviation) is:

HRmax = 220 − age

But, this was not developed from original research, but rather gained in popularity when Polar started incorporating it into their products. Use it as a guideline ONLY. There is a large inherent error in this formula and is no longer considered to have scientific merit for use in exercise physiology.

Numerous other formulas exist out there:

  • HRmax = 206.3 − (0.711 × age)
    (developed at the University of Missouri)

  • HRmax = 217 − (0.85 × age)
    (developed at Indiana University)

  • HRmax = 208 − (0.7 × age)
    (often referred to as the Tanaka method)

Another failing...they assume that gender makes no difference, and we know that gender plays a huge difference in how the body reacts to endurance activities. Northwestern University revised the maximum heart rate formula for women:

HRmax = 206 − (0.88 × age)

These figures are very much averages, and depend greatly on individual physiology and fitness. For example, an endurance runner's rates will typically be lower due to the increased size of the heart required to support the exercise, while a sprinter's rates will be higher due to the improved response time and short duration. In other words, the heart rate is probably the least important variable in comparing athletes fitness level.

So, can you adequately determine your maximum heart rate outside of a physical fitness facility with a defibrillator? Absolutely not. Its a real number, for sure...but to test it out, you need to break your heart. Now, that happens when we are teenagers often enough....but its not worth experiencing now, is it? So, take these calculators with a grain of salt. They are simply an estimate...nothing more, nothing less...and certainly nothing to hang your hat on!

The Magic of Inaugural Races

I really was planning on the Princess to be my first half marathon, but when I heard that the Rock n Roll marathon series was going to have a new event in St. Petesburg, Florida...I could hardly turn it down! This would give me the opportunity to become a Legacy Runner!

The more I read about race events, the more prized participation is in a "first" even if you have no chance of winning. The bragging rights go on forever....I was there when :)

So, Rock n Roll St Pete it first....and just saying I was there the first time it was here emits a sense of history to my short running career. I like!

34 Floors. Every Second Counts. Do You Have The Power?

Join the American Lung Association on Saturday, March 31, 2012, and compete in a challenge unlike any other! Whether you are looking to score a winning time or are just hoping to jumpstart a fitness resolution, there is a spot for you at the starting line.

The 5th annual Tackle the Tower at Hartford 21 stair climb is a fundraising event directly hosted by the American Lung Association. The unique “vertical marathon” will allow participants from Connecticut and surrounding areas to race, run, or walk up 34 floors inside Hartford’s tallest residential building. Racers and elite runners will climb first, followed by walking participants. Finally, firefighters from all over New England will climb the 686 stairs in FULL GEAR.

Following the event there will be an After Party and Award Presentation at Black Bear Saloon with drink specials and complimentary appetizers. Medals will be presented to highest fundraisers, fastest competitors, and largest teams.

If you repost this on your website, you can earn a free entry to the event. They are truly interested in making this a successful event, and spreading the word is needed...even if stair climbing isn't for you.

Proceeds from the event support the mission of the American Lung Association, to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Lung disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Your support helps the American Lung Association in the fight for air, so that all can enjoy long, healthy lives. With lung disease on the rise, we are fighting for research that will find a cure for tomorrow. We are fighting for those who can't quit smoking and those who shouldn't start. We are fighting for lungs that burn from exercise rather than from ozone. We are fighting for asthma education to stop children from dying from asthma attacks. We are fighting for laws that improve air quality both inside and out. And we won't breathe easy until we win the fight!

Help the American Lung Association combat lung disease one step at a time!Log onto and click on the Hartford link for volunteer/participant registration links. For more information on how to become involved, please contact Britney Martin, Event Manager, at or at 860-838-4375.

I wish....

  • I wish I could run up and down the Green Bridge during those weekly BRC running club runs on Tuesday night feeling confident enough to talk the entire way up and down. I'm getting there, but not there quite yet.

  • I wish the thought of the Sunday long runs on Anna Maria Island still didn't scare me. The 9 mile option is doable at this point, but that 11 mile option is still a bit scary to me, even though I've done a half already!

  • I wish my life wasn't so crazy right now. Between Joe and tax season, the kids activities, the kitchen fire which has left us eating out for every single dinner....there simply isn't enough time for simple downtime.

  • I wish I was more excited for the upcoming races. I'm still scared of them. I know when the time comes to toe the line, I'll be there and not feel so scared...but just thinking of them intimidates me.

  • I wish I had my morning breakfast shakes instead of consuming all this hidden-ingredient food so that the 7 pounds I've gained since this fire occurred were gone!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Princess has some Slipper Pain!

I admit foot isn't healed. If you recall, after the RNR Half in St Pete, right around mile 10, I felt some pain in my foot. I went to the doctor the next day, and they diagnosed it as bursitis. In fact, I do think they were right...I couldn't really re-create the pain but the pain I did recreate fit bursitis to a "T"....but now, the pain returned when I ran last night. I really do think its peroneal tendonitis...but then again, this usually hits the back of the foot more than the side...and its the side that hurts (the back/heel area feels perfect!). So, I suppose I don't know what it is.

Aside from this pain, I felt very heavy for the run last night. I know its been over a week since I ran, and I wasn't going for any record of course...but I just wished I felt more fluid. It simply was not to be. But, what happens when Sunday rolls around?

I really want to run this race...and its not even a real race. After all, any even that has you stopping for photo ops every mile surely doesn't qualify as a "race", right? I'm viewing it as a training run is it going to be that harmful if I run? I suppose the only good thing about it is the fact that my running partner is a podiatric surgeon. So, I plan on taping it and seeing how I do.

Chia Seeds for Runners!

Ok, I've read a lot about these lately....but what are they all about?

Aztecs survived for days purely on chia. How can that be? Well, they are filled with omega-3 fatty acids (higher than flax seed!), filled with protein, fiber and antioxidants (and tons of other healthy stuff). They are also gluten-free and their slight nutty flavor incorporates nicely in baked foods or yogurts, salads and smoothies. They also store in the fridge/cupbaord for months, as they are no where nearly as rancid-prone compared to the alternatives.

Daily use? Sure! 1-2 tablespoons before a workout can provide you with enough energy for up to 90 minutes! And yet, your stomach isn't bloated since its easily absorbed into your body.

Also, if you soak them first for 15 minutes, the gel that forms illustrates the soluble fiber. This same process occurs inside your stomach as well. This gel (in your stomach) creates a barrier between carbs and their enzymes...which essentially slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. So, less sugar crashes while exercising, and increases endurance! It also absorbs more than 12 times their weight in water...therefore reducing the potential for dehydration.

Now, this is definitely on my list of things to fact, I just ordered some using the vitacost code today! I'll provide a synopsis once I've tried my experiment (and received my vitamix!).

For more information, you may want to check Run Faster Mommy for her related blog post!

Vitacost Free Healthy Things!

Well, almost free.... If you are new and you sign up for Vitacost using this link, they will send you a code for $10 off. Today only, they will charge only $2.22 S&H for orders under $22....and any order over $22 is free! Go ahead and snag some healthy supplements or whatnot for almost free today!

I love this store for supplements, protein, and all around things that are great for runners and those health conscious eaters out there!

Disclaimer: this is my referral link. Once you make a purchase, I will get credit that i can use. Its a win-win for all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Princess Packing

Ah, so what will I be wearing Sunday morning at 3am for the Princess Half Marathon 2012 you ask?

White zenzah leg sleeves...check
White skirtsports skort...check
Flashing glow in the dark hair bands for ponytails...check
Pink tiara...check
iphone for camera...check
body glide (with SPF25)...check
moleskin (cut into squares, just in case)...check
gu chomps...check
extra toilet paper (for potential highway/woods visit, stored in spibelt)...check
spibelt (to hold iphone, guchomps and toilet paper)...check
Moving Comfort Fiona...check
Nike Elite Pro Dri-Fit Running Socks....check
trash bag (in case its cold at 3am!)...check
safety pins...check
Princess Bib...not yet checked...will get at expo
FB Princess bib (for my back)...check

Shirt...NOT CHECKED!!!! I must find something worthy at the expo!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Miss My Shakeology

Seriously, this weight gain has gotta stop. We have no appliances, we have no kitchen...but something has to change. This kitchen fire has been completely disruptive...and we need to take control of something! Both Joe and I have gained 7 pounds in 5 weeks. Seriously! Now, I know that there is some water weight in there, but eating out is causing some inches here.

My big issue with stopping the morning breakfast shakes is obviously the fact that our margaritaville maker was deemed non-salvageble (insurance speak for "melted" by flames). Well, did I want to buy another one or move to something else? I've been very interested in a vitamix....but couldn't justify the cost. They are pricey! And besides, I needed to research the other leading brand, the Blendtec. I finally decided on the vitamix if I could eliminate the purchase of 3 things. First, I wouldn't need a margaritaville maker anymore. Second, I wouldn't really need a food processor anymore. Third, I wouldn't need an immersion blender anymore. That saved me $500 in purchases. Now, the Vitamix is more...I ordered the stainless steel option, which was pricier, but even with the free shipping code I found, it still set me back $744. Now, that does include the 3 blender containers....tall 64oz one, short 32oz one and the grains blender. But, I still am having sticker shock even though the online receipt is staring me in the face (yes, I still have it up on a different tab in my browser).

So, did I do the right thing? Well, I know I would certainly have ordered a new food processor and new margaritaville maker. I probably could have foregone the replacement immersion blender. So, I suppose it more than half justified. But, I love the fact that I have been able to reclaim some counterspace as a result!

My shakes are going to be fabulous now! They were good before, but now...even better. I even ordered the tropical strawberry shakeology (new flavor) so we will really enjoy these. Now, I just need to wait 8-15 days for the new vitamix to arrive. That will be a LONG wait, especially since I know that I need to change my eating habits NOW!

Once I get it, I promise a decent review :)

Princess Plans

So, its only a few days away. I must admit that I'm a little nervous to run. I haven't run since last Sunday. 2 days ago, I was still feeling some discomfort in my foot, so I vowed to play it safe. I will run 6 miles tomorrow night, if all goes well. So really, I'm getting an amazing taper here, right?! Actually, I'm really glad that I didn't run this weekend...I just think my foot wasn't 100%....but I think it will be by tomorrow night!

Friday, we plan on driving straight from work to the resort and chilling. Not much else planned. This year, the kids races do not start until 11am Saturday, so we won't be stressed for time. Last time we attended one, the kids races started at 10am, and the expo didn't open until 9! We simply couldn't count on that mere 1 hour to get everything done, so we had to go Friday night. It wasn't all bad, but I could hardly talk my husband into going near the expo 2 days in a row. One visit to that madhouse was more than enough for him.

So, Saturday morning, I hope to be parked and ready to at the expo the moment it opens. The expo is close to the kids races..both at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Parking will require a long walk, but at least the parking is free. We will be parked before 9am...maybe more than 8:30...then walk around until they let us into the expo. It really isn't that far of a my son walks SLOWLY. I swear when he runs even for 20 feet, it still surprises me that he can do that. But, when I want him to walk, no way no how.

When arriving at the sports complex, there will be a good 1/4 mile walk to the main entrance. You then climb a long staircase or go up a long ramp towards the buildings. They've often had the race packet pickup in a different location than the actual expo, but it looks like it may be all in the Jostens center this time. Either way, give yourself time...when you arrive at the main front entrance to the complex, you still have a walk.

So, 9am...packet/shirt pickup and browsing cute disney/princess apparel at the expo. After that, we will get the kids on the field by 10:30 for the warm-ups to their race. Its still quite a walk from the expo to the kids races....its only about 1" away on the map, but for little feet, this will take some time. If past experience holds true, they will have a DJ and some entertainers to get the kids active and dancing and such. Their race is scheduled to start at 11am, but chances are, they will start closer to 11:10. They will do the diaper dash first, then the 2-3 year old's 100 yard dash, and when thats complete, they will do the 4-6 year old's 200 yard dash. They will do these in waves as well, maybe 50 kids at a time...and each wave is at least 2 minutes apart. Its not timed at all, but it does ensure that kids won't be stepping on each other or tripping each other with excitement. It also ensures that you have time to see each runner come through the finish line for a photo op. So, we'll collect their medals at the finish line and get some cute shots with them.

Then, oh goodness...what then? Honestly, we'll be hungry...but I'm not sure what else we will do that day. I hope some R&R! Maybe the pool will be sufficiently heated :)

We definitely plan on getting to bed early that wearing out the kids will be key. Joe will stay with the kids the next morning, and a friend and I will drive to the race location at that horrid 3am time. It is what it is, of once we are parked, we will walk the 20 minutes to the staging area. Need to remember to bring trash bags and/or old towels this time!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Princess Corrals

So, unofficially of course, the corrals are based on your bibs:

Corral-Individuals Bib Range; Team Bib Range

Corral A 31-2250; 20001-20313
Corral B 2251-4500; 20314-20634
Corral C 4501-6750; 20635-21017
Corral D 6751-9000; 21018-21373
Corral E 9001-11250; 21374-21777
Corral F 11251-13500; 21778-22159
Corral G 13501-15750; 22160-22617
Corral H 15751-18000; 22618-23000

My bib is 5XXX (I'm not hiding it from you...I'm just too lazy to walk over to my desk and find it...laptops are nice on laps too!) it looks like I will be in Corral C....I'm still hoping to be bumped up to Corral B when I show my 10K time from January.

What does a Princess wear?

So, I borrowed my daughter's pink tiara headband. I have a white skirtsports gym ultra skirt to wear, and white zenzah leg sleeves. Not sure about a tutu...and no idea about a shirt! Time is running...I need to settle on something soon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Princess in Waiting

The Princess Half Marathon is 10 days away. How can that be? Back in June, after I tried this whole "running" thing, I read about it and this truly was the impetus for me continuing. One of the main reasons for me running was to give my daughter the upbringing I somewhat wished I had...that exercise and being active are really important and that everyone should be physically fit. Exercise and activity should be the norm, rather than the exception in this country for adults. After all, how can we expect our kids to be active if we are not!

Granted, it takes a lot more effort these days for kids to stay active. We can't simply let them out the front door and expect them back by dusk. How many of us grew up like that? I remember we would disappear somewhere in the neighborhood, but they knew we were safe playing nearby. And, in addition to all of this physical activity, gym in school was mandatory and you had to sweat! Its simply not the same. So, we have activity after activity to schedule and pay for.

So, I decided to try this whole "running" thing for her. The princess was something I knew she would be excited about (she is 6 after all). And if I kept her interested in the thought of me running the princess, I couldn't back down, right? Really, I chose this race because I didn't want to let her down....interesting logic there, isn't it? I put myself in a position that if I failed, I would disappoint my own I had to make sure I didn't fail!

Well, here we are a good 9 months later. I've done a half, but didn't run the entire way...but man, I was so close! The Princess shouldn't be quite so hard. After all, nobody runs for PRs, and seriously, is it really possible that this could be harder than the RNR Half if you stop occassionally for photo ops? :) So, I'm ready. My foot is on the mend...and I'm getting excited.

I still haven't fully selected my outfit. I'm thinking white leg sleeves, white skort. I'm considering pigtails with glow in the dark hair bands (after all the race does start in the dark!). I also plan on borrowing my daughters thin metal pink headband that has an itty bitty tiara on top. I thought this was perfect since it won't sway on my head, but still isn't so stiff that it would give me a headache.

Now, I think I'm opting against a tutu...but this could change. Maybe a cheap one from the dollar store so its not all fluffy and bothering my arms when I run. But, I also need to find a proper shirt to wear! Its a good thing that I have two $100 groupons to a running store that expire this month....although I don't need a thing, I may just have to buy something frivolous!

So, here I am, waiting for my foot to heal (the plan is to try to run 2-3 miles on Friday during lunch), and planning my store purchase...but more importantly, finalizing my outfit :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I run...but does that make me a runner?

Strange. I have no problem telling people that "I run" but I still have issues with saying "I'm a runner" as it identifies me with a group I'm not quite sure I "fit" with yet.

Even now (as I think I should have learned by now that my vision is NOT true), I envision "runners" as these svelty people who glide across pavement. I'm certainly not svelte. I certainly don't glide. Now, while I've been told that my gait is good for runners, I see myself in every marathonfoto pic and it looks like I'm simply walking. No svelte gliding present there!

See....I still don't think I "fit" in. I suppose I look at every group run I am involved with, and while I'm not a whale, I am typically the most pudgy of the group. Maybe this "fitting in" is getting worse as a result of our new restaurant eating habits....but I suppose its been there all along, but just feels stronger now. Maybe I feel that since I finished a half marathon, this thought should have dissipated? I really did think that after i finished it, I could say "I'm a runner". And, while I have that oval "runnergirl" sticker on the back on my SUV, I'm still not sure I identify with it. I try. I really do try. But, getting over your own vision of yourself is hard.

Its easy to lose weight, relatively speaking...but very hard to see yourself differently, even with running attire on that makes you look the part. Until you know you feel the part, you are spending so much energy to convince, eventually, my mind will give in and accept it. But that hasn't quite happened yet.

Seems so contradictory since I know I've come so far, doesn't it? I'm lightyears ahead of most people out there, and I am so far removed to the non-physical person I was. I know I've earned the title of "runner" and yet my mind doesn't agree.

I'll just have to get over it, I know.

Weight Gain...Ugh!

So, about a month ago, we had a kitchen fire. Nobody was home. The dog decided to jump up and sniff something on the stove and turned the burner on. Now, the walls were not touched, and the fire stayed on that side of the kitchen. But, our kitchen is gone, as well as everything that was in those cabinets and on the counter.

So, we are eating out almost every meal. In one month, I've gained 8 pounds and Joe has gained 7. This sucks. Even with all of this running, I'm gaining weight! I really do miss my morning shakeology meal. Sometimes when we got home at night, we would have that instead of dinner...just because we like it and because it was just enough calories. I really need to buy a new margaritaville maker and/or Vitamix to replace it, so we can start having our shakes again. My weight demands this!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Foot Diagnosis

So, apparently that foot pain that I developed at the race was bursitis! Think of bursitis as a blister inside your body. A blister protests your skin while healing, and bursitis is similar...filling a sac and protecting body parts while healing.

Saw a podiatric surgeon today and she's pretty confident that the pain is neither tendon nor bone. Yeah! No running until Friday, and then try 3 miles only. If thats good, I can do 5 on Saturday and then 8+ on Sunday....phew! Hope she's right! I really don't want anything to deviate from my race plans this season!

RPI Revisited

This is a part 2 to my original RPI posting here. Now, Athlinks seems to have this RPI down now. But, for those that do not have a lot of races logged into their system, the results will be skewed.

Here on the right is my 5K RPI. Note that the first line of details is race-specific, in this case its with regards to the Women's running 5k. I finished in 29:42. Now, my RPI is 36.7, which means I should fare better than 64% of the 5Kers out there in my peer group. This is based on 4 5k races that have been logged into athlinks. The following two boxes (best and average) are based on the selected race shown.

The more races that are entered into the athlinks system, the better and more accurate the results. I think it will be interesting when they come out with some predictive measures, once they are able to compare elevation/temps/etc with the races you have run to the races that you are interested in running!

Lessons Learned from a Half Marathon

  • Bodyglide should go everywhere....if you've ever chaffed in a location, slather it on. If there is a chance of chafing in another location, slather it on....even those private parts people!

  • If there is desire, you will finish....maybe not with your time goal, but you will finish!

  • Grab every single bit of food thrown at you after the run, as you simply don't know what your body will need to recover so its best to be over-prepared rather than find out later that there is no way to get back to the food line.

  • Have friends stand by with dry clothes, mylar blankets or simply old towels that you can discard. Your body can easily take an entire hour to re-regulate your inner thermostat.

  • Stay in front of your pacer....and know their voice. When you hear them talking, push yourself to up your pace so you continue to have a decent space between the two of you.

  • Smile at those supporting makes them feel that getting up at the crack of dawn (or before) is worthwhile, but it also is contagious and simply makes you feel better

  • Remember to run the tangents....yesterday's race had me to .2 miles more than I needed to....I knew better, but just wasn't paying attention.

  • There is no such thing as too much training. I think I undertrained a bit, but I also think I was on the verge of running just enough. Another 1-2 weeks and I think it would have been perfect.

  • Take water/gatorade as often as you did during your last long run. if you drink every 5 miles, do so at the race.

  • Don't try something new at race time. Those reps who say you don't have to break in those pretty new Brooks at the expo are LYING! My early running partner can seriously attest to this one.

  • Its ok to be nervous...I was nervous for the 4 days leading up to the race, but race morning, I was fine.

  • Get a ton of sleep the three nights before the race. Two of these nights I was in bed before my kids, and I'm ok with that!

  • Running a half marathon is equal parts mental and physical strength. I think I was 90% of the way there for both, but still succeeded. I wish I could have ran that last 5k of the route, but there is always a next time.

  • When you get tired, focus more on your form...every unnecessary movement depletes energy, so maintain it with the best form possible.

  • If there is any injury that is more than just muscle soreness, seek expert opinion immediately...the sooner you get the proper advice, the sooner you will be back to proper form and running again!

  • Be proud of completing regardless of the state of your body, mind or time....because you are a runner!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rock n Roll St Pete Race Recap

Got up at 5am, and was out the door by 5:30am. I remember the line to get into a parking lot for the Women's Running event last November was I thought I'd play it safe. I'm very glad that more lots were open for this event. Actually, the race route allowed for access to more downtown routes, which made it much easier. Granted, tons of people parked at Tropicana, but I instead decided to park mid-way between the race start and the race finish, so right around 2nd Ave and 2nd Street in downtown St Pete. Parked right around 6:20am.

I hung around in the car for quite awhile before venturing out....was a chilly 42 degrees (more like 38 with the windchill). I could already tell the tourists who were definitely not anticipating this coolness. I'm glad I remembered to bring an old towel to wrap around me...may try the plastic bag method next time around if its just as chilly.

Tons of people were walking to the starting area, so there was a like a mini caravan from downtown St Pete to Tropicana. Even in the dark, it was easy to find your way...and even if you overshot the proper street, you would be able to see the building and no stress there. I arrived in the staging area right around 6:50. It was interesting to see so many huddling on the south side of every information/medical/bag check tent....yes, the wind was that severe that you needed to hide behind mock buildings!

But, in our huddling, everyone made comments of understanding how the penguin rituals are appropriate in cold weather. Really, it made sense! So many accents, so many regions of the US represented....and spattered amongst all of this were the locals :) I eventually left the huddle to stand in the requisite line for the requisite trip to the porta-potty. Afterwards, I checked the info booth and they said that the 2:15 pace team should be around corral 5. So, I enter the corral and sign. I eventually see them in corral 6. Introductions are made, and Ben (the one carrying the 2:15 sign) was extremely pleasant.

We jumped up and down for a bit trying to keep warm...but before you know it, we were moving up to the starting line! The nerves weren't there at all....I suppose I was focusing so much on the weather, as everyone was. I think everyone was anxious to run just to warm up! But, before you know it, we were off! I was running in front of Ben immediately...not so far ahead that I couldn't hear him (he was a bundle of information about products, watches, GPS...any question thrown at him, he was answering). I knew that anytime I heard him talking, I needed to focus on speed. I found a running mate immediately off the bat. Her mother was running as well, but didn't want to drop down to her slower speed so she was hanging out with Ben. She knew she could run faster, but there wasn't a 2:10 pace group. Actually, it was a good match. Granted, she was half my age, but her pace was comfortable so we supported each other a lot for the first 5 miles or so. But, then she went off and I fell a tad behind, but still ahead of Ben. I really saw her the next 5 miles though, as she was always right ahead of me.

The bands were generally every 1.5 miles....sometimes they were pretty close, sometimes distant...all depended on the surrounding area. Quite quiet in the residential area, but breaking out the amps in the commercial area! The water stops were fabulous as well! They made it very easy to distinguish the water tables from the gatorade tables. Really, great volunteers here...lots of young kids as well, so I wonder if they got help from a local boys/girls club.

The bands on the street were great. Some of the singers were actually on the street high-fiving people, while others stayed on the stages. In any case, there was only one band that didn't seem quite right tone-wise. All cover bands, of course, but their song selection was perfect.

The first 3 miles was steady. The next 3 were ok. At around the 6-mile mark, I was feeling great. It slowly got harder from there, but my pace really doesn't show it. We headed towards the waterfront where the roadway opened up significantly, and then out towards the pier and back. Now, it was at this moment when I thought I wasn't sure of how I was handling it. I glanced around and Ben was right there next to me with his posse. I was tired, for sure...but still going.

Right at mile 10, I felt some discomfort on the bottom outside of my foot, so I walked for a few to check it out. not ever stop running! The pain involved in getting yourself up and running again is overwhelming. The first few steps made it feel insurmountable....but I ventured on. Unfortunately, the pain in my foot didn't get better, so I immediately lost some momentum.

I knew I only had a 5k left...and I kept telling myself this, but it was a tough thing. I stopped a few more times because of the foot issue (I think I've self diagnosed it as a minor case of

peroneal tendonitis), but every time I stopped it was harder to get running again. My body was fighting it. And, I was doing so great up until mile 10. I was on a stellar pace,
better than expected. But, it wasn't to be. The next 3 miles was stressful and I ended up walking much more than I expected. As you can see by the official timing mats on the right, I hit 10 miles at 1:41, but finished at 2:20. It took me 39 minutes to do a 5k....yeah, it was hard.

I do wonder if the pain in my foot caused the time, or was that just a mental excuse not to push through it? If I had no foot pain, would I have been able to go strong the last 3.1 miles...or was it really me hitting the wall at the 10 mile mark? I suppose we never do know why we do the things we do, but I do hope each time it gets better.

Looking at my garmin specs, I'm quite pleased with my cadence. Even given those walking breaks, that was a pretty good SPM!

The splits are quite revealing. Honestly, I thought that they would look worse. I was very strong until the pier, but from that point onward, it was a tough run. Overall, I'm pleased with my performance. After all, I never did this far of a run, and I only got one 10.7 mile run in during my training. So, yay for me!

I do think the RNR series was well organized and well run. The expo was great, the volunteers great, the distractions/bands on the race course were great. The food after the finish line was just so-so....gatorade, water, small bagel, small banana and then some fruit snacks and marathon bars. I suppose I've had worse, but I've definitely had better food at some local 5ks!

I didn't stay for the after party at all. Sure, it was chilly and who knows if I would have stayed if the weather was nicer...but seriously, I needed calm after this, and their headliner (Flo Rida) was far from this. I'm not a fan of rappers, and this was supposed to be Rock, not the Rapper Half Marathon. But, since I'm not even sure I would have hung around if it was a better performer, I can't really speak too much of this.

So, I had my food, ran into my earlier running partner and wished her congratulations (she too had some aches and pains around mile marker 10 and finished just a few minutes ahead of me). I donned my mylar blanket and started walking towards the parking lot. Wow....12 blocks was far! It must have taken me a good 20 minutes to walk, if not more. I was exhausted and my muscles were yelling at me. I eventually got into the car and changed my top so I wouldn't experience too much of a chill, but there was no physical way that I could change my compression socks for dry ones...I just don't think my body was willing to move at that point. So, I get onto facebook and state my final unofficial time and I head home....a warmish-cool shower has never ever felt so good.

Would I do it again? Sure....I need to say this since I already registered for next year! But, I think I would anyway. I just hope the weather is better AND the headliner is more to my liking.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Tally of Races To Come

So, I have several planned months out....crazy, I know. But, I suppose if I continue to have a goal, I will be more focused to keep up during the hot humid summer months when you have to run at 3am for a chance to run under 80 degrees!

So, whats on the plate thus far? I've registered for:

  • Women's Running Half 2012 (November) $75 ouch!

  • ING Miami Half 2013 (January) $52

  • Rock n Roll St Pete Half 2013 (February) $65

I'm pretty sure I will register for these as well:

  • Tinkerbell Half 2013 (January)

  • Princess Half 2013 (February)

  • Gasparilla Half 2013 (March)

  • Sarasota Half 2013 (March)

  • Irongirl Half 2013 (April)

There are also a few 5k, 4M and 5M races I know I will do annually:

  • Canes Classic 5k (the best local event) - Memorial Day

  • Robinson Preserve 5k (my first running route!) - April

  • Boo Run 5K (best entertainment for the kids) - October

  • BRC Manatee River Run 5M (my club's fundraiser) - New Years Eve

  • BRC Turkey Trot 5M (the best free event) - Thanksgiving

  • University Park Cross Country 4-Miler (the best food spread afterwards) - September

  • Ringling Bridge 4-Mile Run (the best view and family event) - January

Not sure if these will be annual events:

  • Jingle Bell Run 5k (was insanely crowded...but they should be back in their old location next year)

  • Creaky Bones 5K (poor route and I had to compete against dogs, but maybe the Sarasota run in the same series is better)

  • Sarasota Springfest 12K (we'll see....I'm running this for the first time this spring)

Now, that being said, I know the key is to REGISTER EARLY! For example, the RNR St Pete, if registering at the expo, is $125. Now, only a few crazy people will pay this much, but most paid $80-115. I registered super early so it was only $65. Same with the ING Miami Half...$52....this will be my first "traveling" race (I don't count Disney as those are justified as family trips), but for $52, its doable and still only a 4-hour drive.

Now, of course, let me survive tomorrow so I can conquer these ambitious plans!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rock n Roll St Pete Expo

Just got back. I left work around 11:30, drove down to Tropicana. While I thought the line would be heavier at noon (when they open) compared to 1pm....I knew parking would be easier. I was NOT about to pay the $15 Tropicana Fields parking fee. I was able to find free 2-hour parking on the close that I could see the entrance. True, I had to walk 5 minutes, but hey, thats ok with me :)

We had our bags checked (remember, its Tropicana Fields) around 11:50, and formed a line just outside the main gate entrance. They eventually opened the doors and then we formed another line down the concourse. The waivers were all over as well as a chart to identify your bib number. Even though the line was relatively short at that moment, you could tell that they expected it to be longer. When they eventually let the line go into the field, you had to wind around to the other gate, and even there was another huge stack of waivers and another list of bib numbers. But, we moved fast. There must have been 15 tables segregated by bib number, along with a payment line for those registering at the expo. Current price....drum roll...wait for it...wait for it...$125!

So, I go right into my line and I'm 2nd. Right now, I'm thinking this is way better than the Women's Half Marathon expo last November. Get my bib, shoe chip, zip tie, safety pins....and head to the swag booth. The swag bag is a large black drawstring bag with the logo on it in red. In it were some bandaids, some perform pain relieving gel, dole snacks, and the requisite papers. There was also a window cling by Garmin that says "Rocked 13.1" or "Rocked 26.2"...gotta love the flames, but I don't think I'll be running so fast that I cause enough friction to create flames!

Definition: swag = stuff we all get

So, now we have all of our required stuff...but we are still hearded into the expo (no other exit, of course. I know this doesn't surprise anyone, but it still surprises me that some places don't think we notice this "no exit but near the stuff that people are selling" method.

You enter the expo, and you are dropped into the middle of Brooks Wonderland.....they MUST be sponsors, right? Seriously, I think they must have HALF of the expo space! Nice stuff...but nothing really caught my on I go.

Note: the porta potties in the Brooks area are dressing rooms, not a location to pee....use the restrooms in the concourse.

Now, the Brooks 'store' is completely separate so you enter the "regular expo" entrance and that is what you expect to see.

So, what booths should you visit? High marks for 5-hour energy...touting its grape two handed to me! Also, St Anthony's/Baycare Health Systems is worth a visit....they gave flashy clip lights and pens and a little first aid kit...but also a large pouch holding a standard exercise band. Very nice.

Other stops by the center of the expo is the HUGE RNR booth. Really, its like a tent without a top. I registered for next year's race for $65 with their discount code of STPETE. Its on 2/10/13 for everyone's calendars!

I also stopped at FitNiche, which is the pacing group for this race. I grabbed the 2:15 white bib (to wear on the back of my shirt) while I wear my regular blue bib on the front. This white bib trumps whatever corral I was originally placed in. I just need to find the neon yellow singlets that the pacers will be wearing that morning.

So, I browsed a tad and left. Got back to my car by 12:30. All in all, a very productive trip! Kudos to the streamlined approach, as I definitely expected a crazy experience at lunchtime.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Unintended Taper

Our company is acquiring another company. Man oh man, there is a lot of last minute, urgent things to do! This ensured that I was late coming home yesterday, so no Tuesday night bridge run for me. Then, today I worked through no group lunch bunch run for me. Definitely an unanticipated taper!

Friday lunch is out of the question (expo), so I must try to run a tad tomorrow....even if its just a 5k. I may also try to do a 5K saturday morning, if time permits. We have a big day planned, and I may need to sleep in. Kids have a tennis lesson, then we have the circus in the afternoon.

So, I suppose if I can get in a 5k tomorrow and Saturday morning, I will feel ok. Don't get me wrong, I'm still very nervous about Sunday. While I think I will rise to the occasion, I'm not positive. I suppose I need to get to the expo and commit to the pace group....then we will see how I feel about the whole thing. My nerves will still be there, but maybe they will be an assistance, instead of a hindrance!

Monday, February 6, 2012


So, I am still nervous about next weekend, and I thought I had to get out for a long run this weekend. Alas, my husband was in a baseball tournament, so that proved quite difficult. Saturday was a no go because of it, but we arranged some short-term child care Sunday were dropped off by Joe right before the tournament began and then picked up by me right after my run. Thankful that we have some helpful adults that live nearby! We are often stuck 100% of the time as a result of these situations simply because we do not have relatives around...but when there is a will, you find a way.

I went out Sunday morning, intending to do a long run even though I lacked the energy for it. The first 4.5 miles was fine....averaged 10:10. However, I was feeling a bit drained so just thought that I would run back. The first 2.5 miles back, I was doing ok but then I felt that "asthma" type feeling. Finally, I know I need to see someone due to my sinus infection. It hasn't really bothered me at all, but hey, 8 weeks of congestion is definitely affecting me! So, tomorrow I will visit someone and get a script. Other than the breathing, I wasn't really motivated but knew I could have done the entire 11 while the run wasn't spectacular by any means, I think I'm ready for Sunday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What will Summer bring?

Here I am, 10 days away from my first half-marathon. Here I am with a butt-load of halg long distance events in the next 3 months. And, here I am wondering what I am going to do between the Iron Girl Half in April and the Canes Classic 5K in September. Crazy, isn't it? As much as I'm overwhelmed with everything going on right now, I'm anxious to have something on the plate during that time period so I continue to find motivation to run!

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