Sunday, April 28, 2013

Girls On The Run 5k

 Today, I had the honor of running in the 3rd Annual Girls on the Run 5k. I love this event and have been apart of it since it began in our town in 2011. If you don't have girls, like myself, you probably never heard of this non-profit organization, but it is truly amazing! The 10 week program that is done twice a year in area elementary and middle schools is designed to educates and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Each program ends with a huge personal accomplishment, running in their first official 5k race. 

So, you are probably wondering how a mother of three boy got involved in a girls running program?  Well, I was actually introduced to the organization by a friend of a friend that knew I loved running. She was in need of volunteers and asked me if I would be interested in being a "running buddy" for a child that didn't have an adult to run with on their 5k race. Of course, I said "YES" and the rest is history. I have had the great fortune to be a "running buddy" every year since. Last year, I even decided to give a little more to the program and became a coach to a group of middle school girls. I can honestly say it is a life-changing experience getting to encouraging, inspire, and motivate a child to accomplish something they didn't think they could! Plus, I always enjoy sharing my love of a healthy living and running, so it couldn't have been a better fit! In my opinion, the Girls on the Run program is empowering girls of today to become extraordinary women of tomorrow. 

The girls and I from the program I coached last fall.

So, this year was extra special to me. My "running buddy" for the Girls on the Run 5k was my  beautiful niece, Shelby! I was so excited to be able to share this experience with her and hopefully she had as much fun as I did.

Shelby & Me before the 5k.

We were joined on this race with my "running buddy" from last spring, Destini. It was so great to be able to run with the two of them. They each encourage and motivated one another throughout the entire race, and I think that pushed each other more than I ever could! I couldn't be more proud of those two girls and what they accomplished!

Shelby, Destini, and myself out on the route.

 Shelby, who I would go so far as to say, rocked her first race, finished with an impressive time of 34:36. Destini did an outstanding job on her second GOTR 5k and finished in 34:25, beating her previous 5k by five minutes! And myself, I finished in 34:37, of course right behind the two long legged, fast sprinting girls! I was 12 in my age category and placed 162 overall out of 500. Not to bad for two young girls and a not-so-young lady!

The girls and I after the Girls on the Run 5k.

Have you ever heard of Girls on the Run? If so, how did you find out about the organization? Have you ever ran a Girls on the Run 5k?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Exciting News!

This week I had the pleasure of attending a Unity Run at Fit2Run, in Estero, Florida. This isn't the first time I have attended one of their weekly fun runs, but this run took on a new meaning - to honor the victims of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing. I got to the store a little early Wednesday evening to change into my running clothes and was surprised to find the local press was there to take picture and ask questions. Wink News asked if I would talk on camera about the events that happened in Boston, but I knew right away I wouldn't be able to make it through the interview without crying, so I graciously declined. I did give a statement to the News Press and you can find it in the first link below. 
 Several dozen runners came out for the event. Many dressed in blue and yellow to show their support. The manager of Fit2Run, Kimmi van der Veen, handed out ribbons and race bib to all the runners that read "4-15-13 Boston - Runners United To Remember". It was such a great touch. Then, Kimmi lead us in a moment of silence before we all set out on the 5k course. It was a nice run, with lots of encouraging words, support, and genuine care for one another. It was the perfect representation of why I love the sport of running and why no one, not even a terrorist, will keep the running community down!

Walking out to start the Unity Run

After the run, the fun continued with the Fit2Run Ambassador Acceptance Party. Yes, I am thrilled to say I am a official Fit2Run Ambassador and I couldn't be happier to be chosen. I love Fit2Run! Not because the store has everything you could ever want or need for running. Not even because they are the one store that personally found out what shoe worked best for my wide, flat feet. No, I love Fit2Run because it is so welcoming and accommodating to all abilities of runners, and their ultimate goal is to do whatever they can to help you improve your run. They offer clinics, demonstrations, and best of all weekly fun runs to bring the running community together. I am so excited about the opportunities being an ambassador will hold for me plus, I have to say the fun loving group of 19 other ambassadors chosen for this year are a one of a kind group, that I am very proud to be a part of!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayers For Boston

Today my heart is aching after the bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday. The senseless loss of life overwhelms me and as always, I look to the Lord for strength and some kind of understanding. Here are some verses that have given me comfort today and hopefully they will do the same for you.
Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Philippians 4:6-7
 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Shark Tooth 10K


Well, for once I am writing while things are nice and fresh in my head. Today was the Shark Tooth 10k in Venice, FL.
I signed up for this race only a week ago, but with the running season winding down for the summer, I really needed to get a official certified timed under my belt before I head to Disneyland in August. For those of you that don't know, runDisney has made some pretty big changes in order to relieve some of the congestion found during most of their races, with the biggest change being proof of time! If you don't have it, your butt is in the back jack at the start of the race! And, if you have ever been to a runDisney Race, you know they usually have between 6-8 starting corrals for each race, then put 10 minutes in between each corral, and you got some people standing there over an hour, just to start the race!
So, even though I didn't have much time to prepare for this run, I was off with the hopes of pulling out a good time!
I had been a little worried about the weather for this race. The forecast all week had called for rain, and lots of it, but the weather held out, and I even had some good ol' Florida sunshine by the time I got to mile 4.
Before the Shark Tooth 10k

The course for this race was a mix of paved roads through residential areas, dirt roads around the Venice Airport and even bike trails near the beach. Although, it made for great scenery throughout the race, it did seem to make the course a little more challenging for me.
Different terrains during the race.

It's so cool how the course is shaped like a sharks tooth!

Overall, I did well. I finished in 1:06:58 according to my Garmin (official results aren't in yet), which is a PR for me. The one thing I will take away from this race is to really watch my pre-race diet. I had an upset stomach during the whole race, which never happens to me. I think it may have been the waffles, with Almond Butter and honey that I ate right before bed the night before. Whatever it was, I can't honestly say I don't want it to happen again. It really makes is hard to concentrate on running when your sick stomach is all you can think about. Plus, you can't enjoy the wonderful post-race food, which is why most of us run anyway!
Post Race Fun and Food
What does your pre-race meal consist of? What do you eat the night before a race? Do you enjoying indulging in yummy post-race food, if so, what is your favorite?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sarasota Half Relay

It was my birthday weekend, and what is a girl who loves to runs suppose to do for her birthday? Well, run a race, of course! And, what a race it was!
 My Sol Sister, Jen and I headed out bright an early at 5:00 am to Sarasota, FL, to run our first ever relay at the Sarasota Half.
Luckily for us, some of our running friends from Team #runDisney were running this race too. So, we meet up with everyone and tried to stay warm (yes, it gets cold in Florida, it actually was in the low 60's that morning) till the start of the race.
Team #runDisney

First up was Jen's first six miles of the relay. She started at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and headed out on the John Ringling Causeway (which is kind of a step bridge), circled around the famous St. Armands Circle, and then made her way back across the causeway to a relay meeting point set up on US 41.

Van Wezel Performing Hall
Jen's picture she sent me from the causeway.
Relay Exchange

This is where I was waiting to take the ankle strap timer off Jen's foot and head out on my seven mile half of the relay. I started north on US 41 (which was all businesses) and ran up to the beautiful Ringling Brothers Museum, then headed back south, weaved in and out of residential areas by the water, till I ended up back on US 41. I finally got back to the relay meeting point where Jen was waiting and we finished out the race together!
Ringling Brothers Museum
My picture I sent to Jen to let her know I was coming!
It was a great race for both of us! We both had personal records on our legs of the relay and together we came out with an awesome half marathon time of 2:20:03!
Place: 52 No. 288 Team Name: SOLE SISTERS Class: F  Split: 30:51 Split: 1:07:44 Net Time: 2:20:03 Pace: 10:42

Jen & I after the finish of the Sarasota Half Relay.
Afterwards we hooked back up with our Team #runDisney friends again to celebrate our awesome accomplishments. First Watch Cafe was the sponsor of this race and they offered each runner a yummy fruit parfait, normal post-race food, and even a beer for those who were interested (a little to early for me) at the end of the race.
Happy Team #runDisney Finishers!

DJ & Beer Vendor at After Race Party
Even with all the yummy goodies we were given, Jen and I were still starving after the race so we headed to a nearby First Watch Cafe. Neither of us had been there before, but had heard rave reviews from some of the other runners. Well, let me just tell you, everything they said was true! This place was unbelievable and it totally made a great ending to an awesome race!
Our Yummy Breakfast at First Watch Cafe

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My Running Anniversary- Princess Style

It is so hard to believe that this February marked my three year running anniversary! And boy has the time flown by. It seems like only yesterday, I was heading out in the wee hours of the morning to my very first 5k at Walt Disney World. I was full of nervous energy and couldn't help but wonder if I would even be able to make it to the finish line. Well, I did make it to the finish line that day, and even though I didn't run that first 3.1 miles is record time, I did have one of the best experiences of my life. The other runners at that race were so encouraging and genuinely fun to be around, and when I actually made it across that line, the sense of accomplishment I felt was overwhelming. I wore that medal proud around Walt Disney World that weekend, and I knew deep down in my heart, I would be back!
Well, this year I heading back to Walt Disney World for Princess Weekend but this time instead of running the Royal Family 5k, like I had done for the past two years, I was ready to conquer my second half marathon. My weekend was crammed packed with activities and I was looking forward to each and every one of them. The first stop was the Fit For A Princess Expo. This year the Expo was extremely crowed, probably because of the new venue at Coronado Spring, and it seemed to take allot of time to pick up your bib, get your goodies bag and then try to weave in and out of all the great vendors. I am sure the limited release of the New Balance Mickey & Minnie running shoes or the line-up of great speakers like, Olympian Jeff Galloway didn't help with all the congestion of the event center but, these are the things that make Disney Expos so much fun.

Next up on the agenda, my friend, Jen, and I decided to meet up with some of our Facebook & Twitter friends at a tea party thrown by Erin Williams from For The Love of Disney Running. This big girl tea party was held at the Garden View Tea Room in the Grand Floridian and besides hanging out with a great group of girls, who happen to love running as much as me, Dennis Marsico from RunDisney TV was there as a special guest. He really is a super nice guy in person and lots of fun to talk to.

Of course, you can't come to Walt Disney World without spending some time in the parks, and I made sure to visit the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom and the newly renovated Test Track at Epcot. 

Obviously enjoying the new Test Track!
Last up on the weekend agenda, the whole reason we were there, the Princess Half Marathon. Overall, I felt like this run was one of my best! Not because it was the ideal weather, oh no, the weather was awful, it was hot, rainy and the humidity was so high you were instantly wet! But because I physically and mentally felt good the whole race. I couldn't believe how strong I felt, and when I came to the finish line, I honestly felt like I could of just kept on running. This run made me feel so proud of myself for how far I have come over the last three years of running.  I have learned so much (like proper health, nutrition and hydration), and although I know there is still so much more to learn, I feel like I can actually call myself a runner! So, even though I can't tell you that I had a personal record in time on this race (I am sure the bathroom break in Frontierland didn't help), I can honestly say this race was a personal record to me in so many other ways!