Challenges, Health

The Great Westchase 5k Recap

Second 5k of the season under my belt!

Following my first one 2 weeks ago, I have been working on getting faster by adding some interval training to my runs. I only did 2, but they seemed to help! I walked away with a brand new PR and finally broke 25 mins 🙂

I’m even more ready and excited to continue this kind of training to see how it will help the rest of my races.

The Great Westchase 10k/5k was only about 15 mins away from where I live, which allowed a bit of “sleeping in” again like last time. I had originally signed up for the 10k at 7am, but a couple weeks ago decided I wanted to try for another 5k success. I made the switcheroo and was happy with my decision: when I made it to Westchase, the 10k was beginning and it was PITCH BLACK out. The lighting in the streets wasn’t very good, and I was ever so happy with my decision to do the 5k later in the morning.

I parked and made my way to the registration/packet pick-up table where I was pleasantly surprised with the lay-out: gender specific dri-fit shirt, a drawstring bag with the race’s logo on it (and purple! I love purple!) with goodies inside including a race coozie (because the 2.3 milli we have at home will never be enough) and much-needed Biofreeze and Advil. It’s the small things in life sometimes…

Any way, I hustled back to my car to drop it all off, put on my race bib, earphones, and chug some water before heading back to the start area to get ready to race!

I didn’t warm up (aka jog a bit) before… I completely forgot! I was reminded right at the start of the race, when my legs told me they should’ve been shaken out a bit beforehand. Oh well, off I was!

This race was much bigger than the last, and I wanted to stay near-ish to the front (more like front-middle) to challenge my pace a bit. Unbeknownst to me (ps autocorrect helped me spell that word), Ryan was up and drove to the race, was in his car finding parking at the start but was able to catch me!

wpid-img-20151031-wa0006.jpgright in the middle with the orange shorts

When I mentioned to him later “I’m surprised you were able to spot me!” He replied, “You have a very distinct run”…. I don’t know how to take this. However, the pic the race photographer got of me is horrendous so I now know. I’m using the “Copywriting is illegal” excuse here to get out of sharing it with you.

The whole race felt hard, again I don’t think I ever fell in a groove, but my Garmin helped a bunch to pace me. If I saw faster than 7:45, I took it down a slight notch (because right now I just can’t hold that pace for too long and didn’t want to burn out), and if I was slower than 8:10, I’d pick it up. A bit exhausting looking down at the watch a lot, but I really wanted to meet my goal of a sub-25 minute 5k, and sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do to meet a goal! I knew in my head an average pace of 8:00 would get me just under 25 mins.


As I was on the home stretch I could barely make out the time clock, but could see 24:1x so I knew it was time to book it so I could beat my time! Getting closer, I heard someone yell out my name, which is a miracle since I blare my music at the cochlear-damaging level, and I turned to see Ryan smiling and taking pics. So surprised and happy that he was there, and that’s what I needed to push it just a bit more to cross the line.

wpid-img-20151031-wa0004.jpglooking for who was cheering…

wpid-img-20151031-wa0001.jpgface of happiness (& fatigue)



My mile paces were: 1- 7:46 (fastest mile to date on my Garmin) 2- 7:58, 3- 8:04 average pace 7:53/mile with a Garmin-recorded time of 24:41 (my chip time was 24:43 but since it’s slower I’m disregarding that 😉 )

wpid-img-20151031-wa0000.jpgon my Instagram

So not doing very well on the “negative splitting” goal I set out for myself, but I think it may just be harder for shorter distances. Form was addressed earlier and I’ll leave it at that 🙂

Post-race was quite a set-up! This is a very kid-friendly neighborhood so there was a lot for kids to do, including a 1-mile fun run- so cute! Plus it was Halloween so nearly every vendor was giving out candy. Score. Good food catered from a nearby restaurant, and beer available, so obviously I will be back next year.

One of my favorite families came out to cheer me on…. the one on the left was my whole world for about 1.5 years right out of college– I had the privilege of being her nanny while deciding what I wanted to do with my life, and it was the greatest job ever. She now has a sister and the fam somehow got cuter.


Needless to say, this was a great race and happy day for me, I feel truly blessed 🙂

Today I am resting, wearing my compression calf sleeves (my calves get ridiculously sore following races, but never training!?) and plan to foam roll and stretch if I can slide off this couch.

Tell me….

What gets most sore on you after a hard race?

First job outta college? Did it have anything to do with your degree?

Do you wear a watch to pace yourself when running, or strictly go off of feel?

Challenges, Health

Run 4 Recovery 5k Recap

First race of the season: check! This girl was anxious to get back out there!! Westbridge’s Race4Recovery (benefitting families of those coping with disorders)  was held at a close-by park, on shaded and smoothly paved trails, which made it an easy decision for me to sign up and go for it. They offered a 5k run/walk and a 1 mile.

wpid-20151017_194642_hdr2.jpg.jpegflat molly

This race was VERY small… we’re talking 50-something people total. I think it may be the smallest race I’ve ever run, but I’m not gonna hate…. I placed 3rd overall female, HA! Probably the only time soon this will happen, so I’m taking it!

The race started at 8, so I was able to “sleep in” a bit the morning of. Once parked, bibbed, and laced up, I was ready to go. And this might come as a surprise, but I started out too fast. Surprise! When (how?!!) will I learn!? I started off immediately 3rd female, and was pretty happy to keep that throughout the race.

I was running alongside a guy who’s pace I felt I could manage, but as I looked down at my Garmin and saw 7:30 , I knew I’d need to slow down or I’d never make it.

I’d say I fell into a “rhythm” but does that really happen during a 5k? I feel like you gotta run HARD throughout the whole thing.. which is what I did. I kept telling myself this is not supposed to feel easy, and just went with it. I didn’t want to look back to see if there were any females close behind me, so I just kept my head forward and focused on keeping this fast (to me) pace.

According to my watch, I averaged an 8:06 pace, giving me a new personal best (yay!) but just 8 seconds away from breaking 25 mins (boo) but hey! This gives me major motivation to work on getting faster so that I can see a 24:xx on my Garmin next time.


3rd place female got me a medal and gift card to a running store- WOOP! Mind you… 1st and 2nd gal were nearly 3 whole minutes faster than me (that is a lot for a 5k) but it still felt pretty great to stand up there with them!


wpid-20151018_083845_hdr.jpgmay have treated myself a bit. can’t say no to Panera

FORM CHECK: there was someone taking photos out there, but I’m not sure they’ll be posted anywhere…if I find them, I’ll later edit this post and add them. I tried to mentally focus on my form especially the last mile-ish. I could feel myself tiring, and I kept reminding myself to swing my arms and keep my back from slouching.

PACE CHECK: welp! gotta work on this one more! My paces per mile: 8:00, 8:15, 8:11 so not terribly off, but I’d still like to see my last mile faster than the first. It’s just a personal goal, dats all 🙂

Tell me…

Smallest race you’ve run?


Have a race planned for Halloween? If, so are you dressing up?!


Running Goals For My Upcoming Racing Season!

The air is a tad cooler…. The pumpkin spice lattes are being ordered…. The light jackets are tagging along for outings…. This can only mean one thing….

WINTER IS COMING. in Florida. 😉

And with “winter” comes what I consider RUNNING SEASON. Woop!

I believe my body has really appreciated the time I’ve taken off from running. If you keep up with this blog, you may notice I did a lot less running and a lot more strength training and yoga. I completed a 12 week strengthening program, and I’ve been to various yoga studios along with incorporating more yoga/stretching on my own. To boot, I’ve made the squat rack my best friend.

While I’m going to try hard not to lose touch with those cross-training clutches, they will lessen a bit, because I know I will be running more. I truly have missed running, and I am more ready to get back out there than you know!

Below you’ll see my racing plan and goals for the next few months. I’ve written approx 20 drafts of this post, because I’m just all over the place deciding how “hard” to make my goals and what distances I want to focus on, therefore which races to sign up for. In the end, I’ve decided to throw 1 half marathon in there, because I’m due for my yearly torture, and the rest are smaller distances. I’m not signed up for all of them (yet!) and I’m sure I’ll sprinkle some more in as weeks come and go. I’m not sure I’ll be able to achieve all my goals- but isn’t that the purpose for setting them? They shouldn’t be super achievable because then what the heck do you have to work hard for?! 🙂

October: potentially 3 races-all 5ks! Ballsy? Yes. Prepared? Meh. But I’m just that excited to get running more again. Got one to celebrate the end of my 27th year, and one for Halloween because who doesn’t want to run on a ridiculous holiday. AND ONE THAT MY HUSBAND IS JOINING ME ON(<– recapped).

November & December, I’m hoping to shoot for some 5ks/10ks to work on pacing, speed intervals, and form.

Jan 17: Clearwater Half Marathon! Woop. It’s in the same family as the Halloween Halfathon I did last year… they offer 4 half’s over a 6 month span, and I’ve chosen the most difficult one to do. What!?

Wellllll… since I achieved a sub-2 at my last half, I don’t have a time goal anymore for the half. I know, I know, what a terrible runner/blogger/human being 😉 But honestly, I’m not a fan of staring at my Garmin for half my training and during the entire race to make sure I’m going to meet a goal. So I’m going for a different challenge this year with the half marathon I’ve chosen. There are 4 ascents over bridges, making this the hilliest race I’ll have run to date.

My goal is to eat those bridges up 🙂 I will feel so accomplished if I can do just that, and make that finish line crossing just as memorable as my last two. My goal here is strength, not speed. And to survive. This flat-land girl cannot handle bridges easily. Heck, climbing the 30-odd steps to get to my condo leaves me winded (wish I was kidding…)

Feb 6: Best Damn Race 5k/10k. I ran the 5k last year and loved the course and atmosphere. The weather was perfect. And it was my personal best! I’d consider the half marathon, simply because the weather is ideal during this time, and it’s a neat area of town to run through,however it’s so close to the half marathon I’m already signed up for that I don’t think my body will be recovered and ready for those miles by then. We’ll see though!

Feb 21-22 Gasparilla. Gasparilla is a running highlight in Tampa, and I have plans to partake in it again this year. Last year I ran the 15k+8k combo, and I’m not sure if I’ll do that again, or just sign up for one individual race. They offer distances 15k, 5k, 13.1, and 8k.

March. Sooooo many options I’m looking into for March. Some are past races I’ve done, but I’m also considering the Gate River Run in Jacksonville! I feel like this month is too far out to decide on which race(s) I want to do, and what distances I feel I can tackle at that time. But there will be at least one!

Come April it’s getting hot here and my running basically stops- hah! #HardCoreRunner.

There’s a good chance a lot of all the above could change— but for now, this is what I’m looking at and mentally preparing for.

My main goal here, friends, is s t r e n g t h. I’ve worked harder than I ever have before on toning up and making strength training a regular part of my routine. Along with various workout classes, I’m really hoping my strength will pull me through these races, not just fast times- which is what I was chasing (pun intended) in the past.

Of course I would like to become faster and graduate from the “middle of the pack” ….but right now it’s important for me to keep my muscles strong and secure and to avoid injury. Thankfully I haven’t been injured in a long time, but I want to keep it that way! I know my body, and I know running endless miles will only hurt me and not help me become the overall fitness gal I long to be 🙂 Of course it would be nice to run a  personal best in one of the distances (c’mon sub-25 min 5k!), but we will see where my training takes me.

Besides for feeling strong through my training and racing, I’d like to see my form improve. Race pictures in the past have made me cringe, and it’s not like I’m going for “cute” here, I just don’t want to look like the hunchback of Tampa Bay. I’m big on posture as it is, and I’d like to see it reflect when I’m running. (See: any past race recaps) 😉

Also… I want to be able to negative split the majority of my races! Negative splitting is running the second half of your run faster than the first. It’s easy to start out strong with the crowd during a race, only to realize you’re going too fast and ya slug through the second half. (Just me?) I want to work on pacing and finishing strong. Stay tuned!

So there’s my novel on my racing season that probably nobody cares about but me but I’m still typing all this out because it excites me and pumps me up for the upcoming season. Boom.


Running Ready!!

Tell me…

What distance is your next upcoming race?

Do you rotate your running shoes?

Any tips on how to negative split a race? I need help!

*ps* you have 1 more day to enter the necklace/headband giveaway! Ends Oct 8 @ midnight. Get on it, girl!



Great American Bacon Race

So it turns out all Ryan needed was a little food motivation to sign up for a 5k— BACON.

Our friends that we play volleyball with love to run, and signed up a while ago for a 5k revolving around bacon. It still took a bit of convincing for Ryan to hop on board, but when I promised I’d run the whole thing with him, along with pass any judgments on his bacon intake, he was in.

Ryan actually has run a 5k in the past (took my brother’s spot when he wasn’t able to make it home for the race weekend) and he swore he’d never run another one. I believed him. So I was beyond thrilled that he was joining in on this one!

The Great American Bacon race takes place in a few locations in Florida, with Tampa being the last stop. There was pre-race bacon (which I maaaay have partaken in), a bacon station just after mile 1, and of course bacon at the finish. I love me some bacon, and I’m surprised my stomach was able to stomach the amount I took in 😉

People had fun with this race. We saw bacon socks (which I weirdly wanted), bacon costumes, and my personal favorite, Kevin Bacon shirts. Our little group was not creative at all and we regret it terribly. Next year.

The course itself was a tad boring, and rather hot, as 1. It’s Florida  and 2. it was in wide open spaces on the hot pavement with zero lovely scenery. So not ideal conditions. But for a fun run, who really cares. It was very loop-y, so you always saw some runners, going this way or that, which I didn’t mind. They gave out tiny water bottles, which I actually liked a lot better than water cups because they were contained and didn’t splash everywhere like normal!


Pic of the day

I was super proud of Ryan (our whole group really, but Ryan being the “non-runner”) for only stopping twice, each for about a minute. Not bad!! I felt like the course may have been a tad short, and afterward we asked someone with a watch who said it was just under 2.9 miles. So if that’s correct, that’s quite a bit short for a 5k race!

Either way, we finished under 29 mins! Go team. YOU CAN’T SET WITH US.


that is chocolate drizzled on top of bacon right there. there were seconds involved.



Give the boy some bacon, he runs a race. #science. #lifehacks.

Tell me….

what themed races have you run?

do you eat before a race?

favorite Kevin Bacon movie?