Poetic Flow / Solitude (Repost)

Solitude

(Image by claudia martinez from Pixabay

Solitude

Solitude rhymes with gratitude

And really is not the end of the world

Most people assume

The hustle and bustle of life

Makes the gratitude for solitude profound

In the life of those who can allow

Solitude to influence their attitude

And enjoy the energy and flow

Solitude in life can help you grow

2022 Palm Beaches Marathon

Palm Beaches Marathon1

“Forever is composed of nows”.

(Emily Dickinson)

Prince famously sang in his hit song, Let’s Go Crazy, “Electric word life, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time”.

Well, I’m here to share that I will forever have the moniker of marathoner!  😊

According to Trackshack.com, only half of one percent of the population has run a marathon.

https://www.trackshack.com/blog/1262/bucket-list…-number-1:-run-a-marathon

I did not make this rate go up much but happy to join the folks who have toed the line and completed a full marathon.

I have documented my goal to complete a marathon in 2022 and provided updates on my training progress since July.  I selected an 18-week training program to prepare me for the journey.  The training plan was precise on when to run and how far to run to build a base to start and complete a marathon—mission accomplished.

Thanks to my friends and family for the encouragement during the training—it meant a lot to get positive shout outs while I was on this journey.

Made my way down to West Palm Beach the day prior to the marathon to get acclimated to the area and attend the Gardens of Life Palm Beaches Marathon EXPO.  I was expecting this to be a large venue like the Rock N Roll events, but it was much smaller than I imagined and completely outside.  The EXPO was a series of tents in front of the Meyers Amphitheater close to the water.  There were only a handful of vendors at the EXPO so not much to browse or purchase.  Check-in was simple considering the size of the venue.  Got my race bib, t-shirt, goody bag and headed across the street to get food.

Made my way to the ER Bradley’s Saloon which had a funky vibe, great atmosphere and was still serving brunch when I arrived.  The World Cup was playing on all the TVs and they had a DJ spinning tunes in the middle of the afternoon.  Seems like a great place to hang out when I’m back in West Palm Beach.

https://www.erbradleys.com/

PB Marathon water5

Headed back to the hotel to get off my feet, rest and mentally prepare for what was coming in the morning.  Got to bed early since I needed to be up around 4:30 am to prepare and make it to the start line for the 6 am race time.

Leveraged my hotel proximity to the start line and used the 1-mile distance as part of my warmup before the race.  Yes, I used this distance to run/walk my way to the race start—wanted my legs to be warm for the race.

This race did not have corrals so found a nice spot in the middle of the other runners and waited for the race to start.  We got delayed for 10 minutes which had a few folks upset since they were ready to challenge themselves and the course.  We never heard why we got delayed but the horn went off and runners surged towards the start/finish line.

I decided the day before to keep my pace as even as possible and focused on mile splits within the 10:30 – 10:50 range.  This would allow me to gauge my fitness and mental capacity over the first half of the race to determine what I had left in the tank.

The first few miles went by, and I realized I had a big smile on my face.  This was because the months of training, early mornings and sacrifice was being played out in a real marathon.  Looking back, I was smiling at this point because we started around 6 am and the sun was still not out—didn’t realize it at the time but the coolness of the morning was going to go away very soon.

Fast forward and I kept the 10:30 – 10:50 pace range through the first 16 miles of the race.  I crossed the half marathon (13.1 mile) point at 2:26:32 which may have been too fast, but I felt good.  This is where my lack of marathon experience showed.  I was able to maintain my run form and kept moving forward with this pace.

The sun came out in full force at the 16-mile mark, and I noticed my pace start to slow.  At first it was a gradual slow down then the pace slowed more.  I felt great mentally, took water/Gatorade and gels at every station.  A lot of folks talk about hitting a wall in the marathon, but I won’t completely say that’s what I did.  I never thought about quitting just was upset with myself because my legs did not respond when I wanted them to.

Decided at this point that I didn’t care what the clock said I was finishing this race.

Amazing thing that happens during marathons is you get to see other folks experiencing the same mental struggle, pain, and doubts.  We even talked to each other as an impromptu support group to keep moving forward.  Even funnier is when you see another runner talking to their legs to keep them going, I didn’t do this because I didn’t think it would work.  LOL.

The last 10 miles of the race was just me putting one foot in front of the other and showing the most grit I’ve ever displayed in my life.  I set a goal to complete a full marathon and I got it done.  Can’t say it was slower than I imagined because it’s the fastest marathon of my life (yes, the first one too) so I’m proud of the effort to make it from start to finish.

Official clock time was 5:48:28 (five hours, forty-eight minutes, and twenty-eight seconds).

I’m going to bask in this accomplishment, take some time off from running and sleep in for a few weeks.  My Walk into the Future has a busy 2023 race calendar so will enjoy some downtime before cranking up the training.

Here’s a preview of what I have planned so far:

1/22/20232023 Vero Beach Half Marathon
1/29/20232023 Celebration Half Marathon
2/25/20232023 Calgary Stampede 10k
3/4/20232023 Orlando Best Damn Race Half Marathon
3/18/20232023 Shamrock Half Marathon
3/25/20232023 Winter Park 10k
4/22/20232023 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon
6/4/20232023 San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon
10/23/20232023 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon
12/2/20232023 OUC Half Marathon

Where are you racing in 2023?

Irie!

“You are going to want to give up, don’t”

(realbuzz.com)

2022 OUC Half Marathon

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you spend your life running up and down the field and never score”.

(Bill Copeland)

My 2022 Walk into the Future became focused on completing my first full marathon in December.

The 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon provided me with a new goal and a physical challenge to work towards.  The 18-week training program provided me with flexibility with my runs, so I continued to look for ways to make training as exciting as possible.  This included signing up for 5ks and half marathons to help me break up the training sessions.

My last long run before the Palm Beaches Marathon was scheduled to be an 8-miler.  I graduated from the super long runs (18, 19, 20) a couple weeks earlier but wanted to test my fitness one more time before the marathon.

I signed up for the 2022 Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) half marathon back in December 2021 and decided to fulfill that commitment since I needed the miles.  I also enjoy being back in Orlando to see my friends and the culture the Orlando area provides.

Rode over to Orlando the day prior to the race to pick up my race packet at Track Shack.  Always love visiting the Track Shack running store since they are a one stop run store where I can pick up running gear and supplements.  Started purchasing CBD gems (gels) at Track Shack because they have a huge selection with the best prices.  Bib pickup was uneventful—I got there before the big rush and purchased a new running shirt.

Left Track Shack and headed back to Oviedo to check into my hotel.  I stay in the same place since I’m a creature of habit and it allows me to spend more time in Oviedo.  Headed to my favorite Italian restaurant, Café Panuzzos.  Love the food and atmosphere there and always come back when I’m back in town:  https://cafepanuzzos.com/

Got back to the hotel to relax and mentally prepare for the race coming up.  I was still deciding how I wanted to attack the race from a strategic standpoint—do I go out for a specific time or just clock miles as part of the training plan?  Decided to completely test my fitness to see what my training program accomplished.

Made my way downtown the next morning to toe the line for the 9th time for the OUC Half Marathon—guess you can say this is my hometown race now.

Things were going as scheduled until I got downtown Orlando.  Normally it is easy to get downtown to park prior to the race.  This year the Orlando police changed the traffic patterns and had cars lined up for miles.  I finally got out of my normal parking garage line and found a surface lot two blocks down.  This put me closer to the start line, but I lost about 45 minutes trying to get parked—never experienced this before.

Made it to the start line in time to hear the national anthem and the starter encouraging runners to have a good race.  I was able to get a light stretch in and got into the back of the race corral behind the walkers and parents with strollers.  Never been this far back so figured I was in for an experience during the race.  Fun fact—I have never passed so many people in a race.  I guess starting in the back does have some benefits. 😊

Made my way through the other runners from the back of the pack and started to get comfortable with my pace.  Could not go out much faster since I had so many runners to navigate my way through.  The weather was great—nice cool central Florida morning so put a smile on my face and then kept pressing forward.

Ran Mile 1 in 10:01 and did not feel pressed even though I had to weave my way through strollers and walkers.  Felt good after the first water stop and decided to see if I could run negative splits (faster times) for each mile.  Here’s what I got accomplished:

Mile 1:  10:01/ Mile 2:  9:57 / Mile 3:  9:43 / Mile 4:  9:47 / Mile 5: 9:40 / Mile 6:  9:45 / Mile 7:  9:54 / Mile 8:  9:37 / Mile 9:  9:57 / Mile 10:  10:34 / Mile 11:  10:19 / Mile 12:  11:18 / Mile 13:  10:36 / Mile .1 / 1:45

I laughed at myself when I saw my Mile 12 split because I got caught up looking around and sightseeing a bit too much and did not realize I slowed down that much.  Had nothing to do with fitness or pain, I simply drifted off looking at Orlando scenario when I should have been bearing down to finish this race.  Lesson learned.  Completed the OUC Half in 2:12:52 which was my second fastest half of 2022—should have been my fastest but Mile 12 took care of that. LOL.

Crossed the finish line feeling the best I’ve ever felt while running a half marathon.  The full marathon training really helped me manage the lactic acid and pain.  Felt fresh and ready to run more if it was needed.

I’m ready to tackle the 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon—let’s make it happen! 😊

Irie!

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at”.

(Bruce Lee)

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville Waterfall 2

“Mountains are the soul’s fuel”.

(Asheville Connections)

Decided to trade in my Gatlinburg and Smoky mountains adventures this year for a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, and the Blue Ridge mountains.

I pass through Asheville yearly on my way to Gatlinburg but my only time in the area was for a gas stop and to get snacks.  I have several friends who swear by Asheville, so my task was to shake up my annual mountain getaway and see what the Asheville area had to offer.

Happy to report Asheville is exactly how everyone describes it:  lots of adventure, shopping, dining, and a bit of a funky, eclectic downtown area.

My first stop in the Asheville area was to the outlet mall.  Yes, I drove from Florida to North Carolina and made a run to the outlet mall—sue me.  LOL.  I am always looking for a deal and there were a few different brands available in Asheville.  I made a few rounds to ensure I did not leave any deals here before getting down to business of finding some hiking trails to explore while in the area.

I am very familiar with the hiking available in Gatlinburg since I am a frequent traveler there. 

The Asheville area trails took a little more research and time to get to them.  Asheville is a much larger area with things a bit more spread out.  A quick Google search gave me several options to explore, and I mapped out my hikes to maximize my time in the mountains.

The temperatures were in the 30s during my visit to Asheville, but it was not a major factor for me since I seemed to warm up as I moved my way further up into the mountains.

My first hike was in the Bent Creek portion of the Pisgah National Forest

The Hardtimes Trailhead was described as an easy to moderate trail so decided to tackle it to warm up to the Blue Ridge mountains.  The trail did not have a ton of obstacles (rocks, down trees, etc.) but it goes straight up from the very beginning.  The inclines are gradual, but they are inclines.  The trail has multiple side trails, but I decided to stay on the main trail and see where it would end up.  There were some great views on the way up the mountain and I made a point to get some shots in when I took a break heading up.  I made it to the top of this trail after a 3-mile hike and decided to turn around and head back down.  Got a chance to see several joggers coming down the trail so this area is popular with runners and folks on mountains bikes.

My next adventure took me to Looking Glass Falls.  Everything I read described this water fall as a great place for pictures and feel the power of nature.  The waterfall is a short drive from the Hardtimes Trailhead, but it was difficult to park since there were a lot of people trying to experience the waterfall.  I had to turn around twice before I could find a place to park and then make the short walk down to view the waterfall.  I helped a family and took their picture with the falls in the background and then had them return the favor for me as well.  People are friendly in the mountains.  Made my way down to the falls to get some shots closer to the water and enjoy the energy of the water coming down the mountain.

Asheville Waterfall

My next adventure was to explore downtown Asheville since I heard great things about the area.  Again, the temperatures were in the 30s and felt colder once the sun went down.  Decided to just explore downtown and get a feel for it and hopefully find some live music.

Turns out Asheville is known more for the arts and food than music.  Found a lot of creative places to eat but did not hear music, live or DJ.  No worries discovered Highland Brewing and Buxton Chicken Palace within the S&W Market.  The chicken sandwich and craft beer were great and there was a small band playing live music.  A funky little vibe all around but it was worth the trip downtown.

One of my best friends owns a store in the small town, Black Mountain

Ventured over on Day 2 to check out the town and get some hiking in over there.  Again, Google gave me some hiking options and I headed towards Graybeard Trail for more adventure.  The trailhead had a very small parking lot and it was full when I arrived.  Parked a bit down the road and made my way onto the bridge that led to the trail.  I read about the trail beforehand, but the descriptions did not do this trail justice.  It was rocky, scenic, uphill from the start and crossed flowing streams multiple times.  Sounds like I’m complaining but I’m not!  The views on top rivaled the views I get in the Smoky Mountains and the waterfall at the top was the cherry on top.  I wanted to sit up there for a bit longer, but the temperature started to drop once the sun went behind the mountain.  Also, didn’t want to get caught in the mountains in the dark so made my way back down to ensure I still had light to guide me. 

Made a quick trip to visit my friend’s store before it closed: 

https://blackmountainnaturalfoods.com/about-black-mountain-natural-foods

Cute little place if you are ever in Black Mountain!

Explored the downtown area a bit and came across the mural of Roberta Flack.  I remember her music from the 70s but did not know she was from Black Mountain, North Carolina.  Hit a small downtown brewery to experience more local flavor and spend some time with the locals at the Black Mountain Brewing Company.  Great spot with a good selection of beers.

Nice trip to the Asheville area and happy I had a chance to explore.  Recommend if you are looking for a place for adventure and culture.

FYI, will head back to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains next year. 😊

“The best views come after the hardest climbs”.

(Asheville Connections)

Oviedo Get Away

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

(Lao Tzu)

My Walk into the Future allows me to discover adventures large and small.  There are some weeks when I lay low and stay local and others when I get the urge to just get up and go.

Well, needed a bit of adventure in my life so decided to get up and go and make a circuitous route back to one of my favorite places Oviedo, Florida.  I spent 4 years in Oviedo when I worked at the University of Central Florida and still enjoy getting back over there when possible.  It has grown from a sleepy little town east of Orlando into a traffic heavy little town.  The urban spawl is real there.

I did not have a dedicated plan when I headed over, just wanted to see a few sights and enjoy being back in Oviedo.  I knew I could take advantage of the running trails as I continue to work towards my first full marathon.

Outlets

The Orlando outlet malls are not close to Oviedo so that’s why I described my adventure as circuitous.  Most folks know I love outlet mall shopping and will stop anytime I can get close.  The Orlando outlets are huge and provide access to name brand companies with the idea of good prices.  Some of the outlet stores are running sales and clearance specials, so the prices are even better now.

 I focus on Nike, Timberland, GAP, and Columbia stores when I’m in Orlando.  I added the Cole Haan outlet store to my rotation on this trip.  I have been in the store in the past but never really took the time to see everything they offered.  There were a lot of shoes marked down and these prices got better by joining the Cole Haan club (it’s free).  Just needed to provide my cell number and I was signed up to receive additional discounts while shopping.  Picked up a new pair of Cole Haan shoes on this trip and look forward to getting back for more deals soon.

Made my way down to the Nike and Columbia stores to find additional bargains.  My hope was to upgrade my hiking boots prior to my trip to Asheville but could not find anything I liked on this trip.  I have enough sneakers, so my Nike visit was to look for new running gear.  I picked up a few items in Nike and made my way over to Oviedo.

Seminole Cross Trail

I was able to leverage the Seminole Cross Trail again to complete one of my long training runs.  The trail provides 20+ miles of multi-purpose access for runners, bikers, and walkers.  This trail makes my long run process easier since I don’t have to figure out where and how I will hit a specific mile number (5 miles, 10 miles, etc.) since the trail is well maintained with mile markers easy to spot.  Needed to get a 10-mile run in while in Oviedo and was able to hit my mileage with plenty of shade to cover me during the run. 

Bob Marley’s

Bob Marley’s at Universal Orlando City Walk has been a favorite stop for me over the years. 

It’s a unique venue to listen to live reggae music and catch an irie vibe.  Some of the bands I have heard there over the years rival some of the best reggae artists in Negril.  Always thought that was amazing considering the musical talent that resides in Jamaica.  COVID-19 still influences the venue—it is mostly a dining place with a live band playing while patrons are eating.  Prior to COVID-19 this was the spot in Orlando to listen and dance to reggae music.  People came from all over the country to experience this venue and hear some world class musicians.

The music during my recent visit was still outstanding but most of the folks just sat at the dinner table and rocked their heads from time to time.  No dancing or excitement from the patrons but they appeared to enjoy the food while there.

I stayed for an hour or so and decided to call it a night—happy to get a chance to listen to live reggae again.

Finish off the adventure the next day at the local Costco to stock up on household items.  Made my way back down to Fort Pierce to get ready for the work week.

Quick little getaway but made sure to maximize my time while away.  LOL.

Where do you go for a quick getaway?

Irie!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”.

(Rachel Wolchin)

Authentic Leadership Consulting Project

My Walk into the Future continues to allow me to make a difference in the world daily.  I realize most of my life and writing focus appears to only be on my marathon preparation but I’m still busy with my consulting work as well.

I embarked on an Authentic Leadership consulting project with the St. Lucie County Tax Collector’s office to enhance leadership training for front line supervisors.  I have been working with this organization since February but never got around to sharing with my readers.  Well, now is the time to get a full understanding of the project.

The Director of Organizational Efficiency reached out to me on LinkedIn to discuss my Authentic Leadership work back in February.  We had initial conversations on LinkedIn and transitioned to a phone conversation on the impact of Authentic Leadership within the work environment.  I was scheduled to attend a local Chamber of Commerce event the next week and she asked if she could join me during the event to talk more.  I’m always networking so invited her to join me at the Chamber event.

She brought her supervisor, the Chief Deputy with her to the Chamber event to meet me as well.  We spent most of the Chamber event discussing my Authentic Leadership work and how it might benefit their organization.  We agreed to stay in touch, and they invited me to meet their leadership team—an audition if you will since I did my Authentic Leadership presentation for the group. 

This led to a request to provide a 5-part leadership training program to the 18 department leaders. 

I worked directly with the Director of Organizational Efficiency on the topics, dates, and frequency of the training program so we could maintain a schedule that provided maximum exposure for the leaders.  The topics requested were some that I already had in my library, but I was able to build new, innovative training sessions based on the needs of the organization.  FYI, a full training needs assessment was completed by the intended audience to ensure I provided training that would benefit the organization—not just something I wanted to share with them.  This is a major key to a successful organizational training program.

A companion 3-part leadership training program was requested for staff participating in the LEAD Academy—next line leaders coming up through the organization.

5-part program topics:

  • Authentic Leadership
  • Goal Setting
  • Your WHY Statement
  • Being a Self-Aware Leader
  • Empowering Leadership

3-part program topics:

  • Self-Awareness and Leadership
  • Authentic Leadership and How to be a Leader
  • Learn How to Interview (next position)

There was some overlap with the topics, but I was able to tailor to fit each group and their needs based on what they requested in the needs assessment. 

It was great being able to see the leadership growth in each group—some folks did not understand what leadership should be when we started but quickly developed outstanding insight on leadership when we were done.  I like to look into the eyes of my clients to determine if they understand a topic and the growth, I saw in the eyes of both groups they are better leaders now.

I remind my clients leadership requires continued learning and development.  You must adapt to situations and people but having a strong leadership foundation is key to organizational growth.

I am in the process of building a 2023 program for the same organization to capture more up and coming leaders.  This will ensure the organization continues to evolve and grow based on the training provided to the staff.  Excited to partner with this organization again in 2023.  Also, looking to expand my client base to conduct training with other local organizations.  Never a dull moment for me! 😊

Irie!

What projects are you working on?  Make it great!

Marathon training – Week #15

“Everything you wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”.

(Lori Culnane)

The Walk into the Future blog continues to move towards my first full marathon in December.  I provided Week #5 and Week #10 training updates and decided to add a Week #15.   I’m still here training for the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon and race day is coming up—currently one month away from lining up at the start line.  I let you know that I am excited and scared in my last update—I still have those two things with me but have added something new:  PAIN!  Everything hurts on my body at this point—no one talks about this when discussing the training process.  Oh well, I press on towards 12/11/2022 and the marathon start line! 😊

The 18-week training journey is winding down and I’m working on the mental aspects of training.  My hips, legs and back need constant stretching and Epsom salt baths.   I’m happy to report that I’m able to keep pressing forward even when my legs feel heavy.  This should help me on race day since I know heavy legs will be a part of race day.  Mentally preparing to tackle the full impact of 26.2 miles on race day.

Here’s an update of my actual training miles for this portion of the training plan:

  • Week #11: 30.08 miles
  • Week #12:  34.91 miles
  • Week #13:  21.58 miles
  • Week #14:  34.18 miles
  • Week #15:  43.72 miles

I continue to read and learn more about marathon training to ensure I’m ready for race day.  Happy to share this marathon training journey with my tree branch, Lauren Apgar.  Lauren is preparing for her first marathon as well—the 2022 Philadelphia Marathon on 11/20/2022.  We share training notes and insights to ensure we both toe the start line and finish strong.

Here are a few things I’ve included in my training process.

Pickle Juice

Discovered a large population of distance runners leverage pickle juice as part of their training routine.  I was looking for something to eliminate muscle cramps and this is one of the first benefits listed for pickle juice.  It also helps with hydration which is another important aspect of distance running. 

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/drinking-pickle-juice#muscle-cramps

Foam Rolling

I’m utilizing my foam roller more these days to mitigate the soreness from my training sessions.  I’ve had my foam roller for a while but make sure to get in weekly sessions to work on my legs and back.  It helps with my recovery process so I can get back on the road to put in my miles.

Massage Gun

I purchased a massage gun early in my training process and use it daily.  My massage gun has multiple attachments that allow me to hit sore muscles from several angles and applies different pressure levels.  I can adjust the speed to get deeper into the muscle which feels great after a long run.

Epsom salt

Epsom salt and a hot bath is not a new school approach, but it remains an effective way to recover from a hard workout.  I routinely have an 8-pound bag of Epsom salt available to maximize the benefits of magnesium during my recovery process.  Highly recommend this old school approach to anyone who trains hard.

I continue to learn new ways to approach marathon training to speed up my recovery process.  These new tricks of the trade allow me to move forward and keep logging miles towards my marathon start line.

Excited to see how these things translate to race day.

Irie!

Game On Half Marathon (Fort Pierce)

Game On

“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime of knowing you have”.

(Unknown)

My Walk into the Future continues to move forward towards the Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon in December.

The 18-week training plan I’m using allows me some flexibility, but the one constant is a progressive long run on the weekends.  I am leveraging local races to energize my long runs and tackled the Game On Half Marathon in Fort Pierce in October.  This seemed like a nice local race, and I signed up for this half prior to committing to run a marathon.  Luckily, this race and distance fit right into what I needed to keep moving towards the marathon start line.

The Game On Half Marathon is fairly new on the circuit—last year’s race was the first running.  I did not know about this race prior to this year but may keep it on my regular rotation since there are not travel costs associated with a race in the town I live.

This was a smaller race with the projected number of runners less than 300.  I normally avoid smaller races since they do not have the crowd support like the Rock N Roll running series.  It may seem simple but having a crowd of stranger cheering for you helps when the miles start to get tough.  Also, the larger races have a ton of volunteers to man the water/Gatorade stations.  I was pleasantly surprised this race had fuel stops at 1.5-mile intervals and this really helps with the process of completing a half marathon.

Again, smaller race so there was not an EXPO experience.  Race bib pickup was scheduled the day before the race at Causeway Cove Marina.  The process was simple, give them your name and they hand you a bib, t-shirt and four safety pins to attach the bib.  That’s it—no vendors to visit or anything to buy.  I got a quick picture in front of the Game On promotional truck with my bib and went about the rest of my day. 

I started my carb loading process earlier in the week and went to get some more pasta to continue to ingest carbs.  Also wanted to get off my feet to ensure I was ready to toe the line in the morning—I find it harder to just kick back when I’m competing in a hometown race.  Feels like I should do normal, daily activities but this can lead to tired legs on race day.

Made a point to get to bed early so I could get up and make it to the start line with plenty of time to warmup.  This race started at 6:15 am to get and stay ahead of the South Florida heat—yes, it’s still hot and humid down here in October.

Got to Causeway Cove Marina in plenty time to park, stretch and warmup prior to the race start.  Made my way through the darkness towards the start line and got in the corral with the other half marathon runners.  The race organizers did not have runners line up based on projected pace time—no big deal for this race since it was only about 150 runners for the half marathon.  There was also a 10k being run with those runners starting 10 minutes after the half marathoners got started.

I did not have a projected pace or finish time in mind since this was part of my long run.  I just wanted/needed to get miles in and the pace for this day was not as important as it normally is when I run a half marathon.  My goal was to start, finish and enjoy the race as much as possible.

This was an out and back race so wanted to enjoy the course and have fun.  We started in complete darkness so decided to leverage other runners as pacers and to ensure we did not go off course.  The half marathon organizers mapped out the course to be completed on Seaway and Ocean Drives on Hutchinson Island, which is completely flat, no bridges to cross which was a welcomed addition.

I started with a comfortable pace and did not push myself hard in the beginning.  Paced with a couple runners for the first three miles and then decided to pick up the pace a bit.  We turned onto Ocean Drive and headed south towards Jensen Beach.  Interesting thing happened at the 4-mile marker.  Another runner pulled up next to me and began a full conversation on life, hobbies, and the type of work we both do.  I have talked with other runners during races, but it is normally just small talk before we get down to the real racing.  Found out this was her 5th half marathon and she had friends running but she wanted to go faster so decided to tag along with me.

We had a nice conversation going for the next 4 miles before she decided to pull back since my pace was pretty good at this point.  The great thing about running and talking with her is it created a nice distraction from the race.  I focused more on the conversation than my pace so can’t tell you how fast I was running at this point, I was just putting one foot in front of the other.

Leveraged Miles 8 – 13.1 to test my endurance levels to determine adjustments I need to make to my training and nutrition program.  I felt good physically but need to ensure my carb loading process is improved.  I also need to map out my fueling process (time, distance) to keep moving forward with pace during races.  My lactic acid threshold is getting better but need to work on my glycogen levels consistently. 

Finished in 2:23:41 (10:58 per minute pace) which is not fast for me, but I still took third place in my age group.  I’ll take it considering this was part of my weekend training run.  Got an additional 5 miles in after the half marathon for a total of 18 for the day.

Still have work to do as I prep for December but happy with my progress so far.

What challenges are you facing right now?

Irie!

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you have done it, you feel that you can do anything”.

(Unknown)

Race for Recovery 5k

“Life is for participating, not for spectating”.

(Katherine Switzer)

The theme lately is training and racing!  Don’t think that is going to stop anytime soon since I have a marathon to get ready for.

Happy to leverage local races to supplement my training program since running in races is a lot more fun than just training miles.  Discovered 5k’s can be fun again and a great way to warm up my legs prior to my long training runs.  Fun fact, either I am getting faster, or the competition is just letting me run by them—still trying to figure out which.  LOL.

The latest Walk into the Future race was the Race for Recovery 5k hosted in Port St. Lucie on the Indian River State College Pruitt campus.  I consider this to still be a hometown race since the campus is only about a 20-minute drive from where I live in Fort Pierce.

It rained the night before and I considered bypassing the 5k but knew I still needed to log weekend miles so took a chance and headed to Port St. Lucie to toe the line again.

I did not get a chance to pick up my race bib during the week so needed to arrive a bit early so I could get my race swag and prep for the race.  Check-in was painless, and I made my way back to my vehicle to get organize, stretch, and get a quick jog in to loosen my legs.

There was not a huge turnout for this race but the folks there were friendly and ready to run.  It started to sprinkle a bit, but I was committed to run since I made it to the start line.  Made my way to the start line to ensure I did not get caught up in traffic to start the race.

I did not have a preset race time or pace in mind but wanted to enjoy the course and get some miles in before heading off for my long run.

This course starts within the Pruitt campus and then heads out for a 3-mile loop before coming back on-campus for the finish.  It is completely flat, and we never had to cross traffic which is always a good thing.

I went out with a controlled pace to allow other runners to spread out a bit to avoid bumping into anyone.  I located a runner I knew who normally runs a great pace so decided to use her as my pacer.  That only lasted for about a quarter mile since she was not pushing the pace and I felt like I wanted to go faster.

Mile-1 was completed in 8:58. Mile-2 went down in 9:17.  Mile-3 clipped by at 9:22.  We got hit with a heavy rain down pour right after the Mile-1 marker so I’m happy with my mile splits.  This is because there is nothing worse than running with water drenched shoes and socks.  My feet felt like I was running with weights around my ankles but wanted to keep pressing forward to see what I could do in these conditions.

Turned the corner to head towards the finish line and coasted a bit.  The funny part here is the runner I mentioned above who was not running fast enough for me was using me as her pacer.  We crossed the finish line in a dead heat, and she thanked ME for getting her across the finish line. 😊

Both of us clocked 28:04 and finished first in our respective age groups.  Had a good laugh as we collected our awards and headed our different ways.  I still needed to get in additional miles so headed home to dry off, change my clothes and put on a dry pair of running shoes.

Got my remaining 11 miles done before relaxing and enjoying the rest of the day.

The 5k races were done to get me mentally ready for the 2022 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  Found out yesterday this race was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian lurking in the Gulf of Mexico.  Looks like this race is reschedule for October 2023—hope to run this race one of these days.

May look for another 5k to keep me running fast—we will see.

What are your running goals for the rest of 2022?

Irie!

“Sometimes you just do things”.

(Scott Jurek)

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