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)

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