1,300 in 2022

Sunrise

If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.

(Lawrence J. Peter)

I start each year by creating a set of goals for myself to ensure I continue to Walk into the Future.

Past years I created a goal to run a set number of miles during the year (example:  1,000 miles) but decided to eliminate this practice and concentrate on run quality instead of quantity. 

My 2022 run goals centered around 3 quality runs weekly without the shadow of a set number of miles as the goal.  I always found myself singularly focused on the end number instead of the impact each run had towards my goal and fitness level.  Mentally I was always chasing a number I made up in January and that was not always a fun activity.

Fast forward and the 1,312 training miles I completed in 2022 is the most yearly mileage I have ever completed.  Launching my full marathon training program in July helped me clock miles but I was well on my way toward a mileage personal record (PR).  The marathon training process highlighted I needed to add training sessions and mileage to fully embrace the run challenge of a full marathon. 

I routinely ran 3 days a week prior to my marathon training program and needed a 4th day to continue to build my mileage base.  I also needed to create a true run plan to identify the targeted mileage for each session.

Prior to 2022 I would just go out for a run and then determine how far I wanted to go during that session.  Running in 2022 forced me to lay out a detailed weekly training program to identify how far I would run during each session.  I know this sounds simple and I’m sure most folks do this, but my running program had structure but needed more focus to get me to the start line for the Palm Beaches marathon.  I discovered putting a number on the training session (3 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 8 miles on Thursday, 10 miles on Saturday) made me hit my mile markers each session.  Anything less than what I projected left me looking for ways to get my miles in.  Weekly mileage numbers were critical to my running success in 2022.

Mile by mile, day by day allowed me to top 1,300 miles in 2022.  I’m sure I could have surpassed that number if I put more focus on the mileage for each session prior to July 2022. 

My 2023 run goal is to run 4 days weekly (25 – 30 miles total) with one day dedicated to speed work.  I am registered for 10 races for 2023 with a combination of 5ks, 10ks and half marathons.  I don’t know if I will tackle another full marathon in 2023 or ever but never say never.  I will let my weekly running sessions determine how many total miles I run in 2023.  Excited to track my progress and growth as I expand my running base and test myself with road work.

What goals do you have for 2023?

FYI:  Clocked 127 miles in January 2023! 😊

Irie!

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.

(Zig Ziglar)

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)

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!

Southern Shores, North Carolina (Repost)

Duck tree

“Never lose your sense of wander”.

(TheWanderlust.com)

Southern Shores is a small town located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I heard of the Outer Banks but did not know it was comprised of several small coastal towns.

My introduction to Southern Shores came about because one of my best friends visited the area last summer and shared how nice it was there.  Decided to explore the area as part of my ongoing quest to Walk into the Future.

Southern Shores is a quick and easy drive from the Virginia Beach and Norfolk area.  Made my way over to explore the area and take in a few sights.

Discovered a nice Air Bed and Breakfast (AirBNB) for my visit that was centrally located to the main areas.  It was a short walk or drive to Duck, North Carolina which I had never heard of prior to my trip.  Turns out one of my work friends has a family vacation home in Duck and she was excited to learn I was heading there.  She also gave me suggestions on places to visit and eat while in the area.

Aqua Restaurant & Spa was recommended as a great spot for food, music, and views of the bay.  Aqua lived up to the hype and more.  The service and food were great and the sunset bouncing off the water was a great way to end a day. 

https://aquaobx.com/

Tullio’s Bakery was the recommended breakfast spot.  They have pastries, donuts and breakfast sandwiches made to order.  Grabbed a bacon and egg croissant and coffee before heading over to the beach for the day.  The sandwich was a very simple selection, but the fresh croissant really made it stand out.  Wish I had grabbed a second one before I hit the beach. 😊

https://www.tulliosbakery.com/

The Outer Banks beach scene is a lot different than the beaches in Florida.  The main attraction for the beach goers is the ability to drive on the beaches.  There are ‘air down’ stations where people lower the air pressure in their tires so they can get better traction on the beach.  I had never heard of this process for driving on the beach.  It appears less air in the tires allows vehicles to not get stuck and spin out while driving on the beach.  I just assumed a 4-wheel drive vehicle would be fine in the sand, but big truck drivers dropped air pressure too.

Got a chance to sit on the main beach in Duck and caught a nap while enjoying the weather and watching people drive by.  There are wild horses on the Outer Banks but did not get a chance to see them wandering around.  Spent about 30 minutes searching but decided to just relax and enjoy the sound of the North Carolina waves.

Turns out the North Carolina waves sound like my regular Florida waves.  Went over to the pedestrian side of the beach so I could walk without worrying about cars driving by.  Decided to walk and enjoy the sun and relax. 

Ventured to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse to explore more while in Duck.  There was a lot of activity at the lighthouse with tourists looking for adventure.  Took one turn around the area and then headed back to the AirBNB to rest up. 

Discovered the HULU show Only Murders in the Building while back in the AirBNB.  Binged watched multiple episodes and really got into the characters and plot of the show.  Highly recommend checking this show out on HULU if you have not watched it.  Got a free trial on HULU so I could watch the final episodes when I returned home.  Looking forward to Season #2 in September—love clever shows!

https://www.outerbanks.com/currituck-beach-lighthouse.html

Duck light house

Happy I made the trek to Southern Shores to explore a new area during my Walk into the Future.  Don’t know if I will make it back there but it was a great adventure and I’m happy I made time to get there.  Always looking for new places to visit and the adventures that come with travel. 

No regrets, ever! 😊 😊 😊

Where are you planning to visit this year?

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”.

(Pinterest.com)

Melbourne Beach (9/11/2022)

9_11b

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink wild air”.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Took my Walk into the Future on another road trip to my favorite beach location, the Crowne Plaza in Melbourne, Florida.  Yes, I make a point to visit this beach location multiple times throughout the year but there was added emphasis for this trip. 

September 11th continues to be a day remembered in America due to the events that happened on 9/11/2001.  I will not document the things from that day, but it provides an opportunity for remembrance in this country.

I was stationed at Kadena Air Base, on the island of Okinawa on 9/11/2001.  I viewed the second plane hit the World Trade Center tower live on TV while on the phone with my mom.  At the time we thought the first was an accident but fully understood the impact once the second plane crashed.

I was on the phone with my mom halfway around the world because September 11th is my birthday.  She called to wish me a happy birthday and we witnessed the world change at the same time.

Fast forward to 2022 and I ventured up to Melbourne to celebrate my birthday in a favorite spot and get a beach day in at the same time.

Started my adventure by heading to Costco to do some bulk shopping and get a few samples.  I love a good deal and always find things I need there.  I stock up on vitamins, Bio Freeze and Salonpas patches which really come in handy with my marathon training program.  Need these things to help with my recovery and get me back out running.

Next stop was the Patrick Space Force Base Exchange for some tax-free shopping.  Decided it was time to invest in another pair of Brooks GTS Adrenaline 22 running shoes.  I’m routinely clocking 90+ monthly miles now so like to have another pair of running shoes to rotate into my training program.  These shoes come at a reduced price on the base and there is no tax for the purchase. 😊

Left the base and headed to one of my favorite spots, Squid Lips for lunch.  It is a laid-back spot overlooking the Indian River with great food and daily live music.  Great spot for seafood, cold beer, music, and people watching:   

Made my way over to the Crowne Plaza next to relax on the beach and listen to the live band.  Turns out Sunday is the day for reggae so this put a huge smile on my face since I love reggae.  The band and DJ were good and put out an authentic Irie vibe.  The folks under the tiki hut were vibing and enjoying the sounds.

A highlight of the day was the Sky Dive Melbourne Beach 9/11 tribute event:  http://skydivemelbournebeach.com/?fbclid=IwAR06kj3ItJyenYYDitGXbM8zD-f-NxNUjNF7oiJMWUMs6-ae74B0Ri3OGdE

It was exciting to see the sky divers make their way down towards the beach.  Had to relocate my beach towel to get out of their landing zone. 😊 It was an impressive display and the crowds on the beach enjoyed cheering the sky divers once they all were down safely.

Finished my beach day off with wings, fries, and beer under the tiki hut with reggae coming from the band.  Sounds like a perfect day, huh? 😊

Great way to spend a birthday!

Irie!

Where will you spend your next birthday?

“To escape and sit quietly at the beach—that’s my idea of paradise”.

(Emilia Wickstead)

Navy SEAL Museum

Navy SEAL1

“We learn a lot and each museum ends up having its own distinctive character and personality”.

(Richard Meier)

I was honored when I was invited to join the IRSC Student Veteran Organization (SVO) leadership board as they toured the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida.  I have driven by the museum, but this was my first time to enter the building and get a chance to review the history of the Navy SEALs.  This trip has been the highlight of 2022 for my Walk into The Future.

It is great to have the Navy SEAL Museum locally in Fort Pierce and my visit will allow me to share with others. 

My first experience with the Navy SEALs was a 2017 visit out to San Diego for an Educator’s Tour while I was still at Florida State University.  Select educators from around the country are invited out by the Navy to tour and see SEAL facilities to help with recruitment efforts.  I have been on multiple Educators tours:  Marine Corps (Quantico, VA.), Army (Fort Jackson, SC).  The services like to bring educators in to show them what true military services looks like and answer questions to enhance recruiting efforts at universities and colleges.

My time in San Diego was to learn about the SEALs training efforts so I would be able to help students understand how their education would translate to the Navy and/or the SEALs.  The training is recognized as a mental and physical challenge, this is why the SEALs are such a respected and elite group—they are truly the best of the best!

Fast forward to 2022 and my trip to the museum.  We were able to walk the halls and view historical artifacts from SEAL missions around the world.  The history of the SEALs is displayed throughout with emphasis on the tools used for success around the world.  The central theme for me was the bravery of the SEALs and how they carried out missions with professionalism and precision.

I learned quite a bit during this trip and look forward to coming back with friends and family so they can see/experience this great history on display.

https://www.navysealmuseum.org/

Poetic Flow / Drive

cars ahead on road
Photo by Taras Makarenko on Pexels.com

Drive

Keep moving ahead

The dreams you dream are all in front of you

The actions you take

The dedication you display

The time you take

To chart the course

All come down to the drive you have

To seek your dreams and then to fulfill those dreams

Drive your success by allowing your dreams to come true

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