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)

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)

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!

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)

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)

Return to the Swamp—Go Gators

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Decided to take a long overdue Walk into the Future pilgrimage back to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium AKA The Swamp to watch the Florida Gators play the University of South Florida (USF) Bulls.

My favorite person, Jayla Williams reminded me in September that we have not been to a Gator game in a few years.  The Gators struggled on the field from 2016 – 2018 due to horrible coaching and bad recruiting.  We started to turn it around with a new coach but then COVID-19 made going to football a public health issue, so we stayed away.

I caught the Gators play in Tallahassee against FSU a couple times during the bad years since I lived and worked there.  Jayla and I had been on hiatus from The Swamp and this game was a great opportunity to spend time in a favorite location for us.

We picked the USF game because it was supposed to be an easy victory for the Gators.  Someone forgot to tell the USF players to lay down and take their butt whipping.

The Gators won but it felt like a defeat to most of the fans in attendance.  FYI—Gator fans can be a prickly bunch (me included) so the world was not ending but anything other than a perfect game by the beloved Gators gets under people’s skin.

I was able to get our tickets off Stub Hub for a good price.  We sat in Section 20, Row 21 which put us in the south endzone with a great view of the field and close to the Gator’s bench.  It was exciting to be back in the Swamp and experience a game day with Jayla again.  I’m sure we have a few more of these moments in our future and hope for a much better game from the Gators.

Here are a few pictures from our Swamp adventure:

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Irie!

Run to Stop Hunger 5k

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy”.

(Mark Will-Weber)

My Walk into the Future allows me to mix and match my adventures depending on what I am trying to get accomplished.

I always love the running tourist part of my journey since I get to explore and stay in shape by training.  My big running goal for 2022 is to run and complete my first full marathon in December.  My training program is going well as I am averaging 30+ weekly miles to prepare for the task of running 26.2 miles in Palm Beach.  The 18-week training program allows me some flexibility but a standard in the program is the long run concept each weekend.  The miles increase incrementally each week and I have been dedicated to ensuring I get up on Saturdays to do my part to ensure I am ready for the full marathon.

Decided to sign-up for local 5ks to improve my speed and warm up prior to going out for my long runs.  The 5k (3.1 miles) distance provides a great opportunity to get out and test my fitness levels, gauge my speed, and have fun. 

Signed up for the Run to Stop Hunger 5k in Fort Pierce in September.  This was a hometown race, so the running tourist did not get a chance to explore new locales, but I did get to see Fort Pierce in a different context. 

The race start and finish line was located within Causeway Cove which sits directly on the Indian River in Fort Pierce.  I run by this location weekly but never ventured onto the site to explore everything that is located there.  I see the signs for jet ski rentals when running and always think about going in to rent a jet ski but have not made that happen to date.  Interesting spot with a lot of different activities hosted there:  RV park, drive-in movies on Saturday nights, concerts, food festivals, etc.

Needed to complete 14 total miles so decided to park closer to downtown Fort Pierce and run across the Seaway Drive bridge as a warmup before the 5k.  My goal was to get a 1-mile prerace run in to loosen my legs and give me a springboard to get up to speed during the 5k.  Made my way across the Seaway Drive bridge at a comfortable pace and arrived in Causeway Cove warmed up and ready to go.

I did not set a time goal for this 5k but wanted to go out faster than I did for the Celebration of Running 5k back in August.  We did not have as many runners for this race so there was not as much traffic to navigate on the course.  The course was completely flat, and we did not have to cross traffic at all.

It was an out and back race format with the turnaround at the 1.5-mile marker.  It was cool getting a chance to see the leaders heading back towards the finish line—got a chance to gauge how close or far I was from the race leader. 😊

My first mile was run in 8:40 and I felt comfortable with this pace.  Smiled when I looked at my watch and saw my first mile was well under a 9-minute pace.  The Florida humidity was thick as always, but this did not keep me from maintaining this pace throughout the race—my goal was to get some speed work in so no need to back off at this point.

I locked in on a couple runners to help pace me the rest of the way after crossing the race midpoint.  I felt the humidity a bit more in the second part of the race but had my music cranking (TI’s Motivation, again) and kept running hard.

Crossed the finish line at 26:43 for a pace of 8:35. This was my fastest 5k since March 2020 so extremely happy with the results.  This time allowed me to finish second in my age group and collect a medal and age group award.  Got a chance to talk with some local runners while waiting for the awards ceremony—we are a friendly bunch of people.

Still needed to get in additional miles so left Causeway Cove and ran back over the Seaway Drive bridge to my vehicle.  Got my additional 9 miles completed on Ocean Drive for a total of 14 for the day. 

Happy with my results and how my legs feel during this preparation phase of training.  Will leverage speed work more as I get closer to my marathon date.

Happy running folks!

Irie!

“As we run, we become”.

(Amby Burfoot)

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