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)

2022 Running Season

Track Shack1

“Running teaches us that we are capable of so much more than we ever imagined”.

(Patti Sue Plumer)

The 2022 running season started for me with the 2022 Track Shack Celebration of Running 5k in August.  I have run this event multiple times and view it as a great way to launch my running season and test my fitness levels prior to the half marathon schedule.  An added angle for me this year is this event allows me to combine the 5k miles within my long run for the weekend.

I officially started my training program two weeks ago to prepare for my first full marathon on 12/11/2022.  My program calls for a long run on Saturdays so used these 5k miles as a warmup and then got down to the longer portion of my run while I was in the Orlando area.

Traveled to Orlando on Friday after work this year with designs to pick up my race bib and t-shirt prior to the race on Saturday morning.  I had enough Marriott Bonvoy points for a free night so took advantage of this and stayed at my favorite Marriott property in Oviedo, Florida.  There were locations a bit closer to the race sight, but I planned to leverage the trails in Oviedo so decided to just stay there and drive a bit for race day.

August in Florida is hot and humid, but the weather was a bit cooler this year.  I was not ready for the humidity in 2021 but my new training focus has me running several days per week and acclimating to the heat a lot better than last year.

Made my way to the Orlando Science Center on race day to get my bib and allow time to warmup before the race.   There were a lot more runners this year as people are starting to come back and enjoy the running communities again.  I got a chance to catch up with a few runners I have known for years and made sure my legs were ready to move me around the course.  I completed several rounds of stretches, lunges, and hip swings to bring everything into alignment to avoid injuries while running.

Track Shack allows runners to self-identify their projected pace at the start line, so this makes the start of races interesting to say the least.  I say interesting because you will have people who plan to walk the 5k at the very front and this creates traffic faster runners must maneuver through.  It also causes folks to bump into each other, but no one got hurt this year, but it is a weird dynamic.  I always line up in the 8 minute per mile group with the intention of using that pace as a guide for my race plans—sometimes it works. 😊

My marathon training so far has focused on building up my base miles, so I have not done much speed work.  I race at a faster pace than I train so know I can speed up on race day—it’s just a matter of determining how fast I can go based on how my body feels and the conditions.

Decided not to focus on a specific time but to run as fast and safely as possible.  Wanted to enjoy the course, the process and just being back around the Orlando running community.  There were several folks I followed as pacers and this race was a lot of fun for me this year.

My time was 29:35 which is a 9:31 per minute pace—not superfast or slow, just steady for me.

  • Mile 1 = 9:17
  • Mile 2 = 9:45
  • Mile 3 = 9:37
  • Mile .1 = :58

I was able to finish the final portion of the race with a sprint to the finish line and felt good—I had another gear but did not fully engage for the race.  I collected my medal, got water, fruit and my complimentary beer—yes, we drink beer at 8 am.  I got a few pictures in the race village to document the day and prepared for the next phase of my training program.

I left the Orlando Science Center and drove over to Oviedo to take advantage of the Cross Seminole Trail again. 

The trail provided a great and shaded place to complete the next 6 miles of my weekend training plan.  I parked in downtown Oviedo and walked over to the trail to begin the journey towards 9 total miles for the day.

The Cross Seminole Trail is professionally maintained and is used by walkers, runners, bicyclist, and skaters.  The people I encountered all had smiles on their faces and greeted me.  It was great being back on a trail with folks again.  My runs in Fort Pierce are done mostly on sidewalks and there is not a lot of folks to interact with—not complaining just stating facts.

My goal on the Cross Seminole Trail was to run out for 3 miles, regroup and then come back for a total of 6 miles on the trail.  Mission complete.  Most of the trail run was uneventful but at one point there was a truck parked in the street blocking a portion of the trail.  I did not understand why the truck was there but quickly discovered the driver’s pit-bull got out of the truck somehow and was roaming the trail.  The driver was trying to get his dog back into the vehicle, but the dog was not ready to go yet.  This caused a bit of a scare to folks on the trail, but the dog was just excited and happy to be out and about.  It started to run with me on the trail, so I stopped and turned around to lead it back to the owner.  Never imagined my long run would include me directing a dog back to an owner—fun day! 😊

Completed my run with no problems and made my way back to my vehicle so I could get out of my sweaty clothing.  Made my way back to the hotel and then got lunch at Bahama Breeze which is one of my favorite places to eat.  Got some quick shopping in at Dick’s Sporting Goods and then got on the road to head back to Fort Pierce.

This was a quick trip over to Orlando for the 5k but eventful.  I will leverage my 5k efforts into my training program to continue to get faster and mentally ready for my full marathon in December.

Irie!

https://www.osc.org/

https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/leisure-services/greenways-natural-lands/trails/cross-seminole-trail.stml#

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”.

(Eric Thomas)

2021 OUC Half Marathon

OUC 1

Running Friend (n):  One who listens, does not judge, and somehow makes two hours of running fun.

(Pinterest)

Yes, I made the trek over to run the Orlando Hometown Half Marathon again this year.  This is becoming my favorite half marathon due to the course, weather, proximity, and the great Track Shack staff.

The is the 8th time for me running this half marathon and it may have been the most enjoyable.  I signed up for the race in December 2020 with the intent to target a Personal Record (PR) during the event.  I made an adjustment to my mindset during packet pickup to just enjoy the course, the spectators and, great December weather in Orlando.

I still wanted to beat my 2020 time but did not overemphasize the concept of a time-based goal.  My training has been good but nothing like the miles or training sessions I put in in 2019.  The hills in Tallahassee helped prepare me for races so I knew where my conditioning was before every race.  Targeted race times were easier to predict due to hill training.

I toed the start line this year with the intent to get/stay close to a pace so I would complete the half marathon in 2:15 (two hours and 15 minutes).  This would be ten minutes slower than my PR but obtainable without stressing my body too much just to hit a number.  This is personal growth for me because I normally beat myself up if I do not hit a certain number.  Decided to listen to my body and have fun since that is what this is all about.

I crossed the finish line this year in a time of 2:18:58 (two hours, 18 minutes, and 58 seconds).  Close but extremely happy with this time.  Why you ask?

Great question! 😊

I knew my tree branch, Daniel Botero was signed up for the race and we texted to make sure we connected prior to the race start.  Always great seeing my tree branches and this was the first time Daniel and I have seen each other in-person since February 2020.  While catching up and stretching Daniel asked me what my targeted time was for the race.  I gave him 2:15 for my targeted time and he asked if he could tag along. 

OUC 2

Looking at past articles on my training program and race schedules highlight I run alone.  This is mostly by choice but also because not many people in my Fort Pierce circle exercise or run.  I happily accepted Daniel’s request to run with me and embraced having a tree branch running with me.  I was surprised when he identified he would try to keep up with me—made me laugh a bit too since I am a lot older than him.

We agreed to run together until it was no longer practical.  Happy to report I got to run the first 5 miles of the half marathon with Daniel.  We kept a decent pace of 9:30 per minute over this distance before going our separate race strategies.

I traditionally run 8 smaller races within the half marathon.  I find it easier mentally and physically to leverage this approach and it has helped me gets faster.

Example:  The water stops are approximately 1.8 miles apart for most half marathons.

I run to each water stop and then walk through the area to drink water and Gatorade.  Please note, I do not stop moving forward but take about a 20 – 30 second walk break to replenish my fluids.  I take off running to the next water stop after getting my water and Gatorade.  This concept creates 8 smaller races and helps me stay strong throughout the half marathon.

There are other running strategies for success, but this works well for me.

My pace stayed consistent for the first 8 miles, but I began to slow a bit when the lactic acid in my legs started to get away from me.  I incorporated beet and tart cherry juice into my diet to help with the lactic acid buildup but there are times when it just jumps up and grabs you by the quads.  This was one of those times!

I carry nutrition gels in my running belt and started taking them at the 8-mile mark.  The gels help get more carbs into my system and helps with the leg pain.  Yes, I spend money, time and, effort to put myself in pain—runners are a unique breed.

A new adventure for this race is I ran with the 2:15 pace group for a good portion after mile 8.  The pacer was an experienced marathoner and paces half marathons for fun—again, we are a unique breed. 😊

I was happy to have company again and stayed with the group until my quads told me to slow down—I did!  My goal at this point was to stay ahead of the 2:20 pace group that was further behind me—I refused to let them catch up with me.  I stayed between both pace groups as I made my way back downtown Orlando.  The crowds were huge at this portion of the course and having people cheer for me gave me the extra inspiration to finish strong.

Yes, I was able to fake wellness and sprint across the finish line with a smile on my face.  This was a forced smile but smile I did.  Looked down at my watch and was happy with my effort and time for the day. 

Track Shack ran a 3-year series and every runner that completed the OUC Half Marathon in 2019, 2020 and 2021 got an extra medal to go along with the normal swag.  I did not realize I was in this elite group but happily accepted my additional bling.

OUC 4

Made my way to the runner’s village to get some refreshments and recover.  I wanted to stick around to cheer Daniel across the line and make sure he was okay.  He came across the finish line in good shape and I directed him to the medical tent to get some ice on his legs.  I always get ice to begin the recovery process and it helps with pain and inflammation caused by a 13.1-mile race.

Got a couple beers to replenish carbs and Daniel and I parted ways with a new memory for our growing friendship.  Hope to run with him again in 2022!

My plan is to run the OUC Half Marathon again in 2022.  Who is going to join me?

Irie!

OUC 3

Track Shack UCF 5 Miler

5 Mile race

“Every morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most”.

(Buddha)

Merriam-Webster defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Happy to report there has not been any misfortune for me, but the change has been an adjustment to my training regimen.  I am still putting in work but not able to get the same quality sessions I put in pre-COVID.  This can be directly attributed to my work role in Fort Pierce but please do not think I am complaining.

We have made some major operational improvements and there is light at the end of the tunnel where we will soon normalize operations and I can get back to putting in more training miles.

The concept of resiliency reminds me of the old saying:  try and then try again!

Decided to use shorter races as a bigger part of my training program to get me prepared for the rigors of the half marathon distance.  I have the 2021 Rock N Roll Savannah half marathon in November and the 2021 Track Shack OUC half marathon in December.  My overall goal is to run a half marathon under 2 hours and the Track Shack OUC half marathon is the ideal setup to make this happen.  I need to put in additional training miles to build my endurance back to my 2019 levels. 

My fastest half marathon was the 2019 Track Shack OUC half marathon with a time of 2:05:51 (two hours, five minutes, and 51 seconds).  2020 was set to be my fastest year ever but of course COVID-19 shut down racing and my training lagged—that’s on me! 😊

So, what’s my plan to correct my training and speed issues?  Well, I check multiple running clubs to see what races are being offered locally and within driving distance to me in Fort Pierce. 

I routinely scan the Fleet Feet Stuart and Orlando Track Shack events pages to determine which races are available to help with my training program.  I just shared with my best friend I have a hard time training with race pace—it is a mental thing for me since I do not have competitors or anyone to pace with.  I am sure I may be the only active running with this issue but targeting real races seems to get my competitive nature going.  This may not be the ideal strategy, but I will try this out to get me closer to my half marathon goal. 

Made my way back over to Orlando for the 2021 Track U Can Finish 5 Mile race to get some speed work in.  I ran this same event when I lived in Oviedo, but this is the first time I tackled the race distance in 8 years. 

This is an interesting event because it has multiple distances available for runners to try.  The first event is the U Can Finish 2 Mile race and Track Shack has a distance dare.  Runners can sign up to run the 2-mile race and then compete in the 5-mile race right after.  The hook for distance dare runners is the opportunity to collect 3 medals:  2-mile, 5-mile, and distance dare medals.  Runners love their bling and a lot of them took part in the distance dare.  I did not—officially. 😊

Did something new on race day to ensure I got in extra training miles.  I stay in the same hotel each time I visit the Orlando area and it is down the street from the UCF campus. 

I decided to leave my vehicle parked at the hotel and ran the 2-mile distance to the UCF campus for the start of the 5-mile race.  Figured this was a great way to warmup and stretch my legs before my race and ensured I would get in a long training session—it was just broken up into segments.

Toed the line for the 5-mile race completely warmed up and excited to run on the UCF campus again.  The race village was setup directly in front of the Career Services building where I worked for 4-years prior to moving to Tallahassee and the FSU Career Center.  Great being back on the old stomping grounds. 😊

My goal for the 5-mile race was simply to test my endurance and consistently run miles splits with a 9 on the front of them (9:05, 9:10, etc.).  Mission accomplished.

The UCF campus is completely flat which helped a lot.  Went out with the intent to run my race based on feel and then push myself when I could. 

Mile-1 went by at an 8:44 per minute pace and I felt good with the effort.  Mile-2 through 5 were:  9:15, 9:33, 9:57, 9:42 which got me to the finish line at 47:29.  Targeted 45 flat but happy with my results considering I put in a 2-mile run before my race. 

Collected my 5-mile medal and took some pictures to commemorate the race and my time back at UCF.  Got some refreshments and stretched a bit before heading out.  I tucked my race medal away and began my 2-mile journey back to my hotel—yes, I ran back for a total of 9 training miles for the day.  Felt great every step of the day!

I will look for additional races to help me prepare for my next two half marathons.  Still have some speed in these legs, just need to release it in my unique way.

FYI—I am still on pace to meet my 2021 goals of 1,000 training miles.  Imagine my mileage if I could stay consistent with my training.

Irie!

How do you display resilience in your daily activities?  Thanks!

“Life does not get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient”.

(Steve Maraboli)

Winter Park, Florida (Park Avenue Adventures)

“To travel is to live”.

(Hans Christian Andersen)

Happy to report the Walk into the Future adventures continue.  I am excited to get back to regular excursions again with more and more people being vaccinated.  COVID-19 put a halt to most outings, but I am getting comfortable being out and about again.

Decided to explore a familiar area recently and ventured back over to Winter Park, Florida to spend a day on Park AvenuePark Avenue has an eclectic feel and provides multiple places to shop, dine and entertain yourself without having to get in and out of your car.

My day started with a trip to my favorite run shop, Track Shack.  I make a point to visit Track Shack whenever I’m in the area because the staff makes me feel at home.  They also update their running gear selections, and I am always looking for new training ideas and gear.  I wear Track Shack gear during my races and wanted to see if they had new color schemes to add to my wardrobe.  I did not buy new gear on this trip but picked up some CBD gel caps. 

I added CBD to my training program last year to help with soreness and inflammation from running.  My run friends recommended CBD and I finally decided to add to my program to keep me running.  CBD has allowed me to continue to train hard and not miss sessions due to soreness—it also helps me relax and sleep better.  Give it a try!

Made my way over to Park Avenue after leaving Track Shack.  The Winter Park Farmer’s Market is a huge Saturday attraction, and I made a stop to see what the vendors had for sell.  The kettle corn vendor was the most popular vendor of the day—it is amazing to see folks buy the huge bags of kettle corn.  I like kettle corn but could not make myself buy the supersized bags the vendor had. 

There was a vendor at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market selling jerky—this is not a revelation but was surprised with the selection available.  Most people know about beef, turkey, and alligator jerky.  The surprise for me was this vendor had kangaroo jerky.  I had no idea people ate kangaroo and did not expect it as a jerky selection.  I am not a huge jerky fan but wondered all day why anyone would eat kangaroo jerky—may have to try it next time I am at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market.

Took the short walk over to Park Avenue to explore the shops and dining options available.  Track Shack hosts multiple races in this area so I am familiar with Park Avenue—the races start and end in the heart of the entertainment district here.

Found a corner breakfast spot that I had never visited before.  The Croissant Gourmet Bakery has a great menu and provides the perfect spot to dine, and people watch at the same time.  This spot is right off Park Avenue but gets a lot of foot traffic.  Most people came in for baked goods, but several stayed for breakfast and the coffee.  The Croissant Gourmet Bakery layout reminds me of a New York style bakery—the staff was friendly and got people in and out.  I had a traditional breakfast (two eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast with coffee).  They had a fantastic raspberry jam I would recommend if you visit the Croissant Gourmet Bakery—well worth the trip.  I plan to visit this spot again when I am back in Winter Park.

One of my reasons to visit Park Avenue was to venture into the Wine Room again.  The Wine Room provides a unique experience where you can purchase a wine card and then explore wines from around the world.  Insert your wine card and then decide if you want a sip, half glass or full glass.  This is a great way to try multiple wines and not commit too much money if you decide you are not a fan.  I strategically visited the Croissant Gourmet Bakery first to ensure I ate something prior to exploring wine options. 😊

I am a novice wine drinker, so the Wine Room allows folks like me to try different wines without committing too much to the process.  I favor the sweeter wines but experiment with others by purchasing by the sip.  This process helps me determine if I like the wine and not waste time or money if I do not.  I tried multiple wines that caught my interest, and most were very good. 

I made my way back to the sweet Italian wine section and found one I really enjoyed.  Decided to go all in and purchased a full glass to enjoy.  The Wine Room is a great place to enjoy wine and get some people watching in.  There were several folks there who really knew wine and it was interesting listening to them describe the wines to each other. 

Will leverage their knowledge on my next visit to the Wine Room and explore additional wines—one sip at a time.

The most talked about wine during my visit was the Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was very good, and I will try it again when I am back in the Wine Room: 

https://www.abcfws.com/caymus-cabernet-sauvignon/234305

Left the Wine Room and got some window-shopping in.  There were a lot of people out for the afternoon, and everyone had smiles.  This was a fantastic way to spend the day and I enjoyed every minute of my time on Park Avenue.  Look forward to additional adventures on Park Avenue—this may turn into a monthly getaway for me. 😊

Where have you wanted to visit?  Give Park Avenue a try if you are in the Orlando area—highly recommended.

Irie!

https://orlandodatenightguide.com/2016/09/guide-perfect-afternoon-park-avenue-winter-park/

Cross Seminole Trail run

Seminole Cross Trail

“Running:  my sport is your sport’s punishment”.

(Funny running quotes)

Took me a little time to fully understand what being a runner truly means.  I started getting serious about running when I moved to Oviedo, Florida from Bonaire, Georgia. 

I ran in Georgia because I was still in the Air Force and needed to maintain my cardio fitness to ensure I completed our annual fitness test.  I was always in shape but focused on football, basketball and weightlifting while in the Air Force.  I signed up for an occasional 5k but never really trained for them—just showed up and ran.  I also had NO idea how important the correct shoes can be in this sport.

Now, back to the quote above.  I played football, basketball, and baseball back in the high school days.  I transitioned to flag football, basketball, softball and weightlifting during my time in the Air Force.  Coaches in both worlds routinely assigned RUNNING as a motivational tactic or punishment depending on how they felt.  A missed assignment in football was punished by running a lap or two around the track.  A missed free throw in basketball was punished by unlimited ‘down and backs’ on the basketball court.  An error in baseball or softball got a lap around the field to regain your focus.  So, as you can see, the quote above rings true in more ways than one. 😊

Fast forward to today and punishment from my younger days is something I routinely leave my house to accomplish, for fun! The therapeutic benefits have been amazing also.

Running has taken on a large part of my Walk into the Future, and I do not see it diminishing anytime soon.  I got into running later in life, so I am blessed to not have run related injuries that limit my ability to get my miles in.  I also know the importance of nutrition and stretching so make sure I take care of my body before, during and after my runs.

Another fun fact about my running program is I bring my running gear whenever I travel in case I can sneak a run in. Sometimes I never get a chance to break out my gear but want to be ready.

My work with the Central Florida Employment Council (CFEC) back in May brought me back to the Orlando area and the large trail systems available there.  My event with CFEC was on a Friday afternoon so I decided to hang out in Oviedo after the event so I could get up on Saturday morning and run the Seminole Cross Trail while in the area.  Yes, you read that right—Inspiration Man made a point to get a run in while in town making a difference. 

I love the Seminole Cross Trail because it has visible mile markers and most of the trail is shaded.  I made sure I got out early because I wanted to beat the Central Florida heat and still have time to enjoy time in Oviedo.

There was a lot of activity on the trail with bikers, walkers and runners sharing the trail.  I made a point to wave and say hello to everyone I saw on the trail.  My Fort Pierce runs do not provide many opportunities to see many folks during my runs, so it was great seeing others out enjoying the morning on the trail. 

A first for me was seeing someone riding a unicycle on the trail.  Guess I only thought people rode unicycles as part of a circus act but this guy rode by me at a good pace.  I was impressed with the ability to balance and ride a unicycle while avoiding people on a busy trail.  Started to wonder if I could ride one of those things.  Running provides time to think about stuff. 😊

I was able to complete a quick 6 mile run on the trail before it got too hot—not bad considering I was there for an event.

I look forward to leveraging the Seminole Cross Trail more as I ramp up my half marathon training.  I plan to get back into racing later in the year and need to start getting long runs in again. 

My run gear bag remains packed, and I am ready to keep logging miles.  Each run brings me closer to 1,000 training miles for the year.

How many miles have you logged this year?  Let’s get busy!

“Running helps me maintain my ‘never killed anyone’ streak”.

(Pinterest)

Inspiration Man strikes again—Central Florida Economic Council

CFEC1

“Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher”.

(UK Wired)

Dictionary.com defines inspiration as a divine influence directly or immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.

I have multiple Walk into the Future blog posts discussing superpowers and why they are important in our daily walk.  Here is one of my favorites where I introduce my readers to Inspiration Man. 😊

My move to Fort Pierce has allowed me to make a difference but it is more of an organizational difference so far.  We have adjusted work product and flow in my first 14 months.  It almost feels like a complete overhaul of the organization based on how we revamped our services, products, and delivery methods.  I did not expect this level of adjustment when I arrived, but we have made steady progress on modernizing our services and delivery.

The concept of Inspiration Man came up to highlight how I make an impact in the daily lives of others.  Inspiration Man has been doormat, but this all changed when I received an email from a colleague in Orlando who works with the Central Florida Economic Council (CFEC) and Christian HELP. 

Both organizations work to help people in Central Florida get back on their feet—job search, housing, food, etc.  My friend is the Division Director for these organizations and asked me to speak at their May 2021 Job Fair.  I did something similar 10 years ago and she remembered my positive impact on job seekers and wanted me to share my knowledge again.  She does not know about my alter ego, Inspiration Man but she was about to unleash the superhero on the Orlando area. 😊

I quickly accepted the opportunity to move the crowd and share information with job seekers.  The topic given:  Job Searching in 2021—How to Adapt. 

This was not a topic I had in my speaking library, but the challenge was to find a way to cover this information and engage with the audience.  They provided an article with a ton of useful information, so this was the foundation of the presentation.

I never miss an opportunity to help, and this process was exciting; research, building and then presenting information to people who needed to hear from me.

I made my way to Winter Garden on the day of the event.  Decided to drive over and then change at the venue prior to show time.  My friend greeted me at the door, and we took a little time to catch up on life.  She remembered the book I published in 2010 and thought I had another one ready to present to the group.  FYI—I have been working on producing an eBook on Authentic Leadership, but it is not ready for public consumption.  It should be coming later in 2021—get ready!

Inspiration Man made a quick dash into the dressing room to change into my superhero outfit for the day.  Trying to be funny with that—it was a grey suit with a power blue tie.

Headed off to do a quick microphone check and make a quick adjustment to my slide deck.  The event was held at Mosaic Church in Winter Garden, Florida and they have a fantastic audiovisual team.  Sound checks allow me to gauge the acoustic of the venue to understand how loud I need to speak into the microphone.  All systems go!

https://thisismosaic.org/

I took the stage after the host took care of some announcements and introduced me as the featured speaker of the day.  It is always weird to me when I hear someone introducing me at an event—I want to look around to see who they are talking about, and it is ME. 

I like to start my presentations by building rapport with the audience.  One member spoke with me before the presentation and shared she was having a hard time finding employment.  She mentioned a few things she tried but was having troubles.  This quick conversation allowed me to bring a real-world situation into my presentation and highlight I was there to help.  I speak with slides, but this does not drive how I present.  Slides to me provide a foundation but I am not limited to the words on my slide show.

I am a huge fan of Jocko and introduced this video to set the tone for the day: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdTMDpizis8

Diving into the presentation I covered:

  • Trends
  • Search parameters
  • Personal messages
  • Competition
  • Presentation (Elevator pitch)

Each topic came directly from the article they provided, and I leveraged this data to highlight how the current trends favored the job seekers.  We jumped into new job search parameters and ways to gain and keep an employer’s attention.  The personal messages centered on building a WHY statement.  Of course, I shared my WHY with the group to show how it can impact a positive mindset. 

The competition on the job search is really internal—preparing well enhances the client’s ability to connect with employers.  The presentation centered on creating an elevator pitch to helps a client standout in a positive manner.

The audience responded well to each topic and had a lot of questions for me during my hour with them on stage.  This was the most fun I have had in a long time.  Working with motivated people who want to learn and get better brings out the best in me.  I was intent on moving the crowd during this event and happy to report mission accomplished.

Several folks waited to speak with me after and tell me their unique stories.  I listened and shared my contact information so they can reach out to me when ready.  I am happy to help them continue to grow.

Hoping to get additional invitation to help with CFEC/Christian HELP events again soon.  May be time for Inspiration Man to make another appearance! 😊

“Do not let yesterday take up too much of today”.

(Will Rogers)

Running into the Future—goal within reach

Run article

“Set goals and crush them”.

(www.tresfleeck.com)

Goals continue to be a big part of my Walk into the Future.  I sit down in January and write out my goals for the year.  I break these goals up into categories so I can track my completion progress.

My weekly physical fitness goals include weight training (2 days), run (3 days) and speed work on Wednesdays.  My overarching physical fitness goal is 1,000 training miles in 2021—this includes running and biking miles.

I set 1,000 training miles as a goal to push my training to a new level.  This mile marker also helps my motivation since there are not as many races to run in this COVID-19 world.  I am always looking for ways to maintain my running edge and adding more miles to my training program appears to be a good thing for me.

Happy to report I logged 615 miles so far in 2021.  I have not been consistent with my long runs but routinely get in three quality sessions each week. 

Tuesdays:  3 – 4 miles (after work)

Thursdays:  4 – 6 miles (after work)

Saturdays:  6 – 8 miles (morning runs)

My Tuesday and Thursday runs are done when I get off work, so I am not concerned about my run times during these sessions.  Working 9, 10, 11-hour days creates a mental drain, but I still make time to hit the road since this helps to recharge me physically and mentally.  Some days are a lot slower than others, but I smile because I am out doing something I love.  Never thought I would say that, but I would be lost without my running program—it just took me awhile to come to this conclusion.

My Saturday runs are not like my long training sessions when I had half marathons to train for.  I routinely crushed 10+ mile runs on Saturdays before my move to Fort Pierce but 8 is the longest distance I hit when running locally.  I have not found a route that allows me to enjoy the run while getting in longer distances.  I have searched multiple locations, but nothing is available like the St. Mark’s Trail or John Brown Park in Tallahassee:

The trail system in Tallahassee allowed me to push my mileage and extend my long runs up to 16 miles on multiple training sessions.  I plan to get back to the longer versions of my runs since I am looking forward to getting back to being a running tourist

I am scheduled to run the 2021 Rock n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon in September.  I have never run this race or visited the city so looking forward to getting back to a starting line to test my conditioning against some world class athletes.  My goal for this race is to run another Personal Record (PR) and get under 2 hours for the distance.  I was on track to go under 2 hours before COVID-19 hit the world, but I am confident I am going to hit my goal.

My training for Virginia Beach will increase my speed towards the Orlando OUC Half Marathon in December.  This course is completely flat so it should provide a fast track to help me hit my goals.  This will truly springboard my runs into 2022 as I gear up for a full running season—8 or more half marathons.

A full marathon (26.2 miles) will make it on my goals list for 2022—there I said it so now it is out in the open.  Let’s see who is going to run it with me! Come on Laurens! 😊

What goals did you set for 2021?  How is your progress so far?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”.

(Tony Robbins)

Jayla's Thoughts On

INSTAGRAM: @jayla_brianna

Retrospective Lily

Reflections on Faith, Disability, Blogging, Books & More!

The Content Consultancy

Copywriting : Editing : Strategy

Walk Into the Future

Don't wait, get moving!

Discover WordPress

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: