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)

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!

Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Virginia Beach half

“Remember, the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe is choosing the left one”.

(Unknown)

Decided to exercise one of my 2020 race credits for the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon over the Labor Day weekend.  I targeted this race in 2020 before COVID-19 shut down running but never got a chance to explore Virginia Beach. 

I have traveled to the state of Virginia before, but it was in the Washington D. C. area—never the coast.  Starting and finishing a race on the Virginia Beach boardwalk was an appealing draw for me and wanted to explore the area as a running tourist

Happy to report the race, festivities and weather were fantastic and I enjoyed my adventure.

I have been training but knew my current regimen was not where it needs to be to run a Personal Record (PR).  Most folks know I am always chasing my next PR, but it appears I am getting wiser with my mental focus.  My goal for Virginia Beach was to take a measured approach to the race and then determine how fast my pace would be for the rest of the race.

Booked an early Southwest airlines flight out of Orlando to get to my race destination.  This was my first plane ride since my Rock N Roll half marathon and cheesesteak adventures in Philadelphia back in 2019.  I did not know how I would react to being back on a plane but felt safe since everyone in the airport and on the plane wore their masks.  I have seen horror stories on the news about people not wearing masks but did not experience this at all. 

Settled into my exit row seat with extra leg room and enjoyed the two-hour flight to Virginia.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to catch up on my reading.  I currently have two books going—Eat that Frog and Start With Why.  Both books speak to my current work situation, so I bounce back and forth between the books.  May need to just finish one so I can tackle the other one with more energy—we will see!

The flight to Virginia Beach was uneventful—nothing special happened but was excited to finally arrive to get the adventure started.

Hotels close to the race venture were booked or too expensive for my taste.  Ended up staying in Chesapeake, Virginia which is close to a lot of shopping and entertainment.  Made the most of this fact and did some light window shopping and got a pedicure.  Nothing like having your feet rubbed prior to pounding the pavement for 13.1 miles. 😊  Completed my carb loading process with extra pasta at The Olive Garden and made sure to drink extra water.

The weather was projected to be hotter than normal so drinking water was necessary to stay hydrated. 

EXPO

The Rock N Roll EXPOs are always a highlight of the weekend.  The excitement of being so close to race day puts a smile on the face of most runners.  I was happy to be back around runners again and experiencing a new city.  The Virginia Beach Rock N Roll EXPO was light on merchandise and vendors—believe this is because 2021 was the 20th Anniversary of this race and also the last year for the event. 

The Virginia Beach city leaders decided they did not want to host the race anymore and wanted to leverage the Labor Day holiday weekend for other activities.  There were vendors available but not as many as I am used to for the Rock N Roll series.  I made sure to shop and buy a new set of leg compression sleeves since they were marked down 50%–got a pair of white CHEP compression sleeves.  I am sure you will see picture of me rocking them soon. 😊

Virginia Beach Expo

Boardwalk

Made my way over to the boardwalk after the EXPO to get a taste of Virginia Beach.  Got a chance to take some pictures at the King Neptune statue that sits right on the boardwalk.  King Neptune is popular with running tourists so had to ensure I got the photo.  The beach was crowded—this could be because it was Labor Day weekend, and the local schools start the following week.  There were a ton of families on the beach enjoying the sun, surf, and weather.  Decided to find a spot to get a drink and food. 

Virginia Beach

Found Catch 31 right on the boardwalk and pulled up at the outdoor bar to enjoy the beach and the view.  Ordered crab cake and beer so I could people watch and enjoy college football on the  TVs.  This was a popular place, and everyone was friendly—I would recommend visiting Catch 31 if you are in the Virginia Beach area.  

https://catch31.com/

Virginia Beach Neptune

Race

Left Catch 31 with the intent to get to bed early so I could get up the next day to run the half marathon.  I hit the bed to get my rest and get off my feet.  I always set my race outfit out the night before since this makes life easier on race day.  Decided to rep the Orlando Track Shack running club again during this race.  My Track Shack race shirts always get attention from other runners and give us something to talk about before the race.

The race start was staggered to ensure we maintained a safe distance prior to crossing the start line.  I was assigned Corral #4 again based on my projected finish time.  Happy to report my start position has improved over the years which means I am running faster than most of the runners in each race. 😊

My goal was to run a steady pace, enjoy the process and not hurt myself by trying to do too much.  Mission accomplished!  The race started one block over from the beach and we made our way to the boardwalk within the first mile.  It was great running next to the beach with a nice sunrise coming up over the water.

The course brought us back onto the main drag and then we headed south through neighborhoods for most of the race.  My plan is always to run to each water stop and then walk through them when I get water or Gatorade.  I take off running again and head towards the next water stop.  This approach has allowed me to complete multiple races and set PRs in the process. 

I ran with a smile on my face for the first 8 miles then my quads and hamstring started to scream at me.  Again, I have been running but not putting in the correct number of miles to build the lactic acid threshold needed for a half marathon.  I knew this coming into the race, but it never seems to help when your legs are burning—you just keep moving forward.  I continued my game plan even with the pain, but I was not moving very fast. 

Mile 10 is where I decided trying to run a PR was not happening so slowed my pace to enjoy the rest of the race.  Luckily for me I decided a PR was not worth the pain—Mile 11 is where runners faced the problem of running up a steep bridge to get closer to the finish line.  Most of us let out an audible ‘Holy Crap’ when we saw the bridge and the knowledge we had to get up and over to finish the race.  My pace slowed down even more while making my way over the bridge.  The downhill portion was great and led us back to the boardwalk to finish the race.  There were race spectators along the boardwalk and they cheered us to the finish line.

Very happy and proud to finish this race considering my training program was subpar—I can improve and will put more effort into my preparation.

Realm Brewery

The reward for completing the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon was a trip to New Realm Brewery.  This spot was highly recommended and did not disappoint.  Realm Brewery is an open air and inside sitting establishment.  The outside sitting is covered and there is plenty room to social distance while enjoying food and drink.  I got the Acai and Blueberry Seltzer and New Realm Burger which was outstanding.  There was live music in the afternoon and the environment was fantastic.  They did not have TVs outside to watch football but that is a small thing considering how great this place is.  Yes, I will visit again when I am back in the Virginia Beach area.

Unfortunately, the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon will not be run again.  Great location, course, and entertainment in the area—guess I will have to explore other Rock N Roll locations to continue this running tourist program. 😊

Savannah is next on the list!

“If found on the ground, drag to the finish line”.

(From a runner’s t-shirt)

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)

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