Sunday 1/14/18 was the 3rd annual Sharkbite Half Marathon & 5k in New Smyrna, Beach FL (shark-bite capital of the world-fun fact). I love how big this race has gotten (over 2,000 participants) and it's always super competitive.There's a lot of community support and it's just a fun time. Last year I ran the 5k at 22:50 (decent time for me back in the day). I was determined to run much faster this year. I still have a nasty cold and haven't trained hard in a while but I still wanted to prove that I could run faster.
The only issue with this race is the parking. Parking in New Smyrna is tough anyway because there's not much of it. Now imagine adding 2,000 more people into the mix and as you can tell it can get pretty congested and understandably so. If you run this race, my advice is to get there earlier than you think you need to and expect to park a few blocks away. Also, take advantage of early packet pickup if you can because it will save you the stress of having to walk back to your car or finding a bag drop.
This was one cold morning! I heard someone on the starting line say it was 39 degrees which would not surprise me one bit. They lined up the 5k runners right after the half marathon went off at 7:30. It was so cool to see the mass wave of half marathoners start their race. There were so many of them! I was unable to get a spot close and had to dodge people for a few hundred feet or so.
Mile 1 6:22
After making my way past some people, I was able to settle into a pace of not too fast but not comfortable either. It was more of a feeling. I knew I had to push myself mentally for this race because if I didn't I would let myself slow down. I wanted to prove to myself that I could run faster even with feeling sick and my lack of training. I looked down at my watch after the mile 1 beep and was pleased with the pace.
Mile 2 6:47
I didn't really feel tired or anything here just kept coughing a bit. They added mile markers to the course this year which helped a bunch. Mile 2 was pretty uneventful, and I was pleasantly surprised at how I kept my pace.
Mile 3 6:52
I really worked hard to not fall behind here. The last mile is always my worst. I was familiar enough with the course to know about how much longer I had left. When I could feel myself holding back, I made sure to speed up and it really wasn't too hard to do.
Mile .10 6:08
I made the final turn and saw the finish line (which looked so far away). I tried to sprint at the end as much as I could. I need to work on going faster at the end. I love the finish line at the race it feels like you're finishing a huge marathon or something.
We were greeted at the finish line with these huge finisher medals and a pint glass to fill up with beer from a local brewery at the after party. Shout-out to them for having a root beer option because it was awesome! The shirts are super soft and a favorite of mine to wear to the gym. The awards were these awesome, specific wooden plaques. This race always has some of the best swag ever.
Sure, my time wasn't a PR or even close to one but considering all the factors (feeling sick and not training enough blah blah blah) I was satisfied with my results. I feel like I pushed through mental barriers and look forward to bringing this to races where I am at my best physically.
Overall 16th out of 770
Female 6th of 501
Female 30-34 1st out of 45
Last Sunday 1/7/18 was the Deleon Springs half marathon and 5k in the beautiful Deleon Springs, FL. I wasn't sure if I was able to race because I came down with a bad cold the day before (again). I keep getting sick this year for some reason. Anyway, I did some research and realized it's acceptable to run with a cold as long as the symptoms are above the neck (which they were). I wanted to run at 70% leaving enough in the tank to not hurt myself.
This was a really small race (64 in the 5k and I think even less in the half) so lining up near the front wasn't a problem. The sad part is that the conditions were perfect for PRs, and I felt like I could of had a good race if I was healthy.
Mile 1 6:34
Instead of my usual fast start, I held back quite a bit here and really felt like I was taking it easy without sacrificing too much time. I just tried to run a comfortable race.
Mile 2 6:42
The turnaround came pretty quickly. I definitely wasn't going all out or even close. The route was really scenic a nice change to "city running." One of my favorite parts of out and back races is getting encouragement from other participants. I feel like the running community is a tight-knit one that really comes together in a positive way.
Mile 3 6:53
The course was super flat which translates to being able to see the entire last mile. It felt like it lasted forever and I wasn't gaining on it somehow haha. I felt like I had enough energy to step up and go a little faster, but instead I chose to fall back and take it easy.
Mile .10 6:10
I gave a little sprint at the end knowing the end was near. I knew I would be over 21 minutes judging by how everything felt, but I was okay with that. I saw the clock creep to just over 21 minutes. While that is not the time I ever want considering all the factors going into this, I am happy with how I was able to hold back and not push myself into even more sickness.
One of the coolest things about this race was the "no shirt option" for registration. We were able to save $10 with this. Shirts are great don't get me wrong but I have no many of them I'd rather save some money. I think more races should provide such options for us. The plaques for this racing company are always so unique. Hopefully I can start to get healthy again and train hard for my upcoming races.
Overall 4th out of 64
1st Overall Female
2017 was a great year for running. I had so much fun competing and trying to improve my times. Here are some of the highlights from the year.
Goals going into the year:
At the end of 2016, I was averaging 23 minutes or so for a 5k. I knew 2017 had the potential to be a year for major running improvements.
Races completed in 2017:
26-yeah that seems like a crazy number. In 2017 I tried to race as much as possible while this year I will pick and choose my favorite races.
Revelations of 2017:
Realizing I prefer running on the treadmill to running outdoors
Goodness this is tough to pick just one! I would have to say overall the Hot Chocolate 5k in Tampa, FL.
Most embarrassing moment:
Falling flat on my face in the Paint the Towne 5k.
Biggest running accomplishment:
My 5k PR of 20:17 and finally starting this blog.
Running struggles of 2017:
A nagging groin injury last January forced me to take most of the winter off from serious training/competing.
Consistently run a 5k in the 19 minute range (eventually faster), never see 21 minutes on the race clock again, update my blog with a more diverse range of posts more often, average 40-50 miles a week, run more trail races. That's a lot so here comes a great running year!
Last Sunday 12/17/17 was the Hot Chocolate 15/5k in Tampa, FL. I participated in the 5k of course. This happened to be the first race I have stayed overnight for. I heard so many great things about it I figured why not. I stayed at the Marriott which was the main host hotel and super convenient too. It was right next to both the expo and starting line. Plenty of other racers stayed there.
Confession time-I've never been to a race expo before. I usually run smaller/local races so this was my first expo ever. I opted for packet mailing (so glad they offer this) but I still wanted to go just to check it out. The Tampa expo is pretty small but the vendors were good and the free chocolate samples are always nice. I didn't see many lines for packet pickup so I'm guessing that ran smoothly. I'll probably go that route next year so I don't have the possibility of leaving my bib at home. The official race merchandise seemed to be priced reasonably. I purchased this short-sleeved shirt for $14.99.
The 5k started at 7 am while the 15k didn't start till 8. Our two corrals started 5 minutes apart (I think) to ensure there were no crowding issues on the course. I walked to the starting line from the hotel, and they started lining up the corrals right away. The weather was a tad chilly but overall fantastic. I knew these could be PR conditions. Despite this being a larger race it wasn't a problem to get lined up at the front of the line. We started at 7 am on the dot.
Mile 1 6:25
The course opened up pretty much right away with no issues. The only weird part was a graded bridge that kind of scared me but I got over it (get it?). Anyway, the first mile was pretty great. The views of downtown Tampa in the early morning were so pretty. This was my first city-run ever and downtown Tampa is such a pretty place.
Mile 2 6:45
Mile two had views of the bay and it was so open. We passed the turnout and at this point, I still felt pretty decent. There wasn't really anyone around me they were either way in front or a good bit behind.
Mile 3 7:02
I felt out of shape at this point. I tried to maintain my pace which got challenging. The last mile always seems to drag on forever. All the miles checkpoints had clocks (based on gun times).
Mile .10 6:05
I saw the finish line and tried really hard to sprint towards it. When i first saw the clock it was still in the 19-minute range so I lost quite a bit of time at the end. I need to focus on my endurance for my upcoming races.
Talk about a party! This was so much fun. Plenty of photo ops, tons of chocolate, and music made for a great event. We turned in our bib tickets for the finisher mug that included the hot chocolate and yummy snacks. The 3 overall male and female winners also got these chocolate bar shaped medals. I was pretty honored to place in this. All the 15k finishers received medals which looked awesome. I loved this race every aspect was so well put together. I recommend the Hot Chocolate races to anyone regardless of skill level. It's just a fun time.
Overall 6th of 1,189
2nd Overall Female out of 857
Last Saturday 12/9/17 I ran in the Bulow Woods 4.25 mile trail race in Ormond Beach, FL. Trail races are my favorite type of races because I love the scenery and just being out in the wilderness. Conditions were perfect low 50's, rainy, and flooded. Totally kidding! I hate cold. I'm someone who doesn't mind running in the middle of the day in the summer, but I sure will complain when it gets below 70 degrees! All kidding aside we knew it would be wet and they warned us ahead of time. My main goal was just to have fun.
I got off to a terrible start. In a trail race, you're only as fast as the people in front of you, and there were just too many to contend with. I could not get around anyone for the first half mile then as I tried the water got in my way. I don't just mean puddles either I'm talking about water up to my waste at one point. Then there was the mud after which was too slippery to gain any lost ground. I was either slipping and sliding or dodging roots, water, and other obstacles.
I tried to gain on a few people but I realized I might be a decent runner but I'm kind of slow through the water. I wasn't upset I was just having fun and challenging myself. The last mile I was finally able to get around three people and gained some momentum at the end, but it was far from enough. I didn't feel winded or anything after so it was a little disappointed knowing I had so much left. In the end, this race was probably my favorite in a while if ever and so much fun. I felt like a kid, and it was great!
The Swag/Final Thoughts
Amazing swag! First, we had a race-specific finisher medal and long sleeve shirt. We then received a reusable cold mug filled with a rum runner (it was yummy). The food was the typical ultra spread, the warm chili and sweet options such as cookies and brownies too (another reason I love trail races). The first ten males and females won these awesome hoodies in the size of our choice.
I hope everyone had as much fun at this race as I did. It truly was one of my favorite races of all time. The conditions only made it more interesting, and the volunteers and racing staff did an exceptional job. I can't wait for my next trail run!
Overall: 9 out of 102
3rd Place Female