Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
I recently posted on Instagram that 2019 was a crazy year for me as far as running goes. I started out full of promise and training for an ultra. Well that ended in February with my hamstring injury. I had to take a break from running and racing for the spring/summer. Finally I started to train for a spring 2020 marathon in late 2019. I also started to do some races and training runs in October.
In 2019 I was able to run three half marathons. I also found a new favorite race in the Best Damn Race Orlando 5k.
Things may not have gone as planned but everything is back on track now and I'm happy to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020.
Thursday 11/28/2019 was the Deland Thanksgiving 10 miler and 5k race. This is one of the areas largest turkey trots. I just love this race and the 10 miler distance was perfect for me considering I had a 10 miler training run planned for that day. I planned to just run around a 9:00 pace or so and just enjoy the race. My finishing time would be around 1:30. Last year I ran a 1:12:15 which was around a 7:13 pace or so. I was focused on speed training then so my training run paces were much faster.
Miles 1-3 8:20, 8:11, 8:08
I made sure to start in the middle so I didn't get caught up in the excitement and start off too fast. I felt so great during the first mile that I was shocked that my pace on Strava told me I ran an 8:20 mile because it felt so easy. I just kept going by feel and everything just felt so good.
Miles 4-7 8:17, 8:14, 8:08, 8:00
During this part of the race I really began to notice how beautiful this part of Deland is. It's just such a pretty area to run in and look forward to this every year. I just kept going by pace and honestly this just felt right. I know it was faster than my intended pace but it just felt so right.
Miles 8-10 7:52, 7:30, 7:10
I just went for it during the last few miles and was able to negative split the end of this run. I am super proud of myself and although it was nowhere near a PR or a race where I went all out it was super fun.
I have quite a few final thoughts. I had such a great time running this and I am so glad I was able to participate. I know my marathon training is working too. Confession time- I was a little scared that because my training paces are slower than I'm used that I would not be able to run fast when it came time to my marathon. Now I feel more confident in this training and I feel like this plan is really working for me. It shows how important easy running is for training and I love it.
Overall: 47th out of 222
2nd place female 30-34
Saturday 10/26/19 was the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon and 5k in Port Orange, FL. I ran the 5k two years ago and really wanted to try the half this year because of all the great things I've heard about the course. I switched my long run to Saturday and saw my scheduled pace would be around 9:20-9:35 putting my pace around a two hour half marathon. This is also my fourth half marathon and would be my slowest ever. Last year I would never be okay with running a two hour half (that's 30 minutes slower than my long run paces from last year). This year however, I am totally okay with running a two hour half. I decided to take advantage of the pace groups and start off with the 2:05 group to make sure and not go too fast then stay in between them and the 2 hour group. As long as I ran over 2 hours I would be happy.
I woke up around 5 for the 7 am start time. Runners had to park near the finish line then walk about 3/4 mile over the Dunlawton bridge to the starting area because there is no parking around there. It's good because it's close to the finish line. There was plenty of parking for almost 1000 runners being there. The starting area under the bridge was really neat too with lots of eager runners and music. I already had my bib so I just waited to start. We were off right at 7 and I remembered the 4 things: 1-start my watch 2-start my racejoy app 3-start my strava 4-start my music. I started with the 2:05 pace group.
Something I am always amazed at is how everything opens up after you cross the starting mat. I think the announcer said there were over 600 half runners this year. I was kind of in the middle of the pack with plenty of people around. We had a water stop after the second mile and I was thirsty. It was going to be a hot day for sure so I planned to take water at each of the 11 or 12 stops. My problem was that I was starting to get hungry since I wasn't nervous and ate breakfast hours ago. I ate my gel I brought with me at the first 5k but didn't plan on eating anything till the half way marker. Thankfully the water stops on the back-end had more gels. I had 3 total which is way more than the 1 or 2 I normally need for a 13.1 miler.
I started to break away from the pace group here since I felt comfortable that I wouldn't go too fast. The sun finally started to come up too which woke me up a bit. I felt refreshed after the gel and enjoyed the beautiful run down A1A toward Ponce Inlet. Usually when I'm running here it's on the beach so this was a new experience.
The halfway point of the run was the prettiest part. We go to run towards the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and at the park they have over there. It's actually the same course as the beautiful Operation Changing Lives 5k. I just love Ponce Inlet it's such a special place and a beautiful place to run. I had a couple miles here under 9 minutes because I got caught up in all the excitement lol.
The sun really started to come out in full force at this point and it sure was toasty. I was drenched in sweat at this point and so was everyone else. I was still having so much fun though and probably smiled the entire time. I was in front of the 2:05 pace group and just made sure not to get up to the 2:00 group.
The last mile was over the Dunlawton bridge which was pretty tough but scenic at the same time. They even had a band playing and cheering us on which was just another of the special touches that this race has. After the bridge we made a turn and finished at Aunt Catfish's restaurant. I crossed the finish line at 2:02 and was thrilled. We received our amazing medals and got to party at the finishing area. They had plenty of vendors, a breakfast buffet, and beer for all runners (of age or course).
I loved this race so much. It was so fun and relaxing at the same time. I really enjoy races as training runs and not having to worry about time goals or any of that. Next on the list is Central Florida Legends Mermaid Half Marathon on 11/24/19.
6th in age group (women 30-34) of out 32
Saturday 10/12/19 was the Great Candy Race Quarter Marathon and 5k in New Smyrna Beach, FL. This was my first time running the quarter marathon (6.55 miles). The past two years I participated in the 5k which was always a great experience. This was also my first race since June 1st and let me tell you I've missed it so much!
I had a scheduled 6 mile run for that day so this worked out kind of perfectly. My pace was supposed to be around 9 minutes per mile. I figured that this would be a good test for pacing and making sure I can run at this slower pace for an actual race.
I made sure to start off in the middle of the pack so I wouldn't start off too fast and get caught up in the excitement. I looked down at my watch after the first half mile and it was around 8 minutes so I slowed down a bit. I really need to work on pacing haha. I felt really good and had negative splits and lots of energy during the race. The quarter marathon course is even prettier than the 5k course. It's near the ocean and parts are in this nature trail area. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed not going all out during a race. I also made sure to not sprint when I saw the finish line to avoid any possible injuries. Overall racing like this is so much fun and it makes me realize that running is so much more than just trying to win or getting that PR.
Next Race is the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon on 10/26/19 which is another training run.
My splits according to Strava
7:59 last .55 miles
23rd out of 98
3rd in age group
There's something I just love about fall in Florida. The weather gets just a little cooler, new iPhones come out, and of course pumkin spice season. I love pumpkin spice flavored anything especially coffee. I decided this season was the season to test out all the different pumpkin spice flavored ground coffees I could get my hands on. I went out and bought these seasonal goodies and decided to get started right away. I made all these the same way (the cold brew method), let them sit for the same amount of time, then prepared each cup the same way with just regular milk and nothing else. So here is my rankings. I ranked them based on smell, flavor, powerfulness, and overall satisfaction with bonus points for art work. I know this is a running blog, but runners love coffee don't we?
Publix Premium Pumpkin Pie
So this is technically pumpkin pie flavored but the same idea. First of all I noticed this beautiful artwork on the bag. It promises..
"falling leaves and a cool breeze, as you warm your hands on a freshly brewed mug of luscious pumpkin pie. Nutty, creamy, and fragrant with spice. Autumnal flavors make every sip perfectly nice."
The smell is just as expected with a strong hint of pumpkin flavor. As I sipped on it I knew right away this was a good product. I appreciated the nutmeg flavor but did not get any pie flavors so I would consider this a pumpkin spice coffee and a good one at that. My only complaint would be the strength is weak for my taste.
Overall Grade 8.8
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice
The OG of pumpkin spice coffees. This is the one that started it all, and when I see this orange bag on the coffee shelf, I just know it's that time of year again. The bag promises "notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg together with our lightest roast." It is also the only blend in the competition without artificial flavors.
This actually smells more like vegetables than pumpkin spice. I know pumpkins are vegetables (I think) but still it's not exactly what I want to smell in my coffee. Luckily the smell does not translate to the taste. I can taste the nutmeg and it really just tastes exactly like I would expect. The strength is decent not overpowering. I took off some points for strength and smell.
Overall Grade 9.1
Dunkin Pumpkin Spice
Dunkin cold brew is one of my favorites so I expected that to translate the their ground coffee. Was I ever right about this one. This blend tastes just like you would expect a pumpkin spice fall blend to be just like autumn in a cup. There's a strong aroma and taste of nutmeg and other fall flavors as well. Perfect A++
Overall Grade 9.9
Fall In Love Pumpkin Spice
I've seen this in the homegoods store before but have never purchased it until now. I like the simple artwork and appreciate the theme. Unfortunately I was not impressed with the taste or flavor. It smells just like regular non-flavored coffee. The flavor isn't much stronger it's a bit too weak for my taste. I also get a sense of burnt coffee from it.
Overall Grade 5.0
Bonus: Publix Premium Cinnamon Streusel
This may not be pumpkin flavor but it is a seasonal blend. The bag artwork is beautiful and the flavor tastes just like a cinnamon streusel cake. I highly recommend this blend also.
Overall I enjoyed all the blends but if you want a real treat I would recommend going with the Dunkin Pumpkin Spice. I will be stocking up on more of these before the season is over.