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ECHO Half Marathon

2015 ECHO Half Marathon: The Good, The Bad, & The Heartbreak

There are two mottos that I tend to live by in life:

  1. Peer pressure is no fun until you give in.
  2. If it’s free, it’s for me!

So when the world allows itself to become aligned such that I’m being peer pressured into something that’s free, it’s nearly impossible for me to resist.

Especially if it involves racing.

When the opportunity arose to run the 2015 ECHO Half Marathon for free, I simply could not resist the temptation.

So I signed up for a half marathon in Central Florida in June.

ECHO Half Marathon

Just Past the 13 Mile Mark at the ECHO Half Marathon

What could go wrong, eh? Read more

Florida 10 Series Lakeland Race Recap

This past weekend, I ran in the inaugural Florida 10 Series race here in Lakeland. The Florida 10 Series is a new series of 10 mile races within the state of Florida where cumulative times over the course of the entire series determines overall winners.

While I’m not running the entire series, I ran the race in Lakeland, which was my first ever 10 miler.

Nothing like a guaranteed PR, eh?

Race Day

Florida 10 Series, Lakeland,

Sunrise Before the Race

Read more

Put Up or Shut Up

Do you ever feel like you just need a few more hours in each day to get everything accomplished that you set out to do?

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That’s been me for the past couple of weeks.

I shared with the tribe via email that I’ve been very non-productive over the past couple of weeks, basically since the baby was born. While it might be easy/convenient to blame the baby for my struggles, I’ve wasted a lot of time since she’s been born here.

And that needs to stop.

So I’m calling myself out. I need to do a better job of prioritizing and staying focused on the task at hand, both in terms of work, in terms of family life, and in terms of my running.

Blending Work and Running

In the email I sent to the tribe last week, I also let them in on the top secret project I’m working on, which will be ready to roll in early September.

While I’m not ready to spill the beans publicly yet, I’ll give y’all a little teaser. I’m a huge believer in the positive impact of regular strength training for runners. And yet, it’s something that many runners don’t do enough of.

And I need to include myself in that group.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be offering all kinds of opportunities to learn about the benefits of strength training, no matter what level of a runner you would consider yourself to be.

  • I’ll be talking about why some “gym staples” have no benefit to runners, and how some of the best exercises for runners will earn you some stares if you do them at the gym.
  • I’ll also get into some of the many benefits of regular strength training, including a decreased risk of injury, improved endurance, stronger kick, and a higher top speed.
  • I’ll also cover why it’s so important to work your upper body as well, not just your legs.

But before I do all of that, I need to practice what I’m going to preach. Because as much as I know the benefits of strength training, I haven’t made strength training a priority for myself yet. And that needs to change.

It’s Time to Put Up or Shut Up

I have a lot of plans for the future of this website, and the podcast is just the first piece of the vision that I have. But in order for any of the plans to be successful, the first thing I need to do is to take a dose of my own medicine.

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My focused strength training starts now, and I can’t wait to share with you guys what I’ve got planned for next month.

Want a sneak peak? Join the tribe and I’ll give you the scoop!


 

 Join my Tribe!

There’s always room for more members of the tribe!

Both the Facebook group and the email group provide opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.

The Facebook group is still small, but it is a great way to connect with fellow runners and foster community amongst like minded individuals. The email group is THE way to stay up to date about future guests on the show, as well as getting some other freebies and offers that aren’t available to anyone else.

If you’ve got questions about either/both, just let me know!

2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

On Saturday evening, the 4th incarnation of Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon took place at Walt Disney World.

And for the 4th year in a row, I was running in Disney’s only night race.

The Night Race Dynamic

For those of you that have never run a night race, it is a totally different ball game than the typical early morning starts. Some people like the night start, some people aren’t as keen about them.

Since most runners are creatures of habit, starting a race at night totally throws off the race day routine. Should you sleep in or get up early and take a midday nap? What time should you eat before the race? What should you do all day? Normal activities? Lay on the couch?

And what about your bathroom routine?

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Yikes.

But me? I love the late start!

Until recently, I’ve never been a fan of early morning running. So the idea of running a half or a full that started at 6 or 7 in the morning was almost as daunting as the actual run itself.

But to start a race at 10 pm? Being wide awake, fully fueled, and ready to go? Where do I sign up?

That was the allure of this race 4 years ago. And after running it the first time, I’ve been  hooked ever since.

Why Do I Run the Same Race Every Year?

First and foremost, Disney knows how to put on a race.

Yes, the price is steep compared to most other races. But when it comes to race organization and on-course entertainment, it’s really hard to beat a runDisney event. There are Disney characters sprinkled throughout the course for runners to be able to get pictures with, and the allure of running through the theme parks is pretty awesome.

And the route we run during the Wine and Dine Half is fantastic. In my opinion, running the January half course is nowhere near as cool as the Wine and Dine half. Not only do you get to run in 3 of the 4 parks instead of only running through 2, but you also get to spend  more time running in each of the parks! During the January race, you’re only in the parks for a little over a mile. At Wine and Dine, you get about 3-4 miles of park running. And park running beats road running any day.

This Year’s Race

This year, my Wine and Dine experience was a little different than it has been in years past.

After running the Red Ribbon Half in the morning, I was slightly less than fresh for the start of the race.

But I had a plan and I stuck with it.

The plan was simple. Start just off at about 8:45 pace or the first 5k and see how the legs feel. If, after 5k I felt ok, I was going to try to bring that pace down towards 8:30 and give another PR a shot.

As we gathered into our corrals, I started to feel the excitement and nerves.

 

After that, it was time to run.

This year, the race organizers did us a huge favor by creating more starting corrals with fewer people in them to limit the cluster that typically happens during the first few miles of a runDisney event. So instead of being in the first corral with 1500 other runners, I was in Corral C with only about 500 runners.

And this small change made a huge difference.

Coming out of the shoot, runner traffic was flowing smoothly. Yes, the road was crowded. But we kept moving, and that is better than some past race experiences that I’ve had. And while the first water station (just past Mile 1) was still narrower than it could be, having fewer people passing through it at the same time did make it easier for those of us not wishing to stop to be able to keep running.

By the time we got to Animal Kingdom, I was still feeling alright so I decided to push it a little bit. At this point, I wasn’t sure my legs would make it for the entire 13.1, but I knew if I didn’t stay close to my target pace while my legs were still feeling good it wouldn’t matter anyway. I mean, there was no way I could knock out a couple of 7 minute miles at the end of this race, so I needed to keep my second 5k around 8:15 to keep an overall 8:30 within reach.

Coming out of DAK is tough, because the trip down Osceola is BORING! But, I kept an eye on my watch and focused on maintaining my breathing as I got through the worst stretch of the Wine and Dine course. By the time I got to the 15k mark, a PR was within reach. I had made it to the Studios, and my overall pace was down to 8:36.

I entered the Studios and tried doing some quick math in my head. I’d have to keep pushing all the way to the finish, but for the first time I really felt like I could get the second PR of the day. The Studios section of the race is tricky, because there are a lot of sharp turns that you have to navigate with tired legs. The first couple are 90* corners, so they don’t slow you down too bad unless runner traffic gets in your way. But there is a 180* turn around the 10 mile mark that is a killer, because it just totally stops all of your momentum.

And then there are the lights.

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Photo by Amy. @MomsMagicMiles

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Photo by Amy. @MomsMagicMiles

I’m not much of a Christmas lights person, but every time I enter the Streets of America to this scene, I can’t help but slow down and take as much in as possible. This year, I tried my best not to slow down too much through this section, but I know I did.

Coming out of the Studios with 2 miles to go, I liked my chances. I’ve run the route between the Studios and Epcot dozens of times, so I knew how to cut every corner and accelerate up and down every little “hill”.

Once we got to Epcot, there were so many yelling and screaming people that I knew I could get a lift from their energy. And I did.

I rounded the final corner, crossed the finish line, and the Garmin read 1:52:05! New PR!

Yahtzee!

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2013 Watermelon Series Recap

The 2013 Watermelon Series is officially in the books.

And let me just say that I’m glad to be part of the Lakeland Runners Club, as our organization does an absolutely incredible job of putting this race series on every year. Hats off to all of the organizers and volunteers who skipped out on running these races to allow those of us that did run to have a great time! Thanks yall!

The Summer Sunrise Watermelon Series consists of 4 5k races that are held 3-4 weeks apart with the finishing times of each race added together to determine overall and age group finisher times. If you don’t run all 4 races, you aren’t eligible for any of the series prizes, which is a cool dynamic. Read more