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

Thinking About Running? Here are 5 Tips From Jess Smith to Help You Get Off the Couch and Out the Door!

A big thanks to Jess Smith for being the first guest writer of the Run Bloggers Unite! movement. If you’d like to to join the movement, I’d love to partner with you!
But without further ado, please enjoy Jess’s awesome addition to my blog, and please check out my guest post on my evolution from non-runner to (annoying?) runner, with some of my tips to help you get started as well, over on her blog.

I’ve spent the last 2 years turning myself from an overweight couch potato into a runner.


Pretty Impressive, Eh?

The question I get asked most often is “How did you start?”

I guess going from being able to jog slowly for about 5 minutes to running a half marathon in less than a year gives me some kind of authority to answer this question.

While keeping in mind that I’m still a fairly new runner, and my previous running experience was limited to a grand 17:00 minute mile in high school, know that I’m not an authority on all things running – these are just some things that worked for me!

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The Only Way to Run Faster Is….

…to run faster.

Sage advice, I know. But how often is the truth so simple that we overlook it in order to try to find a “better” way. For us runners, we want to get faster so we try the newest shoes, the fanciest sports drink, different energy chews/gels, and whatever else is new and flashy and endorsed/promoted by Usain Bolt, Kara Goucher, or Runner’s World magazine.

But the only way to get faster is to simply run faster.

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Altra Instinct 1.0

The End of an Era

Athletes are a gimmicky bunch when it comes to their equipment and gear. And sometimes those athletes that have the least amount of equipment are the ones with the most peculiar habits and quirks.

Enter runners and their shoes.

Many runners find a model of shoes that they like, and won’t even think about trying a different brand or style.

Trying a different shoe for no good reason? Forget about it.

Why are Shoes So Special?

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Mastering the Curves

When you sign up for a race, few things are more important than knowing the distance you are going to run. Whether you are planning to run a 5k or an ultra, it’s nice to know what you are getting yourself into before you actually commit.

If only it was this simple.

The first marathon that I ran was more or less a blur. The thrill of the run, the excitement of the crowd (it was a Disney race so there was a big crowd), and just the “I can’t believe what I just accomplished” feeling has washed a lot of the details away.

So in my mind, that 26.2 mile race was just that–26.2 miles.


The next year, I ran the same race and things were a bit different. I was hurt, so I probably shouldn’t have run. But I did my best and made it across the finish line before they picked the stragglers up in the bus, so it wasn’t a complete failure.

Upon inspecting my garmin, I realized that this 26.2 miles was actually more like 26.75 miles! WTF!?! As if a marathon wasn’t difficult enough, the folks at Disney decided I needed to run an extra half a mile in the process?

It goes without saying, I was pissed. (Mostly because my injury caused me to walk about 12 miles, but I couldn’t be frustrated at that. I’d be frustrated with the extended course instead)

I asked a friend who finished an hour or so ahead of me what her garmin said, and complained about the fact that Disney couldn’t measure a proper 26.2 mile course.

Then, she blew my mind.

“It’s All About the Curves”

Image by State Records NSW via Flickr

Image by State Records NSW via Flickr

She gave me a little bit of insight that I should have known, but being new to running at the time I didn’t even realize. When courses are measured, they are measured on the vector. Which basically means that all curves are measured on the shortest, most direct route.

So if you’re not running the inside of the curves, you’re running farther than the distance measured.

The Perfect Race

Every race I’ve run since, I’ve tried to run a perfect race.

Not perfect in terms of speed or finish time, but perfect in terms of distance. I’ve tried to hug the inside lanes of most turns, and cut quickly from one side to the other on S-turns.

Needless to say, this is virtually impossible as the other runners have an annoying habit of getting in the way. But it’s a fun challenge.

To date, the best I’ve done in a half is an additional .15 of a mile. Which, over a 13.1 mile course, is pretty close to perfect.

But it is still short of perfect and longer than the race distance. So my quest for perfection will continue.

Have Any of Your Ever Run a Perfect Race? What is the Biggest Additional Distance You’ve Ever Run in a Race?