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Posts Tagged ‘play’


Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

When training and racing are going well, it is easy to start to take it all for granted. I have been running and racing since 1986 when I began a run/walk program to earn a fitness badge in Girl Scouts and then joined the varsity cross country team later that fall when I entered seventh grade at our junior-senior high school. I have had my share of injuries over the years, especially in college where I missed more competitive seasons than I raced. Since college I have been self-coached, which has been quite the learning experience. I have had a lot fewer injuries but I still make mistakes despite all of my trial and error, coaching education, and just “knowing better!”

In February while racing the Gasparilla 8K in Tampa, I felt a weird painful twinge in my left thigh. It hit me about halfway through the race and would not let up no matter how I changed my stride, sped up, or slowed down. I was fortunate to be able to finish and won the Masters division. I was definitely concerned about the pain but with only eight weeks to Boston, I could not afford any time off. I continued training and racing and racing and racing. Confession: I raced way too much this spring. With over ten years of coaching experience and 28 years of training and racing experience, I should know better. Yet here I am making this major rookie mistake. I think I have become a race adrenaline junkie.

I made it through the eight weeks of training with consistent hamstring pain which also hurt quite a bit during the Boston Marathon. After Boston I took five days of complete rest before the DeSoto 5K in Bradenton that Saturday night. I had committed to run it for my racing team, S2 Timing, and I had also challenged my track team that if any of them beat me, I would treat them to frozen yogurt but if I beat them, they would treat me. They definitely had the advantage since I was just five days off a marathon. I was hesitant to race but decided to just go out comfortably and not push that hamstring at all. I ended up running negative splits, finishing second female, and winning Masters. And let’s just say that I am getting treated to frozen yogurt sometime soon! Two of my track girls set new personal bests that night, which was fantastic.

2014 DeSoto 5K with my Track girls


S2 Timing Racing Team at DeSoto 5K

I was making excuses for why I won Masters – it was a very small race, my time was not that great compared to what I usually run, etc. I took another week off from running to rest that hamstring but had another race commitment the following Saturday with the S2 Timing racing team (which I am incredibly grateful for!). For the Miles for Moffitt 8K in Tampa, I had the same mentality going in; I would go out comfortably and let the hamstring pain dictate my pace. I finished sixth female, second Masters, and just missed winning Masters by six seconds! I think my friend Meagan’s comment was “you’re ridiculous” or something like that.

With Meagan after the DeSoto 5K

I started making excuses again saying things like I only placed because I’m over 40 now, and then she stopped me. I should not make excuses for how or why I placed in these races. I should be thankful that I have been able to run all these years. I should be grateful that despite the hamstring injury and missing two weeks of training, I was able to run these two races and place in them. I am grateful for all of my amazing friends who have come into my life as a result of running, so thankful for the incredible support of my husband and family over the years, and grateful for all of the athletes I coach. I just need to remember to be grateful for the fact that I must have some running in my genetic code and that I am ABLE to train and race at the level I do. Running is a gift.



Inaugural Disney Marathon Relay

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Team RunnerGirl has had some pretty good success at relay and team events in the past, so why not try the new Disney Marathon Relay?  I teamed up with my speedy friend Kali and we tackled this inaugural event together.

Team RunnerGirl

Team RunnerGirl

In this relay, we each ran half of the marathon and we started and finished with the marathoners.  I ran the first leg, starting at 5:30 a.m. in corral #1.  It was a great experience for me to be near the front of the marathon for my whole race.  I mean, I was running HALF marathon pace while most of the people around me were running marathon pace.  There were not that many relay runners around me (that I could tell).  I was in awe of everyone, especially the women who were up there with me.  I can only dream of running a marathon that fast.  They were simply awesome!

My half of the race was mostly dark but the sun started to come up as I was nearing the final miles of my 13.1.  I mainly ran through and near Epcot and Magic Kingdom, including through Cinderella’s castle (my favorite part!!!) before high fiving my relay partner outside Magic Kingdom.  The whole race was amazing and inspiring.  I felt elite running with these fast marathoners and it was not crowded up front at all.  Knowing that Kali was there waiting for me, inspired me to run fast and keep pushing the pace no matter how I felt.  I did not waste any time through the water stops, just cruised through quickly drinking out of the side of my flattened out cup.  Even when I took my packet of Gu, I saw the approaching water stop ahead, ate the Gu right before then washed it down as I reached the water stop.  I tried to be quick and efficient so as not to keep her waiting.

It would be my fastest half marathon since the Sarasota Half Marathon in March 2011.  Disney was only about six weeks after my last marathon so I wasn’t exactly in the speediest shape since I mainly focused on distance and volume before the marathon and then took a couple weeks off after the marathon.  Doing the relay was exciting, inspiring, and definitely helped me run faster than I thought I could at that point in my training and racing cycle.

Kali is one of the most energetic, happy, and upbeat people I know.  On race morning, there was no exception.  Now when I ran down the straightaway to the relay exchange zone, she took it to a whole other level!  I was laughing and smiling as I approached her even while trying to finish as strong and fast as I could.  She danced around, waving her arms, jumping around, just filled with the same excitement I felt, I’m sure.

Relay Exchange Zone

Racing a relay event is a game changer.  No matter how you feel, you are driven by the fact that you are running with someone and for someone else.  You need to reach that finish line (or relay exchange zone) as fast as you can, knowing you did your absolute best for your partner, your teammate.

We were the second overall female relay team in 3:13:08.  We averaged 7:22 per mile for 26.2 miles.  There were 270 female relay teams.

2nd Overall Female Relay Team Award

We had such an amazing time.  Now we’re teamed up for the Sarasota Half Marathon Relay in March!   :)

The “old” warrior

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

This weekend was the second one of the year where I raced both Saturday and Sunday.  I am not a big fan of back to back racing and would not recommend it to others.  But sometimes when wanting to always race my favorite races (trail races by TampaRaces.com) and try a new race or run one that is part of a series or whatever other reason I can think of to justify it, I feel it just has to be done.  ;)

Luckily on Saturday I was running with Sayuri who was the one who talked me into doing this Warrior Dash in the first place.  This way I could focus on spending time with her, enjoying the whole warrior experience, and saving a little to try to defend my title at Sunday’s Florida Challenge Trail Run 5K.

The title of this entry refers to how I felt on Saturday and not my actual age, despite what the teenagers I coach say!  I am only 37 and far from old, but the obstacles at the Warrior Dash really pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me realize that I am not a teenager anymore!  I no longer feel invincible and was overly cautious and slow on all of the obstacles that took me off the ground and required balancing several feet up off the ground over thin boards, huge nets, scaling walls, crawling under barbed wire, etc.

The photos of me at the end of the Warrior Dash show a huge smile as I jumped over fire and then dove into black, smelly, muddy water to crawl on hands and knees under real barbed wire.  So many people have commented on my big smile.  I tell them I was simply happy, delighted, relieved, and overjoyed that it was over!  As I approached the fire, I could see the finish line so I jumped over two fire pits and gladly dove into the nasty water because I was near the end.

Sayuri is only 22 and I think the years that separate us made all the difference in the world in our differing opinions of the race.  She cruised through all the obstacles with no fear.  I had to use the sections of trail running in between the obstacles to catch up to her since I was so slow on the obstacles.  She had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I definitely had fun and am glad that I did it, but once was definitely enough for me.  I will proudly display my Warrior Dash finisher’s medal and wear the T-shirt.  I would definitely take a group or travel with a group to this event again in the future but next time I would happily serve as photographer and support crew.  It is a fun and crazy event, but once is enough for this “old” warrior.

I will stick with the challenge of trail racing, like Sunday’s Florida Challenge Trail Run 5K at Alafia River State Park in Lithia.  This year I am defending my overall female title on the toughest 5K trail course I have ever run…


I raced in a purple and white Brooks Sprint singlet, black Brooks Infiniti short tights, and white Brooks Adrenaline shoes.  I kept the short tights and they seemed to come clean, although they are black so it’s tough to tell.  I thought I could wash the mud out of the tank but that was pretty much useless so it hit the road along with the shoes.  Luckily the shoes were on their final miles anyway so the Warrior Dash was a fitting farewell…their final challenge.  If you plan to do this race, definitely wear something you don’t plan to keep!

Remembering how to play

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

When is the last time you went outside and played?  According to George Sheehan, my favorite author, “Fitness has to be fun.  If it is not play, there will be no fitness.  Play, you see, is the process.  Fitness is merely the product.”

I have been running and racing for 26 years and I will admit, not every single run or race has been fun or felt like play.  Sometimes I get so focused on training right and getting in shape to try for a new PR on race day that I lose sight of the fun of it all.

Luckily many of the girls I coached in high school came home from college for Christmas break and I was able to go on many training runs with them over the past two weeks.  Between my new training buddies and these special visitors, the past few weeks of training have been so much more fun than usual.  I actually don’t remember my last run by myself!   :)

Today was a long day on the computer with deadlines.  I was a little rushed leaving the house to meet a friend for today’s run.  Traffic was of course slow going – too many people on the road!  So when I arrived a little late and frazzled for our run, I stepped out of the car and we immediately started running as I explained my crazy day.  We were about a mile into the run on top of the steep bridge and although I was out of breath, I was still trying to talk.  It felt good.  We were running faster than I normally do for a longer run.

Neither of us had a route planned so we just ran over bridges, along the beach, through a park, along the water then back over the big bridge.  We ended up with 12 miles total.  The fun part was just running and talking and not worrying about pace.  The route was new and unplanned.  That’s why it felt so much like play.  It wasn’t a route that was pre-measured and that we had run hundreds of times.  We ran a good pace.  Trying to talk while being a little out of breath and not really knowing where this run would take us made me feel like a kid who just ran outside to escape it all.  I ran away from the stress of the day.

I felt like I truly played today.  During the run and especially driving home I couldn’t stop smiling.  Today I felt free.  I was able to leave work at work and enjoy all that today’s run had to offer.

George Sheehan’s words of wisdom:  “Play is where life lives.”  Whatever form of fitness you choose, enjoy it, do it regularly, make it fun, and live life to the fullest my friends.  Play!  I did today and am happier for it.


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