Thursday, November 17, 2011

FLL 13.1 Recap (& why "free plane tickets" are never really free)

The weekend started off nice and leisurely. I had the day off from work on Friday, and got to spend it with Mr. Blondie.

Emily and I caught and early flight to Ft. Lauderdale Saturday morning without a hitch. With the stress of taking care of my grandma these past few months, and then her passing, my mom was in need of a getaway. We decided Mr. Blondie would stay at home and we’d make this a girl’s weekend. My mom’s flight arrived shortly after ours, and we met in the airport.

We’d hoped to spend some time on the beach that afternoon, but it was way too windy. You couldn’t put a beach towel down without it blowing away, and the sand was whipping around. I knew it was going to make for some fun times at the race the next morning.

As excited as I was for the trip, I was feeling kind of blah about the race. I never got the pre-race jitters, or that feeling of pent-up energy like I normally get in anticipation of a race. Even standing in the start coral, I was hoping a wave of adrenaline would wash over me once the gun went off. It never happened.

Going in, I knew I was going to struggle with the temps and humidity (mild by South Florida standards, but still warm and muggy), and the monotony of the course (up A1A, back down A1A). I thought the pancake-flat terrain would negate some of those obstacles though. The strong winds weren’t something I had anticipated in addition.

Miles 1-4 weren’t so bad. I was on pace for a decent race and felt good. Around mile 5 mile the ocean belly kicked in…you know that sloshing, weird feeling. Around mile 6 my legs suddenly got really tired and heavy. During mile 7 the 1:40 pace group passed me. I may or may not have muttered shitballs oh sugar to myself.

After that happened, I was convinced I wasn’t even going to break 1:45. And y’all know my real goal is to break 1:35. Somehow I managed to hang on for a 1:41:xx finish.

If I’m smiling and waving in half marathon pictures, it’s a clear indication I’m feeling purely craptastic. If things were going well I would have been oblivious to the cameras.



After the race I'd planned on hanging out and possibly taking a dip in the ocean. Once I crossed the finish line I was exhausted and irritated with myself. I just wanted to get out of there. Emily managed to skin her knees, get sand in her eyes, and fall off jungle gym while I was running. My poor, frazzled mom had gotten quite a workout too.

We hit the pool to unwind after the race instead

We stayed at a hotel just a few blocks away from our old apartment. It was hard to believe it’s been over 4 years since we’d left. So much has happened in our lives since moving to Atlanta, but everything felt very familiar and unchanged once we were there. We ate at some of my favorite old restaurants and did a some shopping at my favorite boutiques.

The plan was to fly back first thing Monday morning, then spend the day doing more Christmas shopping in Atlanta so my mom wouldn’t have to ship Emily’s gifts down to our house this year. I’d been tracking flights in and out of Ft. Lauderdale for 2 weeks looking at capacity trends, and it didn’t look like we’d have an issue getting seats.

What I failed to realize when I originally decided to do the race was this was Veterans Day weekend, and the northern schools also had the week off for teacher conventions. The cardinal rule of standby travel: DO NOT travel on holiday weekends or school breaks. I looked at every Florida airport and combinations of connecting flights through other major hubs. I concluded there was no way we getting a flight out before mid week. After deciding everything from Plan A through Plan Y wasn’t going to work, Plan Z was put into effect……Road trip time!

After having an ordeal with Budget Rent-A-Car (I've never had a good experience with them, but they were the only ones who would do a one way rental), we hit the road. We had all day to make it back to Atlanta, so we were game for the adventure. It wasn’t a bad drive at all. Emily slept most of the way, and I had my mom to chat with and keep me alert. I also learned the proper way to roast and carve a turkey listening to Martha Stewart radio on Sirius, hehe.

It was a fun girl’s weekend even if the race itself was a letdown. This was about 1.5 minutes faster than any half marathon I ran while we were living in Ft. Lauderdale, but I know I'm capable of better now. It wasn't my day. I have my chance at redemption next Saturday. My disaster on the Schuylkill earlier this year was followed by a PR two weeks later. Here’s to hoping history will repeat itself.

Anyone have a Turkey Trot or other big race coming up in the next couple weeks?

Official time: 1:41:25
Pace: 7:44/mi
Overall: 169/2147
Gender: 32/1057
AG: 6/171

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MARATHON Smart Stuff Bars Winner

We rolled (yes, rolled as in drove) back into Atlanta late last night so I never got around to picking a winner of the giveway. More on our weekend in Ft. Lauderdale to come!

But without further adieu, out of the 21 entires I recieved, the winner was #19.

Wendy from Wendy Likes Books

Hope you enjoy the bars and other goodies as much as I do!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Family Affair (15K & 5k Races)

My 15K race was was an ok run for me, but there's nothing real interesting to report about it. I want to mention this past Saturday mainly because I’m proud of Mr. Blondie. He woke up early and joined me in the freezing cold to run the 5K.

This was the 4th year of the race, and participation had been steadily growing until this year. The original race director was a local resident and avid runner. This year ownership of the race was handed over to the county parks department. I got to chat with the lady organizing the race when I dropped off a couple boxes of MARATHON Bars as a donation for the race bags. She was very nice, but admittedly not a runner. Thus, some important details that would otherwise be apparent to a runner were overlooked.

A couple biggies:

The race was not advertised on or other major running websites

Limited course signage. There weren’t markers at every mile, and there were a few spots where the course branched off into side streets. I would have gotten confused had I not already been familiar with the course. I wonder how many people did make wrong turns….

I’ve already made it my mission to help this race succeed next year, and plan to help in the organization of it. I’d like to see Mr. Blondie design the t-shirts too. They could use some work.

If you recall, I ran the 15K two years ago and the 5K last year, both times pushing Emily. When Mr.Blondie and I were deciding who would push the stroller this year, we both called “Not it!”, teehee.

I wanted to give it a shot on my own this time, so we recruited my mother-in-law to visit for the weekend and keep an eye on Emily for us.

I comfortably run this course in about 1:13-1:14 on training runs. With race day adrenaline I was hoping to finish in 1:06 or faster.

The rolling hills affect my times more than I realized. I actually feel better about my training times now, since they always tend to be a little slower than what the pace charts say they should be.

Since turn-out was smaller than expected this year, it didn’t help my motivation by not having any other runners in sight after the first mile either.

I ran an extra 2 miles to cool down once I was finished, and took an ice bath when I got home. My legs felt good afterwards, so let’s add another checkmark to the list of quality workouts this month.

By the time I finished, all the food had been gobbled-up by the 5k’ers. A cooler bag once filled with Chick-Fil-A biscuits, only contained their glorious smell when I went to get one. Darn Mr.Blondie and his sensitive post-race stomach didn’t think to grab any for us. So disappointing.

I wasn’t too hungry anyway. After all I had eaten a lot of dust in the first mile as the lead woman pulled away. I was 2nd female, 8th/72 overall.

The 5k course was equally as challenging, and Mr. Blondie finished in 27:47 for 12th/120 and 1st in his age group! Not bad for a guy who kept muttering “I can’t believe you’re making me do this” from the moment we woke up that morning.

Wouldn't it be great to have Emily running alongside us at this race one day too? A girl can dream :)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Atlanta (Team) Marathon Relay & Giveaway

If you're tired of reading the race recaps from fancy pants people who ran the NYC Marathon and Savanah RnR, then come join me on a journey way back into history…last weekend :)

You may have noticed the snazzy orange and blue shirts I’ve been sporting at races this year. As one of 200 nationwide members of Team MARATHON Bars, I’ve gotten more than just a lot of tasty bars to eat. It’s given me the chance to meet and swap stories with some very inspiring people. There’s people like Brenda Carawan who finished 6th at the Badwater Ultra Marathon. Then there’s mere mortals like me.

The common thread that unites us all is the “Passion and enthusiasm for living a healthy, well-rounded life and are involved in activities ranging from running, to cycling, to triathlon and other endurance sports.” If you’re regular reader of this, then I know the team mission statement applies to you too.

On that note, I’ve got something I think you’ll like. Just bear with my ramblings until we get there…

Last Sunday I teamed up with 3 other local ladies on Team MARATHON Bars to run the Atlanta Marathon Relay. I was running leg 2 of the race, advertised as 8.4 miles.

It was an unseasonably cold morning for Atlanta with temps in the 30’s. Great for running, not so much when you’re just standing around. My first mile felt very stiff and disjointed. After waiting around in the cold for over an hour and a half I was partially frozen, but I felt good once I began to thaw in the second mile. This was a social event, not really a race. I kept the pace comfortable and used this as an opportunity to get in a solid workout for my upcoming half marathons this month.

After I transitioned the timing chip to our third runner, I continued on for another 2 miles before turning back to get the bus to the finish line. This is totally random, but here’s a clip of me running on YouTube. I have no idea who filmed it, but I run by around 27 seconds into this clip.

Afterwards, my teammates and I met up to chat some more. I also ran into Lee, Mark who also ran the relay, and Kristy who ran her 9th full marathon.

I saw Super Woman running during the race too.


I should have guessed she was a Team MARATHON Bars member as well! She approached me after the race to introduce herself. This was Becky’s final marathon in her quest to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, all in under 4 hours. Incidentally, she also ran all of the New England marathons with Dean Karnazes when he was doing his 50 marathons in 50 states tour a few years ago. Wow.

Now sticking with the marathon theme, let’s get to the giveaway.

In addition to their yummy Energy and Protein bars, MARATHON has just rolled out a new line of bars called Smart Stuff.

“Marathon Smart Stuff Bars include wholesome ingredients, like blueberries, cranberries and peanuts, and are made with real chocolate for a taste everyone will love. Each bar contains a blend of 8 essential vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent source of calcium. Containing 3 to 5 grams of fiber and 140 calories or less per serving, this new energy bar is naturally low in sodium and provides 5 grams of whole grains, with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.”

Want to try them? You know you do.

In addition to a box of Smart Stuff bars, I’ll also include two other foods I’ve been loving-on lately:

A two-pack of Nutiva Coconut Oil. Virgin pressed coconut oil us a healthy fat that adds a delicious coconut essence to baked goods and has a high smoking point great for cooking stir-frys.

A bag of ground Salba seed. Ground Salba is the hip new cousin to the chia seed. One that you don’t have to floss out of your teeth.

All you need to do is leave a comment. It can be anything. I just like knowing someone is out there.

For extra entries you can:

  • Become an Atlanta Running Mom follower
  • Tweet about the giveaway. It would suffice to say something along the lines of “I love chocolate & healthy stuff, especially chocolate covered healthy stuff. I want to win Smart Stuff @MARATHONbars from @runblondie26.” :)

Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry. I’ll pick a winner next Monday.

Disclaimer: I'm provided with free product by MARATHON Bars. This is a small-potatoes blog so the rest of the items I purchased. All product opinions are my own.