2016 Clermont Clay 15k

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It turns out that I have neglected to write a race recap for the Clermont Clay 15k that I ran last November.  It was my first 15k, so instant PR!  I have been wanting to run on the famous Clermont Clay loop for a while now, so I looked up the races that took place there and thought that this one would be perfect.  I even managed to get my parents and my sister to run the 5k that took place at the same time.  The Clermont Clay loop is a ten mile trail made of clay that goes by different farms and through fields.  A lot of elite athletes train there including Desiree Linden.  It is a very beautiful area to run and I enjoyed every minute of it, but oh those hills; so many hills!

When we arrived in Clermont on November 20th we followed a long trail of cars down a very long dirt road to the race parking.  I thought we had left in plenty of time, but with all the race traffic we were cutting it close.  After a long wait which felt like an eternity, we finally parked and I walked as fast as I could to the porta-pottie line.  There were only about five porta-potties and the line was long, but it moved fairly quickly.  I saw my family as they were headed to the 5k start, which was at my finish line, then I quickly headed to my start-line with Chris.  The race organizers knew about the parking situation, so the race started a little late.  I ran over to the start as I heard the National Anthem being sung.  I just had time for Chris to take a before race photo because the race actually started; talk about cutting it close!

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It was a very cool morning which made for perfect running weather.  It was so beautiful to see the sun rise above the fields as we ran down the clay trail.  I never race with my music, which made this run feel very peaceful.  I started off with an 8:12 average pace for the first mile, but then settled in to about an 8:30 pace for the next six miles.  Lately I have been trying not to look at my watch as I race and run more by feel.  It has worked out pretty good so far and it makes the races more enjoyable instead of worrying about my watch the whole time.

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About half way through, the hills started to feel harder and harder as I ran up them. They seemed to get longer and steeper the farther I was into the course.  At the start of each hill I thought maybe, just maybe it would be the last one.  Most of the time I was wrong, but I kept pushing as hard as I could and then coasting down the hill once I got to the other side.

Finally I got to the top of a hill and at the bottom I saw the finish-line.  I ran as fast as I could with all the energy that I had left until I finally crossed and did my Jeter fist pump in the air.  My family was waiting for me along with a whole table full of snacks!

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When I looked at my pace on the results board I started to cry.  First, I couldn’t believe how great my pace, was at a 8:31 minute per mile, and second I was in third place in my age group.  I was in shock!  Well it turns out that two other results came in later pushing me down to fifth place, so unfortunately I did not receive an age group award, though someday I will receive another one!

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Overall it was a nice smaller race.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the scenery was gorgeous.  I had a lot of fun and am glad that I got to share it with my family.  I think maybe they are starting to enjoy running!  Next up is my recap of my rematch at the OUC Orlando Half Marathon from last year.

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2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

On the evening of January 6th I was finishing up getting my racing gear ready for the next morning.  My mom helped me attach my new bib magnets to my running shirt and I piled everything together so I wouldn’t forget anything in the early morning.  The forecast for the morning was supposed to be rain and I was a bit worried because I had never raced in the rain before.

I sat down to check Facebook to see if there were any updates about the race maybe being delayed and that’s when I saw it:  all races scheduled for Saturday, the 7th had been cancelled.  I was heartbroken and suddenly couldn’t stop crying.  All that training and preparation for nothing?  I had been really sick since Christmas and only took off three days in a row at the most because I had a race coming up.  Disney had never cancelled a race before, so I was mostly in shock.

As it turned out Track Shack and runDisney made the right call.  Those would have been dangerous conditions to set up the race in and horrible weather to run in.  They also came up with a lot of different options to receive a refund.  Runners could decide to run the marathon the next day, defer to another race within two years, receive the amount of the race in a Disney gift card, or receive two one day park hopper tickets.  I chose the deferment option and am hoping to get in the Dark Side half so I can truly run the Coast to Coast and earn my medal.

Saturday morning after the worst of the storm had passed a wonderful thing happened; runners came together and ran the half on their own all over Disney property.  We went to breakfast like planned at Old Key West and passed multiple groups of runners completing the half marathon distance in the rain.  At Downtown Disney there was even a water stop provided by Fit 2 Run employees out front of their store.  It really showed the perseverance of the running community.

Sunday morning I got up at 1:45 am and drove to Epcot to work my shift at the marathon.  It was the coldest day of the season and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I was working in the corrals and after a while I couldn’t feel my feet and my whole body was in pain.  At 6:15 I was finally able to move my corral forward and by 7:30 I was leaving Epcot in my car with the heater on and not without my half medal.  It took me a while to thaw out and then I headed to Animal Kingdom with my parents.  It wasn’t until we were about to leave the park that it finally started to warm up a bit.

On the following Tuesday I decided to run my half to earn my medal.  I ran around my neighborhood and through my favorite park twice to make up the 13.1 miles.  I stopped quite a bit for water stops, but maintained a competitive pace while running.  I ended up finishing in 1:55:48 and felt sore later in the day.  I was proud of myself for getting out there and completing the miles and  hope I am able to have a great race on Sunday for my first race at Disneyland!

Run in the New Year

Happy New Year!  2016 was definitely not the best year for me, but I am looking forward to 2017 and very hopeful for what it brings.  I’m hoping I find a permanent job that I love and get my lifelong dream of working on a Star Wars film, hopefully Episode VIII since that will be the last one that actress Carrie Fisher will have been a part of.

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2016 was a great year for my personal running goals!  I set a PR in the 5k, 10k, 15k (my only one ever, instant PR!), and half marathon.  I hope to continue that trend in the New Year, but my recent sickness has been getting in the way of my training the past week.  I’m hoping to get one more longish run in today before the Disney Wold Half.

790832_1002_0014January is going to be very tough and hopefully rewarding.  I have a race every weekend of the month.  The week after the Disney World Half I am flying to California to visit Chris, who is there on a job, and to run the Star Wars Half Marathon: The Light Side at Disneyland.  It will be my first run on the other coast.  I plan on reprising my Princess Leia running costume from last Princess and run in honor of the great Carrie Fisher.  I am also excited to earn my first and probably only coast to coast medal!  This is the 10th anniversary of the challenge so with that a spacial new designed medal is given out.  My main reason for wanting the medal is because it has “Partners” on it which means a great deal to me.

The Saturday after Light Side I am running my first race in Tampa with my parents.  We will be participating in the Run for the Fund 5k.  The race  course runs through the Busch Gardens theme park and benefits The Seaworld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. I love running 5ks because they support all kinds of different causes and this is a great one!  We are also told that we will be running by the animals in the park!  lady_track_shack2017

The last weekend of January is the Lady Track Shack 5k.  I ran it last year with my Mum and we will both be running it this year.  It is such a great race for another great cause, women’s health and fitness.  Only women are allowed to run which makes it very different then any other event I partake in.  The race is so much fun and last year the weather was perfect and the new course was amazing!  I’m expecting another great event this year.  It is the 40th anniversary, so there is a special medal.  I can’t wait!

The Star Wars Dark Side 10k will be my last race of the season and I’m hoping to set a PR in that as well.  I can’t wait because it will be my parents’ first 10k!  I know they are going to do great!  The course is different than last year so I am interested to see that when it comes out.  There were a lot of complaints last year because of the point to point course causing a lot of bus related issues.  I had no issues, but I can understand the reason for the change.

The rest of my running year will be spent training for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon.  It will be my first.  I am really nervous about it, but I already found a plan and added it to my Garmin calendar.  I’m hoping for a time under four hours, but I know that just crossing the finish line is going to be rewarding.  I plan on documenting my marathon journey here.  It will be very tough, but so rewarding in the end.  Here’s to a great 2017!

Back in Boston

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Last month Chris and I got back from a much need vacation to Boston.  Boston is one of my favorite cities ever and a reason for that is because it is such an amazing place for running.  Having worked there five times in the past couple years, I know the city pretty well.  It gave me a chance to show Chris around the city that I love so much.  It also allowed me to continue my training runs without getting lost.

On our first night there I decided to run with the Nike Run Club.  If you have been following my blog then you know that I used to run with Nike when I worked in Boston.  They didn’t have the long runs like I used to do, but they did have what they call a home run at 6:34 pm.  The home run is either a 3 mile or 6 mile run.  Our hotel was about a mile from the Nike store so I decided to do the 3 mile run along with running to and from there to make up five training miles.

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When I got to the store, there was a tent outside.  Apparently there are a lot more people that do this run then the long runs because the sidewalk was packed!  I checked in at the tent and was directed to the side where they had water and Gatorade.  I grabbed a Gatorade and drank it right away.  Shortly after that we started.  We were directed to a park a block away where we were led in a warm up.  That took about 15 minutes and then we broke into groups for the 3 and 6 miles.

The course was an out and back along the Charles River Esplanade.  On the way back I missed the turn so one of the pacers caught up with me and we ran back to the store together, chatting the whole way.  I love these Nike runs because the running community there is so great and it gives me a chance to run with others rather than running by myself like I normally do.

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The next morning I got up and did a short run around the river before sightseeing.  The weather was 55 degrees and perfect!  My pace wasn’t the greatest, but I was busy taking in all the sights.  It felt like I never left.  I remembered all the turns, landmarks, and street names.  Boston was still as beautiful as ever.

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I skipped a day of running and then got up at 6:45 am the following day to complete my long run for the week. I had about a month until the OUC Orlando Half so my long run was an hour and fifteen minutes with a ten minute cool-down (my Garmin plans are done by time, unlike using mileage with Nike +).  That time allowed me to run almost nine miles at a 9:33 pace.  Like the other morning the weather was nice and cold!  Even with the cold weather I had to remove my arm warmers after only a couple of hours.  I was surprised that after a year the same water fountains were not working!  Come on Boston!  I did have a very enjoyable  run through the Common and around the river.  Running around the Charles river as the sun rises above the Boston skyline has to be one of my favorite things to do.

Later that day I had the chance to show Chris around the river.  It was extremely cold there on the edge of the water, but he enjoyed seeing the sights.  It was my last time to visit my favorite running spot before we had to leave the next morning.  I know I will be back someday and Boston will be waiting there for me when I return, hopefully as I am crossing the Boston marathon finish-line.  Who knew this Yankee fan would end up loving Boston so much.  Farewell, until next time, my beautiful city.

 

Running Vision

I can’t run for a week and it is killing me! Last Wednesday I underwent LASIK eye surgery and I am not allowed to get sweat in my eyes for a week while my eyes are healing. This will be the longest that I have gone without running since I started, but it will all be worth it in the end.

As long as I can remember I have not been able to see as well as I would have liked and it has been getting worse and worse as time goes by.  I could barely see out of my right eye and my once good left eye has been declining as well. The thought of LASIK surgery had crossed my mind, but I was always scared at the thought of anything going near my eyes.  I couldn’t even have someone put drops in without a struggle!  At the last Track Shack race I worked at, a representative from Hunter Vision noticed the trouble I was having with my glasses in the heat and humidity and tracked me down to tell me about LASIK surgery and he set me up with a free consultation.  I didn’t think it would lead to anything, but it was free so I decided to go and hear what they had to say.  It turned out that I was a candidate for the procedure and I honestly started thinking that it could become a possibility.  After a lot of research and discussions with my family I decided to go for it.

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The surgery went great!  It was one of the weirdest experiences ever, but totally painless and easy!  It has now been a week since then and I couldn’t be happier!  For the first time ever I can see clearly and I never have to bother with glasses again.  I keep thinking about all the things I will be able to see now and how great running will be with my new vision.  It seems like small things but I will now be able to see the starting line stage at Disney races or finish line clocks as I approach.  I never run with my glasses on, so I know that there is so much that I am missing on my runs.  I will be able to see the world in a new way and I can’t wait!

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