St. Jude’s Music City Half Marathon

If running for hours (3 hours, 1 minute, and 18 seconds in my case) trying to finish 13.1 or 26.2 miles is your thing, you might as well do it at a fun place and for a good cause. That’s why I recommend running the St. Jude’s Marathon in Nashville Tennessee, part of the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series.

IMG_5363

I don’t, however, recommend running it at 4 weeks pregnant. You will have no energy and nausea will likely be your running-mate. All that aside… It was still so much fun!

There are plenty of distraction to get you through, including a competition for cheer sections throughout the race course. Awards are given for creativity with signs, encouragement, and snacks.

Collage 2

In addition to the standard water and Gatorade fuel stops, people were handing out doughnuts, pizza, mimosas, coffee, fruits, and GU energy packs. All of these things help contribute to you getting those necessary second, third and fourth winds…

Collage 1Nashville is a beautiful city, so even if you only (ONLY?!) do the half marathon, you’ll still get to see plenty of beautiful neighborhoods, parks, and historical buildings. The Nashville Downtown Hostel happens to be right across from the finishing point of the race, so in addition to being fun and unique place to stay, it’s also super convenient!

IMG_5452

Keep in mind that a “short walk home” across the bridge is one thing, but a short walk across the bridge after running 13 miles isn’t really all that short at all. Probably the longest, “short” walk you’ll ever take…

There’s also a free post race concert for the runners! Last year it had several stars from the TV show Nashville. If you can find the energy to roll out of bed, it’s a really fun time.

IMG_5462

Last, but not least… you get a fancy medal too.

IMG_5456

So if you’re thinking of doing a distance run, try this one. It’s not that bad (It’s that bad), but it’s worth it! 🙂

Starting 2014 Off With A Win!

IMG_3464

Somehow, I placed 1st for my category in a race I did over the weekend. I don’t know how it happened, I’m just excited that I got a medal.

The Dolphin Dash is a cute little race out on Anna Maria Island, with the proceeds going to the local elementary school. Around the halfway point, I ended up running next to a little girl who was by herself and seemed on the verge of giving up. She slowed down to a walk so I said, “Come on. You’re over halfway through. You can’t stop now!” And just like that, I had a new best friend. The second half of the race was spent talking about movies and music, instead of thinking about running and how much distance was left. It was a nice change. As hard as it is to talk while you’re running, it actually makes the time go by pretty quickly.

IMG_3458

I learned two things from this race:

1) If you need a confidence boost, sign up for a small race. Even if your time isn’t any faster than normal, you might place, which is always fun.

2) If you’re considering saying something encouraging to someone, you should just go ahead and say it. You don’t know how much the person needs it, you might make a new best friend and, lastly, you might get an awesome finish line photo out of it. 🙂

So did anyone make any New Years resolutions? The Dolphin Dash was the start of mine. I’m hoping to run one 5k per month with the two friends who ran this race with me. They also placed! Great start for a resolution!

Medals copy

In other news:

23 Days to Austin

69 Days until Nashville

72 Days until the Music City Marathon

Happy New Year!!!

Bicycle Commuting For A Month

That’s right! 31 whole days of only using my bicycle for the daily commute to work. In other words, 22.2 miles round trip, or a little over 500 miles in total. Not only did I get in my exercise, but I saved money on gas and I got to be outside to watch the beautiful sunrise every morning. Here are a few tips that I’d suggest if you want to try to ditch your car, like I did.

IMG_1545

1. Go to bed! When the alarm goes off in the morning, that’s where the biggest struggle always is. You might have every intention of getting up in the morning, when it’s the night before, but you’ll think of every excuse possible to justify not getting out of bed when the time comes. Take away the excuse of, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night.” It’s one less argument you’ll have with yourself the next morning.

IMG_1544

2. Be mindful of the weather! I don’t just mean the rain either. Cycling in the rain is nothing compared to pedaling home with a headwind! Seriously, it’s amazingly irritating. The weather variations we have in Florida are just really hot, hot and raining. All of which call for shorts and a t-shirt. Too much wind, on the other hand, calls for leaving the bicycle at home and driving yourself to work. When the going gets tough, the Tough get going. Whether or not it is windy dictates whether or not the Tough take the car or a bicycle.

IMG_1508

3. Before you try cycling to work, drive your route and make sure it’s safe for the entirety of your journey. Bike paths haven’t always been on the forefront of all city-planners minds. You don’t want to get halfway to your destination and discover you can either ride your bike in the street dodging semis or on the grass dodging potholes.

IMG_1506

4. If you’re going to use headphones, which I do, don’t use ear-buds or anything noise cancelling. If you’re listening to music or an e-book to pass the time, you definitely still always want to know what’s going on around you. Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention.

IMG_1398

5. Give yourself plenty of time, especially in the morning. You don’t want to start your day full of stress about being on time, or arrive to work covered in sweat because you were pedaling like a crazy person. Get up early enough so you can take your time, enjoy the morning, stop to take some pictures and still have time to cool off and settle in once you get to work.

IMG_1520

If I can go a month without taking my car to work, I can run a marathon, right? Time to start training!

Now park your car, get out the bicycle and start building those leg muscles!

The Birthday Runner

I started this series to show that doing things alone can be a lot of fun. It gives you more opportunity to me such great people! Like yesterday, when I ran the DeSoto 5k. I arrived probably 45min early and then the waiting began. I had two choices. I could either stand around awkwardly, pretending to do things on my phone, or I could hang out with this girl…

IMG_0191

She’s trying to run 30 races this year! Pretty impressive. Plus, she’s about to start grad school in Texas, even more impressive! A simple, “Hey, have you run this race before?” and you’re introduced! So stop wishing you could be doing something and go out and do it! You only live once, right?