2013 Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10-Miler

I’ve been looking forward to this race for a few months. A long, long time ago (like before we had kids), a friend of mine tried to get me and another friend to do this race with her. I told her she was completely nuts because there was no way I could EVER run 10 miles without dying. She was in the middle of training for her first marathon, so 10 miles was no big deal to her. (We ended up doing the Race for the Cure with her instead, and walked almost the whole thing!)

The race fell on my birthday so instead of sleeping in, as I usually do, I convinced Adam to get up bright and early to drop the kids off at my parents house and head to the race site.  It’s held at Evergreen Cemetery, the same place as the St. Patty’s Day 10K, and is absolutely gorgeous.  Seriously, if you’re ever in Jax for one of these races, you should definitely do them.

Andrea (from Once Upon a Run) and her husband met up with us at my parents house when we dropped the kids off and we all headed to the race together.  We got there not too long before the race started (which in my mind was a good thing, because it was COLD!) so we made a quick stop at the port-o-potties, then Andrea and I gave our pants that we’d worn over our skirts to her husband, and we made our way to the starting line.

On the way to the race, I realized I forgot my Garmin on the counter at home.  There wasn’t time to go back and get it, so I was running this race naked.  Sort of.  There were timing clocks at each mile marker so I wasn’t completely on my own, but that required me to do math while running and trying not to trip, which isn’t exactly one of my specialities.

I wasn’t quite sure what my goal should be.  Everyone kept telling me that since I’m in the middle of marathon training, this race would be easy and I’d probably get a huge PR.  Well, I’ve never run a 10 mile race, so it was going to be a PR no matter what.  Here’s what I settled on:

A – Finish with average pace under 9:30
B – Finish with average pace under 9:45
C – Finish and feel good.

I knew going into the race that I didn’t want to really push it because I had my big 20-mile training run the next Saturday and I wanted to be sure that I was ready for it.  I’ve been running most of my long runs at a 10:30-11:30 pace, depending on who I’m doing them with, so I figured 9:30 would be a good A goal — definitely pushing it but not to an outrageous degree.

Andrea and I ran the first three miles together before she broke off to switch over to intervals.  I felt great pretty much the entire time.  I did kind of wish that I’d brought my own water though.  I think there were only 3 water stops and since the summer heat, I’ve gotten used to carrying my own water and having it available whenever I wanted.  I drink a LOT when I run.  I think the guy at one of the water stops got annoyed with me because I stopped and drank 3 cups of water.  They were itty bitty cups that were only half full and I was thirsty!

I got all turned around toward the end and I’m terrible at judging distances, so the last half mile or so was tough.  There was a spot where we ran through a lot of spectators and I figured we must be getting close to the finish line, so I started running as hard as I could.. then I rounded a corner and the finish line was nowhere to be seen.  Oops.  I took a quick walk break to catch my breath, then got back to it and eventually found the finish line.

My chip time was 1:34:53 for an average pace of 9:34.  So close to my A goal!!  That’s okay though, every race can’t be an A goal race.  I’m definitely adding this race to my calendar next year.  I love running local races and the venue for this one is really great.  In case you’re wondering, Adam finished right behind me at 1:35:47 for an average pace of 9:39.  He keeps telling me how he’s so much slower than me, but his race times do not agree.

Inspired Yoga + Run Recap

The week before last, I mentioned in my Five Things Friday post that I was doing the Inspired Yoga + Run with the ZOOMA ladies.  I won a free entry to the contest on a blog, then was offered a free entry since I’m an ambassador for their race next January in Amelia Island.  I was really looking forward to meeting the ladies behind the race, so even though we all know I’m NOT a morning person, I got up before the crack of dawn and made the 45-minute trek out to Jax Beach for this inspiring event.

This was the gorgeous sunrise that greeted me as I turned off of 3rd Street headed toward the beach.  It’s hard not to be in a good mood with a sunrise like that welcoming you.

There was plenty of parking and even though I was almost late (as usual!), I found a spot and was checked in and rolling out my yoga mat within just a few minutes.  I met up with one of my local Moms Run This Town friends (Hi, Jessica!  So great to meet you!!) and we chatted for a bit before the yoga session started.

photo courtesy of ZOOMA

The yoga part of the morning was a 50-minute all-levels yoga flow session, led by Paula Puopolo, the Founder and Co-Owner of Ocean Yoga Center.  I loved her sense of humor and how she kept the atmosphere light and relaxing — sometimes I have a hard time not giggling in yoga sessions.  Perhaps I’m not very connected with my inner yogi or nature or whatever I’m supposed to be connected with.

photo courtesy of ZOOMA

Paula was really great at breaking down the moves and she had a friend on stage demonstrating the moves just in case you weren’t sure what exactly you were supposed to be doing.  It was very laid back, go at your own pace.  Several times, Paula reminded us to do what felt good to us and to take a break if we needed to.  I love that.  I really enjoyed the session and also learned a few new poses to help stretch out my sore hips.  If it weren’t such a long drive for me, I’d seriously do this every weekend.

photo courtesy of ZOOMA

We finished up with the yoga session and had enough time to pack up our mats, make a potty stop, and either stash our stuff in our cars or at the gear check (which I did, it was very quick and organized).  We walked down to the beach and gathered at the starting line for an easy three miles on the beach.

We were encouraged to run, walk, or even dance down the beach — the entire morning was all about doing what felt right to you.  I loved the no pressure, relaxed vibe.

photo courtesy of ZOOMA

It was an absolutely gorgeous morning.  As the sun continued to rise over the ocean, it did warm up a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all.  The breeze felt great and I loved breathing in the fresh, salty air.

You may remember a few weeks ago, I was stressing about running on the beach for Tour de Pain and it all turned out okay.  I didn’t worry about it prior to this morning, but it was totally different.  Since the tide was just coming in, most of the sand was soft and powdery.. great for beach-goers but tough to run in.

Of course the fabulous ZOOMA ladies thought of everything and had inspirational signs along the beach to keep us going.  I ran the first mile or so, then alternated walking and running.  I didn’t stress over time or anything, it was a nice change of pace from marathon training.

We ran a mile and a half down the beach, where there was a water stop, then made our way back to the start.  There was a crowd waiting for us at the finish, cheering us on and encouraging us to head back toward the pavilion, where there were lots of delicious snacks.  They had KIND bars, GOOD bean bars and beans (OMG delicious – go buy them NOW!), Chobani greek yogurt, HINT water, regular water.. so delicious!

photo courtesy of ZOOMA

I grabbed a few snacks and some watermelon HINT (I still prefer my watermelon Nuun, but it was pretty good) and ran into Jenn & Erik –  we chatted for a few minutes (So nice to meet you both!!  Sorry I’m such a spaz and was half out of it!) and I waited for a few minutes to see if I could find Jessica to say goodbye.  We were headed to Orlando as soon as I got home to visit with my in-laws and meet our new baby cousin, so after a quick chat with Allison, who I can’t wait to work with on the ZOOMA Florida race, I took off and headed home.

This really was such an Inspiring event, if it’s coming close to you, I definitely recommend giving it a shot!  If you want to read the ZOOMA recap and see more pictures, you can do that here.

Don’t forget, you can use code FLAAMB5 to join me at ZOOMA Florida and save 10% off the race fee!


Disclaimer — My entry into this event was free, but the opinions are 100% mine.  I truly loved the event and would have absolutely paid the entry fee – worth every penny!

RUN JAX Labor Day Run Race Recap

Blogger fail alert!

I thought I already wrote this Race Recap.. I went looking for it to link it on my Running page and it wasn’t there.. it was sitting in my draft folder. Apparently I loaded all of the pictures and info from my Garmin and that was it. Oops! Oh well, here it is!

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to run a race every month this year.  To be honest, I wasn’t super excited about running this race.  I wanted to sleep in and spend the extra day off relaxing with my family, maybe going to the pool, but definitely not getting up before dawn to run.  It was the only race we could fit into our crazy schedules this month though and I’m really glad I did it.  Even though it was hot, we met up with some good friends and I ended up having a really good time.

We got there a little early since I still needed to pick up my race packet and timing chip, then met up with Jenn and her family.  Adam was planning to run too and the kids were going to stay with my parents, but Braden really wanted to do the kids race, so Adam skipped the race to hang out with him while I ran.  We should have planned better because Jenn skipped running to hang out with her little guy too, but it was such a last minute decision and we didn’t think about one of them running.. another oops :)   Keith and I posed for the obligatory pre-race pictures, then headed off to the start line.

photo thanks to Runs with Pugs

I think we had the cutest cheering squad there.  I may be biased.

photo thanks to Runs with Pugs

The first mile or so was brutal – it was a straight shot down Baymeadows with the sun shining down on us, it was super bright and I was thankful for my sunglasses.  I kept trying to find shady spots on the sidewalk, but finally gave up and just ran down the road.  (I’m on the left in the purple top.)

The course was nice, I love running through the neighborhoods in Mandarin. I love checking out other houses, getting ideas for things to do to ours, especially landscaping. I know, my dad is proud, 15-year-old Kristin who went to Home Depot with him full of complaints is not impressed. It’s funny how much things change as you get older!

photo thanks to Runs with Pugs

It was hot though. Really, really hot. I ended up taking a lot of walk breaks and stopped to stretch three times. I think around mile 2 Adam texted me to see how it was going and I told him I didn’t care what my time was, I just wanted to finish and I may be walking across the finish line.

You know, in hindsight, maybe if I didn’t bail on so many training runs, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Food for thought..

photo thanks to 1st Place Sports

Overall though, I think I did alright. A bit slower than normal, but I’m okay with that. My chip time was 33:18, which was an average pace of 9:31. My splits make me laugh.. I go from a normal 5k pace to a “blah, this isn’t fun” with my second mile, then “ugh, this sucks, I just want to be done” in the third mile, back to “okay let’s do this!!” in my last half mile. Did I mention that? It was a 3.5 mile race instead of a 5k, in honor of the 35 year anniversary of 1st Place Sports, our local running store. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 – 8:43

Mile 2 – 9:44

Mile 3 – 10:29

Mile 4 – 8:37

I love the medals and the shirts (which you will probably see a lot in training pics, I’m actually wearing it now!) for this race — I’ve been eyeing the “RUN JAX” shirts in store and I’m happy to have my own now.

We all watched Keith cross the finish line, then walked over to get some water and cool down before the 1-Mile Fun Run started. The older guys decided to let us run with the little boys, so we went to line up while they went.. well, I’m not sure where they went actually.

photo thanks to 1st Place Sports

The boys were cracking us up. At one point, Aiden was running while pushing Mackenzie in the jogging stroller, it was quite the sight. As soon as they saw a camera, they sprinted and ran like maniacs.. then stopped for a nice leisurely stroll as soon as they passed the camera. I’m not sure where they learned that..

photo thanks to 1st Place Sports

They complained a bit, it was really hot out, but mostly had fun. They were excited to cross the same finish line that Keith and I crossed just a bit earlier and to receive the same medal — even Mackenzie got one for her awesome efforts in the jogging stroller!

photo thanks to Runs with Pugs

I learned a not so fun lesson at the finish line.. watch where you stand. I was standing in an ant bed without realizing it and they covered my shoes, I had ant bites all over my feet and ankles, it was not pleasant. I ended up walking around the store in my socks afterward (everything was 35% off, wahoo!) because I was scared that I didn’t get them all out of my shoes. Blah!

Overall, a fun run, definitely one I’d do again!

Drenched 5k Race Recap

Sometimes I have a habit of underestimating things.  It’s a fault of mine.  My husband can vouch for this.  I was a little worried after the Tour de Pain was over on Saturday that I wasn’t going to be able to do the Drenched 5k.  It was the next morning and I was worn out after the mile sizzler.  I’m stubborn though, so I knew I’d do my best and since Braden was tagging along and I wasn’t planning to race (it’s not a timed event), I figured it would be fine.

Thankfully, it was.

We were a little confused about the start time – it was originally posted as 10AM and then later there was an email saying 9AM.  Somehow I missed the second email, but thankfully Andrea read it so we showed up right on time.

Parking was a breeze, there was a ton of it near the stadium and it was a quick walk over to Metro Park, where the race started and finished.  They had a starting corral set up with water hoses hosing everyone down at the front and it looked like the participants were all having a great time.  We lined up at the back and were quickly on our way.  As soon as we crossed the starting area, we were pretty much soaked and we were all excited to get started and have some fun!

I wasn’t wearing my Garmin, so I’m going to have to guess on distances.. and I’m terrible at judging distances.  I’d guess for the next mile or so, there wasn’t much going on.  We walked and walked and walked.. zero entertainment, zero places to get wet.

Braden started complaining that his legs hurt, so Andrea and I took turns giving him piggy-back rides.  We kept him entertained by talking about Kindergarten starting and high-fiving the police officers along the course.  I decided not to bring the jogging stroller because I figured there’d be so much going on that he wouldn’t want to sit in it and we’d have to constantly stop to get him in and out of it.

When we reached the water stop (there was only one), we were going right past the parking lot so I sent Braden and Andrea off to get cups of water while I ran over to the car to get our water bottles and the jogging stroller.  It’s a good thing I grabbed our bottles, because the water stop was completely out of water.

At that point, we were dead last, so we ran to catch up to the back of the pack.  We caught up quickly and kept running until we rounded a corner and saw the flag indicating a foam zone was up ahead, so we stopped to let Braden get out.  This is what I was expecting.

This is what we saw.

Now, I’m guessing since they have the little PVC fence thing over to the side, like you can see in the race promo picture, that maybe earlier in the race there was a bigger foam zone earlier in the race?  I hope there was anyway.  We were pretty let down when we got there.  At this point there were still a lot of people behind us and there was very little foam.  We made the best of it and had fun anyway!

As we were walking away from it though, I was really beginning to wonder.. I could be wrong, but from what I remember so far all we’d encountered was a few people with big hoses and then a not-so-foamy foam zone and at this point, we were probably halfway done.

The rest of the race, Braden stayed in the jogging stroller and Andrea and I alternated running and walking.  There were a few more stations where we got hosed down and a father/son team with water guns shooting at us.  Braden got a kick out of that.

As we made our way back into Metro Park, we were directed over to another foam zone and Braden thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.  He played in it for a bit and threw bubbles at us, then wanted to try out the slip and slide.

Below is Braden’s “um this thing is broken” face.  There were two guys standing on one side of the slip and slide with hoses ensuring that it stayed wet, but it wasn’t very slippery.  Despite being on a hill, I still had to pull Braden down the slip and slide.  It was covered in sand, so when he got up he was covered in sand and not a happy camper.  Thankfully the guys with the hoses didn’t mind giving him a quick rinse.  He didn’t want to go down it a second time.

Braden was pretty much over the water stuff and said he was hungry, so we grabbed a bottle of water (which wasn’t cold) and half a banana that appeared to have been torn in half instead of cut.  It was strange and I wish I’d thought to take a picture of it.  Braden refused to eat it because of all of the brown gooey stuff on it.

Overall, we had fun.  I’m glad we did it and it’s fun to do more family-oriented fun races with the kids.  I’ll be honest though and say that I’m glad I didn’t pay to run it.  If I had, I would have felt like I didn’t get what I paid for.  Maybe it was because we were toward the back, but I’m a firm believer that the last finisher is just as important as the first finisher and should have the same treatment and perks. I’d do it again, but only if the price was less or the course was improved to provide more than a few big hoses, a not-so-foamy foam zone, one nice foam zone at the end, and a not-very-slippery-or-slidey slip and slide.

Have you ever been let down by a race before?

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