Month: August 2015

Race Recap-Summer Beach Run

SBR Bling

I’ve decided to showcase some of our Jacksonville runs.  We have some really good ones.  Here’s my first race recap.

This past Saturday August 22nd was the 51st Summer Beaches Run.  It’s one of the signature events of the JTC(aka Jacksonville Track Club), which is run at Jacksonville Beach.    It is a 5 mile run from the Jacksonville Beach Pier to the border between Duval and St Johns counties-2.5 mile out and 2.5 mile back.  Usually it’s a family affair because of the after party with Tijuana Flats.

We arrived at 5p.m. for a decent parking spot at the Beaches Museum since finding one later might be a trick.  The boys were in their bathing suits to enjoy the surf while Mom ran in 95 degree weather.  The pre and post race activities were at the Seawalk Pavilion, where there were various vendors such as Orange Theory Fitness, Rita’s Italian Ice, and 26.2 with Donna.  We made our way to the Donna tent to meet up with some friends.  Plenty of porta potties for last minute breaks, water, and Gatorade was also available for hydration needs.  A racous band kept us entertained while we waited for the 6p.m start.

We stayed in the shade of our tent as long as possible even though several announcements were made to get lined up on the beach.  Making our way around 5:45ish, we lined up in front of the three big ROTC units running too.  It was clear and sunny and full of beachgoers with plenty of hard packed sand.  After a local elite runner sang the National Anthem, we were ready to run/walk at 1:30/:30.  Just a little side note-we were Not racing having running that morning 12 miles/20 miles respectively , we were aiming to finish this run upright with a smile.

  

Running with my BRF’s
  
We started running and already we could feel the hot wind blow off the ocean-hair dryer hot-but at least the sun was at our backs.  First mile and a water stop, awful water though.  I was feeling not so wonderful but Julie was hanging on admirably so I kept my discomfort to myself.  Mile two and the best water stop with wonderful Marathon High volunteers, a non profit group who train high school students to run a half marathon(26.2 with Donna half).  Huffing and puffing even with walk breaks, tough it out? Hmm… We decided to get to the turnaround and then walk briskly to the finish.  Stayed ahead of the ROTC  units for about a quarter mile but got passed.  We saw countless running friends toughing  it out and going on to PR’s.  As for us, we enjoyed a wonderful time talking and cheering people on.  We ran the last quarter mile to finish at 1:02:28.  Water in hand I headed back to the Seawalk Pavilion ,where I received my beautiful medal,and then got in the very long food line to get my free soft taco and chips with salsa.  Others went to get the free beer, I opted for just water.  After eating and hydrating, we made our way back to the car and home.  Now I know why I always look forward to this race; beach, food, and a chance to be with friends.  Looking forward to next year😎

   

My lucky number

Remember it’s about the journey not just the destination,

Mercedes

 

School Year, Beginnings…

if you noticed my blog is runswimbiketeach ,and I’ve written about swimming and touched on running and cycling but not much about teaching.  Well the start of a brand new school year is nearly upon us, so this particular piece will be about getting ready for KTE 2015-16 year.  Alright we’re traveling back in time…

Once upon a time I was a school media specialist where I saw every class and taught students information and Internet skills, I checked out books in between, shelved books, repaired and loaded laminator,  was the sponsor for our morning news show WKTE, was the textbook manager, was responsible to repair  equipment, and ordered books and audio visuals to replace worn ones.  Wow! Looking back, that was a lot of hats I was wearing.  

Then I had to make a choice…go to two different schools a week or become a classroom teacher.  I chose a first grade classroom.  My first class are going into middle school this year.  

This year we have a new principal, new curriculum, new team members , and a new theme- Together We Will Create a Masterpiece.  Our school had been transformed! 

  

Our recycled sculpture

I am sorely in need of inspiration for my own classroom.  I am not a Pinterest Diva, a crafty queen, and I refuse to spend money and take credit from other teacher’s ideas.  If I can’t DIY then forget it.  School Aids had nothing related to art for my bulletin board…creative muse where are you?!  Other teachers were using a play on words with “Masterpiece smart”-hmm.  I decided that my first graders could be smarties!  Great!  I had a title for my board, but how to make it stand out.  Creative muse, just a little bit more creative juice-please!  Here’s the result…

   
   
Pretty cool huh?!  Then my classroom started coming together.

 

reading knook

 
who’s here today…
  
 
Guided Reading area

 

School year 2015-16 begins tomorrow!  Ready, set, go!

Remember it’s about the journey not the destination…

Mercedes
 

 Searching for the Real Florida

I had been working my school summer camp for some extra money, you see I am a first grade teacher and we may have Summers off but we don’t get paid.  I worked the field trip days along with two other days and we got to visit The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, but then we also visited tourist oriented parks such as Adventure Landing at Jax Beach and Dave and Buster’s in Jax.  Then we went to our amusement park field trip ,Legoland in Winter Haven FL.  Some background information just in case you’re not familiar with Legoland, an amusement park all about the popular connecting cubes called Legos.  There are miniature landmark cities made out of Legos, a center to build and learn how to build with Legos , and then rides.  However, Legoland was actually a well known Florida attraction decades before known as Cypress Gardens.  It had beautiful gardens and water ski shows and as a child I would go there every year with my parents.

Cypress Garens aka Legoland today

I was sad when I realized Legoland was actually Cypress Gardens-it was not the same.

So I decided I was going to show my sons the “real” Florida when we went on vacation this summer.  We started off in Tarpon Springs, known as the sponge capital of the world, it is a small fishing village with a Greek flavor.  We ate authentic Greek food and then went to the Sponge Museum to enjoy a 1960’s movie about the industry and toured the aged exhibits.  Did I mention it was free?  That’s a plus. 

 

Sponge Diver Tarpon Springs FL

The boys loved the small town feel.

The next day we went to a Florida favorite since 1947, Weeki Watchee.  At one time visitors could watch the mermaids swim in the underwater theater but it fell on hard times, luckily the Florida State Park system took over this park.  We walked in and went down to the River Cruise.  There we rode a pontoon boat and enjoyed going down the spring run .  We saw fish, old cypress trees, and even a mother bald eagle which was a rare treat.  After that we changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed the 72 degree springs at Bucaneer Bay.  The water was cold, there were two slides for the thrill seekers in our group( yes I went down one and lost my googles), and got to swim with a mother manatee and her calf.

 Crystal clear Springs at Weeki Watchee  

  Enjoying our river cruise
Tampa offered more tourist attractions such as Lowry Zoo and The Florida Aquarium but even though there were sections with kiddie thrill rides, it was still a good deal when you purchase the Zooquarium pass.  The Florida Habitat at the zoo was nice with black bears, a red wolf, and a manatee rehab center.  The Florida Aquarium has a great Florida exhibit showing wetlands and ocean.

 

The Wetlands at the Florida Aquarium
  
The ocean at The Florida Aquarium
  
At the Lowry Zoo

Florida has so much to offer.  Get out there and skip the tourist attractions.   Enjoy  the real Florida. I’m glad we did.

Remember it’s not just about the destination it’s about the journey, 

Mercedes 

Swimming 101 continued…

Bubbles are my friends right?  Yep.  I  started refining my breathing skills and then my time in the pool.  20 minutes…35 minutes and at least 2x’s a week of straight swimming.  Now working on my swimming technique.  Breaststroke seemed the easiest except my husband said I looked like I was dog paddling especially when I grew tired.  Freestyle was the hardest because I was always out of breath when I did a lap.  And May was getting closer.

Then, a major setback.   

My torn tendon on my right foot because of overcompensation.
I had had plantar fasciitis for about three years on and off and lately it had gotten worse.  I had always worn Brooks and had switched to Newtons to run differently because the heel pain was unbearable.  Well when I started in the Newtons, I was running on my mid foot and rolling my foot outward.  Long story short, I would not be able to run or even bike for at least 8-12 weeks and would have to go to PT twice a week.  No Tri for me.  I was disappointed beyond belief.   

    
 Cheering on my husband as he completes his first Tri
No running meant more time in the pool for exercise, which means I got more comfortable in the water.  I just did my first OWS(open water swim) and was okay.  Am I a Michael Phelps?  No way but I am more confident with my swimming and I feel like it’s not a good workout week unless I swim at least 2-3 times a week.  Injured? Need something new in your workout routine?  Give swimming a try.  One important piece of advice, hydrate.  You may be surrounded by water but you can’t drink it so have a water bottle by your lane.  Want to measure how far you’ve swum?  Waterproof Garmins, I haven’t personally tried it but I’ve seen other swimmers with them on.  I kept track the old fashion way-counting my laps & paying attention to the clock  on the pool wall.  I also forgot that measuring your distance is like the track distance-400 m=1/4 mile, 800m=1/2 mile and so forth.  The most I’ve done is 950m and working towards that 1600m! 

It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

 

Swimming 101

Not so long ago I was a runner exclusively.    

What's missing?
A typical week in my Jeff Galloway training journal

I did nothing else.  Then in January I signed up for my first triathlon.  Okay. I can run…oh yeah there’s cycling & egads!  SWIMMING.  

I had until early May to refine and start training for all three.  I had a bike.  More about that later.  

It’s January.  Where am I going to swim?  I am no longer a member of the Y so other option…the ocean?  At 62 degrees?!  No wetsuit.  Uh no.  Time to look at other options.  We joined the Jewish Community Alliance(JCA) because they were running a special for teachers in January and most importantly, they have an indoor pool.

Indoor pools are a wonder.  Heated, smaller, and out of the elements-perfect.  Now I needed the gear.  Bathing suit(check), goggles(honey can I borrow yours?), and swim cap(honey…?).  Okay, ready set swim.

I have to swim 300 meters for my tri(12 laps).  First time I went I swam 4 laps(100m), 2 laps floating.  I was happy if I was able to swim for 15-20 minutes.  I needed help.  Time to go to the library.  I checked out numerous triathlon books  and then swimming books.  Pictures are a big help. 

 

one of the many books I read. Highly recommended.

I tried the many suggestions in all these books.  Still out of breath every time I did freestyle swimming, which is suppose to be the most efficient.  Hmm, still anxiety-ridden and time was ticking.  

A triathlon coach in town was holding an hour swim clinic at the Cecil Aquatic Center and after struggling for an hour to keep up with everyone else I realized I needed more “free” help.  I enlisted my husband Chris, who has been swimming since he was old enough to walk.  He watched my kick, my stroke, my breathing.   My breathing…I was ,well ,kind of.
Let me explain.  When I learned how to swim at 12, I was told to hold my breath and then come up for air.  Okay.  Except when swimming I ended up gasping for air, which was not good.  I needed to exhale underwater and inhale when I come up.  Bubbles were my friend except I freaked out every time I exhaled underwater.  How would I handle my anxiety?  My swimming friends told me to relax.  Easier said then done.  What to do?
It’s about the journey not the destination,

Mercedes
  

Testing My Blog Legs

Well I knew it was bound to happen, I’m starting a blog.  Yes, everyone has a blog you might say…what do you have to offer?  Well that’s a good question.  Let me give you some background information about me.  I’m an avid runner who started running seven years ago, I was injured and couldn’t run so I started swimming and cycling, and I’ve been a teacher in one form or another for over ten years.  I don’t claim to be an expert but then who is?  I do coach 3rd-5th grade girls to run and I am a Jax Galloway group leader.  Does that make me an expert now?   Of course not!  However I am excited to share what I’ve learned throughout my time running, swimming, & cycling after all I am a teacher.  Teachers love to share what they know.  I hope you’ll join me on this journey.  If you like what you read, share my blog with your friends.

 

My view of the skyline running the Acosta Bridge

It’s all about the journey not the destination…
Mercedes