Month: December 2015

How to Get Seeded For The Gate River Run

Are you making your New Year’s resolutions yet?    I make them too.      But unlike other people who want to eat healthy, pay off debt, or travel to an exotic place; I want to get seeded for the Gate River Run 15k.

Every December 31st I register for this race that has been around since 1978.  I ran my first one in 2009.  My husband was running this iconic race since the early 90’s-I was pregnant with our first son when he ran the infamous 1993 River Run that got rescheduled because of the storm of the Century(I had Daniel a couple of days later).  So it’s nearly December 31st and I’m stressing…why?  I’ve had a year of injuries and my races have been few and slower than I normally run.  I’ve been a seeded runner since 2010.  That means I run with runners that run my same pace ,so I’m not weaving and dodging runners who run with jogging strollers or whose pace doesn’t match mine.  I’ve done that before and heard horror stories from other runners who’ve experienced it too.

Okay time to look at old race results and hope the race I’m picking is USTAF certified.    Since I ‘ve been injured this year(first with a tendon tear and then with a broken meta tercel) this is going to be difficult.  No, they do not take training runs. I was under the impression that they only accepted races after the 2015 River Run, but luckily no…January 1, 2015 thru March 2016!  Okay anything after March was awful, but I had a good race in February(Donna 5k-I had come in 3rd for my AG! even though I was in pain pushing it).  Under a certain time meant I could get into either blue, red, green, orange, or black.  Under 29:00 meant orange corral for me(27:41 was my qualifying time), but I’ll take it!  Time to register!

If you want to qualify for one of the seeded spots, go to the 1stplacesports.com website and click on the Gate River Run link.  The website gives you all sorts of information about the race.  Click on the Top Seeded 5000 link and look at the times needed to qualify for the spots.  Make a goal(my goal has been to get into the red section under 24:00 for a 5k-close but not there yet), start building a base(that means run/walk more than once a week), try speedwork(Jax Galloway meets Wednesdays, JTC meets Wednesdays a.m & p.m., PRS meets at various times and weekdays,& Enjoy Fitness meets Tuesday nights), take rest days, eat healthy, and enjoy the run.  There are several Gate River Run Training groups you can sign up with too(you don’t have to go it alone).  Don’t forget to sign up for some local races-your time needs to be proven.  Give it a go.  

 

Our Last Race of 2015. No that was not my 5k time

 
1 Mile Fun Run-run more and it does get fun!
  
Remember it’s not just about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

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Race Recap JTC’s Last Gasp CC Race

 

Finishing strong

We have been running JTC’s Last Gasp since 2009.  We love this after Christmas race because not only does it take place in our alma mater, JU, but we love the challenge of a cross country course.  This race has been run since 1977 so it’s a true classic.

The Smith family piled in the Honda and headed to the JU campus at 1:00.  The kid’s 1 mile free run begins at 1:30 p.m. so we wanted to get there in plenty of time to sign up Jesse and David.  JTC is celebrating their 40th year as a run club so the entry fee was $3!  There were a lot of people in the parking lot and there was a longer than usual line to pick up their race number and t-shirt(we usually get a sweatshirt).  Then…bathroom break!  The temperature gauge read 85 degrees!  Ugh…FL winter.
1:29 p.m the 1 mile fun run began. I walked/ran with Jesse and David around the fitness course overlooking the St Johns River.  Jesse ran ahead and me and David gritted our teeth and kept moving forward, slowly keeping ahead of a tenacious 4 year old.  Then the finish… water, finisher ribbon , and t-shirt(Jesse-12:00, David-13:16).

Then it was time for the 5k.  Chris and me were run/walking (I was doing 1:30/:30 intervals & Chris was doing :30/:30 intervals).  There was a breeze by the river but the sun was out in full force.  I started in the back but my foot felt okay so I was off.  The course included the fitness track, golf course, the hill of JU, woods, around the soccer field, some more trails with a bridge crossing, and then finish at the amphitheater.  Luckily no snakes this time(I’ve had snake encounters before at JU-black racers and even a copperhead,eek!).   I finished under 35:00 and Chris under 42:00!  

Then the after party…we usually we have pizza and beer at The Scoreboard, but this year we convened at the Frances Bartlett Kinne Center.  The pizza was good, the water was cold , and there was cake!  Once again a great race.  Give it a try next year if you’re in town after Christmas, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Smiths at the race
  
Go Chris!
  
Nice finish

 
Remember it’s not just about the destination but the journey.

Mercedes

Race Recap of Jeff Galloway 13.1 Virtual Run

On December 12th and 13th the Barb 5k and Jeff Galloway 13.1 race took place in Atlanta GA.  This is the 2nd year.

I signed up in early September to run the Virtual race because I knew we would be traveling to Cocoa Beach for the Space Coast half in late November so going to Atlanta would probably not be a possibility.  Last year we(Chris & me) ran from Jax Beach to Atlantic Beach for our virtual run.  This year I wondered if I would be able to run at all. I’ve dealt with  75 days of a fractured left foot.  I walked the Space Coast half and the Reindeer Run Half so I knew I could handle the distance.  However, I did receive good news from my doctor at Southeast Orthopedics. I could walk /jog for 30 minutes-2:00/:30!  I was ready for this race.

4:30 a m came early and I got up for a lite breakfast before heading out.  The Jax Galloway group was running 23 miles/10 miles at the Jax/Baldwin Rail Trail so that was my race course.  I was headed to my usual route across the Dames Point Bridge over  to I-295, but police officers had it completely blocked off-no go.  Ended up going I-10 to Commonwealth Ave, and got there in time to jump into the bathroom line.  Then…time to run.  My goal, finish.

Did I happen to mention the weather?  44 degrees at 6:00 a m and I had my favorite green JU shorts with two layers on top, ear muffs, and my bright pink gloves.  My legs were not cold but my hands were-brr!  

It was pitch black when we all started,  I decided to start at the back because I’m a bit competitive and I was afraid I would not walk/run wisely.  I was able to run ahead of  three groups and ended up running alone with my jingle bells on my shoe for company.  Soon enough I saw the sky getting light and the sun peeking over the horizon-warmth?  No.  Lots of shade on the trail.  

The trail for the most part is a tree lined canopy with signs of farm animals and brief glimpses of wildlife.  I was hoping, but so far only cows and chickens.  Then I saw some marathon groups coming back my way including my group-The Pink Musketeers!  I gave my co leader Julie a big hug and kept going the other way.

Then I was at the halfway point…6.57 miles and it was 7:40a m .  My goal was now to finish at 3:00 hours.  Time to turn around and head back.  Legs felt fine, foot felt good too.  Hands numb-I hate that.  I started seeing a lot more runners and cyclists on the trail, but no wildlife.  Then…a flock of wild turkeys going into the woods and more in a grassy field on a nearby farm,score!  

There it was…I saw the trailhead and parking lot just up ahead.  I finished at 2:59:58 to the sounds of Christmas music provided by our very own Dennis(Galloway co program director)!  I had done it! My streaker status was intact.  Thoroughly enjoyed the run this year.  Next year…Atlanta!

 

Love this view of the Rail Trail

 
That’s a wild turkey!
  
 
Wild Turkeys-flock…domestic turkeys-rafter

 

In the books!

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

Mercedes  

A Teacher’s Christmas List

It’s that time of year again , hustle and bustle of the holidays. As a teacher, we have loads to do-teaching kids the basic core subjects while trying to interject some semblance of fun as well as take care of the needs of our own families.  Some people embrace it and some people have a hard time juggling and act/feel like Scrooge.

So here is my Dear Santa letter for teachers everywhere.

Dear Santa,

Hi!  How are you?  How are Mrs. Claus and the elves?  I hope you are all doing good!  Tell the reindeer hi too.  I am a teacher and I have kind of a long list but after you read it, maybe you could grant some of the things on it.  

Here is my teacher Christmas List.

I would like time.  Time to do Science and Social Studies everyday.  Time to do fun crafty things with my students.  Time to answer all questions and get to know my students.  Time to sing with them.  Time to read fun books.  I never have enough of it.

I would like patience-lots of it.  With my job riding on test scores, I feel totally stressed and my stress boils over to the students.  After all they are six.  Patience when they don’t get their work done, patience when I’m asked for the umpteenth time what they’re suppose to do, patience when they lose their focus and do terrible on an assessment.  I need patience badly.

I need an understanding heart.  When they come in hours late or never turn in their home learning, I need to be understanding that sometimes my students don’t have any control on what happens at home.  I just have to smile and keep going because that’s what they need from me.  Understanding lets them know that I am okay with what happens and roll with it.

I need the green stuff(money). Of course I do.  Teachers do so much and delve into their own pockets to provide.  My cash flow has had to go to go to other things.  I need money to buy snacks for my students, treats for the treat box, for anything instructional that I don’t have in my classroom and not worry about if there will be a deficiency in my bank account. 

Finally I  need an educational muse. I need to inspire and motivate my students with learning that is relevant to their lives.  Ancient civilizations, opinion writing, word problems?  Educational Muse help me make the light bulb come on!   Help me get my students want to come to school and groan when it’s Friday.  

Have a Merry Christmas and  I hope my gifts arrive just in time for a brand new rest of the school year in January.

Sincerely,

Teachers everywhere

 

Making a difference everyday
  
It’s the small things that make me happy

Remember it’s not just about the destination but the journey.

Mercedes

 

Race Recap of The Reindeer Run 1/2 Marathon

i feel very e-lite today

My streaker status is intact!  Trust me I was worried this year because of my foot injury.  We picked up our race packets on Friday at 1st Place Sports for the first time since we usually have to pick these up on race day.  I do not like to rush on race day, so this a plus and  I really hope this continues.  We love the long sleeve soft race shirt along with antlers and bells in our goodie bag!
The race is held on Sunday morning, so since Amelia Island is about an hour away we left at 5 :30 a m.  The weather in Jacksonville was mild so a light jacket at the most so I thought.  We also had our tin of cookies because milk and cookies are served at the end of the race.  AIR members bring store bought or homemade cookies for the fun.  Traffic was light and I got lucky with parking this year!  Quick trip to the bathroom for my pre race ritual and then meet up with my Jax Galloway friends.  Chris was planning to PR, but then decided to stay with me since I tried running( only 30 seconds) but he was adamant that I should not run.  He was keeping me honest.

It was super windy near Main Beach for the first 3 miles, but once we went into Fort Clinch and the protective tree cover the race became pleasant.  

 

The bridge to Old Town

Each mile marker is a decorated deer.  We saw Santa deer, patriotic deer, hunter deer, jaguar deer, and even bikini deer-so fun!  Great volunteers manning the water stops with plenty of bathrooms.  Fire rescue/Police on bikes or scooters were out there making sure everyone was okay.  We were practically the last walkers out there, but no one packed up and left.  We were very thankful for them and their enthusiasm.  We finished with a 30 minute PR from Space Coast.  Medal was gorgeous!  And there was still milk and cookies left!  

If you prefer a shorter distance, there is a 5k and 1 mile fun run.  Age group awards include a  Reindeer Run ornament for 5k or a hat for the 1/2 marathon.    It is a small race but you’ll love it!  I’ll be back next year hopefully healthy and ready for a beautiful race. 
 

Jax Galloway representing at The Reindeer 1/2 marathon Run
 
It’s not just about the destination but the journey,

Mercedes

Race Recap of Festival of Lights 5k…

 

Visiting with Santa after 5k

This race holds a lot of good memories for me, it was my first race back in 2008.  My younger son Ethan had begged & pleaded with his Dad, who was the runner in the family, to run with him and couldn’t convince him.  Since he was only 11 someone had to run with him, so guess who was volunteered.  I didn’t run but walked and finished at 48:00, and got bitten by the running bug.  Haven’t stopped running except this year of course-the year of the running injuries.  Arrgh!

Anyway I signed up months ago for me and David(another 11 year old son) to run.  My two other sons didn’t want to run but they came along.  It was a misty and windy day so I wore long sleeves and my favorite Athleta running skirt with festive red & white socks.  We also get bells for our shoes so of course I’m wearing those.  Found parking relatively easily and made our way to San Marco square.  The 1 mile fun started when we got there.  We visited the Southside Baptist Church because they were having a nativity display-really cool!  After that we went to the petting zoo with pigs, cows, chickens, goats, and other farm animals.  The boys loved that!  After a quick visit to the no wait porta potties, it was time to line up and go!  
 

Get ready, set, go!
 
We walked down Atlantic to Marco Place then down Hendrick’s Ave…the course was a little different but we still went down beautiful River Rd our way lighted by luminaries & runners wearing Christmas lights.  Lots of residents out cheering us on too!

 

On River Rd
 
Then we were back at San Marco Square!  Our time…51 minutes!  Slow but I’m okay with it.  Then after a water bottle, off to 1st Place Sports and the JTC social(membership is only $20 annually & you get to enjoy some nice perks).  It was BBQ this year-yum!  And of course Sweets by Holly cupcakes-great recovery eats!

This is a must do race!  Hope to see you next year.

  

David and Black Beauty the pig

Remember it not just about the destination but the journey,

Mercedes

 

Race Recap of Space Coast 1/2 marathon

Road trip!  We all went down to Cocoa Beach on Saturday morning.  Our plan was to get to the expo early and then relax for the rest of the day.  We got there around 10:30 a m and found a real parking spot!! Last year parking was at a premium so this was awesome.    We picked up our race numbers and correct size shirts with no wait.  Fast and efficient.  Went through the small expo after picking up a couple of souviners including my 3rd  tervis cup.  Not much else that interested us so we left the expo.  Then a quick pic and we were gone.

Our cameraman’s selfie

We then acted like tourists and had a picnic lunch at a beachfront park and went to Ron Jon’s Surf Shop.  Afterwards we checked in at Country Inn and Suites-what a difference from last year.  Beautiful view from our room of Port Canaveral.

There were a lot of Jax Galloway friends in Cocoa Beach, so a large group of us decided to do our carbo loading at Olive Garden.  It took us awhile to get in, seated, and eat but it was yummy!  Then back to the hotel and watching the game and getting our things together for an early wake up call-4:15 a m bus ride.

 

Flat Mercedes is ready

I got to bed kind of late but the night before a race I can never sleep.  I think I got 2 hours of sleep-ugh!  3:25 came too early but I did make some coffee and ate a banana from the hotel’s breakfast to go bag.  Buses were waiting-school buses…wow, really? Quick ride to the start and we were there!  My husband and me were doing the half this year so our race began at 6:00(marathoners began at 6:30).  The waiting game began.  Temperature were mild and promised to get warmer as the day went on. We walked around and talked to some Jax Galloway friends, and check our race bags and make our way to our starting corral.  I felt like a salmon swimming upstream as I made my way to the 4:00 pace for the half.  No running for me so I was walking the whole thing.  Final countdown and then-we’re off!

 

3:30 for me? Uh no.
  
We had our Galloway beeper set at 1:30/:30.  1:30 was our slow walk, :30 was our speedy walk.  After awhile we got confused so we did what felt good.  Anyone that tells you this course is flat is lying to you but it’s scenic and there were so many people out there cheering for us!  Love the support on this course!    I saw numerous friends running the other way and it was killing me not to run but Chris made sure I walked-no running.  I think that’s one of the reasons he stayed with me so I wouldn’t be tempted.  Here are some of the sights…

 

sunrise!
  
Signs of Christmas is on its way
  
The Lady is always watching
 
Then the marathoners were heading our way!  It was sunny & very warm, boy did I feel bad for them.  We saw several Jax Galloway friends then too & wished them well and made our way back.  When we reached Cocoa Riverfront Park, I decided to run in the last tiny part to the finish line(yes against doctor’s orders but I figured live dangerously for .05 of a mile).  At the end we got our Discovery Medal, our finisher towel, and our Milky Way Galaxy 3 year medal!

 

Look at all that bling

Then…refreshments!  Pancakes and oj-recovery eats.  After picking up some other post race goodies, back on our school buses and then clean up.  I know I said never again, but I think we’ll be back after all it’s the 45th year and Endeavor!  See you in 2016!

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

Mercedes