Month: April 2016

Pursuing that Grand Prix 

I am one of the newest members of the JTC Racing Team, not sure if you knew that.  What does that mean?  When I run a 1st Place Sports Race, I represent one of the oldest Track Clubs in Jacksonville(they’ve been around since the running heydays of the 1970’s).  You’ll spot us at races: white headsweats visor and black tank/shirts with blue JTC Racing Team  letters on it.  So I’ve run two races representing, I don’t count the Gate River Run because I was so not feeling that one, St Paddy’s 10k and now Run to the Sun 8k. 

Lucky number for my 1st Run to the Sun

Run to the Sun is put on by the Florida Striders in Orange Park FL behind the old Jacksonville Kennel Club NKA Best Bet on River Road.  I got there early picked up my chip and did a warm up on the course.  We were suppose to have a lot of rain so I was prepared-hat.  The sunrise was brief but specatular over the St John’s River and then clouds and wind rolled in.  8 a.m. rolled around , we had the National Anthem,I was around my other team members at the start line, then a pop of a starting gun and I was alone.  Not literally because I was running with at least over 200 other runners/walkers, but did I mention my JTC race team members are fast?  8:01, they are standing next to me, 8:02 they are down River Road and I can’t see them.  Ok, my goal top 10 in my age group, run like zombies are chasing you.  The road is pock marked and narrow but what a view!  It reminded me of the road in Cocoa Beach we run down in the Space Coast Marathon-run but step carefully.  The wind is wicked, so no digital mile markers instead we have volunteers telling us our time each mile-love it, old school!

1st mile, 8:25!  Sun is out and there is no shade-ugh.  Luckily we turn right and thankfully shade for at least 1/2 a mile then water stop,yes please, my mouth feels dry.  Mile 2, 17:39!  Can I hang on?  Wind  is whipping like crazy and pushing us this way and that.  Past the start line, that’s so mean, but at least another water stop to quench my thirst and onward north up River Road.  Then to the turnaround and back to the finish.  43:35!  Good enough for 4th in my AG. 55 points towards Grand Prix-woohoo!   Fastest was the 1st mile, slowest was the 4th mile(9:03)-I’m blaming it on the water stop.  

After some water, a sample strawberry Smoothie  King smoothie, and small talk with some other runners that I knew, it was time to head home.  Highly recommend this run for the smooth organization, small homey race, and a gorgeous race course.  If you’re chasing Grand Prix points, then this a must race.  If you’re looking for a nice Spring race that won’t break the bank then be sure to add this race to your calendar.

Notice no bling…old school is cool!

  

Look what I found this week!
  
Mercedes

 

I TRIed and I did!

It is zero dark thirty, my bike is up on the rack, my stuff for cycling and then running is laid out neatly, and I got to use the restroom…jitters?  It’s cold and all I have on is a Tri kit…jitters?  Probably.  1 hour to go.  Why am I doing this?!

Rewind one year earlier, I had signed us up for My 1st Tri happening in May at Queens Harbor, we had become members of JCA so we had access to a heated open year round pool, I had bought a second hand road bike, and then-torn tendon.  End of my season, Chris went on to complete his first Tri and I was support crew.

Fast forward…now Chris is my support crew and cheer squad. My BRF Julie is there too!  This Tri was put on by Ultimate Racing at Jax Country Club and designed to be for first timers.  300m swim, 8 mile bike ride, and a 5k run.

 

I am ready to swim-heated pool is warmer than the air

After a brief meeting by the pool, we line up in order and get ready to get the green light.  I am practically last, thankfully as I don’t want to get kicked in the head.  78, go!  79,(that’s my number), go!  I’m off!  Back and forth, under…we do this 6 times.  And I’m out and heading towards T1!  Dry feet…socks, helmet,shirt, shoes, sunglasses, watch, & water.  

8 miles and I actually pass people!  At one point I am up to 18mph-no way!  Home owners are out walking their dogs, cutting the grass, and cheering us on.  Back for T2 , and gearing up for the run.  People are finishing up but my mind is to see if I can do good with tired legs from my race yesterday.  Bye bye bike, helmet and off I go!  
 

I am ready to run

I pass more people!  Really?  It’s got to be the adrenaline.  1 mile, 2 miles-1.1 to go!  Push up that last hill-heartbreak hill?-and there’s the finish chute!  I did it!  I finished at 1:13:49(10 min swim, 27 min bike, and 27:28 min run, T1/T2 4:00 min).  Not bad for a first timer.  I get water but even though there is delicious Flame Broiler, I can’t eat.  I find out I placed in my AG(3rd!  Oh yeah, there were only 3 of us-ha,ha), so collect my medal and time to pack up and go home.

 

I placed for my first!
  
My thoughts, if you are just getting into TRI’s this is one I recommend.  Very well organized, beautiful course that’s shaded, small so you don’t feel overwhelmed, if you like bling -nice finisher’s medal, and just fun to do.  This is the beginning of a new adventure.

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

Mercedes

5k PR Run with the Lions…

I haven’t raced a 5k in awhile, last real 5k race was the Cupcake Run a year ago.  Before my torn tendon and then my fractured foot.  So I decided I would give it my best because after all I wanted to get seeded for the Gate River Run 2017.  This year I was in the Orange section, next year…red?  Boy would I have to be speedy!

Anyway enough dreaming, my son’s school was trying to raise money for a new playground, so I signed the whole family up.  A little background information about our connection with BCS and this race…my husband graduated and then taught at this small private school, my eldest son graduated from here ,and now Ethan(my younger son) is a junior there.  We’ve been running this race since 2009(on and off).  So we’re back again this year.  Me, Chris, & Aaron are doing the 5k and David & Jesse are doing the one mile fun run.

 

Race Day

We got there early(the race was set to start at 8a.m.), got our timing chip, used the gym to stay warm, and just mingled with some familiar faces.  8:00 on Florida Blvd and then we’re off!  Luckily early in the race we run along tree lined streets and then after a mile,which I did in 8:30 pace, full sun.  I’m not chilled anymore!  We ran through Jarboe Park(mile 2 was a little ways back-still holding steady at 8:39 pace), and then I could see the finish!  27:27 was my time!  Good enough for 2nd place in my age group and 45th overall.

Now just waiting for the Smith men running to finish and the start of the fun run.  David wanted to run/walk but Jesse took off.  We finished in 12:30 and Jesse finished in 10:24!  Chris and Aaron had a good run!  Nice after party with bananas and bagels, bouncy house, and a crazy hair station.   Here’s hoping we helped BCS get a new playground, we”ll be back next year!

 

PR for Chris!!
  
Go Aaron go!

 
Jesse the Rocket
 

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

 

Race Recap Cooper River BR 10k

 

At the expo. Ready to get over it!

 

I love Charleston:  the history, the busyness of the city with people walking all over the place, and so many fun things to do.  Whenever we stay here, one of my goals as a runner is to run the Battery and the Ravnel Bridge.  I knew there was an organized bridge race, and I took a giant leap and registered.  I encouraged some of my Jax Galloway family to register too(9 of us did).  So that brings us to April 1st…road trip with the boys.  The Expo was at the North Charleston Convention Center, so after waiting at the Visitor Center for a shuttle that never showed up, we made the trek.  Traffic was crazy!  Parking was a breeze.  We saw the Beer Garden and knew we were in the right place.  Time for package pickup ,  all 36,000+ runners names and numbers were printed on a board so find that information(email confirmation with our numbers would’ve been more ecologically friendly), then pick up our bib(no IDing-one of the reasons my BRF’s bib was taken/stolen,never experienced this for such a large race), and our bag with our shirt.

Competitive runner-not for this race…

Expo time!  It was a nice one with freebies from Dick’s, BiLo, Water Conservation, Boeing-just to name a few.  Then some different races and even some nice vendors including official merchandise and Sweaty Bands.   We headed out since my boys were on the verge of mutiny.

So did I mention the weather?  

  

Yep, our race day forecast…Aaron and I got up a little before 5:00 a m, ate something light and had some coffee.  Then out the hotel door at 5:45 in order to catch the Town Center bus shuttle.  We met up with two other friends and away we went.  Then we landed near the start line where I checked in my bag and then hunkered down at a Subway shop to wait until 8:30 for our start.  Sprinkle…then, I see blue sky(hmm)!

I decided to pace Aaron(:30/:30) in Corral G even though I was in the competitive corral.  His goal…under 1:30. Ok, 13:00-14:00 pace.  And we’re off!  We start at Mt Pleasant and head towards US17 and The Bridge.  I feel good, Aaron feels dehydrated( told him to drink more water)…”slow down!”, but we keep on.  The sun is coming out and it’s getting warm, I’m glad I wore a hat and short sleeves.  1st water stop and then here we go over the Cooper River Bridge.  I love this part , which is so much easier than coming back over-you get to the top and then gravity carries you down.  We are in the road and dodging walkers as we ran :30/ walk :30, Aaron is behind me and looks disgusted the whole time.

 

Notice the smiles…hmm
  
What a beautiful sight even with a lot of runners

 And then we were on the outskirts of Charleston with our 2nd water stop on the horizon and half way done with our 6.2.  Charleston is beautiful with it’s tree lined parks, ballast stone streets, and gorgeous pre-Civil War mansions-this was not the case on the race course.  Derelict neighborhood and low  income housing with fast food establishments thrown in were not my idea of sights to see.  Policeman in full Kevlar vests did not bolster my confidence in where I was in this race.  Then we made our way towards the    shopping district with less police presence and more trendy boutiques.  There were more people cheering us on and some people looking bewildered and annoyed we were there.  And then…

The finish line reading 1:26:47,we were going to make it!

PR for Aaron! Try to tone down your excitement

Then…

Where’s the water?!  Bananas?!  Beer?!   Bag pickup?!

The finish festival was chaos.  I felt like a salmon swimming upstream trying to get the basics.  Not well organized at all.  Aaron got his Krispy Kreme donut though.  Then back to get the shuttles…standing in line for ½ an hour and we were at the wrong location-no signs, no volunteers directing runners to the right shuttle.  Oh and there’s a bus shortage to our location?!?!  Luckily a bus came along and we got a seat.  Back at the Town Center, there were goodies for the runners including water, hummus and pita, and coupons to various businesses-that was a plus!

Big question…would I do this race again?

No.  

Love Charleston, love The Bridge-did not like the race.  Race price was inexpensive($35 when I registered), but not a stellar event.  One and done.

I love this city!

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

Mercedes