Month: May 2016

Hop, Skip, Jump, Dive into your new Age Group(how to accept you’re no longer Thirtysomething)

I turn the milestone birthday this weekend, no, not 100-that sounds like a noble accomplishment.  Wow!  She’s 100?  She looks awesome!  No, I’m turning 50.  Not old and noble, I’m halfway there-just old.  I don’t feel old.  But when you tell someone you’re turning 50, they look like you said the word.  I remeber other birthdays…”aww you’re growing up…”, “look at you, such a young lady…” ,”…can’t believe you’re a wife and mother…”,  “from now on time will fly by you’ll blink and you’ll be 50…”.  It’s true, I blinked and my kids are in their early 20’s and my younger ones are in their teens!  When did that happen?!


Like I said before, I don’t feel old and truth be told I’m in the best shape of my life.  In my 20’s I was overweight because my then boyfriend Chris and I went out on a lot of dates and ate not the healthiest choices.  Marriage and babies did nothing for healthy eating or exercise either.  Chris was off doing Gate River Runs and Summer Beach Runs and looked great!  I was craving fried fish sandwiches from Singleton’s(my pregnancy cravings).  When my son Daniel was 9 months old and people at Home Depot were asking if I was pregnant, time to change my habits.  Weight Watchers and exercise were the way to go.  I lost weight but I still needed to make exercise a priority.  I was on bed rest for David since I was considered a high risk pregnancy.  No more exercise-at least David craved salads and Honey Nut Cheerios.  Then my last pregnancy, bed rest again.

So here I was 40 years old, feeling sorry for myself and feeling old.  Ethan  needed a running partner in 2008 and the rest is history as they say.  

Now he’s taller than me by a good 5 inches

So today I raced as a 49 year old in the Marty Biatholon/5k.  Memorial Day I will be at Orange Park running the Memorial Day 5k and I will be 50 years old.  New AG, new chances to PR, and a way to hold off from being overweight and lethargic.  When people look back and say I wish were 21 again, not me.  I’m comfortable in my own skin and I love how I feel and look minus the gray hairs(those kids!).

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


Teachers, at the end of the year

It’s May and the countdown is on.  You can see Summer from here, but now is the time to stay laser focused because it’s not here yet.  That’s what I tell my students, what I’m feeling is not exactly what I’m selling.  Teachers at this time of year are tired.  Tired and yes , over it.  All year we’ve been motivators, cheerleaders, nurses, someone to lean on, moderators, stern parent figures, Miss manners, counsellors, and friends.    Now you feel like all the inroads and progress you’ve made are for naught.  Students are checking out, parents(who’ve you’ve tried to contact all year) are now freaking out because their child’s 4th quarter progress report, paperwork is piling up, and admin are making changes that are a little stressful.  Teachers are done. When we raise our voices at this time of year, roll our eyes, sigh, shake our heads in disbelief; please realize it’s not that we don’t care, we are just bone tired and done.

Thank You’s mean so much. Did you ?

I am so proud as a teacher to see how much my students have grown academically.  They start out so unsure and so eager, and they grow and blossom each at different times but they don’t wilt or shrivel up.  They are strong and ready to meet challenges I put in front of them.  Then…

All I can say is oh boy, where did those students go?

So we have 10 school days left.  Teachers can see the finish line, but just like marathon pacers we have to look at our groups and keep on motivating and perservering no matter what.  Our job is to keep them focused on the here and the now.  Unlike pacers, we can not drop people-everyone has to get across that finish.  Will we get the laurel wreath at the end?  Hell no!  Some parents don’t even know who I am(love the excuse letters…”To whom it may concern”).  You’ve worked hard and gotten plenty of bumps and bruises along the way, but we’re not in it to get kudos, right?  We’re in it because we want to make a difference .  No, people don’t recognize it but hey! who cares?!  You know it.  You can cheer for the kids who become safety patrols that were your students 4 years ago, they are your kids.  Did you do or say something that made them do better? Act better?  Achieve more?  Yes!  You were one of many who molded that student.  So pat yourself on the back, square your shoulders, and stand up taller you are a teacher on a mission and the finish line is right there!  Afterwards you’ll cry with tears of joy, you’ll do your happy dance, you’ll thank the good Lord for the strength to get you to another end of the school year…Mission Accomplished.

That’s a beautiful sight!

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


Race Recap on Jacksonville’s Corporate Run

When researching ,when did the corporate run start or what a corporate run is on the web, I noticed a lot of cities do these type of runs.  So I never found exactly a definition  or a date,but here’s what I came up with through participating in one.

1.  Corporate teams.  From banks to supermarkets, a lot of corporations can participate.  The more, the merrier.

2.  Team shirts.  Show your company pride.  Some companies have wicking shirts(athletic CEO), some have cotton(egads!  Get with the running times CEO), but each team is excited to showcase their corporation.

3.  Building community.  Teams have their tents that have post run goodies.  And just getting together in a relaxed atmosphere helps build up the fun.

So why was I there?  DCPS is my corporation, but we’re not big on running.  We do have wellness programs but mainly for encouraging students to get up and moving.  So back to my question…what am I doing here? Well, there was a FB contest…

Sponsered by Natalie’s Orchard Island Juice

I entered and won a free race entry and all I have to do is wear the shirt Natalie’s sent.  Gladly!  

Now for the weather.  All this week,except for Monday, there have been horrible afternoon storms.  We lost a huge tree branch one afternoon after a strong storm.  May 19th at 7p.m. should be interesting.  As promised, storming by 3:00 and it was so bad we thought it would cancel the race.  Did I mention my son Ethan was running for Southern Grocer( Winn Dixie)?  This was his first race since his broken ankle. It began to clear up around 5:30-6:00, so looks like it’s on.  The race starts at Metro Park but first a place to park-Lot D, full!  Lot E, luckily has some spaces.  Metro Park is not to bad mud wise, Ethan picked up his packet and shirt, met up with some friends, and of course bathroom break.  6:50 rolls around and we line up.  Conservative,  9:00 minute pace.  I see a couple of Jax Galloway peeps, then it’s raining again, but at least the temperature is better than 90 degrees.  Boom!  We’re off!

Ethan running for Team Winn Dixie

Down East Bay Street past the Baseball Grounds, Maxwell House Plant, and turn right to the Schulzbacher Center then on Duval St and around St John’s Cathedral.  We run with Angela,who is a Jax Galloway peep,for about a mile(9:53), and the conservative streak ends and we’re doing between 8:35-8:56 pace per mile. The rain came on and off and luckily I didn’t have my phone. Back on East Bay, and running hard to beat 28:00, a lot of people to dodge around(4000), but I finished at 27:49(16th in my AG), and 160 overall women.  Ethan finished at 27:31(fastie!).  He ended up being 2nd for his team to garner 37th place.  Nice job!  We went back to the Southern Grocers tent for snacks and because storms were rolling in again, we headed out.


Well organized, course clearly marked with timing clocks at each mile, games for kids like jenga and corn hole, and plenty of refreshments-adult and otherwise.


Course too small to accommodate all those runners-very tight in some areas, walkers in the front, which made it difficult for the runners-they need to start in the back,food(? If you’re not with a corporation, you’re out of luck), and parking was a nightmare-another lot maybe would help.

Thank you Natalie’s Orchard  Island Juice-they brought their van with free samples of their delicious juice and I finally got to try Orange/Beet juice-yum!  

I run for juice!

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


Race Recap of The Players 5k

The Family on the 17th Tee

It’s Tuesday evening and we’re watching channel 12 at 7, Tim Deegan comes on and announces a cool front for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Did he just 49 degrees?!  In May?!  I must be dreaming…fast forward to Friday evening, temps for Satuday at 8 a m-54 at the Beach, woohoo!

It’s race day!

A little history about us and this race…we’ve been running this race since 2010 when it was in November and 2011 when the Donna 5k was on Sunday at One Ocean.  We even watched the beach wedding of Dennis and Jenn after the Beach 5k.  Then the two became one in 2012 and has been in May at the Players ever since.

Like I was saying, race day and I spring out of bed, get Chris up, and try to rouse the boys.  We are dressed and out the door by 6:40 because you never know about parking and since this race is 80% sold out, I want to make sure we get there in plenty of time.    Last year I was volunteering at the Galloway tent, this year I get to run!    Bathroom break, peruse the vendors, and time to line up.  8:00 minute mile corral,crossing my fingers.  I give my hubby a quick peck and squeeze,he’s wearing  his pink sparkle skirt-hot!  Anyway I see Tim and Kurtis and Wesley-fasties!-lined up ahead of me, then some dignitaries of the race, Donna Deegan of course, and then the National Anthem.  Boom!  We’re off.

Before the race, chilly

Per race instructions, stay on the cart path!  Boy is that hard when trying to pass people.  I don’t pass many.  The one thing that always stands out about this course, vibrant green grass almost like Disney Parks and the Hills.  This is not a flat course by any means.  Love running down fast, hate climbing up up.  You do a lot of that here.  I see the leaders briefly, mile one-8:50, ugh!  Pump my legs faster, then I feel a tap and my good friend Jocelynn zooms by.  They always say a race is between you and that damn race clock.  Well mile 2 race clock really messed with me-12:43?!  I know I do not run a 4 minute mile, I look  at my watch 17:46(under 9:00 still).  Mile 3 back at the 17th tee-thank God!  Finish time 27:01-not a PR but I made it at 8:35 per mile.  #7 in my AG. Every race is a gift, I learned that the hard way so I am just happy to be running.  Chris finished at 38 minutes & some change.  

Celebrating the end of his race-yum!

Awesome post race refreshments including cuties, goldfish, cupcakes, Watts water, and even chicken nuggets(might want to warm them next time).  Always a stellar event.  Come out next year and run with 1500 of your closest friends, you won’t be disappointed and you get to Pink Out the Players a week after the race(free ticket to Sunday’s Players with packet pick up.

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


2nd TRI Done-Now I’m not an Anomaly

The race I didn’t get to race last year because of my tendon injury, My First TRI.

Is that the finish or am I seeing things(photo courtesy by Connie Smith)

Well this year I was going to do this TRI!  The race sells out quickly, so I registered and the training continued until it was May 1st.  This race is another super sprint-300m swim, 8 miles bike, and 5k run.  It takes place at Queen’s Harbor Country Club at 7:20 a m, so I got up on race morning early enough to eat some PB toast and banana, hydrate with water, and my coffee.  The weather forecasters were predicting a very warm Sunday, which was unusual this time of year.  Woke up Chris(he was TRIing too), loaded up the bikes and our gear bags and off we went.

We parked at Chick Fil A and then rode our bikes to the start, put our bikes up-#83 for me, #95 for Chris and set up our gear for T1 & T2.  Then made our way to the pool, and saw a lot of our Jax Galloway peeps already there.  Three of them were doing their 1st TRI!  So excited for them!  My goal was to try to do a little bit better on my 2nd one-fingers crossed.  So we lined up by numbers in the pool’s deep end and took off every 5-15 seconds in between participants.  Some people swam like fiends, some people walked the pool-WTW?  I swam and prayed I could stay ahead of the people behind me.  Then…done!  Run to T1 to dry my feet, get my bib number on, Garmin, socks & shoes, helmet, and water bottle.  Cycle time!

Thank Goodness for a flat course and shade(photo courtesy of Connie Smith)

Cycle was easy but guess what, my tissues I remembered were completely soaked-so much for being prepared-and I forgot gum.  My mouth felt full of cotton-ugh!  Some families were out cheering us on, thank you!  One loop,and then headed back through such a nice neighborhood, going back and I see a lot of people running!  Come on Mercedes!  T2- hat, swig of water, and here I go again.  Time to get my run on.  I put the giddy up on and pass several runners, cheer on familiar faces, and then my loop is over and I’m heading back.  And who do I see?  My honey running towards me trying to finish his loop with no hat on his newly shaved head!  Didn’t even give it a thought, I gave him my hat-I have hair, so I’m okay without it.  He was so thankful-poor guy!  I run past water stop(thank you that water was prime), a family eating breakfast in their driveway while cheering us on, golf course with early morning golfers, and there at the end is the finish line!  Thank goodness-I did it!

I took off my chip…did I happen to mention that thing?  It was bothersome the whole time.  On the swim it kept bumping me so I adjusted it-big mistake.  The bike, it was annoying my ankle but not too bad, so I left it alone.  On the run however, rub…rub…rub…everytime I wanted to rip it off and stop the run, I thought about my good friend Stephanie, who is going through treatment for breast cancer.  I was dedicating all my races for her this Spring season.  She is so strong!  So I ignored the discomfort and kept going and yes I noticed at the end it was rubbed raw,so it goes.

I received my medal, ripped off that damn chip, got a bottle of water, and stayed to cheer other runners on.  That’s the best part of the whole race!  My final results…1:09:15-3 minutes PR!  And bonus-3rd in my AG!  Chris got 2nd in his AG!  I guess we were staying for awards.

On the podium and proud to be there(photo courtesy of Connie Smith)
Awesome job honey! (photo courtesy of Connie Smith)

What a great day!  If you’re thinking of trying a TRI, I would definitely give this race a thumbs up.  Well organized, nice after race party, and there is bling if you like that sort of thing.    Hope to see you out there soon!

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


Giving Back Feels Good

Start/Finish line…the Gateway

We start the season with a goal in mind-to get our girls across the finish line.  As the days turn into weeks and then into months, you start thinking am I making difference?  Do the girls want to do this?  Are the lessons making an impact?

Fast forward to lesson 24, GOTR toolkit…we wrap up and review.  The girls surprise us with what they remember, what’s stuck with them, what has made an imprint on their hearts.  Then on to thank you notes to the person who encouraged them to give GOTR a try.  We gave them their Carolina blue decorated shirts, last minute instructions, and just like that Spring season was over.

Now on to Saturday, late afternoon…the 5k is at UNF at 7:30 p m but we need to get there by 6 for check in, give the girls their bibs, glow bands, glow necklaces, and make sure each girl has someone to run with.  Then the girls can get temporary tattoos, hair color spray, or face painting while we wait.  7:10 rolls around, and we all meet again for pictures.

Our Spring Season GOTR girls & running buddies

Then it’s time to line up at the start, stretch, national anthem, and away we go.  My husband was volunteering for the first time and was directing runners/walkers where to go on the course.  I briefly said hello and follow my girl.    My girl, M.(not using her name) wanted to stay with her two friends, so we took off.  One girl ran with her mom and was gone(she’s a bullet),so we stayed with L. & her running buddy.  Did I mention there’s probably over 2000 people doing this race?  Well that meant weaving, dodging, try not to trip over people…what a ride!  M. made it to the first water stop with her friend, and then started to slow down.  The race course is not flat , so there is a crazy hill at the Sawmill Slough but we walked it  and then took it easy on our runs.  People were so encouraging, it felt like everyone was giving us virtual hugs and high fives.  It kept us motivated, so I tried to motivate others I saw.  Past the stadium, next water stop and just half mile to go.  M. and I made a deal, last 1/4 mile we were going to run it into the stadium.  We kept going, you shoul’ve seen her smile-it lit up the stadium!  So proud of her!  Our AP Mrs. D. volunteered to hand out medals, so M. got her medal from her.  

We stayed to cheer the other girls in.  Then handed out race shirts to all the girls and it was done(sniff,sniff).  I found Chris and he was still directing traffic with one of the GOTR girls with cerebral palsy-yes she walked the whole thing & crossed the finish line.  Chris was in awe, inspirational and rewarding.  That’s why I keep coming back.  And yes, planning on doing coaching again for the Fall and Solemates.  Rewarding.  So worth the time we give.

Always moving forward
Love what one of our girls put on their shirt

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