Month: June 2016

Finding the Hidden Treasures in Jacksonville

You know where this picture was taken

Jacksonville is known for its beaches and it’s love/hate relationship withits hometown football team, but how about all the other cool things ?  Yes, there are cool things in Jacksonville and this summer we’re going to discover some of them.  Some might be historical, family friendly, or even off the grid(this is after all a large city).  Come with me and discover what there is to see, it may surprise you.

MOSH.  The Mueseum of Science and History.

I remember visiting  this Mueseum since the mid 1970’s.  It’s gotten larger and even though it has some exhibits that are permanent such as Atlantic Tales, which is an exhibit about whales and dolphins. There are new additions happening all the time.  Atlantic Tales has a new touch tank , which allows you to experience ocean creatures on a more personal level.We didn’t get to experience this because it was not open when we visited.  And my all time favorite Currents of Time , which is a history of Jacksonville and NorthEast Florida.  It has a new exhibit about NAS(Naval Air Station Jax) and  new Mapleleaf (a Civil War steamer which sunk in the St Johns near Mandarin) artifacts..There are also traveling exhibits, which offer interactive fun as well as Mueseum pieces.  We enjoyed Darwin and Dinosaurs, which will be here until September 5th.

Wow Jesse! Is that a tree or a dino bone?

Another popular exhibit at MOSH is the courtyard, which is outside.  Discover terrapins, fish, a soft shell turtle, and if you’re sharp eyed-Tonca, the 50 year old snapping turtle.  We didn’t see her today.  Then back inside to the indoor animal exhibits with indigo snakes, baby gators, frogs, owls-all of these are alive.  You can see perserved specimens as well along with a scary hornet nest(I’d hate to be the person who collected that )!  

Hi little turtle

There is also a cool planetarium show and they still have cosmic concerts(my hubby and me would go to these and then take a stroll on the wooden river walk back in 1988-yes that long ago).  $2.50 added on for the planetarium show-always a bargain. If all these cool things don’t entice you, consider that all Fridays this summer are just $5!  A family of 4 is just $20!  Not only do you learn and discover new things but you also save money doing it!  Parking is free and right down the street is the Skyway express that is also free to ride downtown to MOCA(Mueseum of Contemporary Art Jax), The Landing, Sweet Pete’s, or our favorite-The Main Library!  If you prefer exercise, take a walk or jog on the newly refurbished Riverwalk.  Wood is gone replaced with cement pathways and stunning views of the St Johns River.  Start at the beautiful Friendship Fountain which got it’s own upgrade and head towards the Duval County School Board, don’t be surprised if you see some dolphins!

Have you enjoyed our treasured Frienship Fountain? Check it out after MOSH

MOSH one of Jacksonville’s treasures.  If you haven’t been in awhile, check it out!

Stay tuned for more Jacksonville treasures…

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

Mercedes

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My Blog Anniversary-what I’ve learned about running, swimming, cycling, and beyond.

317 days since I’ve started my blog runswimbiketeach, wow hard to believe it’s nearly a year.  I know for my fellow bloggers who have been doing this for awhile this is water under the bridge.  Blogging for me however has been a way of expressing myself and communicating my thoughts and feelings about things I hold dear.  My first love has always been writing, so blogging is my type of venue.  No deadlines by editors, I get to write what I’m passionate about, and my editor(Chris) gives me feedback and uses his proofreading skills to keep me in check.

Here’s some of the things I’ve learned on this journey.

If you become an injured athlete, be positive…this too shall pass.

I was talking to my kids the other day about being injured and how I thought I had been a good sport about it. Their view…nope.  “…Mom you were angry all the time…”,  “…you were so grumpy…”, “…I hope that doesn’t happen again…”-yep I was a bear to deal with.  My point is everyone gets injured one time or another, make the best of it and know you’ll be back at it soon.  Do something positive.  My positive was Coffeecakes for Cancer fundraising and I raised over a $1000 for the Donna Foundation to fight breast cancer.

Encourage others, be THAT person.

Yes I’m on the JTC Race Team but that means I’m an ambassador for my track club and I need to make sure I’m a positive role model in my running community.  It doesn’t cost anything to encourage other runners by cheering them on, thanking volunteers and police officers during a race, and smiling at other runners.  I like to acknowledge and be polite-we’ve all been beginners or have had a bad race before.  That’s why I’m part of Jax Galloway-fast or slow, elite or back of the pack we’re all in this together.  Pay it forward.

Words to Live By

Diversify.

I love to run!  I love how after a rough day I can pound out my stress on the pavement, rain or shine I feel good, and I can run alone or with a group.  I have made lifelong friends since I’ve started running.  However, your body would love you more if you gave it a chance to use different muscles.  Yoga?  Weights?  Tennis?  Sure!  And don’t forget rest days mean rest.  Walk the dog, walk a trail,but just enjoy a slow day.  It helps your body heal.  

Draining the Bank, just say no.

I am a teacher with 2 boys in college, 1 in private school, and 2 in a magnet school; that means entertainment money is at a minimum.  My BRF’s are going to exotic races in far off places, which is awesome!  I’ve learned that going to at least two destination races a year is my limit.  I love the Atlanta  Peachtree 10k during July 4th week for a run cation, and we’ve gone to DC for Marine Corps or Cocoa Beach for Space Coast during Thanksgiving weekend.  However, we have a tendency to support our local running community races, and love the two Jax marathons-especially 26.2 with Donna-, and the Gate River Run 15k.  You can’t beat sleeping in your own bed and eating home cooked meals.  Maybe in the next life I’ll go to the destination races like NYC and Chicago.

Volunteer.  It’s good for your community and yes, it’s good for you.

When I was growing up, we were a family that hung out together-yes we went to the Mall every Saturday-,we went on vacations, we had BBQ’s, we were typical.  However we never did anything in our community, maybe that’s one of the reasons I never liked Jax.  I’m all grown up now and I volunteer as a Girls on the Run coach, a group leader for Jax Galloway, I volunteer at local races with my kids, we pick up trash at our Federal and State Parks and beaches.  We buy into our community.  This helps the community, but it also helps us by getting involved and make friendships as well as giving us that warm and fuzzy.  It helps our kids by making them well rounded and really feeling a part of their community.  Just do it, you’ll be glad you did!

Helping out Marathon High during National Running Day

You still have a lot to learn.

Just so you know, I am not an expert on anything.  I am still learning through trial and error what works for me.  That means it works for me and it might or might not work for you.  Take it with a grain of salt.  I hate reading articles that tell you you need to do this or try that(like coconut water helps you to recover or cherry juice helps you have a better workout-neither one of these helped me).  Give it a try if you think it might make a difference(did anyone really buy into barefoot running?  Ouch!!), but if not just file it in the back of your brain and move on.  Sometimes the best advice is just listen to your body and use common sense.

Well the journey continues, here’s to another year of exploring and blogging.  I hope more of you  come along.

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

Mercedes

See you out there!

Run for the Pies 5k aka  how I ran a  half marathon without even trying

Floating on Cloud 9(photo courtesy of Martha Irene)

Last Sunday started off like any other day, bike ride with my better half and then time to get ready for the work week and a new training week.  Typical planned week(yes it tends to deviate):

Monday-swim

Tuesday-bridges 

Wednesday-speed work

Thursday-rest

Friday-rest

Saturday-Jax Rogue

Friday-bike or swim

Then TS Colin happened.  No run, no swim-lots of rain and scary weather.  Okay, Monday and Tuesday rest day?  Wait, David has his 5th grade graduation ceremony on Wednesday-rest day again.  Thursday and Friday turn out to be my run days, no problem(I’ll take it easy Saturday since I have 10 miles to do).  Everything is working itself out until…

Saturday is the same day as Run for the Pies 5k!  

Wait, when did that sneak up on me?!  Well it’s June 11th so surprise!

Just a little history with me and this race, I did my one and only Pies 5k back in 2011 and did well for top 15 in my age group and got a coveted medal for my pains.  However it was hot and I hated it and swore I’d never do another.  Fast forward to 2016, since I’m part of the JTC racing team this is one of those races we do unless we’re out of town or injured. This would be the first race I would be running in my race singlet.

Cool bib don’t ya think?

Okay fast forward to Saturday morning at 6a m, First Place Sports at the Towncenter and Rogue Runners are meeting for 10 and Jax Galloway Getting Started is meeting for 25 minutes of run/walk at 7:00.  We were the fasties today, so off we went at 1:30/:30 down the tunnel and Gate Parkway.  It is very humid and sunny and guess what?!  Where’s the water?  We were ok, but knew we needed it later as well as the other slower groups.  A fun thing we saw bunnies!  So cute and so many of them.    Came back to 1st Place for water and bathroom break and off we went for our other 5.  Problem is we were the only other group out there!  At least water was in the right spot and it was super cold.  The earlier the better is my motto.

Rest.

Then…it’s time to Run for the Pies.

I got to the Landing early because I wasn’t sure how crazy parking would be, and it was.  At 7:00, the Nike championship race started with the elite women and a couple minutes later the elite men that completed a 5k under 19:00.  These people were crazy fast with the lead guy clocking a 4:43 mile-flying!  Then it was 7:30 and time for the normal runners to start.  Thank God it was overcast but still 89 degrees-ugh!  Cannon fire and here we go down Water Street to the Prime Osborn, first mile 8:43.  Water stop in front of the Landing-yep stop and hydrate and down to Hogan to Hemming Plaza.  Second mile-8:50!  That’s when mentally I lost focus and decided it was time for fartleks.  Walk for 30 seconds, run to the police officer(by now we were in the LaVilla neighborhood and heading back), walk, run to the end of Hogan and get on Bay Street.  That’s how I made it for a 28:29 finish.  Not a pretty race but it got done.

And that’s how I ended up doing a half marathon during late spring/ early summer.  In retrospect I feel like a badass for doing both runs and I wasn’t even sore after pushing it at the 5k.  One thing I have noticed lately is I’m dying after the two mile mark and that’s got to change because I have a 10k coming up.  Practicing race pace might help me to push through and deal with my fatigue.  Running in heat is not my idea of fun but since we live in Florida, it’s a fact of life.  Hydrate and nutrition is key.  See ya on July 4th!

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

Mercedes

Keeping Motivated During Summer in FL

It’s Sunday morning, I went to church yesterday, I don’t have to meet Dad until 12p m, and I had breakfast.  No excuses right?  Then why am I sitting here in front of the tv watching mindless morning shows and checking my phone?

Summer, humidity in Florida.

Typical Summer temperature in sunny FL

Florida is usually a great place to exercise.  No snow, no ice to worry about. Mild to cold temperatures but not long periods of freezing temperatures ensure that many of us runners and cyclists get out and exercise even during January and February when the rest of the country is working out on treadmills and stationary bikes.  Then May rolls around and the heat is on.  Temperatures are in the 90’s, humid conditions, and no relief from a breeze.  It’s brutal conditions.  Running/cycling earlier does not provide an easier workout.  5:30 temps can be in the upper 70’s with 80% humidity.  How or why stay motivated?

Sweat is liquid joy

Plan out your workouts.

People have a tendency to stick to workouts if it’s written down.  I have a training log that I write down all my future workouts.  This ensures that I know what I’m doing for that upcoming week instead of winging it.  You won’t make an excuse not to do a planned workout if you see it in black and white.  Type A personalities are a stickler on getting it done.  Just saying.

Fall Marathon on the horizon.

Running a race in October or November?  Now is the time to get it in gear.  Actually May would’ve been even better.  Keep your mileage up so you don’t have to start from scratch.  It’s going to be a long Summer, but you’ll nail your race if you do.  And you’ll still have time to taper.

Suffer with your BRFs

Nothing sucks more than training by yourself-been there done that.  Keep yourself motivated by running with a friend or running group.  Yes, you can pay to run with a group but there are also training groups that log in mileage for free.  Check your local running clubs.  

Earlier is better

5:00 a m is better than 5:00 p m-no sun and temperatures are usually in the 70’s as opposed to the 90’s.  Safety is key.  Do not run alone.  Wear reflective clothing.  Run against traffic or stay on the sidewalk.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Listen to your instincts not your music.  I love my early morning runs!

Options-crosstrain

Hot outside?  Try swimming.  It’s a great workout using your legs as well as your arms.  Not big on swimming?  Get a aqua belt, get in the deep end, and aqua jog for another great workout. Cycling?  Get your trainer out or use your gym’s stationary bike for varied workouts.  You do have choices.

Hydrate 

Whatever you do, make sure to hydrate before, during, and after.  Listen to your body and know when to head indoors. 

I hope to see you out there training hard and having fun!

Runners getting it done in FL

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

Mercedes