Month: November 2016

Race Recap…Thanksgiving Distance Classic

Ready to start with my co-pacer Jason B.

Some people call me insane because I run-a lot-but now I know I am because of what I’m planning to do this weekend.  More of that later.  So we get an email a week or so ago asking for Galloway pacers at the Thanksgiving Day Half(formerly known as Outback and Subaru), I enthusiastically say yes since I had just paced Disney’s Wine and Dine.  I had no idea which pace they needed but hey, it’s great helping runners reach their goal or PB.  I dragged my husband Chris to pace too.  Another email let us know pace and co pacer(me 2:15 with co pacer Jason, Chris 3:15 by himself).  Oh boy.  Yes, my PB is a 1:53 half but did I happen to mention I’m running a full three days later?  I told you I’d explain my craziness later.  I am running Space Coast Marathon on Sunday after 2 years of a fiasco run and having to walk the half last year because I had broken my foot.    I am planning on a 5:00 hour or better marathon.   We’ll see.

All my Galloway BRFs are here
He looks ready in his Galloway singlet

Luckily we stagger the 6k and the half this year(they start at 6:50),we start at 7:00.  It’s still tight in some areas.  We are off running on San Jose Blvd with about 20 runners in our pacing group.  Our pace was 10:18 at a 90/30.  I made the deal to carry the flag the first 6.2 miles even though my right arm was sore from that darn tetnasus shot. We had shade down Scott Mill Rd, the temps were in the high 50’s but it was getting warmer by the minute and it was sunny with no cloud cover.  Oh boy.  I love this area of Mandarin and was enjoying the combination of old houses and shade trees.  There were some spectators wishing us well along the way. That was a plus.   Then Brady Rd and headed back on Scott Mill Rd to Forest Circle.  The sun was bright and the temps were climbing.  We lost several runners along the way.  Pacer flag trade off!
Decorated for the Christmas holidays
On a walk…where did everybody go?

We then headed up Beauclerc Rd where it’s shaded, then the worst part of the course…the Pickwick subdivision.  No shade, running in the sun.  We were ahead by about 2 minutes, so time to slow the pace.  We told the 5-7 runners still with us to keep going and get their PB.  Then around the corner and Pickwick Plaza and the Finish-2:15:30!  Yes.

Never so happy to see this!!

All in all this was and always is such a fun run!  It’s a great way to start Thanksgiving ; a  healthy run which gives you an excuse to stuff your face.  The bling is nice( I don’t run for bling by the way), the scenery is pretty, and it’s a smaller race than the Gate River Run so you don’t feel like you’re stepping on each other.  Next time you’re in Jax during Thanksgiving, check it out.  

Bling! Bling!

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


 Pacing 101:  what it takes to be a Galloway Pacer at Disney

It’s 3:15 a m, yes you read that correctly, and I’m on a warm shuttle bus headed towards ESPN’s World of Sports for the 5:30 a m start of Run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half marathon.  I have my performance chews(the boys ate my Honey Stingers-those pains!), my I-phone, and wearing my neon yellow Galloway pacer shirt.  I said I would never do another Disney race after doing the Princess half in 2011, but here I am.  Never say never people, you always end up eating your words.

Have your gear ready for your early wake up call

So how did I get here?  Well a couple of weeks ago, Chris T. asked for some volunteers to pace the W/D(wine and dine) half, so since we’re Jax Galloway group leaders, I volunteered to help.  Mini vacation?  Sure.  We booked our hotel room and that was it.  

One of my pacer duties was to be at the expo booth to answer any questions runners might have.  So Saturday at 12:00(actually 12:30, traffic was a bear) I was with our program director Connie S. answering questions about pace, corrals, and intervals.  Intervals?  That’s the ratio that we run and walk.  You need an interval timer or the app on your phone/watch.  With my group, I run 60 seconds and then beep, beep walk 30 seconds.  Bonus, our booth was also occupied by Olympian Jeff Galloway and his wife Barb!  While I worked, the boys and my husband played at the expo.

Sleep time came early-9:00 p m and then my alarm goes off.  Up and at ’em.  Light breakfast before a half is a neccessity(I ate a banana with PB), so you don’t bonk.  Then time to board the shuttle bus and off to ESPN Wide World of Sports, where the start is.  Luckily it’s not cold because we wait and wait and wait some more.  I meet up with my co pacer Jenn H. and she has our flag!  Yes, pacers carry a wooden dowel with our overall finishing time and breakdown of each mile.  We are in Corral G, and we make a decision for me to carry the flag for the first 6.5 miles, and then trade off.

Lined up and waiting for our turn to run
The always busy port a pottie line

5:44 a m!  Our Corral G is off!  Damn, my interval timer is being temperamental.  It’s all up to you Jenn!  Guesstimating that we have 30-40 run/walkers in our group in the beginning.  Since I know some runners get annoyed with our run/walk, we ask our group to only stay 2 abreast and stay to the side not to block anyone trying to pass our large group.  Sights and sounds along the way…lots of good music to run too, we saw the Circle of Life tree, Everest, a giant air balloon, countless Disney characters, and finally Spaceship Earth in Epcot.  Too quickly it is done.  2:30:20!  Yes!

Nearly at the Finish!

Insights and Tidbits…

  1. You are in charge.  You and your co-pacer know what pace your group should be running.  If someone is wanting to go faster, let them.
  2. The race course is tight so make sure run/walkers move over.  These pathways are meant to be walked on by visitors to see the various attractions.  Sometimes running can be a little bit dangerous, so encourage runners to be considerate.  2 abreast and on the right side if possible.
  3. Have a sense of humor.  Runners can be Type A personalities, so when they question why, what, how…smile and roll with it.  Let them know you have their back and you will get them to the finish line with you or even ahead of you.
  4. Florida Weather is unpredictable.  It’s cool…it’s warm.  Drink water at water stops.  Pour it over your head.  There is no slowing down for us, but we can try to get comfortable.
  5. Encourage, encourage, encourage.  When people think they can’t, let them know they can.  You can’t stop for them, but you can be their cheerleader.
  6. Smile.  Photographers are everywhere!  Represent and let other Galloway/non Galloway runners see  you’re having fun out there.  Come join us!
  7. Overpasses and highways.  Hate ’em?  Think wider spaces to run with your group.  And people watching time!  I saw runners dressed like Chewbacca, Cinderella, Belle, Figment…fun stuff.
  8. Check your watch not the mile markers.    Remember we started 17 minutes after Corral A, so relax.  Pacers have your back, stick with us and you will get to the finish with the desired finish time.
  9. Be respectful of runners.  We saw a lot of these folks, and they would freak out when they saw us.  Some people just run and feel it’s important not to walk.  They’ll eventually realize what Jeff Galloway has said over and over, walk breaks help you recover and be able to keep running longer.  It’s all about perspective.
  10. It’s about the fun.  Pacing is so rewarding!  People were thanking us at the finish.  And you meet so many people that are trying for a PB(personal best).  There are locals and runners from all over.  People who have never run/walked, people who are part of Galloway groups in their own towns, or newbies(never run a half or a race before).    You are there for them, not you.  Enjoy the ride!

Yes I need a nap .

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


Spooky Running-The Evergreen Pumpkin 10 miler 5k run

Glow in the dark bling

Halloween Eve Sunday and I’m up early, not for church(5p.m. mass) but to run a 10 mile run through one of Jacksonville’s oldest cemeteries.  And bonus…it’s haunted!   I have done the 5k since 2009 and later on moved up to the 10 miler.  Back then, our prize was a free pumpkin.   The race is cool and invigorating, not this weekend.  Sometimes I hate Florida.

So I had signed up my son Ethan to run the 5k because he needs a qualifying time for one of the seeded spots at the Gate River Run.  19:00…yea right not in this heat.  I am racing for the JTC Race Team, so my costume is set.  My younger boys came along too in costume of course-they love choosing the pumpkin.  Did I mention this race is sold out?  Parking should be fun.  We got there at 7:10 a m and were lucky enough to find a lot just a block from Evergreen Cemetary on Main St.  Okay, we are also on a fundraiser mission.  A couple of friends had ordered some of my delectable coffeecakes, (#TreatsforTaTas) so duty calls.  And speaking of duty calls…did I mention the race is sold out?  Yes, you guessed it…potty lines from hell!  3 minutes to go and thank goodness!  Run like crazy to the start line and stand with Ethan, and then…boom!  Off we go.

Girl got running moves

Tight…tight…runners everywhere, I resort to a little cross country running(on the grass).  Ethan is long gone.  Across the train tracks…1 mile 8:40.  I feel slow, but I know I have to keep this up and water stop!  It’s warm and it’s humid, so yes please!  2nd mile, 8:48.  Then I see 3 miles and I could’ve finished under 27:00, but we run past the 5k finish and head out towards the S line trail. Ethan finishes at 24:27-green corral for him!   This trail starts at New Town and meanders through Springfield/Brentwood.  It is 4.8 miles one way.  We run about a mile or so on it and then head parallel to the Evergreen Cemetary to the turnaround.  I see a lot of familiar Galloway faces and people in costume.  And yes, I stop at water stops and take in nutrition(I am suppose to run 16 miles today).  The weather is misery and I’m wilting.  I see the leaders and marvel at their speed and effortless stride-I want to be like them when I grow up.  Then I’m back in the Cemetary and I have slowed way down-9:47!   WTH?!  But I don’t stop.  Well except for a water stop…I have 6 more to do(why?!).  Then I hear music, we are close to the finish!  Around the curving driveway close to the entrance, turn left and then one more…finish!  A disappointing 1:34.  Bling, water…thank goodness!  6 who?  Yeah not right now, so I cheer runners in and see my coffeecake friends…enjoy!

Hi Val! A running tradition
I am done!
Photobomb! Go find us a prize pumpkin!

13th in my AG…no top ten, sad.  Always such a fun run!  No, I did not see a ghost at a nameless tomb or feel someone’s prescence.  However, we took home two pumpkins and I did get my 16 miles done.  I highly recommend this race!  I wore my race shirt as my Halloween costume.  Very cool.  Happy running everyone!
It’s about the journey not just the destination,


It’s cooler!  How to survive and enjoy cold weather

7:00 p m and it’s 78 degrees

What a difference a day makes…last night we did the Glow Run at Metro Park and it was quite comfortable.  Granted, a little warmer than the rest of the country, but still better than the oppressive 90 degree heat of Summer.  Then I wake up this morning, and it’s 57 degrees and breezy.  For most of the country, this would be seasonal weather, for us Floridians it’s cold!  We love it, but it’s cold!  Brr!  Tomorrow, low 50’s!  Parka time?  So how do you survive this cold snap?  Yes, it won’t last, but for now…

Layers.  Easy on and easy off.  50 degree weather, I still wear shorts or a  running skirt.  40 degrees or below running capris.  On top, a tank or short sleeve and then a long sleeve shirt over it.   Cooler…a light running jacket pullover.  Feeling hot?  Peel off and tie around your waist.  Being too hot is just as miserable as 90 degree weather.

Gloves.    My hands get cold.  I can’t get water, I can’t get my energy chews open, and it’s miserable.  I like to wear gloves when the temperature dips below 50 degrees.  If I get hot, stuff those in your race belt and off you go.  These accessories area personal lifesaver.

Exercise later.  Set your alarm for dark o’clock thirty?  Not unless you have to work.  It’s cold, you can exercise when the sun is up.  And the good thing, it’s daylight so you can see where you are going and people can see you.  Catch u on your sleep, Summer will be right around the corner.

Inside workout too.  Hate the cold or it’s getting too dark in the afternoon ?  Why not go to a fitness center?  Treadmills(I prefer my facilities indoor track), stationary  bike, elliptical , are great ways to get a workout at a comfortable 73 degrees.  If you’re really lucky, your facility has an indoor pool for TRI training.  No excuses!

Enjoy it!  This time of year, there are less mosquitoes,less humidity, and  less excuses that you need to make to not enjoy being outside.  And remember it doesn’t last so revel in the change.

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