Month: December 2016

What to do when weather is not in you favor

It’s early and it’s humid

It’s December 15th, and I’m looking at the future weather forecast…Saturday-Sunday above than normal temperatures.  How can that be when it’s 60 degrees outside as a high?  That’s Florida for you.  Weather is unpredictable.    So as I plan for race day strategy, what do I do when weather is not cooperating?

Dress for running success.

55 degrees or warmer-definitely short sleeves wicking top or a tank.  Better to be chilled for a couple of minutes, than overheating later.  Shorts or a running skirt.  I only wear tights if it’s 30 degrees or lower.  Wear a hat to keep the sun off of your head.  I tend to really feel the heat if my head is uncovered.  That’s just me.

As a pacer, you don’t get to pick your top, glad it was short sleeves

Just say no to chafe.  

Hot and humid runs call for extra vigilance.  Proper planning prevents poor performance my dad always says.  Truth!  Nothing worse than discovering you’ve chafed especially during shower time.  And don’t discount that it can’t happen with your tried and true shorts or shirts because it can.  I have a nasty scar from one of my favorite shorts that rubbed my belly raw from the elastic waistband during a very hot Jax Marine Corps half.  I actually bled! It was something I don’t want to repeat, so I use Gold Bond friction defense or Body Glide.  Don’t have that at hand?  Vaseline does wonders.


Water stops at every mile and a half?  Stop and take a sip.  Make sure there is no tummy sloshing.  Gatorade or tailwind are good hydration to replenish lost electrolytes due to sweating.  2 ounces is all you need.  

Slow down.  

Overheating is a possibilty if temperatures reach 70 degrees or above.  Slow down.  Take walk breaks.  Unless the heat doesn’t affect you.  Some people love the heat.  I don’t.  I have felt light headed and even nauseous, so I listen to my body and slow down my pace or take more walk breaks.  

Pacing these runners to a PR on a humid warm race day

Sometimes you just have to ditch the watch.

For weeks you’ve been planning, okay this race is my race.  It’s going to be mild,after all it’s December, I have my fuel, this time I am up for a PR!  Then…unpredictable weather happens.  So should you go for it?! Yes…no.  At the end of the race, I collected my medal and my water. To the left of the Finish, there is the medical tent…the 2nd guy in was laid out on a stretcher with ice and IV fluids.  Don’t be that guy.  Sometimes you have to know when to look at your watch, gauge how your body is doing with race stress, and just say “today is not the day.”  You want to be able to race another day.

Heat exhaustion. Tell tale signs.

Warning! Warning! Your body is trying to tell you something.  If during a run or race you feel chilled(goosebumps chilled), stop perspiring, light headed, and nauseous-your body is going into heat distress.  Please seek medical attention.  Don’t tough it out.  

Be safe and smart.

Now these look like runners who had fun!

Enjoy, socialize, cheer on other people out there!  We’re all doing the same thing-getting healthy through exercise.  Follow these easy suggestions and you’ll have a great run!  I hope to see you out there soon.

Your feet need recovery time too! Thank your feet by getting them out of wet socks.

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


Out of Town Racing.  Love it, hate it, just embrace it.

Me and my better half on a typical Saturday-running again

This past anniversary weekend, 27 years together, we did our first Double G up in Atlanta , GA.  That was our present to each other.  We worked the expo representing 26.2 with Donna Breast Cancer Marathon, and met a lot of locals as well as a lot of out of towners.  The races, Barb’s 5k and JG 13.1, were so much fun through beautiful neighborhoods, Atlanta’s beltline, and ending at Atlanta’s version of Central Park; Piedmont Park.  It was super cold(27 degrees at the start of the 5k), and hilly, but we had such a great time that I’ve already signed up for next year’s run.  So I was thinking ,because my husband brought it up, why do we love to travel to races?

Traveling is a hassle whether we drive or fly.  We’re not able to go to our closet and pull out our extra pair of running shoes if a shoelace breaks, or our drawers to get our favorite pair of socks, and forget about getting gloves just in case it is freezing at the start of our race.  You don’t pack it, you’re stuck.  Remember nothing new before a race-oh bother.

BRF’s togetherness to stay warm

What you put in your mouth really affects how your run goes is true.  When traveling, you don’t have ready access to what you normally eat before a local race.  Most hotels might have a microwave but no stove or oven, so you’re at the mercy of microwaveable food(ugh!).    Thank goodness for Publix and Whole Foods.

Sleep…the night before any big race can be stressful but imagine trying to sleep on an unfamiliar mattress and pillows.  Sleep deprivation might happen or in my husband’s case, he slept better because the hotel’s mattress was firmer than our home one.  Go figure.

Transportation can also be a hassle.  Traveling by plane?  Rental car or Uber.  Take your pick-it can add up.  Driving?  Okay now how do I get there and where do I park so my car doesn’t get towed?  Public transportation is always an option.  Race day scenario(true story), a friend missed the Marta by seconds and didn’t get to the start until 38 minutes after the race began!   It’s challenging.  Be patient.

Late checkout?   Your race is on a Sunday, oh sorry you have to be out of your room at 11 a m!  That’s stress to the umpth degree.  Run faster?

All this and more make traveling to a race a big-uh NO!

But look at the bright side.

Go honey go!

When you travel to big races, runner’s paradise at the Expo.  See what’s new and exciting in the world of running and more destinations to run too.  Sometimes there are special guest speakers and even a pasta party to help you carbo load .  Nice.

Discover new places to run.  I’ve been to Atlanta before and have done the touristy stuff, but running the Peachtree 10k and the JG 13.1; I’ve discovered Piedmont Park and part of Atlanta’s beltline.  So cool!  It’s a beautiful natural place to run within a urban setting.  Recovery run here I come.

Seasons!  Florida is 10-11 months of warm/hot weather.  Some people love it, I on the other hand like Fall, Winter…  Depending on the time of year, cooler running weather is a possibility if you run someplace else.  Marine Corps Marathon when I ran it a few years ago was cool(50’s all day).  I love that.  Training in Florida is awesome but you just want a change sometimes.

Swag.  Ooh you ran Disney?  I’ve always wanted to run one of those.   A lot of out of town races offer cool bling to attract runners.  Unique finisher shirts.  JG 13.1 had puffy vests if you ran it this year along with an extra medal for completing the Double G.  Space Coast marathon has the 5 year Bing Bang Series.  Cool stuff!

Try at least one away race, I promise the pros will definitely outweigh the cons.  

(Photos courtesy of JG 13.1). Double G 2016

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


   Back of the Pack:  a different perspective 

Good morning from beautiful Fernandina Beach

This past week I had surgery.  Not for anything broken, strained, or sprained.  I have a condition that I was lucky enough to inherit from my dad’s mom(I am so being sarcastic right now), and especially after having my 7 kids.  A lot of women ,surprisingly, have this issue.  As a teacher and an active athletes, I can’t spend all my time in the bathroom/porta pottie line, so…

Which leads into my dilemma this week, my doctor knows I’m an avid runner and swimmer, so after surgery what’s the first thing he tells me?  You guessed it-  “no running for 5 days Mercedes, and no swimming.”  Damn.  I have 8 miles  on Saturday , a GOTR 5k, and a half on Sunday.  “Can I walk?, I ask.  “Yes”.  YES!

Okay I resign myself to missing my 8 miles, but no way am I missing the end of the season GOTR 5k.  

On the route. I had lots of company.
The start

Our 5k is at UNF at 9:30 a m, but coaches and girls need to be at the site sign by 8 a m.  I park, take out my Daniel donations(our community impact project), and head to the track.  There’s a lot to do and we have time to kill.  I see a BRF(Misha) with her daughters at the photo booth.  Then we make our way to the track and I find out no one is walking.  Looks like I’m on my own.  It was so much fun cheering on all the girls and their running buddies.  Bonus-a lot of people were walking.  I finished in under an hour, collected my water and trail mix and bid everyone a great weekend.  I knew my longest walk would be coming up Sunday.

Saturday night I found out I would be walking by myself…long story.  

Early Sunday, got up earlier than usual and headed for Fernandina to run one of the races that I’m an official streaker.  The Reindeer run 1/2 put on by the Amelia Island Runners.  The weather was nice-not too cold or hot.  I saw some familiar running friends, but no one was walking the 1/2 (5k, yes but 13.1, no).  So when life gives you limes, you make key lime pie, and that’s what I did.  I enjoyed walking and cheering on fasties and regular folks, who I normally don’t see.  I took lots of pictures, water stop characters and Reindeer along the way.  The first part of the race is the northern beach neighborhood of Fernandina , and the middle part is in Fort Clinch.  Shaded is good!  No wildlife spotted and I was looking.  Bummer.  My pace was between 14:00 and 15:00 minutes per mile-yes there were people behind me!  We cheered each other on.  Then on to Old Town-love this community!  And there’s a bridge.  Usually I hate that thing when I’m running, but there were some spectacular views.

Some views along the way

Then too soon I was out of Fort Clinch and back to Main Beach to the finish at 3:15.  My feet were sore and felt like blisters were trying to form-yowch!  I made my way to the recovery eats table, and surprise!-cookies, chocolate milk were still to be had.  Picked up 2-yum!  And headed home.

Some things noticed as a back of the pack runner/walker:

People are more encouraging.  I heard a lot of us say good morning, great job, looking strong out here.

Slow down enjoy the view.  Looking for deer was my goal-sadly I never spotted them.  I just enjoyed looking at Christmas decorations and the natural beauty of Fort Clinch.  

Cheer!  The fasties are too focused but everyone else loved it when we(us back of the pack) shouted out words of encouragement or even smiled.  

Love it or hate it.  Embrace the suck, at least we’re out there getting exercise and not on the couch.  I knew I couldn’t run but that didn’t stop me, just make some changes and get out there.

Next week…Atlanta!  Am I running? Am I walking?  Doesn’t matter, I will be out there having a blast!

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


Redemption at Space Coast Marathon 

Two years ago I embarked on a 26.2 journey through the riverfront community of Cocoa Beach, and felt good until…13.1 miles.  The last 13.1 was awful.  My friends have incriminating photos-I haven’t seen them-I don’t need to.  I know how I felt, I can only imagine what I looked like.

It’s a new year , and I am ready to try the marathon again.    Thanksgiving rolls by, Black Friday opt out, and Saturday travel day is here.  We leave around 9 a m and get to Cocoa Beach a little bit before 12:00 in time for packet pick up at the Expo.  It’s a small expo at the Raddisson, but there were some decent vendors.  It took us about an hour-of course we ran into some Galloway friends.

Marathon mom, Half dad

We do a little bit of sightseeing and on to our stay at Homewood Suites.  Then an early dinner with lots of pasta and fun times with our favorite peeps.  3:15 a m comes early.    Yawn!  I’m up!  No snooze button.  I eat a light breakfast and then 4:00 a m and time to catch the zone A bus at Country Inn and Suites.  School buses…spare no expense.  Short ride and we’re at the start.  Then a 2 hour wait…what did we do?  Potty breaks of course.

At the start Corral…sardines central

6:00 a m start for the half and 6:30 for the full.  Am I ready?  I hope so.  My tentative goal-anything under 5:00.  We start(four of us) with the 5:00 hour Galloway pacer group at 60/30 11:27 pace and head north on the course.  Is it raining?  Just a quick sprinkle or two.  Spectacular river views and gorgeous houses.  If you ever hear this race is flat, that is a major lie.  Lots of rolling hills on this course with a slant which can really mess with your hips.  The course is also narrow so we made sure to get skinny when necessary.  I see the uber fasties race by and Chris with his group (did I mention he’s doing the half), he had never seen the marathon course so he was going 13.1 just a different view.  Go Chris!(he had a great race).  I drank water and BCAA along with pink lemonade stingers for fuel(thank you stomach for cooperating).  No potty stops until 13.1.  Then on to the 2nd half.  Some of my friends were in distress so we switched it to 30/30.  And up ahead of 5:00.

I saw these views all along the course
Shade was nice.

Then all of a sudden I was by myself.  So I switched it up to 90/30 and 10:30/11:00 pace.  How could I feel this good?  A lot of people were still on the course as I made my way back to the finish.  There was a breeze and it was sunny but I continued to keep up my speed.  Run/walk helped for sure.  Miles ticked by and then signs…¼ mile left, 200 meters, 100 meters!  And the crowds cheering and yelling, above the din I heard my name over the loud speaker-keep going keep going!  There it was, the Finish-4:56!  I had made it!  Under 5:00!   Chris was there too to hug me, and usher to my long awaited pancake breakfast.  

45th year Endeavor medal
Thank you honey!

Next year is the last year of the Big Bang Series, and yes we will be there.  I am so thankful, this was my year to shine.  Congratulations to all the runners who completed their race too.    See you in Cocoa Beach 2017!

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