Month: April 2017

Super Sprint in the books

Chris and Martha after their 300m swim(photo courtesy of Carlos Irene)

I had no idea I was a streaker for this TRI, the Ultimate TRI, but this is the 2nd year it was held…so streaker status intact.  This sprint is a 300m pool swim, 8 mile bike ride, and 5k run at the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club put on by Ultimate Racing and TRI with Skye.  Well organized with lots of volunteers and police presence.  Looking for a first TRI?  Look no further.

My journey should’ve been easy, but what you expect and what you truly get is a whole different story.  Three years ago I had signed up for my first TRI(My First TRI sponsored by Enjoy Fitness), swimming was not my strength so I had Chris coaching me.  Then life happened and I gave Chris my bib while I was his cheering squad.  I doubled my resolve to do a TRI.  My swimming got better, I had a road bike, and of course I could run.  Last year I did it!  Not once but twice!  Easy right?  

April 23rd was my go to day.

I had been swimming on and off.  Then it happened.  April 14th outside pool JCA, and I forgot how to swim, breathe, and my heart was beating ferociously in my chest.  What the hell?!  I was able to swim(I use that word loosely) 300m that day.  I couldn’t figure out what happened.  Was I about to give up?  With 9 days to go?  No!  Easter Sunday I tried again.  100m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 100 breastroke, the rest freestyle-700m!  Confidence restored.

Good morning! Time to TRI

It’s time!  We get to the race site by 6:45 a m, and the parking is packed. Luckily we found a space, unpacked our equipment, and headed to the start to pick up our ankle chip.  Transition area is tight but we get our stuff in place.  Pool time!  We see some familiar faces and say hi.  I’m 96(way in the back) and Chris is 78(he’s fast).  All too soon it’s my turn and here I go.  I passed people and got passed, I paused at the wall, and then kept going.  Done.  10:57.  I need to do something to get faster.  T1 was a disaster but somehow I got my head together and walked my bike to the start.  Over 3:00 minutes-ugh!  Then off I go!  Familiar territory and life was good-29 minutes!  Not bad.  T2-better.  Then my strength-running!  I cheered other runners on, saw Chris and gave him a kiss, but kept on going.  25:29!  My finish was 1 minute faster than last year!(that was my goal).

Biggest surprise of all…I was 1st in my AG!

I won! Luckily I didn’t drop my prize
 

Things to work on.

The swim.  

I need to get way faster.  10:57 for 300 m?  That is super slow.  I’ve tried to go it alone, by just getting in the pool and swimming.  That’s given me confidence, but not speed.  Drills.  Up first technique.  A coach may be my next option.

Transitions.

Okay rookie mistakes.  Putting my bike helmet on before my shirt?!  Duh.  The thing to do is practice, practice.

OWS.

Remember about that confidence?  There are not a lot of super sprints, so because I want to move on to a regular sprint, I need to get in a lake or the ocean and give it a try.  There is no wall, there is no black line, and there are living things in the water…baby steps.  I’ll let you know if I survive.

Bike Gears.

When someone messes with your bike gears before your TRI( the boys), and you’re pedaling like mad and getting nowhere fast, and forgot how to change your gears.  Silly I know.  Better prepared for any snafus.  That’s a given.

All in all, my TRI was successful.  And more importantly I had fun!  That’s what it’s all about.  If you’re not having fun, think about why it’s not.  Find the joy of competing.  Even if it’s just competing against yourself or the clock.  I’m not racing against anyone, I am racing to see if I can reach my time goal,  can I go faster on the bike(16mph-I know I could do better), can I pass anyone on the run or not get passed by tons of people on the swim.  Practice makes better.

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

Mercedes

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What do you run for?

Bling…

Disclaimer.  If you are offended by my views, this post is not against any certain person or group real or imagined.

I’ve been a runner since 2008.  That’s not a long time, and I don’t presume to be the fount of wisdom when it comes to running.   However I’ve noticed a trend that does not seem to be going away anytime soon, finisher medals.  I hate medals!  Gasp!  Yes, I said it.  I hate them.  Not because they are ugly but what they represent.  I saw a post about a runner who ran Boston, and snagged two medals(1 for him, 1 for his significant other because of the sacrifices she supposedly made during his training, so she deserved bling too).  People were angry.  Why does she deserve a medal?!  My question is why do any of us deserve a medal?  Did you finish first?  No.  It’s a finisher medal.  Look at me I finished a race, here’s  my medal to prove it.  People don’t seem to get excited about the course or the race shirt, or even why the race is being held…. ooh!  Have you seen the bling?

Bling?  You signed up to do this race because of a finisher medal?  Ugh.  Bling whore is not a compliment.  Yes, I know runners are dwindling and race directors are trying new ways to entice runners.  People love shiny colorful medals.  What happens to them afterwards?  I have a race medal rack with this past year’s  medals.  I have been running for 8 years, that’s a lot of medals!  Where do they reside?  In boxes.  They give me no satisfaction.  They are dust collectors, not conversation starters.  No one cares  about all my bling.

I treasure these💕

I guess I’m old school because I love my old training logs.  I love to thumb through the various years and see how far I’ve come.  Every run, injury, thoughts, PRs are documented there.  It tells a story unlike a medal.   I run races for the satisfaction of writing down how I did, how I felt, little things I noticed…that’s how it should be.  It makes me sad when runners complain, I did this race and there was no medal, run a race to challenge yourself or because you want to have fun with your best friends or just do it because you want to stay healthy.  

Bling needs to be a past trend.  How about a training log for each runner who finishes a New Year’s Resolution Run, so runners can document their running journey?  Now that’s a treasured memento.  Bling should be offered for a special occasion.  40th year of the Gate River Run 15k, 10 years of the 26.2 breast cancer marathon, 40th year of the Cooper River Bridge 10k-yes!  It makes receiving the bling special. We have become a society of I showed up so don’t I get something for that?  Stop already.  Consider donating them.  Medals4Mettle.org donate your medals to hospitals with young patients who are in a race of their own-their life.  

Whatever you do, keep running and having fun out there.  Sign up for races and support your running community.  Enjoy and wear your finisher swag with pride(finisher shirts can be so comfy).

Winter Beach Run 10 miler sweatshirt kept me warm even during camping

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

Mercedes

A thank you to all who paved the way.

Run 13.1(photo courtesy of 904 Fitness)

Yesterday I was part of the virtual 261 Fearless ambassadors, who ran any distance anywhere in solidarity with Katherine Switzer and the 261 Fearless team who ran in the Boston Marathon.  It was the 50th anniversary of K V Switzer entering and running with an official bib(even though women were not allowed).  So I wore my purple 261 Fearless tech shirt, and my official #run261 bib, and began running through one of my favorite neighborhood, San Marco.    As I ran; no one yelled at me, no one looked at me like I was a freak, no one threw things at me from their cars.  Wow.  Not so long ago, things were certainly different.  As I was running down River Rd, my mind began whirling.  If not for Katherine, Joan, Greta…would we be able to be out here?  Here is my heartfelt thank you to all those women runners who paved our way.

Dear Ladies,

Thank you.  Two simple words that speak volumes.  I am a runner because of you.  I can run anywhere in my city( by myself, with a training group, in a race) without the ridicule of my community.  I am not afraid of lacing up my running shoes and hitting the roads.  I don’t have to pretend to walk when cars drive by.  On my race entries, I proudly mark female (we are the majority in some races!).  We have organizations that encourage elementary school age and middle school age runners, Girls on the Run.  You paved our way to run in the biggest marathons.  New York, The Olympics, and Boston.  We were not wanted or welcomed.  Now we have Elite Women in those races.  Thank you for helping us get there.  As I was running, I kept thinking where would I be without my time to run?  I’m not coordinated enough to play tennis, I don’t golf…where would I be?  I, along with so many other women, are blessed to do what we love…Run.  You took the ladder out of the garage, and began the arduous climb.  Women are still climbing to the top because of you.  Thank you.  50 years from now, who know where we women runners will be.  I will proudly take out my #261run bib, and show everyone who started it all.

Sincerely,

Mercedes Smith

Mother, teacher, runner

Thank you. We are all Fearless because of you.

Publix Savannah Women’s Half recap

In 2015 I ran the inaugural race , and loved it.  Then I made a major mistake and ran another race.  Never making that mistake again. This year I was back, and it was all I remembered and more.  

Yes men can run this race, but it’s all about the ladies

Savannah has a special place in my heart.  This was the city where 28 years ago I honeymooned with my best friend, Chris.  It holds a lot of special memories.  We traveled up Friday for packet pickup at the Hilton Desoto.  We picked up our bibs and got our participant gift(a New Balance bracelet).  Then we browsed the small expo and picked up fuel and a tank.  There is no race shirt included in the packet.  Again very much a  all-girls vendors that included yoga, natural soaps, handbags, and jewelry.  The boys loved the free sodas and waters.  7:30 a m start comes early, so early night.

“Good morning, it’s race day!”, is how I woke up my husband.  We ate a light breakfast and hydrated.  Then on to the race site at beautiful azalea filled Forsyth Park.  Parking was easy and on the race course.  I would definitely appreciate that fact later.  Bag check in and porta potties(3 minutes to spare).  I was in Corral 2(10:00 and under), it is based on the honor system.  My PR on this course was 2:08, and I was hoping for under 2:00(1:59:59 would be okay).  The weather was cool and crisp and sunny 46 degrees.  Perfect!

The start and finish

The half started with the 5k race, we had purple bibs and they had green bibs.  Savannah is a city of Squares, cobble stoned streets, and canopied tree lined.  We started in the city, and past several stores and businesses.  Then all too soon came the split for the 5k and split.  We kept going straight, they turned back towards Forsyth.  My 5k was closer to 27:00, but I was staying ahead of the 2:00 hour pace group.  Then I started getting a little warm( I was wearing my Team Soxy tank and some arm warmers;they needed to come off).  Remember what I said about the ease of parking?  Well I dropped them off-ta da!-and kept up the pace.    10k-55:52!- and into Daffin Park. I was still going but I had a couple of slow miles.  Oh boy.  I saw Chris and cheered him on-that brightened my mood!  The neighborhood houses were gorgeous!  Homeowners were out and cheering us on(more cowbell!).  Then came a long stretch and the 2:00 pace group overtook me, and took off-darn!  Did I give up?  Of course not!  I was slower than a turtle, but kept running.  Then…there it was!  The beautiful white iconic fountain that marks the entrance to Forsyth Park!  Down the longest finish chute ever…2:01:53!

Not disappointed.  I finished strong and with a smile on my face. There was a bag of goodies for recovery, and mimosas!  The medal was nice too(it’s sparkly).

Yes! I came back and conquered and was rewarded.

I would highly recommend this race!  The course is beautiful with plenty of course support.  There’s nice bling and the after party was great.  We had a live band!   I  really enjoy Savannah.  Come and experience it a mile at a time.

Remember it’s about the journey not the destination,

Mercedes

Why you should give Track a try

My Wednesday Track Family

Mention Track and some people make a face like they smelled something rotten, cringe, or just shake their heads and mutter no way.  200’s?  400’s?  800’s?  Hamster wheel.  Only fast runners run track. I’m too slow.  Everyone is looking at me.  My form is not right.  The coach is going to tell me to go home and run on the treadmill.  Myths!  And I believed them.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve tried track before, and it felt good.  I ran with my Jax Galloway group on Wednesday beginning at Memorial Park in Riverside, and we would run loops(½ mile/800’s).  It felt good to run hard with my BRF’s.  Then at a real lighted track at a local high school, and then bridge repeats on the Acosta.  However,  I stopped and haven’t done it for a couple of months.

Then in February I saw a twitter post from JTC about it’s Wednesday’s track sessions and for the first time I gave it serious thought.  Then I thought…all of the myths previously stated.  I doubted myself.  I can’t run with all those fasties.  Everyone will see my flaws when I run(yes my arms swing across my boday, I look like I’m ready to punch someone with the way I swing my arms/hands up…). But the more I thought about it, I wanted to at least give it a try.  To really seal the deal, I signed up for the JTC’s track series beginning in May.  If I was committing to that, I better be ready.  So I got my Bolles visitor pass, and 3 weeks ago I attended my first evening track.    It is held at 5:30 at the Bolles School.  Warm up is 1.5 miles approximately on San Jose Blvd and back to the Bolles Track.  The runners range in age from 30 and up and various fitness levels.  Some of us are fasties, middle of the pack runners, and walkers.  The point of Track is finishing the given workout outlined by Coach Paul and Coach James.  We run hard, take walk/rest breaks, and enjoy being out with other runners.  It’s not a competition.  It’s not about first or second place.  

It is about encouraging and improving.  It’s about getting help on form and stride.  It’s about seeing what your body is capable of accomplishing.  We cheer each other on.  Applaud victories, and create friendships.  We strive for fitness.  For the first time I am feeling confident about running some distance heats(maybe not 100’s or 200’s but may 400’s, 800’s, or even the dreaded 1600).  If you think you can’t, give it a try.  You might surprise yourself and actually like it.

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

Mercedes

Two races in 2 days.  What I learned, how I thrived.

At the Finish, ready for coffee

This has been a stressful week.  Back from Spring Break, FSA’s began,extracurricular stuff, no car, observation…well you get it.  Not a relaxing week.  When I feel stressed, I run and run and run. Bad girl did not do cross training this week.  Oh well there’s always the week after.  So here’s my runekend.(new word)

Virtual Apryle Showers 10k

Last weekend Jax Galloway Rogue was at One Ocean, and we had a special guest speaker, William Schmidt,whose very young wife Apryle had had breast cancer.  There is now a foundation that helps women between the ages of 35-55 suffering from breast cancer.  He was telling us about the Apryle Showers 10k happening April 8th.  I immediately thought, darn we’re running a half marathon on that date in Savannah.  However, when I went home I checked out the website and was pleasantly surprised to find there was a virtual option.  A virtual race is a race that you can run anywhere and you get the bling and race shirt if there is that option.  Perfect.

And he’s done!
On the way back to completing the virtual 10k
 

We were a small group of runners this week, a lot of runners were out of town or resting for racing the next day.  We started at First Place Sports at the Town Center.  Made our way around the back of the complex to the cow tunnel(did you know that the Town Center at one time was a dairy farm?), and under JTB there is a tunnel that the farmers would drive the cows to the pastures.  Kind of cool.  So under and on to Gate Parkway.  We saw a lot of marsh rabbits as we ran/walked, nearly missed the first water stop.  Then under the over pass of 9a(I know, it’s actually I-295 but I still call the road by it’s first name), to the doctor’s office, and back.  What a nice run.

Run 13.1

Hello Sunday!

This race replaced the Tour de Pain Extreme, which I never tried because I was nervous about doing a half in late March(our FL weather heats up after the Gate River Run).    However this is a Grand Prix series race, and since I’m trying to get in the top 5 in my AG, looks like I was trying a new race.  There was a half marathon and 5k option.  Oh boy.  I started paying close attention to the weather.  It is looking quite warm.  Sunday is here before you know it, and I’m glad the race is at 7 a m.  Before I toe the line, priorities.  And we’re off!  We start at the Jax Landing and will finish at the Landing.  Down Water St towards CSX, past the Landing towards Liberty St.  And on to the Springfield neighborhood.  I made a deal with myself before the run, and one way or another I was going to try my damnest to fulfill that promise.  8th St.   Then 15th St.  then there it is Evergreen Cemetery!  

A little side note…one of my favorite races happened a couple of weeks ago  the St Paddy’s Day 10k at the Evergreen Cemetery, and I was on my first hike.  I was sad I had missed it, but the fates were kind and here I was!  Through the shaded paths I ran.  I saw a lot of running friends along the way.  And I kept running.  My pace hovered between 8:35 and 9:00, and I kept digging deep.  Mile 10 and we were out of the peaceful cemetery and running back, and the temperature was climbing.  I’m glad most of the road had some shade and I kept well hydrated.  Springfield residents were out and cheering us loudly as well as the Lady Vikings at a waterstop.  Thank goodness for those wonderful people.  Up one little hill and then around the corner to Bay St and down Water St to the Finish.  2:00:07!


A Finish Line is the best present for a runner.

Now what?

Here are some random thoughts playing around my mind…

If I can run  all those miles and still smile I can conquer anything.

Trust.  Things will work out.

Prepare and be ready for random obstacles that you can’t control.  Roll with it.

Kindness is everywhere.  Seek it out. Good friends ready to come out and run those miles with or just a “way to go” from a stranger can make life better.

Don’t let life bring you down.  You are a winner because you had the courage to try.

Getting up early can lead to beautiful views if you slow down and look.

Smiling releases stress.  Smile often. Even when gutting it out.


Our beautiful city.

I will be back!

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

Mercedes