Month: June 2017

Summer marathon training:  How to survive in Dante’s Hell 

A couple of months ago I looked at my training and race calendar, and had the not so bright idea of signing up for a late June race.  Enticement included a Polar insulated water bottle, a stained glass medal,very unusual AG awards(dolphins), and it was a small race in a pretty Ponte Vedra Beach neighborhood.  We had done this race before and I had won(first woman overall) in 24:34.  No chance of that this year, the course record was now 18:00.  And it was starting late (8:00 a m) and the temperature was 84 degrees at the start.  You know how much I love heat.  

Off topic…I had tried yoga with a friend a couple of weeks before because I thought it was a good idea to cross train as a runner.  You know build up your core and all that.  Well after setting up my yoga mat and getting ready to have a relaxing but challenging time, they turned up the heat in the studio.  Supposedly it gets rid of the toxins in your body.  I felt so bad for anyone next to me or behind me, they were getting rained on from all the toxins I released that day!   Not doing that again.  

Again stressing that heat and me are not fast friends.

Whoa, the heat is strong with this 5k.

So back to this race, it’s humid and hot and I’m in survival mode.  How do I get to point A from point B without dying?   My trusty run walk run strategy helped me get through the race with minor discomfort( no nausea and no dizziness).  27:58 and 3rd in my AG group!  Okay a day later, I have runner’s amnesia and glad to say I ran this race(I do that a lot by the way…).

Currently I am training for a Fall marathon and that means training big mileage for the hottest times of the year.  So how do we runners survive and live to run another day?  Here are my heat tips…

Gotta run?  Run early.

Our group runs are typically at 7:00 a m, but we tend to get up at dark thirty to run because the overnight temps are cooler, and no sun beating down on us mercilessly.  After 9:00 a m, it is getting too warm( after the Big Bang 5k, the temps were steadily climbing and had reached 88 degrees).  The earlier the better, but try to run with a group and not by yourself.  Always wear reflective or blinking lights so drivers will see you if you run early in the morning.  White clothes will not  help you get seen.  Headlamps, knuckle lights, etc. are all good choices to ensure you are safe and seen.

What you put in.

Water.  It quenches your thirst, but you need to supplement it on your runs or rides too.  You need to get your electrolytes in balance because when you sweat heavily, you lose water through your skin which can lead to dehydration, heat cramps, and eventually heat stroke.  So what other choices?  Nuun( I like strawberry lemonade or watermelon) hydration electrolyte tablets are a good way to put in what you lose when you sweat.  Some people like Tailwind endurance fuel which helps with hydration and electrolyte and energy because of it’s mild taste.  It also has never upset my stomach when I’ve drank it.  BCAA powder is also a hydration energy fuel that is easy on the tummy.  I like fruit punch.  They usually sell these at your local running store or Sports Nutrition store.  If you haven’t been to one lately, then you can also try diluting Gatorade.  Unfortunately this energy drink always upsets my stomach(stomach cramps are not fun during a 13.1).

My Hydration kit

When it’s time to move it indoors.

Some people love the heat, but I don’t know many people who can endure the heat and poor air quality.  Summer is prime time for people who have asthma to be careful.  Humidity, ozone, and air pollution from cars, smoke from forest fires, etc. can contribute to unhealthy ranges.  Usually weather forecasters will alert the viewer of these levels.  If you are prone to breathing difficulties, it might be a good day to do some weight training or the indoor track.  Play it safe and wait until the air quality improves.

Shaded vs the desert.

Whether it’s running or cycling, I try to opt for routes that are shaded.  Why?  It’s cooler and you’re not getting the full effects of the sun.  When doing track workouts, at least during summer months, I gravitate towards earlier times because there is no shade on any tracks I’ve encountered.  Running at the beach?  I opt for shaded neighborhoods.  No way am I running on the beach unless I am running the Summer Beach Run or the beach portion of Tour de Pain…yes even I lose my mind and think it will be fun or…yum!  Tijuana Flats at the end!

Cooling Tools.

Daylight earlier and lasts longer.

Cooling towels, Keep it Chill tanks from Running skirts,  cooling vests, cooling sleeves; the lists goes on.  I know that wicking shirts as opposed to cotton anything,  quality socks like My Soxy Feet, Drymax, swiftwick, are necessary for no blisters.  Chafing protection is important because wet clothes vs friction can equal to a very painful shower.  Bodyglide or Goldbond are good choices.  Use it before you exercise.  Wicking visor or hat helps keep you cool too, and keeps the sweat out of your eyes.  Thank goodness for all these items, I don’t know how people could run before these were available.

I have several Summer races yet to do, and 29 miles yet to run.  If you choose to be outside doing a physical activity, then do so safely and have fun!  See you out there.

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


Race recap…Run for the Pies 

I had just received JTC’s The Starting Line on Saturday, and I noticed a theme among the articles; Beer runs.  It was cool to read about a run that was held at Charter Point where runners chugged a beer and had to run as hard as they could.  A lot more came out than stayed in.  Ugh. I just want to state right now even though I’m a runner, I hate beer.  Yes, my dad worked at the Anheuser Busch Jax plant for over 25 years; he was a loyal Budweiser beer connoisseur, we toured the plant where he worked and smelled the hops, and he gave a big thumbs down to any other beer on the market.  I have never acquired a taste for the stuff.  Now pie…that’s my kind of running reward.

Flying for pie

I first ran The Run for the Pies 5k way back in 2011.  I eluded getting a pie by 1 minute.  I’m older and slower, but when I picked up my race packet on Thursday; one of the 1st Place Sports employees stoked my ego and told I would probably win a pie.  Yeah right.  My fastest 5k in optimum conditions was 25:00 and some change.  No way no how. Still I thought anything is possible until I saw the weather…85 degrees and humidity 97%.  Still I was ready to try.

Before the open 5k, the elite women and men(anyone who can run a race in 19:00 and under) can test their mettle.  There were a couple of young girls running-13 and 14 year olds(I was cheering for them) and they were doing quite well.  Then it was everyone else’s turn.  We got off a little late.  People were telling me to get at the start line, but I was back a bit.  I could see the start and clock, but I didn’t want to get trampled.

I could see the Finish!

I was there to beat the clock.  We started on Bay St to the Convention Center(we didn’t go all the way to it), and then doubled back.  3/4 of a mile I was at 7:00!  Wow!  Then I got to the first mile marker-8:13.  Too slow.  Then on towards the Main Library and City Hall and past Hemming Plaza.  Still running.  Mile 2, 17:ish.  Time for Galloway’s run walk run.  My trusty 1:00/:30 and away I went.  Thankfully it was overcast and there was a breeze.  Mile 3: 26:45!  Damn.  I was hoping for under 26:00.  Still not unhappy.  I finished, I was smiling, and First Place Sports  were passing out wicking caps and I got one.  Score!  


I wore my new Skirts Sports Cascade skirt and it fit comfortably with no chafing.  Plus it paired up well with my race tank.

My husband was there socializing while I was running my legs off, but he did capture some good action shots.  Love you honey!

Thank you clouds for being out in full force, so us runners would not melt.  It was a lot cooler this year compared to years past.

Goodies!  1st Place Sports again put together a great event with plenty of goodies at the end-pies(apple), medals, freezer pops(liquidity oh well), runner expo, and caps.  I didn’t stay for the fun at the Landing, but I heard there was a pie eating contest and other fun giveaways.

Great support from police officers to firefighters making sure runners were safe.  Lots of support from the community with lots of people cheering us on.  Always love that.  Makes it worthwhile.  I know when we were walking back to our car, we made sure to cheer on runners still out there.


I have always lived in Florida(well except for my first 5 years in my home state, which is still in the South just saying),I train in Florida heat…someone explain why I wilt every time it gets hot?!  I have to figure out how to “race” and not just train in heat.  Speed work continues to be in my near future(Wednesdays).

Speaking of speed work…faster is my mantra.  I have been close to getting a apple pie(not my favorite flavor).  Some chase BQ’s, 10% finisher hats, I am chasing pie.  I have 364 days to get 23:59 or better. Can I do it?  I believe I can.

Scheduling.  This was crazy!  The Hart and Main St. bridges out of commission, a baseball game, and a concert all on the same night?!  I’ll say it again-crazy!  6:37 p m when we finally got Downtown and park and we left our house at 6:00 p m. Oy (face palm).  Hopefully this won’t happen next year.

Late starts.  7:05 elites start?  Then open 5k at 7:40?  I never found out what happened that we had to start later.  Night race would’ve not been fun-full moon!

If you haven’t checked this race out, be sure to put it on your race schedule.  It takes place early to mid June, it’s a Jacksonville Grand Prix event, and it’s an early evening run (so no getting up in the pre dawn hours for you).  See you out there!

Remember it’s about the journey not just the destination (but it is about the pie),


Last Grand Prix race in the training log

It’s Summer! Now what?

180 days…60 days…so many days

June 2nd…last day of school for students!   Yay!  June 6th…last day of post planning for all teachers!  Bigger yay!  Okay so it’s the first week of vacation, and I’m at a loss.  I have no timelines, no schedules, no appointments…this is not what I am use to as a teacher.  We are a regimented bunch of people whose day is scheduled to the minute.  I know what I am doing at 8:45(calendar/morning meeting)a.m., 11:00(reading/writing block)a.m., and 2:45(pick up students from resource unless it’s Wednesday)p.m.  Now I have all this free time…what to do?!?!

Week 1:

We are in the process of putting our house for sale,so…declutter, finish any painting, bathroom tile, storage unit needs new boxes, and outside/inside carpet install.  That should be at least a full week’s worth right?

Week 2:

Marathon training and triathlon training.  I’ve always wanted to try a 75 mile run week, a century ride, and a mile swim.  I could do that.  My boys are older and can stay at home by themselves with a laptop and Cable tv.  They can fix breakfast, lunch, and maybe even dinner after I drag myself across the threshold, no problem.  

Week 3:

I could go to the Town Center and binge shop.  Start at Tiffany’s(do they let normal people in there?  You know the ones without Michael Kors handbags…),then move on to Coach, Nordstrom, and end at Old Navy.  How much could I set my credit card back?  I could start and finish my Christmas shopping!  That would be a first.  I could try on all the stiletto shoes, and dream I could actually want to wear those without tripping over my clumsy feet.  I think I could do that, it opens at 10a.m. and closes at 9.  

Week 4:

I could write a foodie blog, and spend breakfast, lunch, and dinner at various local eateries (just say no to chains unless it’s Chik-fi-la) sampling the delectable dishes.  Then using their wifi to write my blog.  Then after publishing which will be hours later, have a snack or dessert.  Wow!  My credit card statement is going to be huge!

Week 5:

Binge watch one of the popular series everyone talks about and I’ve never seen like Game of Thrones, House of Cards, or The Walking Dead(I’d be really hard pressed to watch this series since I’m not a zombie horror fan).  I could plant myself in front of the tv ,and ask one of the boys to fix me snacks since I can’t be bothered to miss one second of the series .  Egads!  I might miss something important.  Portable toilet might be something to look into too, they have those in the camping section at Academy.  Hmm.

Week 6:

We could go relative house hopping!  I have cousins in Long Island New York, an uncle in Annapolis, another cousin in North Carolina, and family down in Miami.  I could just go from one to the other, and catch up with family gossip.  Of course they speak Spanish, but that’s okay I’ll teach the boys sign language.  It’ll be fun!  We could sleep on air mattresses and share 1 bathroom.


Car shopping!  I could go to various dealerships and test drive cars(do you think they’d let normal people drive a Porsche?  You know a mom who wears Northface shorts not Lucky brand jeans?).  I want a Volvo station wagon, but Ethan might want a jeep.  Chris might want a truck for hauling furniture.  The possibilities are endless.  They provide snacks so that takes care of breakfast and lunch.  I love that new car smell.

Week 8: 

Last week before school starts!  What can I do to go out with a bang?!?!  An amusement park!  Lots of people, long lines, Florida heat…sounds like fun!  My credit card is definitely laughing at me.  Everything planned, everything scheduled, no down time ,no lulls.  It’s almost like school.  Schedule breakfast, lunch, and dinner; which Park we’ll hit, and then what shows and rides we’ll go on.   Hurry hurry…fast fast.

What a nightmare!

Family time…priceless

Summer vacation is our time to enjoy being with our kids, not someone else’s.  They grow up too fast, and would rather be with their best friend’s family(whatever).  Enjoy this time together.  Sometimes just being together is enough.  Going to the public library together, walking the dogs, or riding bikes on the Rail Trail is fun.  I plan to do some of week 1, only because we are hoping to move,  but I also hope to cook with the boys, collect shells at the beach, and go hiking with them(the AT trip is on schedule).  And week 2 of marathon training is currently underway with my BRF’s(I’m up to 13 miles), but I want to run for enjoyment.    Summer is a time to relax and just enjoy being a mom and wife.  I also want to spend more time with my parents since I don’t get to see them much with all my extra curricular activities throughout the school year.

I love my Summers.  Take time and enjoy yours.

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


Galloway run/walk…why you should try it on all your runs.

Accomplished using 60/30 run-walk-run.

I love/hate when people find out I’m a Jax Galloway group leader, and assume I’m not a real runner.  Here are some of the negatives I’ve been told or overheard:  “…are you injured?”, “…do you run?”, “…I hate these damn run walkers, they get in my way”, “…you need to try something else”.  It goes on and on.  So much negativity when this method is so positive for all types of runners, yes even e-lites.  

Some background about me and Jax Galloway, in 2009 I decided to run my first Donna relay, and signed up to train with the Jax Galloway training group in October.  My training group were the Crazy Eights with Glenn and Kimberlee.  I had never done intervals, but it turned out to be fun.  I met nice people and I got stronger as a runner.  I also got faster.  I moved up a group.  The Hagels were my new group leaders.  There were run walkers who were even faster.  I watched in awe when our Galloway director Chris T. and Amanda N.(the RunDonna race director) ran at a fast pace using the Galloway method.  Their group were known as The Fasties.

I still wasn’t convinced that run walk run would be good for racing, but I used Galloway for all my training runs.  I continued with Jax Galloway and began group leading.  We gained new runners, we lost long time runners convinced that run walk run was just a stepping stone to faster running without intervals.  I guess they weren’t paying attention when Jeff Galloway qualified for the Boston Marathon using 30/30.

M&M’s reunion

I began using the Galloway run walk run for the Run Donna marathon, why?  First, I was able to enjoy the race more.  I felt strong at the end of 26.2 miles.  I ran with my BRF’s. The biggest benefit, I was smiling at the end.  However, for smaller distance races I was still not a believer.  I just ran as fast as my legs could carry me.  All that changed last year.  The Summer Beach Run 5 miler rolled around in August and the temperature was 100 degrees!  Me and heat don’t get along.  I tried to run, really I did but I became so nauseous, I felt like I couldn’t go any further.  Well guess what, I wasn’t quitting obviously, so I started my interval time(90/30) …I always carry it as a back up plan, and finished under an hour.  Not bad.

The Pink Musketeers!

Last Monday…Memorial Day 5k.  After a mile and a half,when the humdity was crazy high and no hint of a breeze…Intervals saved the day. 27:39.  Fast forward to June 3rd, DCPS Spirit 5k with again no breeze and high humidity-I did the unthinkable…I used 60/30 to run my 5k.  I finished in 26:03(a minute and a half faster)!  Masters female winner.  I’m a believer.   Yes you can run walk run to a win.  I will continue training during the Summer and using run walk run for my long runs.  Run for the Pies (middle of June)and Celebration Run (July 4th) are also happening, so looks like the smart thing to do.  Florida heat just gets worse.  No freak cold front unfortunately.

Give intervals a try.  Don’t worry about the naysayers and critics; you’ll Run until 100, one of Jeff Galloway’s books, I know I plan too. There are many Galloway groups throughout the U. S. and even abroad.  Why?  Because runners, newbies and fasties, know it works.  No Galloway groups around your community?  Check out the website where you can even start a group, discover training benefits, and FAQ’s.    Running can be fun and still competitive.

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


Okay, that didn’t go as planned.  What to do when your race plans go bust.

A look of disappointment? Or could it be a look of Thank God I’m done.

I’ve read over and over that if you give your best effort in a race, it’s going to hurt.  After all the hurt, there is satisfaction that you gave it your all. Right?  That depends on the type of hurt.  My hurt is not burning legs or not being able to catch my breath(granted those can be bad too), but nausea.  Whenever I become overheated, I feel sick.  Take  the 33rd Memorial Day 5k, I was racing for JTCR.  The weatherman said it was going to be warm(turns out it was 80 degrees at the start ), so I had hydrated well the day before.  I didn’t eat breakfast just in case.  I was fine for 1.5 miles running between 7:57 and 8:15 pace.  My legs felt like leaden weights and I couldn’t seem to catch up to any JTC teammates.  Then all of a sudden I felt nauseous(not a good sign), and knew from past experience I better slow my roll down.  I have never gotten sick before during a race, but I have had things come up but luckily never out.  It is not pleasant and frankly I don’t like that feeling.  My husband Chris was waiting for me at the finish line and told me about several runners who had gone down or threw up near the finish line.  Ugh!  My goal was to finish under 27 minutes.  I was even hopingat the end  to do better than last year’s time, but unfortunately I was 7 seconds slower.  

However I finished upright and for the most part glad I ran/walked as hard as I could. I raced safely.  Do you ever feel like you should have done better?  Or ask yourself why am I not seeing the results when I train hard?  I know I do.  

Glad he’s happy. Now carry me back to the car

Things you can control.

How much you hydrate, clothes and shoes for the race, intervals on your timer, and the time you put into training.

Things out of your control.

Weather,especially Florida weather where there is hardly any cooler season, sleep(if your mind is racing there is no rest for the weary), coming down with a  summer cold or stomach virus, and stress(job, family, or otherwise).

What are you going to do about it?!

Well that’s a great question if you’re a Type A personality.  Just more added stress.  Who needs that?  Especially before a race with nervous energy.  This is what I do.  Pull up my big girl pants and don’t give up.  It’s all a mental game anyway.  Got a favorite mantra?  Mine is just keep going just keep going…  sometimes I’ll hum a favorite song(I ‘ve been singing Pharrell Williams Freedom lately), or I’ll try to spot a runner and stay with him or her through the race,unless they are a heavy breather or burping up stuff-then it’s run away run away time!  The thing is if I’m really struggling, I have a back up plan.  Not every race is going to be a PB.  Gather up the pieces, and move on.  You will more than likely race this race again, so don’t fret.  The key is to use this race as your speed training for the week. Or if it’s a long race(anything over 10 miles), a training run.  Don’t think of it as a waste, but as a learning tool in your vast runner’s bag of tricks.  

Learn from it, embrace it.

It’s still fun to race.  When it stops being fun, you’re in burn out mode.  Take a break and turn to swimming or cycling or tennis.  Or any activity that you find enjoyable.  Just don’t stop moving and staying fit.  Your body and mood will thank you for it.  

We’ve been running this race since 1990!

Let me know what strategies you use to get through a bad race.  I’d love to hear from you.

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