Month: January 2018

Race Recap of The Matanzas 5k

There’s nothing better than a finish line

In 2010 when I was new to running, I ran this race with my son Ethan who was 12 at the time. Ethan was feeling ill and had to walk a little bit still ended up under 30 minutes. We never ran it again. Every January I commented on the iconic race and he said “no way Mom! That was one of my worst races.”

Fast forward 8 years, and since I’m chasing the Jax Grand Prix top 3 spots for my age group and unable to run St Paddy’s Day or Wine and Chocolate 5k(2 of the 10 Spring Races), well time to let bygones be bygones. I signed up as part of the JTC race team.

Unlike 2010, there was no race packet pick up at 1st Place Sports, so because I remember how jam packed it was , we headed out to get to St Augustine before 7:30. My better half went with me to keep me company, and we found free parking on Ponce Deleon Blvd easily. I was surprised. The weather was perfect. Overcast and cool. We walked to St Francis Field and the Ketterlinus Gym for packet pick up. Small race expo but quality long sleeve t-shirt. Where are the crowds? I remember a lot more runners (I checked past results and noticed the finishers were over 1600 in 2010 and half of that number in 2018)! Time to line up!

8:00 a m start. Boom! We’re off.

Beautiful views

Down West Castillo Dr to San Marco Ave and past the beautiful Castillo de San Marco and the bay front. The city was just waking up, so very few spectators but beautiful views of America’s oldest city! We ran past the Bridge of Lions to Lincolnville and past Flagler College. 1st mile I was flying at 8:13 pace and trying to keep up with two of my JTC teammates. Yeah…nope! Mile 2…17:04, Not too shabby. And the good news, no cobblestone streets. If you know anything about me, I am a perpetual klutz, so I was worried. All good-the streets were my friend today. Then around the corner and I finished in front of the parking garage at St Francis Field. PR from my other race by 4 minutes! Yes!! Not a 5k PR but still happy-8th in my age group. No medal, but smoothie king for runners along with other Recovery treats.

Glows.

I can’t say enough about the quality long sleeve cotton shirt. Nothing like relaxing after a long run, marathon, or Triathlon in a comfortable shirt. I wish more winter races opted for these type of race shirts.

38 years of running strong! It’s a RRCA certified race and usually you see some fast athletes. Today was no exception. We had some Hanson Brooks Race Team members racing with 5k time of 14:00! Now that is fast!

Race course was gorgeous. And flat, so the course is designed for fast times. Too many runners and the roads can become a little congested, but today was perfect. I had room to move and not dodge. The course was also well marked with mile markers and timing clocks.

Expo was small but plenty of massage tables for runners to recover their sore muscles.

Runner’s village was nicely stocked for finishers. I love smoothies at the end!

Grows.

Packet pickup for out of towners was a bit of a hassle. I was worried about race day pick up and if the race grows to it’s 2010 proportions, it could be a headache. I would love 1st Place Sports Baymeadows to be an option again.

No medal? Maybe that’s why it’s shrunk by half. Just saying. I don’t care one way or the other but some runners love the bling.

Thank you ACRR! It was a blast!

I definitely will be back and possibly bring a friend or two. A great tune up race for the Donna 10k and 5k coming in February.

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

Mercedes

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I know a 6 letter dirty word.

Most of us know the 4 letter dirty words, and when we were in middle school we used them liberally to make us sound cool. Then adulthood came along and these words were “taboo” especially at work. If a boss says that word(s), we are shocked! We might use those words at home when our wedding ring falls in the garbage, in the car when someone cuts us off, or even when we stub our toe on the dresser. However, we are told again and again- Don’t use those words! People who use those words are not educated, they don’t read, or they’re trashy. I’ve heard it all(my mom is very prim and proper-talk and act like a lady at all times).

However, I know a really dirty word; a word we use all the time, and no one raises their eyebrows or gets a shocked look on their face when we utter it. It’s a hateful word. It means different things to different people, it turns me cold and hot at the same time, it has power and messes with me. It makes me wake up in the middle of the night my pulse racing and then my mind can’t shut off. It makes me physically sick and I feel like I have the flu or having a heart attack. It depresses me and messes with my confidence. I hate that word and all that it means. Remember it’s different for everyone.

What’s the word you ask? I know you’ve been saying words in your mind and counting the letters-no clue? The word is stress. What?! That’s the word?! It’s so innocuous. What are you yelling and screaming about? Trust me, that word has tied my stomach in knots, had me running around with 3 hours of sleep while teaching 1st graders, and chewing on my fingernails until I make my finger bleed. It is ridiculous. And it means so many things for all of us. It is a horrible word!

I’m selling my house. Okay, good for you, you’re making a new start in a neighborhood. What’s got you stressed? Everything! Where are we moving? Repairs? Money? Packing up everything! As I’m writing this, my heart is hammering. Stupid stress!

How do you turn it off?

Calm, serenity, happy…then there’s me.

Exercise. Thank goodness for running. Thank goodness for JCA. Thank goodness for my BRF’s. I run and endorphins are released to make me feel good. I smile and more tension is released. I bike and I swim(that’s another stressor but it’s all good), I talk and laugh with my BRF’s, and the stress melts away. Does it go away forever? Of course not, but it’s manageable. It gets me through. I think that’s why I don’t like taper.

Stress does not go away, but there are tricks to lessen it. No, I am not a duck and things don’t roll off, but I am lucky because I know one day I’ll look back and laugh at this part of my life when I thought I was crazy stressed. Until then, I’ll keep doing what I always do to get rid of that dirty six letter word…can I bake you a pie?

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

Mercedes

Should you become a brand ambassador? What I’ve learned.

My Skirt Sports #gymgirl #sublime skirt

The first time I became an official Ambassador was for the 26.2 with Donna marathon. We were the inaugural Donna ambassadors, which later became VIPinks/DSquad. We all believe in one goal-promote the Donna Marathon through social media and fundraise to help end breast cancer. This race and cause is near and dear to my heart, so that was no problem. In turn, we were treated like royalty: team shirts, social shakeout Run, The works! So many of you are thinking, where can I sign up? Hold on there! It’s not about freebies, how much time and effort are you willing to commit? Is becoming a brand ambassador for you?

I am an ambassador for several athletic minded companies and a race series company. When I’ve applied, to these companies, I take into account : do I use their products, do they stand by their products, do I believe in and like their products? If the answer is YES, then I apply and hope for the best. A lot of the times, these are small companies and I want to make sure I promote their product out in social media. Sometimes it’s a big company, but since I use them when I run or TRI, I want to continue to promote their product and how it works for me. After all, I am a Jax Galloway group leader, GOTR coach, and JTC race member and people who are new to our sport have questions. You have to start somewhere, I belong to several FB groups and have gotten a lot of good information from what people have posted. Speaking of social media….

It is a must! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat are all familiar media that most companies ask you about when applying. If you blog, even better. Some companies specify what amount of followers you should have depending on how big the company is. I have a following, but not 1k or anything like that, so I have been turned down. Grow a thick skin. You will get turned down. It’s to be expected since hundreds are vying for 10 or fewer ambassador spots.

The race director of 26.2 with Donna,Amanda N., our Ambassador Captain, Marcia B., and me. I love being a Donna Ambassador!

It is rewarding to become a brand ambassador, but there are expectations. After all you are representing their company, so negative inflammatory statements might be frowned on. Try to be positive. Not everything needs to be or should be posted on social media. You have a responsibility to know your product, and talk about it knowledgeably with other people who follow you. What you put into it is what you get out of it(I heard that the other night when I was watching some videos from a company I’m a brand ambassador of). It’s true. Do you have time during your week to interact with other ambassadors on FB? Are you able to travel for retreats or race weekends? Are you an expert at #(hash tagging)? Are you willing to write reviews? Are you able to blog about a product? All these and more are something that will most likely be expected.

What’s the saying…”you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” is true. Perks can include discounts, free stuff, and ambassador gear! Plus meeting people from around the country and even worldwide. I think that’s one of the best things because you have so many cheerleaders! And then…It’s wonderful to have a chance to meet people in person during a race meet up or Ambassador retreat. I’m hoping to get a chance to go to Boulder Co this year for the Skirt Sports retreat! Exciting and fun!

So now that you know, it’s your turn. Apply and good luck!

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

Mercedes

Challenges…Who says these aren’t fun?

I love the uplifting community.

Run streaks, 31 days of planks, or any detoxing fads…I have never jumped on the bandwagon. I don’t need cross training, I swim and bike. Wrong! I signed up at my local fitness center for strength training for runners, but since there were only 2 people in the class they had to cancel(they needed at least 3-man!). Luckily Zooma Race Series(I’m a race ambassador) had a Summer Challenge, which involved strength and cross training along with a food challenge. I was intrigued, so I signed up. Best thing I ever did! I got stronger and I (along with my family) tried some different foods/ingredients, which I probably would not try otherwise.

Fast forward to Winter holidays, and Zooma had the Winter Challenge, which is 7 week’s of strength as well as setting goals and expectations for a healthier you during the stressful hectic holidays. Okay, I need more strength in my weak runner’s life, so yes please. And since I wasn’t familiar with some of these exercises, some of our leaders/cheerleaders on Facebook would provide videos to help us get a visual. Sarah R. was our biggest cheerleader and we would check in everyday to see how we were all faring. One day I was having a rough day, and posted about how I just couldn’t do it…I received so many encouraging words and posts;it was heartwarming. This wasn’t just a challenge, this was a community of women building each other up. It was a breath of fresh air.

Some days are harder than others.

December 31st was our last day of the Winter Challenge, and the RunLove Challenge was beginning January 1st to train for a virtual 5k or 10k. Of course I signed up! Week 1 and I’ve done running, cross training, and my favorite-fartleks. It sounds obscene right? Nope. Just a form of speedwork/speed play. This week was easy(we’re still on Christmas vacation), so we’ll see how I feel when I go back to work. I’m excited! I am ready to get stronger as a runner.

Resolution Run 5k. I am having fun!

6 more weeks. How will I feel? I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll have lots of RunLove Challenge supporters who have my back just like I have theirs. Never underestimate the power of community. Don’t go it alone.

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

Mercedes