Month: February 2018

5:30 pacing aka new ways to have fun during the 26.2 with Donna.

We’re in St John’s County!

It’s mile 23 and we’re still on the hill to get to the top of the JTB bridge. The sun is shining and the heat is on. I am feeling “peppy”(that’s my co-pacer’s nickname for me), and ready to send the 5 people still with us ahead for a PR. 30 second walk is up, time to run and get to the top of that bridge.

It begins weeks before, the Galloway director ,Chris Twiggs, calls for anyone who might be interested in pacing the Donna marathon. Without hesitation I volunteer. It’s rewarding to pace runners for their first marathon or even their 10th one. Every experience is different for everyone including for pacers. 26.2 miles is not a distance to laugh at. You might have done dozens but that 1 marathon you might feel ill or going through an injury or the weather might be off. You just never know. So I said “yes” hoping and praying it wouldn’t be like the Jekyll Island Marathon(I was having an off day that day). I had no idea what group I would be pacing or who my co-pacer would be. I was ready for anything.

We were down to 2! The other three in our group had moved on, but guess who we picked up?! Jeff Galloway and two runners he was running and giving sage advice to. We were at the top of the JTB bridge! We had made it. Now all we had to do was let gravity take its course.

Intercoastal views

5:45…it’s all set. Then another pacer asked to trade, so we made it work. New pacing assignment-5:30! And then it was race weekend…how did that happen? After our annual Social Shakeout run at Southern Grounds, it was time to work at the Donna Expo and pick up my pacing stuff. The next day would be my pacer duty at the Jeff Galloway booth. As usual, Momentum Pacing takes care of all its pacers. On Saturday, I complete 2 out of 3 races for the Booby Trap Challenge. In between the 10k and 5k, we take our pacer group photo. 6:30 a m for the Donna Marathon on Sunday.

We are coming down the ramp and then a right turn! Eagle eye me sees the 26 mile sign…we are home free! What’s our time? Oh no! We have 8 minutes to get to the Finish line. I have the pacer flag, I guess I’ll be sprinting. No time to lose. Go! Go! Go! That’s when I hear the 26.3 cheers.

We’re late. I am up at 4. I eat, I have my coffee, shower, and head out at 5:45a m. Traffic is light until C.R. 210. We park and I have enough time to get in the potty line. Then a quick kiss to my honey, who is pacing the 3:45 half(10/30), and then off to find my group and my co-pacer, Ric. Wave 3 is ready! I carry the pacer flag-what a nice large group! I know Prudence and Patti(from GOTR). Everyone else is my newest BRF for 26.2 miles. The weather is nice with cloud cover and cool breezes. People are out and I’m feeling good!

Pacing through PVB(photo courtesy of Joanne Carrizales)

My legs are pumping, my lungs are burning, and I feel nauseous trying to beat that darn clock and crossing that finish line. 5:30:30! The 26.3 cheer section goes wild! My boss(Chris T.) collects my pacer flag and asks about his boss who’s steps behind us. I get a picture with one of the two runners who stay with us, and then collect my medal and head towards Runner’s Village transformed to celebrate the 5:00 and up marathon finisher -26.3. My co-pacer has a 2 hour drive back home and clears out quickly. Very anti climatic. Except, I persevered and had conquered my demons. Take that 26.2! I was greeted by my husband who provided me water and chicken noodle soup.

As we ran/walked/ran, we made small talk, joked about the luck we were having with the weather, and I continued to check on the runners and joke with them. It was crowded until the half marathoners turned left, and we kept going straight down 1st street. The weather gods were kind. After Oceanwalk, we were dropping runners like flies, but we kept encouraging the ones who stayed with us. I saw so many people I knew! It made my heart full to see them. We saw Elvis, a pink gorilla, and breast cancer survivors. It was a definite block party throughout the beaches.

Pink is the color of choice today.

How do you know pacing is for you?

  • You feel confident running at various paces.

  • You like to help others reach their goals.
  • You are ready to encourage and be a running cheerleader.
  • You’re not worried about a PR.
  • You follow the pace and your watch.
  • You find joy in running and want to share that joy with other runners.
  • You like holding the pacer flag.
  • You have a bladder of steel(or a co-pacer/group member who will hold the flag while you run to the potty).

All kidding aside, pacing is really so much fun and I’m so glad to get the opportunity every year at the best marathon I know. See you next year at the Donna.

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


It’s Marathon Week! How to prep for the big day.

Intercoastal views

It’s February! Most people think of Valentine’s Day, I think about the 26.2 with Donna Marathon. We’ve been training since July, and we’ve had 2 weeks of taper so we are rested and ready. I am running the Booby Trap Challenge for the 2nd year in a row,( 10k, 5k, and marathon or half marathon), and trying the Treasured Chest Challenge(the Gasparilla half marathon in Tampa) 2 week’s after the full. That’s a lot of running. So how did I prepare?

Plan out my week.

The week before I write out my planned exercise-definitely rest day on Thursday! Monday-Wednesday include CT(cross training), bridges, and flat run. Friday-shakeout Run. Then Saturday and Sunday-race time. I know what to expect.

Volunteer time.

I don’t just race, I also give back to my community by volunteering at the Expo for packet pick up, at the Galloway Booth to promote my run walk run method, and to answer any pacing questions. It feels good to help people accomplish their goals.


Who sleeps well before a race? Not me. So all this week, I’ll be hitting the bed early to make sure I’m rested. 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended. I’ll try but not promising it’ll happen.

Hydrate, hydrate…did I mention this is important?

Food is fuel, water is my drink of choice.

Healthy and small meals throughout the week. No kale, no mango, no Alfredo. I love them but they won’t love me on race day. I am pacing with someone I don’t know so that would be a horrible first impression. Just an example of a typical day: breakfast: ½ glass of oj, Chobani yogurt, and banana with PB; lunch: 1 serving of leftovers, a piece of fruit, and yogurt(I love yogurt!); Dinner: New Orleans red beans and 1 cup of rice, 1 small salad with oil and vinegar, a pice of cornbread, and ½ cup of raspberries. And of course, 8 glasses of H2O. There you go! Not a diet plan by any means but nothing over the top.

Marathons and colds.

It never fails, marathon week means sniffles. That means extra rest and hydrate. Don’t scrimp on your health, you are the only you-take care of yourself. I’m hydrating, taking mucinex, and going to sleep relatively early, and if I’m not sleeping through the night…at least I’m giving it a shot.

What are you wearing?

Now is the time for a dress rehearsal before the big day. What shoes? Decide now. Socks? Remember nothing new! I’m serious. Cute shorts at the expo? Save them for another day. Wanna try new GU in your favorite flavor? Stop! You have no idea how your gut will react. Tried and true is your best bet. Don’t forget sunscreen! You will be out there for awhile and you want to keep your skin safe. The weatherman can be your best friend and help you dress for success. I’ll be wearing my pacer shirt but that’s it. Everything else I’m wearing I have trained in.

Pre race jitters.

Hey, it happens to the best of us. You stress, you stress, and then the race begins and boom! You’re fine. Your mind likes to play dirty little tricks to make you doubt yourself. I always like the advice Jeff Galloway writes in his books…a mantra to see you through the rough times. My favorite-“glide,glide,go!” 2nd favorite-“I know I can!” If that doesn’t work, try other little mind tricks. I always sightsee as I run and look for interesting landmarks(a pig in someone’s front yard, Breast Cancer flags along the course, Halloween decorations…) I’ve seen it all on a marathon course. It passes the time and makes it almost like a scavenger hunt. Miles seem to fly by.

What a beautiful sight!

Just have fun.

Whatever reason you run; time, great cause, because someone said you couldn’t…enjoy it. You are one of the few who go out there and run 26.2(10% seems tiny when all of us are out there running). Relax and enjoy the process. After it’s done, pat yourself on the back, eat and drink what you want for one congratulatory meal, and look for the next race. See you out there!

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