My New Favorite Running Accessory

28 02 2013

When I was growing up, I played softball and made my small town’s traveling team. One of the “perks” of being on the team was that we got fitted baseball hats (ooh fancy). Every year, myself and one other girl, whose nickname was “Peanut” because she was the tiniest girl on the team, always got the smallest hats available: 6  5/8 . Apparently that means the circumference of my head was only about 21 inches. Yikes.

MPT9A(This was pre-fitted hat)

I don’t think I have a disproportionately small head, but finding hats that fit me has always been a challenge. If it isn’t a women’s specific hat, most likely it won’t fit me. And rocking fun fedoras like Meghann:


Yup, that’s definitely out of the picture:


When I’m doing triathlons, I typically wear a women’s-fit hat that I found last season.


But let’s be honest, baseball hats aren’t really all that flattering (though they are functional) and sometimes a girl just wants to wear a headband to keep the hair out of her eyes!

My hair is typically long enough that I can pull it all back and keep it out of my face, but there have definitely been times where I have a shorter side bang that inevitably falls out of the pony, gets in my eyes, and starts sticking to my sweaty face. I’ve tried a few headbands, but typically they’re one size and despite their elasticity and the rubbery material intended to help the band stay put, I haven’t found one that I love….until I found Bani Bands.


(whoa forehead!)

Last weekend before Gasparilla, I picked up my race bib and wandered around the expo. I saw at least 5 different headband vendors, and I typically write them off as all the same and unable fit my child-size head. When I came across the Bani Bands table, I stopped to take a closer look.

IMG_6229The headbands have an elastic strap on the back (just like most of the others) BUT their strap is adjustable, like a bra strap. The woman encouraged me to try it on, and after an easy pull of the strap, it was perfectly snug on my head. I was still a little skeptical that it would slide off when my hair got slick, but I handed over $20 for 2. Normally, they’re $12 a pop, but the more you buy, the better the deal 🙂 And duh, they come in lots of fun colors and prints. Why can’t a girl try to look a little cute during her workout?


The morning of Gasparilla I checked out the weather and saw that it would be overcast. I thought that a hat would be overkill, so I decided that now was as good of a time as any to try out my new purchase.


The headband worked like a charm! It kept my hair out of my face, and not once was I worried that it was going to slip off, despite how ridiculously sweaty I was getting in the Florida humidity. It was really comfortable and I easily forgot that I was wearing it. I was so impressed that I wore it the rest of the afternoon, and then again while running on Tuesday and Wednesday. It. did. not. move!

::happy dance:: Yes, I am that excited that my itty bitty head can finally wear something that is functional AND fashionable!


Iggy likes it too. 🙂

So, if you have a tiny head, I would highly recommend Bani Bands. Check em out online, on Facebook, or at your next race expo! They work great!

Full disclosure: Bani bands did not provide me with product, nor did they compensate me for this post. I just wanted to share with you a product that I love!

Question of the day: Do you have a favorite headband? What is it? 


Gasparilla Distance Classic- The 8K

25 02 2013

Last year, I had barely been in Florida a month when I ran the Gasparilla half marathon. My new friends told me it was a must-run Tampa race; it was flat, fast, and full of race-day energy (after all, there are 4 races over the course of the weekend!). I had a GREAT time running the race last year, so this year I knew I wanted to run it again. I was awfully tempted to register for the half marathon  so I could walk away with one of these babies:

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2013(photo courtesy of Meghann)

But I decided against it and registered for the 8K instead. I could get myself in shape for a 5 mile run.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 7:30 to give myself enough time to eat, park, potty break and get to the starting line. The 8K was the second race of the day, so my start time was 9:00am. The half marathon was the first race of the day, and the gun went off at 6:00am!

I got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare. One of the things I love about running races is that you just show up a few minutes before the start ready to go, instead of arriving HOURS in advance to set up all your gear in transition.


There were nearly 3000 people running the 8K and it’s not corralled, so I took a guess where I should start. I didn’t want to be too close to the front, so I found a spot about 40 yards or so from the first row of runners. I looked over and saw a guy with a pace sign:


Hmm, maybe I’m too close to the front. An 8:00 pace is awfully ambitious for me, but after waffling back and forth about going back to find the 8:30 group, I opted to stay here and see what I could do. I felt pretty rested, and despite riding 32 miles (with 2 fifteen minute intervals thrown in there, one of them into an awful headwind) and running a 3K yesterday, my legs felt surprisingly good. I’ve recently been delving into the world of compression, so maybe that had something to do with it? Regardless, I decided that I would try to stick with these guys for as long as I could.


When the race started, the temperatures were hovering in the mid 70s and the typical Florida humidity had set in; however, there  was a nice cloud cover and some fog which made it feel much more pleasant than it could have been. I started off with the pacer, and quickly found myself doing a little bit of dodging and weaving to get around the crowds at the start. In the mix, I lost sight of the pacer, but I knew he must have been only a few steps behind me. I fell into a groove- a fast groove. At mile 1, my watch beeped and I looked down and was shocked to see a pace that began with a “7.” Uh Steph, what are you doing? I backed off ever so slightly, but I figured my strategy for today would be to try and hold on.

As we approached mile 2, the pacer came up along side of me and passed me. I worked hard to stay close to him, and tried not to let him go more than 15 feet or so ahead of me. Mile 2 dinged: 8:04. Ok, so I fell off a little, but I’ll take it!

We hit the turnaround and the pacer started gaining some distance on me. I was not going to give up that easily, so I pushed a little harder. Beep! Mile 3: 8:01.

At this point, I was feeling the effects of going out so fast. Oof. This was starting to hurt. I could feel myself slowing down but all I wanted to do was catch up to the pacer. My body was just not having it. To make matters worse, the sun decided to make its debut for the day. And boy, did it come out blazing! I was so hot and so tired, but I still had a mile and a half to go. You can do it Steph, you can do it, I kept chanting to myself. Then my thoughts switched to: No one will blame you if you start to walk.

No!- I pushed the negativity aside and told myself that I could do it- only 1.5 miles to go!

Ding! Mile 4- 8:25

I gave what I could for that last mile and crossed the finish line in 41.05!

Here’s my splits according to Mr. Garmin:

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 9.08.31 PM

(Yeah, I’ll have to work on that whole “pacing” thing…)

I headed down the chute and saw some friendly faces handing out water.


Hi Meghann and Chris!

I also spotted my friend Beth, who is super speedy and was the 3rd overall female to cross the line. Congrats Beth!


Overall, I had a great time running the 8K. It’s a fun distance that isn’t raced all that often. I was quite pleased with my time and my overall results.

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 9.22.58 PM

I did a little counting, and I think I was 12th in my age group. Whoot whoot! Not bad for my first race as a 30 year old:-)

After the race, Mary (who ran the half marathon and scored a new PR!) hosted a delicious brunch where we recounted our races and threw out the idea of running the Challenge (all four races!) next year…I had a fantastic day and I have nothing but good things to say about the race and the race weekend. So, will I “Run for the Booty” next year? We shall see!

Race Season is Here!

22 02 2013

So, I’m racing this weekend. Yeah, that came out of nowhere! This weekend is the Gasparilla Distance Classic race weekend- yet another pirate-themed event in Tampa, but this one’s for the runners! On Saturday, there’s a 5K and a 15K. On Sunday, there’s a half marathon and an 8K. Last year, I ran the half marathon as a training run for my marathon. This year, I didn’t think I could get myself in shape for a half marathon in time, so instead I signed up for the 8K. I’m not sure if I’ve ever raced an 8K, but I figured it would be a good little fun run that wouldn’t be as crowded as the 5K, which draws a HUGE crowd.




I don’t have any time goals for the race and I’ll be running on tired legs, since I’ve got plans for a long bike ride on Saturday. Speaking of bike rides, I’ve been trying to get back into cycling shape, since triathlon season is right around the corner! I actually have a race next month! On March 24th, I’ll be racing in the Olympic Distance race at HITS Ocala. Several of my XP teammates raced in the HITS series last year and had great things to say about the race, so I registered for this year’s race, early enough to get a stinkin cheap entry fee-$50!! They were running a special on entries, so I jumped on that one!



Screen shot 2013-02-22 at 6.13.01 PM


At this point, I’ve only registered for one other race this season, the REV3 Half Ironman in Venice Beach, FL on November 10th. Yup, that’s right. I was supposed to do this race last year, but I deferred because of my foot injury. My foot’s feeling TONS better, so I’m planning on kicking some booty at my first HIM.

There’s a lot of time between March and November, so I’m sure I’ll fill my calendar with other races. Here’s a few I’m thinking about, but haven’t yet registered.

Child of the Sun Urban Triathlon: April 6, 2013, Lakeland FL. This is a sprint triathlon, held in downtown Lakeland. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve heard it’s fast and fun.

Hurricane Man Swim: May 4, 2013, St. Petersburg, FL. As I mentioned before, I’ve got the urge to race in Open Water. The St. Pete Master’s team is putting on a 2.4 mile OWS, and I’ve very close to registering for it!

Rocketman: May 5, 2013, Kennedy Space Center. This inaugural event is historic- it’s the first time the Space Center’s secured gates are being opened for a public sporting event. The race is offering some interesting distance triathlons:

  • The Classic+: Swim 1/4 mile, Bike 33 miles, Run 3.1 miles
  • The International: Swim .93 miles, Bike 33 miles, Run 6.2 miles
  • The Half Ironman: Swim 1.2 miles, Bike 56 miles, Run 13.1 miles

Apparently the bike leg has to be at least 33 miles, since that’s the distance to get in and out of the Space Center. I’m really interested in this race, but it’s a little pricey.

Crystal River Triathlon SeriesMay 25, July 6, August 31, 2013, Crystal River, FL. This is a fun local sprint series not too far from Tampa. I did it last year, and it was my first Florida triathlon. I enjoyed the race, but I remember it being really hot!

Atlantic City International Triathlon: September 15, 2013, Atlantic City NJ. I competed in this race in it’s inaugural year and loved it. A race in my hometown? Heck yes! At the time, I was living in DC, so it was pretty easy to make the 3.5 hour drive up to race. Now that I’m in Florida, it takes a bit more planning (and $$) to make this race happen. I’m very much on the fence about this race, but I would love to go back for it. 

Lots to think about (and budget for!)

Which ones should I register for? What’s your favorite triathlon?