Oh Hey, I Raced a 5K!

17 04 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a fitness related post, but I can finally say that I’m back in the swing of things!

The last time I checked in about my fitness (or lack thereof) I was  just starting to get back to running. Yoga was my go-to workout, but I was definitely getting the itch for more cardio. Slowly but surely I’ve started to get in some swimming, biking and running. My mileage is still relatively low (for me), and I’m definitely not Ms. Consistent like I was last season, but I’m happy if I get in 4-5 workouts during the week.


Having some rad new SOAS gear also helps with the motivation.


Yes. Definitely helps.


You’ll be seeing a lot more of this awesome teal this season:-)


(get some gear for yourself- you won’t regret it!)

Anyhow, last weekend, I was looking for something to do. Most of my friends were out of town, so Meghann suggested I run the IronGirl Clearwater 5K. Without hesitation, I said ok! A 5K would be fun! My last time running there was a distant memory; had I remembered, I may not have been so quick to agree (hint: Florida runners go here to run the bridges aka Florida hills). Great.


Sunday morning, I woke up bright and early to get myself over to Clearwater for the 7:30 start. I was a little worried about parking, so I arrived close to 6:45. Parking was a breeze, so I had time to putz around, stretch and do a (half-hearted) warm up. I watched the half marathoners start at 7 and then milled into the corral for our 7:30 gun time. I really had no expectations for myself- I just wanted to have fun. I lined up close(ish) to the front and waited for the gun.


As soon as it sounded, I took off. I pressed play on my iPod and started to run.

Hmm…I’m not sure I have any other pace than my Ironman goal pace (5:30/km)…Steph, that’s way too slow for a 5K pace.

This is a 5K- you have to run FAST Steph.

This is gonna hurt…but it’s supposed to!

The pain will only last 25 minutes Steph. You did an Ironman, you can handle 25 minutes!

I quickly found my rhythm, and started passing some people right away. Before we had even hit the bridge, I noticed that I was near the front of the pack. Don’t get too excited now;  just take it one K at a time, left, right, left.

My first km ticked off and I saw a 4:XX.  Really?? Haven’t seen that pace in quite some time! Just keep it up, don’t die now!

I started up the bridge and felt pretty good. I actually passed someone, which gave me a little mental boost. Don’t let her catch you on the downhill Steph!

Before I knew it, I was actually at the top of the bridge! It wasn’t quite as tough as I remembered, but I knew I still had to come back over it, so I couldn’t get too excited. I took advantage of the downhill, and when another km clicked by with a 4 in front, I was getting pretty excited. But, I was also really nervous that I would crash and burn- my runs lately have been between 4-8K; with many more on the 4K end of that spectrum, and all the mileage after 3K feeling way more difficult than I wanted it to feel.  At the bottom of the bridge, there was a short straightaway before the turnaround. I looked over the median to see the girls who had made the turn already. 1…2…3…4…5…6…I couldn’t see the girls directly in the turn, but there were definitely a few there. I figured I was definitely in the top 15, but I might be able to squeak into the top ten if I can keep it up!

Right after the turn, we were hit with a headwind. This was both a blessing and a curse, since it made it feel cooler (stupid Florida humidity!) but it was a darn headwind. A little flat and then up the bridge we went. Oof. It was getting hard at this point. Really hard. My lungs were burning and my heart was pounding. Gosh I miss my Ironman fitness! I saw the girl in front of me, maybe 10 meters or so and I really wanted to catch her, but I didn’t want to end up passed out on the top of the Causeway bridge…so I pulled back a tad. Once I had reached the top of the bridge, my heart rate had settled some, and I knew it was time to bring it home. With only a km left (and some of that downhill), I kicked it into high gear. Lean forward Steph, take advantage of that bridge! 

As I headed down the bridge, the girl in front of me got closer. C’mon, do it Steph! I caught her at the bottom of the bridge, as we were making the turn onto Osceola Avenue. Yes! Now hold on Steph!

Down Osceola, and then a left onto Cleveland and into the finish chute! Yahoo! I did it! Finish lines are so fun!


I grabbed my bling and took a photo with Meghann while I waited for results to be posted.


I was so surprised to see that I had won my age group and was 11th OA! Totally unexpected, but totally awesome!


I mean, check out these awesome awards:


Wow! It was so much fun to race IronGirl. It was a beautiful morning (though a little on the humid side), a challenging course, and such an amazing event that empowers women. I loved watching women of all shapes and sizes cross that finish line! The race was super organized, the vendors and expo was great, and it was great motivation for me to keep getting back at it. (So much so, that I signed up for an OWS race this weekend! Oh, and I’m doing a triathlon relay at the end of the month!)

I’m back friends!

Santa’s Twilight 5K

17 12 2012

I had never done a Christmas-themed run before. Until this year, December meant freezing temperatures and no motivation to run for a tee shirt with some jingle bells on it.

In Florida, things are clearly different:

Santas 5K(Photo courtesy of Meghann)

Shorts and tee shirts are much more appropriate attire. And, when you can pair that warm weather with some fun socks,  reindeer headbands, and some fantastic friends, I’ll gladly run a 5K!

On Saturday night, I went up with Mary, Marcus, Meghann, and Bill (<– so happy he was in town!!) to the inaugural Santa’s Twilight 5K on Honeymoon Island. I had only ever been to Honeymoon Island once before, when I cheered on Courtney and Felipe at the Dunedin Tri. It was quite different to arrive at the state park as the sun was setting instead of rising! I need to get out there in the middle of the day just to hang out!


(photo courtesy of Meghann)

We all rode up together and got to the race with plenty of time to spare. We were expecting quite a bit of a crowd and parking issues, but we had zero problems so we killed some time in the car.


About quarter til 7, we headed towards the start line. There were lots of fun costumes, including this guy, who won the costume contest:


His costume lit up too! How creative!

We were also given some glowstick necklaces, which became really helpful on the course.

We ran into Rachel, and were chatting for a few minutes, when all of the sudden the gun sounded and we were off! We had casually talked about staying together and having a fun group run. We started out in our small group, following the glowstick necklaces ahead of us. It was pretty hard to tell who was who out there- being on an island away from the lights of the city, with no streetlights at all to guide us, it was dark! The only lights were the glowstick lumineres that lined the course, the glowstick necklaces and the stars. That was not quite enough light out there for me. I was constantly fearing tripping on some unseen object or pot hole.


After about a quarter mile, Bill and Marcus split off from the group and Mary wasn’t too far behind. Meghann and I stayed together for a little while longer, until we were about halfway done. I checked my watch and saw that we were running about 8:20/mile.  Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! I’m still pretty out of running shape, and have been averaging about 9:00/mile on any running I’ve done in the past few months. I guess this was turning into more of a tempo run for me than a nice easy fun run.  I think the salt air paired with the perfect running weather helped.

So, I decided to see if I could keep it up for the rest of the 5K. Sure enough, I was pretty consistent!

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at 8.30.47 PM

I don’t think I’ve really trained for a 5K, so I don’t really know how to race one, nor do I know what I could really do for a 5K if that was what I was training for. I think I’ve broken 25 once before, but based on some of my 10K times at the tail end of a tri, I should be able to go sub 24. Regardless, 25:43 is a consistent time with what I’d done for some other 5Ks in the past when I was in shape. So, I was actually pretty happy with my time, all things considered.

One of the perks of signing up for this race is that they promised unique finishers medals. Very few 5Ks that I’ve done provide you with a finisher’s medal, so I was looking forward to adding this to my collection.


Unfortunately, there was some mix up with the medals, and they were “on their way” for the good hour or so we waited for them. Oh well.

While we stood around waiting for our finishers medals, we decided to check the results, just for fun. Bill, Mary and Marcus had all finished a few minutes before me, and Meghann crossed the line shortly after me. We had joked earlier that with the small turnout for the race (maybe 300?) Mary could walk away as the women’s overall winner. As it turned out, Mary WAS one of the top three female finishers! And because Mary took one of the overall finisher’s awards, that left the top spot in the 25-29 age group open:


HA! That’s right, yours truly won her age group at a 5K!

This really made me laugh because I am CERTAINLY not a runner! Ah, the joys of small races 🙂 What may have been even funnier was the fact that Bill was the first in our group of 5 to cross the line, and he was the only one in our group who didn’t get an award. Whomp whomp 😦 I guess his age group was a little more competitive than ours 🙂

At 8:30, the finishers medals still hadn’t arrived and they were just starting the awards, so we decided to get out of there get some overdue dinner.

I had a great time at this race: I loved the lit-up finish line, the Christmas cookies and hot cocoa at the finish line, and you can’t beat a race by the beach. But there were definitely a few kinks to work out. Hopefully, next year, they’ll provide some more lighting along the course and the awards will be at the finish line when the first runner crosses.

Question of the day: Have you ever done a holiday run? Tell me about it!

Tips for Your First Mud Run

16 11 2012

Last weekend I competed in my first mud run. I went up to Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City, FL with a few of my Tampa Bay Lady Blogger friends to run the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run.

If you couldn’t tell, we had a great time working our way through the obstacles and getting “pretty muddy.” I could add to the long list of blog recaps from the event, but I opted to take a different spin on my post. This was my very first mud run, so I thought I’d give you some tips from a first timer.

1. Do the event with friends!

(This photo and just about all of the others are courtesy of Meghann)

I’m pretty independent, so I’ve done regular running races and triathlons by myself. Yes, going solo to any kind of race isn’t super exciting, but I think doing a mud run (which are typically low-stakes) alone would be kind of lame.

Going to Pretty Muddy with some of my favorite ladies in the Tampa Bay area was really what made the day for me. We were able act like kids together, help each other through obstacles, and enjoy sharing the experience of a “different” kind of race. We were all there to have fun, and that we did! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that much during a race!

2. Wear form fitting clothes. (Unless you go the costume route!) I wore some Champion capris (from Target), a sports bar, and an old Victoria’s Secret tank. The outfit worked great, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed if it had been ruined by the mud. (Which, thankfully, it wasn’t!) I also wore some old running sneakers, which worked out well.

3. Don’t take the obstacles too seriously.

All of the obstacles at Pretty Muddy gave you the option of walking around, no questions asked. Going up and over a net not your thing? You could just go around it, no big deal. It’s also a safety thing- if you’re injured, not prepared, scared, etc. don’t do it. No one is there forcing you to do every single obstacle. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t force it.

4. Bring a change of clothes (including shoes!) and several towels! This is probably pretty obvious but critical! Pack them in the bag you check. You don’t want to get back into your car covered in mud or in soaking wet clothes. Pretty Muddy had a hose-off station and changing tents, which were much appreciated!

5. Stop and take photos! Ok, so this isn’t a “must,” but come on, how fun are some of these pictures?

Photos from Meghann:

Photos from PBC Sports Photography, LLC:

5. The most important thing is that you HAVE FUN! How often do you get to play in mud like a kid again?

Don’t be afraid to get muddy! I mean, isn’t that the point of a mud run? 🙂

I had such a blast at Pretty Muddy! I thought it was really well organized and a perfect event for first timers.

I would highly recommend checking out all of the Tampa Bay Lady Blogger Recaps; some of them are pretty funny!

Jess (from a volunteer’s perspective 🙂 )

Do you have any tips for someone doing a mud run for the first time?