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!

Florida Burlesque Festival

8 09 2014

On Friday afternoon, Bill, his niece Sasha, and I set off for Ft. Lauderdale to go to the Florida Burlesque Festival. Funny story about that. Bill had told me that the festival was in Tampa. He had been planning to buy the three of us tickets, but ran out of time before leaving on his last contract. So I  bought them without thinking twice while I was on the phone with him a few days before the show. Seconds after clicking the “purchase” button, they were delivered to my inbox and I immediately printed them out.

“Uh Bill…”


“The tickets say the venue is at Cinema Paradiso…in Ft. Lauderdale.”

“WHAT?! I could have sworn it was in Tampa.”

“Welp, looks like we’re going to have a long drive to get there!”

Lesson: Be 100% sure of the venue location BEFORE buying tickets.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.21.40 PM

So, we set off in the late afternoon in time to make it for the 8:00pm show.

In typical Florida fashion, we drove through lots of late afternoon/evening thunderstorms. That made for a fun drive…not.

We stopped for dinner at a Chipotle somewhere between Ft. Myers and Naples, and had an interesting experience there…

If you are squemish or ever want to eat at another Chipotle, please skip to the next paragraph.

When we walked in, there was a guy sharpening a chef’s knife in the doorway between the front service area and the kitchen. He had a hand-held sharpener in his left hand, and the knife in the right. He was swinging the knife back and forth through the sharpener, but he was doing it with such confidence, I didn’t think much about it. I had a fleeting thought that if it went bad, it would be real bad, but didn’t really think we’d see an accident. We’d put in our orders and I had just finished asking for some cilantro to throw on top of my salad (I didn’t know that I could request this- but the guy in front of me had done it, so I thought, why not?), when the guy who had been sharpening the knife immediately stopped and disappeared into the back. I looked up and there was blood splattered on the white tile wall directly in front of where he had been sharpening the knife. On the floor and there was pools of blood. Did I just walk in to a scene of Dexter? The whole energy of the place changed- I think everyone was like “OMG did that really just happen?” The poor girl helping me out was trying to stay calm and continue wrapping up my order, while someone else immediately started cleaning the mess. Whoa. Just whoa. We paid, went to our table, and slowly started to eat. As I write this, I still can’t believe I actually ate my meal. I really don’t know how badly the guy was injured, but we watched him leave with another employee with his thumb wrapped well in a towel. What a way to start our evening!


Anyhow, back to burlesque. Have you ever been to a Burlesque show? In the past two months, I have now been to 3! Bill has actually been one of the “variety” acts in two of them, and one of his fellow performers was accepted to the Festival, so we went to support him!

The Burlesque scene is quite different than I’m used to, but I am learning to appreciate this style of performance/art. 🙂

We showed up at the Theater, grabbed a drink and waited for the doors to open. People watching at these events is always one of my favorite things. I’ve never seen so many brightly colored wigs, sparkles, or feathers in one place! As we waited, we took some photos to remember the occasion, and we were photobombed by a woman rocking a backless red dress.



As it turned out, she was actually one of the performers! This woman had been doing Burlesque for over 25 years, performing in Vegas and she went out and killed it on stage. Such confidence!

I tried to get a cute picture with Bill, but it is always quite a challenge.





We did eventually get a good one later in the show:


Doors opened a few minutes before 8, and since we had VIP seats, we were in one of the first few rows. We chatted for awhile with each other and those around us, before the signal came that it was almost time to begin. The show finally started at about 8:40 with a bit of the history of Burlesque and an intro by Bambi Le Fleur, who started the festival (this was it’s first year). Then, the super adorable, very funny MC, Blanche DeBris took the stage and immediately won over the hearts of the audience.

Throughout the course of the night we saw lots of acts- to be perfectly honest, the show was a bit long- and I liked some acts more than others. My favorite was the woman who sang opera while acting drunk and stripping. Hilarious. There was also a few nice “boylesque” acts in there as well 🙂


Unfortunately, our friend didn’t perform until Saturday, so we didn’t get to see his performance! Sigh.

We left Ft. Lauderdale close to midnight, and by the time we made it across Alligator Alley, we decided to stop and crash for the night at a hotel. Best. Idea. Ever.

If you haven’t been to a burlesque show, I’d definitely recommend going at least once. Some of the costumes are unreal- so elaborate! There’s lots of artistic talent out there- check it out!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to a Burlesque show?


Madeira Beach Triathlon 2014

4 06 2014

Last weekend, on a whim, I signed up for the Madeira beach triathlon. My friend Chris was signed up to guide a paratriathlete  for the race (so cool, and definitely something I want to do some day!) so we drove down together bright and early on Sunday morning. When my alarm went off ay 4:25am I was definitely second guessing my idea to sign up. Why did I think this was a good idea?


Pre Race:

It was an easy 40 minute drive to the beach and we arrived with a good 45 minutes or so until transition closed. Though I had picked up my packet on Wednesday, I still had to go over to the registration tent to pick up my bike and helmet stickers, which hadn’t arrived in time for packet pickup.  The tent was kind of a disorganized mess. There was one long registration line, which as far as I could tell was where I needed to be to grab my stickers.  After standing in that line for a good 5 minutes, I realized that there was yet another line that was running parallel to the tables, which was  actually the line for picking up the stickers. Ugh. I hopped to that line, and then once I got closer to the table I saw the RD  there handing out stickers. He seemed a bit frazzled, trying to hand out stickers while answering other people’s questions. Perhaps he should have delegated this job to someone else? I was getting annoyed because I like to get to transition early and here I was wasting time in these lines- which is exactly why I had picked up my packet early in the first place! It also didn’t help that I had to go to the bathroom really, really badly. After finally getting my stickers and my chip, I put them in their designated places, and high tailed over to transition so I could quickly get set up and then run to the bathroom.

Setting up seemed easier than usual- I don’t know if it’s because I’m finally experienced enough to have my routine down, or that I was not stressing about this race at all, or if it was because all I wanted to do was to get to the bathroom as fast as possible. So as soon as I was done, I walked out and stood in the bathroom line. O.M.G. There were TWO portapotties and then the beach bathroom, which someone told me had three stalls (for the women, probably about the same on the men’s side). For a race with about 500 people, this was NOT enough. Note to the RD- GET MORE PORTAPOTTIES!  Ok, enough potty talk.


I headed to the swim start a half mile down the beach, where I did a little warm up and then met Keara! Finally, after 5 other waves, it was our turn! One of the main reasons I did this race was that it had a half mile swim (as opposed to a quarter mile, which most other sprints have), so I wanted to capitalize on this leg of the race as much as possible. I got out with the front group, and saw one girl take off, but then I settled into a comfortable stroke pretty quickly on the feet of another girl. I don’t think she liked it too much though because I would occasionally graze her feet and she would kick really hard to try and lose me. Somewhere around the second buoy she stopped for half a second (maybe to check her goggles?) and I moved up along side of her. I picked it up just a bit, and at this point we started encroaching on the waves ahead of us. I lost track of the girl and focused on my race. I was swimming strong, hoping I wasn’t pushing it too hard, and I just kept plowing down people in the waves in front of me. All throughout the swim, I noticed people walking. The water was quite shallow at times- maybe would have been chest high- and SO MANY people walked it! I heard a few people saying they dolphin dived the whole thing! I don’t stand up unless my hands touch, so I kept going. I passed my friend Chris at the last bouy, gave him a holler and kept going. I was hoping to catch a tiny wave on my way in, but no such luck. Instead, I ran over some people. Oh well.

Time: 11:04 (1st Female OA, I think).

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.16.01 AMI hope I’m not breaking the law by posting that screen shot, “courtesty” of BB Action Photography.


I ran up the beach and into transition, and made an immediate right. All of the racks looked mostly empty and I was wondering what the heck was going on. Oh, that’s right, there were two rows of racks on one side of the median, and then two on the other. I hadn’t taken time to go through the entirety of transition when I was setting up, and it came back to bite me. I quickly realized my mistake and cut across the median to my bike. Helmet and sunglasses on, now let’s get out of here!

Time: 0:58


My shoes were on the bike, and I had a decent mount, though not super. Maybe 100 yards from the mount line there were 2 rumble strips and 2 speed bumps, which wasn’t a super way to start off, but I got going pretty quick after that. Then there was a short straightaway before going up the first bridge. I wanted to have my feet in my shoes before the tiny climb, so I hurriedly velcroed them in. The bike was a single loop, 9.82 miles long, with two small bridges. They covered the bridge grates with thin carpet, and I’m not sure that really helped. Going over one of the bridges, I heard a guy yelling “Woah! Whoa!”  which I could relate to- they were kind of slippery! My goal was to try and average 21-22mph, despite having ridden almost 50 miles (at that pace) the day before. I also wanted to maintain my lead as long as possible. I didn’t wear a watch so I had no idea how fast I was going, but I felt speedy enough. Maybe a little more than halfway through, a girl from my wave passed me. Darn it. I checked her calf and it read “37”. Phew, at least she wasn’t in my age group. On the last little stretch (maybe two miles?) there was an annoying headwind, but soon I saw a volunteer with a flag indicating that I was approaching the dismount line. I unvelcroed my shoes, pulled my feet out, and dismounted pretty well, and into transition I went.

Time: 27:25, 21.5 mph (ish) 6th AG

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.19.51 AM


Bike racked, helmet off, and then I put on my socks and shoes. For a millisecond I contemplated running sockless, but decided that the sand in my shoes wouldn’t be so fun. So, I took what seemed like forever to put on my socks, then shoes, grabbed my visor, watch, and race belt and headed out of transition. Again, not investigating transition cost me a few seconds, as I didn’t run the shortest distance to get out. Oh well.

Time: 0:58 (apparently I like consistency in my transitions?)

IMG_4927Photo credit: Chris


A beach run was definitely NOT something I was looking forward to. It was one of the reasons I was not going to do this race in the first place. Had it been 2003 and I was guarding on the beach, I would have been pumped for a beach run, but I haven’t trained for a beach run. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Though the tide was coming up, there was still a decent amount of hard sand. We ran out a mile and a half and then back the same way, crossed the soft sand, and into the finish chute. I struggled a little to get my watch on, but a few hundred yards I was finally able to secure and start it. I didn’t know where the girl was that had passed me on the bike, but I was hopeful that I was still in contention for a podium spot, so I dug deep and ran hard. The first km ticked off at 4:44. That’s fast for me, even if it is only a 5k. I slowed down some, because number two ticked off at 4:49. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself passing people on the run- this NEVER happens, so I got pretty excited! I also realize that I was in one of the later waves, so of course I’d be running down people. Just after the turnaround, I was passed by a female, and my heart sunk when I saw “33” on her leg. For about 5 steps I tried to stay with her, but she was going too fast for me. Not too long after that, I spotted Keara on the other side. I knew she was a speedy runner, so my goal became to try and hang on and not get beat on the run. With a little less than half a mile to go (I knew this distance because it was where we started the swim!), the gas in my tank was running out. My legs were definitely tired, but I knew I didn’t have much further to go. “I can do anything for half a mile” I repeated to myself. Finally, I crossed over the soft sand (UGH THIS SUCKED) and into the finish chute. When I stopped my watch, it read 5.16. Run was a little long and I was so happy it was over!

Time: 24:48, 3rd AG, 4:44/km average


Final time: 1:05:12

4th Female OA

1st Female 30-34

(oh, and that girl that passed me on the run? She was the overall winner)


All in all, I’d say I had a good day! I’m interested to see what I could do in a sprint if I was rested, but this is not the season for that!

I’m not sure if I’d do this race again; there were definitely some things I really liked about it (the swim, the bike course, the post race food- hello Rita’s! and good beer), but there were also things I didn’t like so much (having to pick up my stickers race day, the lack of portapotties). I guess I’ll have to see what happens next year!


And of course, a huge THANK YOU to SOAS for being an awesome company and outfitting me with a super cute, functional tri kit. My favorite part has to be that I NEVER ever have to pull down the top so my belly doesn’t show. I was CONSTANTLY doing that with all other kits, and I don’t have to touch this one at all! I love my SOAS kit!!