What’s Going On?

6 02 2015

And I said HEY-YEA-YEAH -YEAH…anyone else singing that song? Just me? Oh. Ok.

Anywho- I figured I’d check in with a life update- I know, super exciting for a Friday post, but hey, you gotta take writing inspiration where you find it.



I’m still struggling to find my run mojo. I ran a few times in December, and both times I did my “normal” 4k loop around my house. Unfortunately, I’m so out of shape that my calves were sore for several days after and that killed my desire to run. However, I ran earlier this week, just 2k this time, and a) no soreness and b) I actually wanted to go for another run, but rain and my yoga challenge got in the way. I guess technically I could have run on the treadmill, but who wants to do that when it’s perfect running weather outside?

Speaking of my yoga challenge, I’ve got 9 days left (well, I guess 8 by the time this publishes)- and I have to make ALL of them in order to get my 21 days in. I’ve missed 3 classes because I chose not to go (lazy!) and the studio was closed for Gasparilla and then the city shut off the neighborhood’s water so classes were cancelled. Thankfully, they’ve added one more day to the challenge to make up for the unexpected closing. I’ve really enjoyed regularly practicing yoga; however, I do find myself missing my beloved cardio. It’s too bad because the classes I like to go to just so happen to be at the same time I’d normally run (since I haven’t been able to get my butt out of bed in the morning to run). I’m glad I’ve learned this, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a 5x per week yogi.


So I mentioned Gasparilla above- and for those of you who don’t know, Tampa has a festival every year at the end of January, where we “celebrate” the pirate Jose Gaspar and his “rule” over southwest Florida. Basically, beginning right after New Years, all things pirate-themed start popping up in Tampa. Houses are decorated, costumes are sold, and beads- tons and tons of beads are commonplace. It’s basically Mardi Gras with pirates. It just so happens to always be around my birthday, but since being in Tampa, I’ve never actually been a part of the festivities.

This year, I made a point to at least check out the parade. Drunken debauchery isn’t really my thing, but I really just wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Bill and I stopped at my friend Jennica’s house for some food and drinks before heading over to Bayshore to catch some of the parade.


Oh, it’s also an excuse to dress up, which can be kind of fun!


Holy masses of people. The crowd for the parade was probably about 10 feet deep, before it thinned enough to walk through, and the majority of people had been drinking since 9am (or earlier)- it was after 3 by this point.

Bill and I walked along the outskirts of the crowd, people watching, and occasionally grabbing some beads thrown from the floats. I noticed that there were a ton of police officers from surrounding counties there- there were so many people, the reinforcements were necessary. There were a few occasions where I saw a police officer hovering over some poor drunk person who was vomiting in the streets. Gross. Keep it classy Tampa.

The parade? To be perfectly honest, I thought it was pretty lame- just floats (some fancier than others) where people were throwing beads. Yay? We were there for maybe an hour before deciding we’d had enough and headed to one of our friend’s houses.


The one thing that struck me as we rode home for the night was what I’ll call carnage- there were beads, cups, trash, and just loads of stumbling people all over town, hours after the parade had ended. It certainly is quite the day in Tampa, but I think I’ll stick to going to friend’s parties away from the mess of the parade.

And finally, Food:

Trader Joes is my jam y’all. The other night for dinner, I nom’d on wine, cheese, and other crudités. Have you guys had the caramelized onion cheddar from TJ’s yet? OMG I could eat it all in one sitting! And those cherry peppers? The perfect combination of sweet and heat!


Another night, I went to TJ’s hungry, had a bite of what they were sampling, and hook-line and sinker the ingredients ended up in my cart.

IMG_7666Veggie Masala burgers with peach chutney (mixed with some Greek Yogurt) served on some of their frozen naan? DELISH! If I hadn’t taken the time to make the sweet potato fries, this would have been a complete meal in 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

Another frozen section find: Vegetable Fried Rice. Bill and I could live on fried rice from Kombo Kitchen (me: pineapple fried rice; him: thai fried rice), so we decided to give TJ’s a go. I stir fried it in my wok, and doctored it up with some soy sauce, tempeh, tomatoes, and some frozen green peppers. It was really tasty, but it wasn’t Kombo. IMG_7681

And finally, there is nothing better than a warm croissant and a good cup of joe. Well, maybe if they were pumpkin croissants, which is what I got from TJs. I think they are typically a fall special, but the last time I was at TJs there were a few boxes left, so I grabbed one. They’re frozen, and come 4 to a package. You need to take them out the night before, lay them on a buttered baking sheet, and in the morning, they’ll have doubled in size (or even tripled!) and they’re ready to bake. As long as you remember to take them out the night before, this is SUCH a delicious and easy breakfast. They’re warm, buttery, and there’s just enough of this pumpkin pie-like filling. Breakfast perfection. And cheaper than the croissants at Starbucks. Win. Win.

So, what’s been going on with you?

Gasparilla 8K – 2014

26 02 2014

I’ve been in Tampa 3 Februarys, and I’ve run 3 Gasparilla races. If you’ve done something three years in a row, that makes it a tradition, right?


IMG_1169How did I not grab a photo of myself?


Gasparilla 2013(by the way, that’s Beth, the female winner this year!)


SOAS ambassador

This is definitely one of my favorite races of the year, and I hope that as long as I’m in Tampa (and perhaps even if I’m not in Tampa) I’m still running it! I think the city puts on a fantastic race with an awesome expo and even better medals. This year, I signed up for the 8K. I was a little worried about how the race would go, considering the pains I’d been having throughout the week, my Achilles was acting up again, and I’d ridden 50 miles the day before. I decided to go into the race as though it was a training run, but deep down I was thinking that it would be nice if I beat last year’s time (40:52) and come in under 40:00.

I was also super excited to race in my new SOAS ambassador kit, which I was lucky enough to pick up when I was in San Diego last week.

SOAS ambassadorLOVE this kit!

I lined up with the 8:00/mile pace group, planning to stick with them for the first half and push ahead in the second half.

The gun went off and I was caught in the typical walk/slow run/dodge and weave dance where everyone is trying to find their own space to run. Just beyond the bridge, so not even 200 yards into the race, I was trying to go around someone and I bobbed right. At the same time, someone was bobbing left, and we bumped into each other. My ankle twisted and I nearly fell over, but I immediately started to feel pain. Dang it! Why can’t my right leg just behave? I hobbled over to the curb, as the guy who I tripped over asked, “Are you okay? Are you sure?” I waved him off, grabbed on to a tree for balance, and flexed my foot back and forth. I had a decision to make: was it bad enough to stop and get it looked at, or keep going?

I’m stubborn and really did not want to throw in the towel after barely starting the race, so I opted to stick it out. I limped a little back into the crowd, and once I started running, it didn’t really hurt that much. I monitored my pain levels closely, determined to finish the race, but resigned to the fact that sub 40:00 might not be in the cards, and if the pain intensified, I must stop.

I was sure the 8:00 pace group had made significant ground on me, but after a few minutes of being back on my feet, I saw the group ahead. I looked at my watch, and was pleasantly surprised to see I was under 5:00/km (note: 5:00/km is just about 8:00/mile). I slowly made up the ground I had lost, catching them at about 3km in. I stayed with them for about half a kilometer, but gradually passed them before the turn-around.

It was a humid day, and I was a little worried that my body would react to the thick air in the same way it had on Friday night. I tried to keep my cool by grabbing waters along the way, and enjoying one of the sprinklers spraying water on the runners. On the way home I kept telling myself that I could do this. I glanced at my watch and knew that sub 40 was actually within my reach.

3km left, 2 km left…There’s the finish line. I gave it what I had left and crossed the finish line at 39:06! PR by over a minute! Of course my first thought was that if I hadn’t paused at the beginning, I would have broken 39. Doh! I guess I have a goal for next year!

At the end of the race, I spotted my friend Heather and waved hi to Meghann, who caught a great shot of my finish.


And I have to give her props for this pre-race shot too:

1890605_10104217714513153_1685435428_oI’m easy to spot in my snazzy kit 🙂

As I made it through the finish chute, I spotted my good friend (and super speedy) Steph, who was in town from DC visiting some of her friends and me!

1620398_10100568754263765_1292439554_nSteph is one of the fastest triathletes I know (she went to Age Group Worlds the past two years, and if you got USAT’s latest rankings, she’s in the top 25!) but she is by FAR the most humble athlete I know. Most triathletes I know (including myself) love to yap about their latest PR or grueling training session. If you ask her about a race, Steph will casually respond “Yeah the race was pretty good” (even if she won the darn thing) without much additional details unless you prod- and I totally respect and love her for that. She’s super supportive of her fellow teammates and when I was in DC, she was always willing to go for a (slower) ride with me. I should take a page from her book every now and again:-)

Steph was the 4th OA female and 2nd in our age group. I squeaked into the top ten in our age group, and I was happy with that!

After the race, I stopped at some medics and iced my ankle. It hadn’t hurt during the race (adrenaline? compression from my shoe?) but now that I was stopped moving, I was definitely walking a bit more gingerly.


I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but it is still a bit swollen, but not badly enough that I couldn’t get a swim and spin in already this week. I’ll probably get it checked out when I get home from my work trip.

Despite my crummy ankle issue, it ended up being a pretty stellar run. It was a sticky, humid day, but it was so fun to race in my city of Tampa. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

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!