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!

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!

Last Week’s Workouts {2/17-2/23}

24 02 2014

Sometimes you have ups and sometimes you have downs. That’s the lesson I learned this week. Not every workout is going to be stellar, and that’s okay. The biggest thing I need to remember is to listen to my body and not get injured. This week I was plagued by pain here and there, which I am most certainly monitoring quite closely. Gotta make it safely to the start line of the Gator Half in 8 weeks!

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 7.23.03 PM

Monday: Long run, 15K

I started off the run with Felipe and Jess, and we were holding steady at about 5:00/km for the first half. At the turn around, Felipe put in his headphones, which is our indication he’s about to pick it up, and he immediately started running about 20 seconds faster than we had been. I knew I wasn’t going to hang on, so I decided to focus on my own run and do my best to stay at 5:00 or faster per km. Right around the 10K mark, my right calf got really tight and I felt a sharp pain. Uh oh. After a few more steps, I stopped, massaged my calf, and then started to run again. The pain was pretty much gone, but it definitely worried me. I finished the run, surprising myself by averaging 5:03/km. I went home and took a bath and foam rolled my legs.

Tuesday: Swim, 3000 yards


If you’ve read my recap from the past two weeks, you’ll know what workout we did. So, I’ll leave you with a pretty picture of the pool.

Oh, and a picture of my fellow SOAS Ambassador, Cynthia who I met up with after practice. She was in Tampa visiting friends before heading to Disney for the Glass Slipper Challenge!

IMG_2250Cynthia’s daughter is adorable, by the way!

Wednesday: Bike, 29km

So, Wednesday’s are usually brick days- ride the trainer then run. It was a pretty night, so I decided to ride around Davis Island instead.

IMG_2257I have not perfected the art of the selfie on the bike yet. Working on it.

When I got home, I grabbed my shoes and started to do my normal 4k loop. I got outside my complex gate and said Nope, this ain’t happening. My calf was again giving me trouble. So, I went back inside and opted to foam roll/lacrosse ball the heck out of my calf, IT band, and PFT. I started to get nervous about a little 8K I had signed up for on Sunday!

Thursday: Swim, 2200 yards

I was late to practice, and it was only me and Courtney. She was half done with the workout when I got there, so we did 3 x 300s together before she got out and I did my other 3. Nothing super exciting to report here!

Friday: Run, 9km

The workout was 5km easy, 4km steady, sub 5:00/km. It was just Courtney and me, and we headed out along Bayshore. We shifted the workout slightly, doing 4.5 out easy, 4km steady, .5km easy cool down. The first 4.5km was fine, we held back because we wanted to make sure we’d be under 5:00s for the 4km. My calf was surprisingly better, but unfortunately, the humidity got to me. On our fast 4km, the first two km ticked by: 4:55, 4:51. I could definitely feel my legs tightening up. As we started the third, Courtney started to pull ahead, and I just couldn’t hang. My legs were like lead and I was a little light headed. So I stopped to walk for a few seconds to bring my heart rate down and breathe a little easier. That third km was not pretty, but I was able to settle in at 5:14 for the 4th. Not pretty.

Saturday: Long ride, 80 km

IMG_2353(love the new app FitSnap, which helped me make the super cool photo above!)

I met up with Chris and Heather to ride the Suncoast. I was a little worried we wouldn’t get in a ride- it was pouring when we left Tampa, but Chris assured me that up north the radar was clear. He was right- it was cloudy when we got to the start, and it only got warmer and sunnier. Evidence:


Whoops, I should have put on sun screen. I guess I shouldn’t really complain about getting sun burn in February though 😉

The ride wasn’t super exciting-the trail is parallel to the highway and there’s not much else to see. HOWEVER, I did see my first wild alligator! There was a young gator, maybe 5 feet long, fully exposed, taking in the sunshine by the water’s edge, right off the side of the trail (behind a fence, thankfully). Had we not just started to settle in to our ride, I totally would have stopped to grab a photo!

The ride was a straightforward out and back. It was the first ride in a long while that I wasn’t sitting on Jess’s wheel, or anyone’s wheel for that matter! That meant my time was a little slower than usual, but I was actually pretty proud that I rode the entire time without being pulled, and still maintained just under 19mph. Looking at my Garmin stats, I actually stayed consistently in the 19mph range, but those darn road crossings killed my average! Oh well!

Saturday: Gasparilla 8K

I’ll save the details for another post, but I ran a PR and rocked my new SOAS kit.


Photo courtesy of Meghann and the FitSnap App