This past Saturday morning, our alarm went off very early…. At 3am to be exact. hubby and I were headed to Orlando for the Best Damn Race. I was running the half marathon and hubby was running the 10K. I was very excited to take part in this event in a new city.
Since first running the inaugural race in Safety Harbor in 2013, I have been a huge fan of this event. I was even more thrilled when last year, I was selected as a Best Damn Race Ambassador. Seeing it grow and going to another city was a lot of fun. One of the reasons I love this event is because it is put on by a runner, for runners. The race director, Nick, puts his heart and soul into it and it shows.
So, despite the early hour our alarm went off, I was excited to hit the road and run 13.1 miles on a new route. It was still dark when we arrived in downtown Orlando at Lake Eola Park and we picked up our race packets and had time to walk around and visit with others before the race started.
The Best Damn Race Director, Nick Katy of www.katywidrick.com
The race started and ended at Lake Eola Park. What a pretty setting it was and on a gorgeous day! It was a crisp 52 degrees when we arrived – perfect weather for running. The sun started to come up just before the 10K started. I saw hubby off and then waited for the half marathon to start 30 minutes later.
Before I knew it, it was time for the half to start, my 8th half marathon. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to listen to music or not, I haven’t in awhile. I decided I definitely didn’t need to, I wanted to enjoy the new-to-me route and the scenery. It’s also fun to listen to other runners.
Since I just ran the Gasparilla 15K and 8K the weekend before and my legs were still tired, I didn’t really have a time goal in mind. I knew I finished in 2:18:59 at Best Damn Race Safety Harbor on February 1st, and it would be great to beat that, but I knew it would be tough. Ultimately, I wanted to finish under 2:30 as a worst case.
The first couple of miles were along cobblestone streets. This can be tricky to run on and I have to pay attention to my footing to make sure I don’t’ twist my foot or step wrong. I ran the first 4 miles without a walk break, feeling great. I grabbed some Gatorade at mile 4 and then took off running again. We rounded the corner and under an overpass and then saw we would run around Lake Underhill. This was a really pretty view and it was neat to see runners as they made their way around it. I should have taken a picture, but at the time I didn’t think about it.
During the run around the lake, I also made my way up to the 2:15 pace group. I couldn’t believe it. I stayed with them for about a mile and then they got ahead of me. I would end up keeping them in my sight the rest of the race but never caught back up to them.
After rounding the lake, we made our way through a residential neighborhood and passed right along side those ahead of us, back tracking. It was here that I saw Meghann (Meals and Miles), Michelle (Crazy Running Legs), and Haley (Running With Diapers). It’s fun to see other runners that you know, wave and say hi, and get a little encouragement.
By this time, I had taken several walk breaks and my legs were killing me. Every bit of the 14.2 miles I ran the weekend before had caught up to me and I was so sore. I knew I had to listen to my body and walk if I needed to. There is no shame in that. Besides, I wanted to be able to finish strong.
Around mile 9, I looked at my watch and did some math to see how far off I would be from my Safety Harbor time. I knew the 2:15 pace group was ahead of me and I had no idea how far behind me the 2:30 pace group was. I was just thankful that they remained behind me the whole time. It was here that I realized, unless I was completely screwing up the math, that I could possibly beat my previous time, even if just by seconds. This helped to light a fire under me and I tried to walk less and run more.
Just after the 10 mile mark, we merged with the 5K runners. I joked with a couple of women running beside me how fresh they all looked compared to us. They were also moving much quicker. This, of course, was a little pick me up and got me moving a little quicker.
The final long stretch along South Street was fun because it was downhill and we could see the skyscrapers. There were spectators along here, and the closer we got to the last two turns, it was louder and louder. Finally, I rounded the last corner and saw the street lined with spectators. The finish line was in view and no matter how many times I’ve run a race, that just never gets old. It is so exciting to see after you’ve been running your heart out for a couple hours.
I also knew by this time that I had definitely beat my last time. I was a little worried by how much though because the mileage on my watch was off. I just hoped that my time was close to the chip time at the end.
I ran across the finish line with all my heart, excited by another PR. There is nothing like that feeling. I hurt, I ached, and I was starving, but I did it. Half marathon #8 was complete and most exciting of all, I would get to ring the PR bell again! I beat my last time by 2 1/2 minutes!
I was also very excited to learn that hubby did awesome on his first every 10k! I was super proud of him and so glad that he took part in this awesome race with me. We were also able to take some great photos on Lake Eola. It could not have been a prettier day…
I am very happy with my time and pace on this one. The first six miles were obviously my best and I knew that. To run in the 9’s is huge for me. It felt comfortable and was not a huge struggle to do it.
I can’t say enough about this event. I will absolutely run it again in 2015. I look forward to seeing it grow and will enjoy running the great courses and enjoying the great perks it offers runners. Thank you Best Damn Race for two wonderful races this year!
I can’t think of a more exciting way to spend the day before my birthday, the last day of being 41, than to run my 7th half marathon and PR! Last year, Best Damn Race was actually on my birthday and that medal will likely always be a favorite of mine because it has my birthday on it.
I did not train for this one like I did the Women’s Half back in November, but I was running 2-3 days a week and my pace has definitely been improving on those runs. Because of my lack of consistent training, I was hoping to finish in 02:30, which would not have been a PR but seemed like a safe time.
Our friend Mike drove in from Orlando to run this race, it would be his first. We arrived in Safety Harbor dark and early to find good parking and so he could pick up his packet. The rain had finally stopped sometime over night, which was great because it had rained here for three days. I even went to bed stressed about the fact that it was still raining. It was cool (50’s), muggy, and a little foggy, but NO rain when we got to Safety Harbor.
I finally met Jessica, who blogs over at Tampa Mom Runs. We met on Instagram when she bought one of running decals. It’s always fun to meet my “virtual” friends in real life!
This year, Best Damn Race put up a PR bell for anyone to ring if they had a PR. I walked past it before the start, thinking it would be nice to ring it but really didn’t see that as a possibility. The finish line was all set up, I was excited to cross that in a few hours!
My friend Corinna arrived around 6 and we all met up near the start line. The amount of people there was insane. It was exciting to see so many people there to have fun in this event.
The 10K would start first, the half marathon second, and the 5K last. There was a delay in the 10K starting and I saw my friend Kat who was waiting to start the 10K. Kat is a huge inspiration to me. She blogs over at Katrina Elle I love to participate in her challenges, and she was ready to start running and hopefully earn a new PR (which she did!!!).
A few of the Best Damn Race Ambassadors met up for a picture before the start as well. It’s been fun getting to know them, they are all great ladies!
Haley and I had been hoping for cooler weather for this race. Warmer temps were momentarily expected for this day, so we were happy when it stayed a touch cooler, although we were not so thrilled about the potential for rain. Haley blog over at Running With Diapers.
I also ran into my friend Carey as we were waiting for the half marathon to start. Back in November, Carey completed his first Half Ironman, something I just cannot imagine. I originally met Carey and his wife back when I trained with Jenna for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day in 2011, and now we have running and races in common! Carey is so full of energy – it was nice to see him!
And finally, it was time to RUN!!! I was so ready to go. I’m not one to get nervous about a race, I just really excited and I am so ready to run by the time it finally starts. I haven’t been listening to music on my runs, so I chose not to listen to any for the race either. I have decided that the music that I used to need as a distraction is no longer necessary. I love getting lost in the run and I feel like without music, I am more tuned in to how I’m feeling, how I’m running, and my pace.
The course us from the Safety Harbor Spa north, into Philippe Park and then south to Bayshore Blvd. through a neighborhood near the trail, and then back on to Bayshore Blvd where the last turn-around was to head back to the finish line.
The first 6 miles actually went by pretty quickly. I felt good and decided that those little hills that kept popping up were a nice little challenge. I ran just about 4 miles before taking a quick walk break to drink some water and have a GU Gel. Once we hit Mile 7, I was wondering why I never knew that Safety Harbor had so many little hills! I heard two women talking about it next to me so we joked about it for a few minutes. This is also where I ran with my friend Val for a few minutes. Val competed the Dopey Challenge a few weeks ago. She is a rock star also!
Just about Mile 9, I started taking a few more walk breaks, This is also where I realized that it was actually possible that I could PR. I did a bunch of math in my head and figured out what I needed to do to beat my last half marathon time of 02:23:28. I am so darn competitive with myself… The minute I knew it was possible, I knew it had to happen. Had to. I was going to ring that PR bell!
As I approached Mile 12, I saw my friend Corinna and she was not happy. Her knee was hurting and she was walking. She ran the Clearwater Halfathon a couple weeks ago and it started bothering her then.
Finally, I rounded the last corner and I could hear the crowds and the announcer at the finish line. Approaching a finish line never ever gets old. I was a little sore but still felt good. Carey saw me and told me to finish strong. And that I did!
I also had a surprise when I crossed the finish line… My mom was there! I heard her calling my name and she was, of course, video taping me. She loves to do that. This video amuses me because I am clearly excited that I beat my time….
So. Exciting. I knew my fabulous new Garmin Forerunner 220 would be close because the mile markers were almost dead on with my watch. What I didn’t realize is how close it actually was….
The usual post-race happenings took place from here on out… Pictures with my fabulous medal and ringing the PR bell! Funny story…. I went to ring the bell and the rope came off. The line of people gasped! I quickly fixed it, rang the bell, and moved on. It was awesome to see how many people were ringing that bell!
I stood in line for 20 minutes for an ice cold beer (totally worth it!), and looked for people I knew. Our friend Mike had finished just 3 minutes before me! Congrats!
I chatted with Beth for a few minutes back at the finish line and saw Caitlyn, too. Corinna found me there as well and her and I did our finish line photos together.
Here are my splits for this race. I was 20 seconds faster on my average pace than my last half marathon. It’s amazing how much that time adds up when you’re running.
Another great race added to my list. It truly never gets old. This race I spent several miles thinking about my huge decision to run a full marathon this winter. And while it does scare the heck out of me, I also see it as a challenge that I am ready to take on. I’ve already come so far. My first 3 half marathons were all over 3 hours and look where I’m at now. I love the half marathon distance. It’s not easy, it’s a challenge, and is as much mental as it is physical.
Crossing the finish line and earning this awesome medal with a new PR was a nice birthday gift….
I’m going to run the half marathon at the Best Damn Race in Orlando on March 1st. Who wants to join me? You still have time to register here and save $5 using my discount code NANCIC.
What is your favorite part of a race? Let me know if you’ll be joining me at the Best Damn Race in Orlando!
Guess who’s going to be an Iron Girl again this year? This girl! Last year was my first Iron Girl event, I did the half marathon and really enjoyed it. My friend Corinna ran it with me. I am a big fan of the Iron Girl event here in Clearwater – it’s pretty much in my backyard, and the course is the same route I love to run on Sundays, with those bridges that I love.
When I was making my list of must-do races for 2014, I knew I had to include Iron Girl, without a doubt. I’ve already registered for the half marathon and I have a discount code to share with you! But first….
Iron Girl is all about empowerment and being fit, healthy, and to celebrate the joy of living well. I love that! And this event will absolutely make you feel strong and empowered.
Iron Girl will be in Clearwater on Sunday April 13, 2014 with a 5K Run / Walk (and the option to do a 5K Mother/Daughter team) and Half Marathon. The race starts at Coachman Park and over the Memorial Causeway, for both the 5K and half marathon distance. It’s a beautiful route, one that always makes me feel very luck to live in a such a beautiful area.
Your registration for Iron Girl includes a post-race Breakfast Café, event specific performance shirts sized for women, professional timing, personalized race bibs, new custom finisher medals specific to the event, Iron Girl jewelry age group awards, post-race giveaways and much more.
Who wants to be an Iron Girl with me? Whether it’s your first time or third time, it’s always fun to be an Iron Girl. If you use my discount code CRAZYLIFE, you can save 10% off any registration category! Visit Iron Girl for more information and to register.
Let me know if you will be joining me at Iron Girl in Clearwater or if you’ll be participating in another city!
I love a good race where I can be super competitive with myself. BUT! It’s also fun to do an event that is more about the fun and not the time. ElectroDash5K is just that! Just check out these pictures…
Photos and video courtesy of electrodash5k.com
This is a night run with neon lights, electronic music, dazzling light displays, and a whole lot of FUN! It’s like a 5K dance party! A great time, right?!
This is how it works…. Show up to run wearing whatever looks best in the black light. You’ll be greeted at the start line with enough neon lights, glow sticks, and Electronic Dance Music to make your heart beat faster, your fists pump harder, and all your jokes just a little bit funnier. From there, every corner of the run is another party. You’ll run, walk, or dance 3.1 miles through stations of insane light shows, photobooths, neon madness, and electro lasers right up until the finish: the biggest party of all. So bring your camera and put your party hat on; it’s time to rage.
Here are all the important details….
When: Friday March 21, 2014 at 8:00pm
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL
What you get:
- An official ElectroDash T-shirt
- One pair of neon glow glasses
- An ElectroDash glow-in-the-dark tattoo
- An LED bracelet
- And the best time of your life
Registration: $45 until 01/31/14
For those who are ready to register (hurry up!), I have a discount code for you! You can use the code CRAZYLIFE15 and save 15% on registration. Don’t forget, the registration fee of $45 is good until 01/31/14, so you want to register NOW to save 15% off that lowest price!
I also have a chance for TWO people to to win ONE FREE entry to the Tampa event! You have several ways to win your entry!
I’ll be there… Will you?
p.s. Stay tuned for another post soon on another fun Tampa even coming up – Color Me Rad 5K! I’ll have a discount code and giveaway for that one as well!
Do you like to get muddy? Do you like obstacle courses? Do you like to do both together? Well, I have the perfect event for you! Prove that you are Spartan tough!
On February 15, Special Ops Spartan Race Tampa will be at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The 5K run is comprised of mud runs, obstacles, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges. This Special Ops Spartan Sprint will be a mix of mud and gnarly outdoor obstacles combined with the challenge of the signature Spartan stadium obstacles all with maneuvers and strategy created by Special Ops Forces. Each finisher will receive a unique Special Ops Spartan Sprint Medal with bragging rights of accomplishing the most unique Spartan event.
Do you want to see what’s in store for your when you sign up for a Spartan event? Check this out….
My husband is going to tackle this race and I am super proud of him! I will be out there to cheer him on, and of course take pictures of him as he finishes this insane, muddy course at Raymond James Stadium.
Of course if you aren’t local to Tampa, there are many other events across the country. Follow this link to see just how many events there are, they also break them down by levels:
- Entry level Spartan Sprint
- Intermediate level Super Spartan
- Advanced Spartan Beast
- And the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race
Curious to know what you get when you participate in a Spartan event?
- Spartan Race T-Shirt
- Spartan Race Finisher Medal
- One free beer (must be 21 or older) for select USA events only
- Food Vendors
- Awards Ceremony
- Top 3 Male/Female finishers receive free entry into a Super Spartan of their choice
- Completion earns you Spartan Agility certification (Black Level)
My cousin Mallory and her husband Sean recently did a Spartan event in December out in California. As you can see from their pictures, they had a great time! They are doing the Beast and Sprint coming this month as well. I have such cool relatives….
Now for the good stuff…. If you would like to register for an event, you can save15% by following this link HERE.
Would you like a chance to win a FREE entry? You have several ways to enter!
**Disclaimer: I was provided with a free entry to giveaway, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Please share this post with anyone you think may be interested!