Tag: runners

Runner Safety 101

Recently, two runners were chased down along my favorite running route on Clearwater Beach. As odd a news story as this one may be, it can happen anywhere. But when you hear of something happening close to your home, in your neck of the woods, it is a real reminder to do your best to be safe. So, I decided now is a good time to share some important tips for runner safety.


runner safety 101



1) Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’re running and keep an eye out. Listen. Be aware. For me, this means not wearing headphones when running. I used to run with music and when a training plan took me out earlier than usual, I ditched the headphones because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear what was going on around me. 


2) If you have to run alone, tell someone where you are running. There are apps out there, including Garmin Connect that will allow you to share your route with someone. If I am running alone in the afternoon after work, even though it’s daylight, I will still let hubby know that I am heading out. He pretty much knows my route, but if I plan to run a different one, I let him know. 


3) Don’t run alone. This contradicts what I just said, but this is my best piece of advice. There is strength in numbers. When I was marathon training, I had really early mornings, and hubby did not like me running alone. He would run with me so I wouldn’t be alone. I don’t like running alone anyway, but to have him with me in the dark was the best. Even on Sunday mornings, when my friend Corinna and I would run on the beach, he would either go with us, or meet us at certain points. You just never know what could happen. My friend Beth started a running group where she runs so she wouldn’t have to run alone. They may not all run together, but they let each other know when and where they’ll be. Again, safety in numbers.


4) Use lights when you run in the dark. There are plenty of options out there. From wrist lights, to knuckle lights, to head lamps… Pick what is most comfortable for you and use it. It’s not only to light your way but to let others know you are there. You can also buy reflective running gear. The more you can do to be noticed, the better.


5) Run a well-lit path. If I run in my neighborhood in the dark, I stick to the route I know has lighting along the way. When we run the causeway to Clearwater Beach, it is mostly lighted (hence using knuckle lights in the dark). One time when we ran it, there were several street lights out. Part of that run is VERY dark when the lights aren’t on at 5 in the morning and I actually called the city about it because it wasn’t safe at all. Even if you have lights like I mentioned above, you should still stick to a well-lit path.


6) Use common sense. Don’t run in places you shouldn’t. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t run there. Follow your instincts. It’s not worth your safety.


7) Wear a Road ID. One of the first things I did when I started running a lot was order a Road ID. It has your name, emergency contact info, medical info, and any other info you would like. You can wear them on your wrist or your ankle. If you get hurt while you are running, you want someone to be able to call your emergency contact. If you have certain medical conditions that a paramedic should know about for your care should something happen to you, then you should have that on there. They also have an app now where your location can be tracked. 


8) Run towards traffic. Some may disagree on this one… In my neighborhood, most streets do not have sidewalks, so I am running on the street. I run against traffic because I want to see what is coming towards me. I want to have a chance to move out of the way if need be.


9) Run with a phone. I never run without my phone. Never ever. So many things can happen. I want the ability to be able to call hubby or my mom should something happen to me. I carry my phone out in the open, not in a case or band, because I want it seen that I have a phone. Hubby also feels better if he can get ahold of me while I’m running. 


10) Watch for traffic. Don’t assume a car will see you. Yield to traffic, the extra seconds or minutes it will take could save your life. Be mindful of cars turning at an intersection. Wait for them to make eye contact with you and wave you on if that is their intention. Wait for the crosswalk signal to run across major intersections. You might see a vehicle, but they may not see you.


Whatever time of day you run, day or night, it’s best to follow these tips. You never know who you may run into, day or night. Being safe and being in the best possible position to protect yourself is very important. 


National Running Day, Best Damn Race, and a discount code!

Running has played such a huge part in my life the last few years. And while I have not been running as much lately, it still holds a very special place in my heart.

Today is National Running Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in June, it is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. If you go to the website, you can design your own bib to share on social media or wear on a run. Here’s mine…


Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 4.32.19 PM


In honor of National Running Day 2015, I wanted to share with you my top 10 reasons why I love Best Damn Race, who I am lucky to be an Ambassador for for the third year in a row!

1. The people. It really is a race for runners, by runners. The time and dedication put into this event is what makes it so great.

2. The courses. With events in Safety Harbor, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Cape Coral, there really is something for everyone. Safety Harbor, being practically in my backyard is my favorite because it’s along the water and there is sure to be a beautiful sunrise. Orlando is a very close second as the course starts next to Lake Eola and goes through neighborhoods with cobblestone streets.  





3. There is a race distance for everyone. You can run a 5K, 10K, the 5K/10K challenge, a half marathon, and if you’re in Cape Coral, a full marathon. I’e done the 5K and half marathons in years past. For 2016 in Safety Harbor, I am excited to run my first 5K/10K challenge and the chance to earn 3 medals!

4. Awesome bling! I love the design of the medals. They vary per city and are a reflection of each area. It would be hard to pick a favorite, but last year’s Cape Coral medal would be high at the top of the list.




5. The registration process. One thing that Best Damn Race does that is different from many other events is the pricing structure that offers a chance at $1 entries if you are one of the first in line. Even if you don’t score the $1 entry, you can still save money. The current price structure is available on Best Damn Race for each city.

6. Free food, beer, and massage. Crossing the finish line has an added bonus of enjoying an ice cold beer, food, and massage. That’s a pretty sweet deal!

7. Free race photos. This perk is HUGE. I’ve run a lot of races and rarely do I buy photos because they are so expensive. But, Best Damn Race works hard to be able to provide free photos for runners to celebrate a fun event. (**BDR is currently working with each event location to provide free photos).

8. The race shirts. I love adding to my race shirt collection and for two years running, my Best Damn Race half marathon shirt is my favorite. It’s a long sleeve shirt and is perfect for cooler runs in the winter. All shirts are tech t-shirts and fit great.

9. The weather. Best Damn Race knows when to put on a race. I love running in the cooler weather and we luck out with that for the four events.

10. The FUN! It truly is a fun event. Whether it’s your 1st race or your 50th, it is a great time with great people. It is also walker-friendly. You can walk or run these events – everyone gets the same medal when they cross the finish line.




Registration is currently open for all 4 upcoming events. Here are the links to each city.

 Be sure to use my discount code when you register and save $5 off ANY race in ANY city!





Happy National Running Day! How will you celebrate?

Words of wisdom for the first time marathoner

The running community is a wonderful group to be a part of. When I first started running, it was partly because of a few blogs I came across. I liked the thought of doing something that would make me feel good about myself, as running did for others.

When I decided to run my first half marathon, it was just after I turned 40 and seemed like a fun think to do – just once. So many people had done them, why couldn’t I? Then I was bitten by the racing bug and well, here I am ten half marathons later, along with many races under my belt. 

So again, when I started thinking about tackling a full marathon, much of that came from the inspiration of this wonderful running community I am now apart of. I am very lucky to have met so many great people the last couple of years, and have become friends with many of them.

In the days leading up to the start of my marathon training, I asked several of my runner friends for their advice to someone who will be running their first marathon and I am sharing it with you now! I love all of these and will take it all to heart throughout my training and on race day.



words of wisdom first time marathoner




First off, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run. Personally, I enjoy training programs that mix it up with running and cross training – I do this intentionally because running 5X a week isn’t my thing. But…if that is how your program is, listen to your body. Rest when you need it, skip that run if you’re exhausted, switch to cross training that particular day if that makes you happier inside. Because trust me, you’re going to be running A LOT, you don’t want to dislike running when you get to that marathon start line. Even though I just told you not to beat yourself up for missing a run…DO NOT MISS YOUR LONG WEEKEND RUNS! These are vital for sooo many reasons. For me, the confidence boost that I just finished __ miles was immeasurable (you’ll need that mental boost). The last 6.2 miles of a marathon is ALL mental, once again, trust me. Your legs need those miles, all in one setting — you need to know what it’s like to push yourself that distance. Regardless of how long that ‘long run’ takes you, your legs, body and mind need that prep before game day. Lastly, pick out your race day outfit early! Yes, sounds silly, but you’ll be glad you did. Stick with what you know works for you in regards to fit, how it works when drenched with sweat, and doesn’t cause nasty chaffing. I highly suggest running a double-digit run in the EXACT SAME OUTFIT you plan on wearing marathon day. This will let you know what works, where you need extra glide, and if it’ll be as comfortable as running 26.2 miles can be… And of course, coming from me, make sure it’s cute!! There are photographers on the course, you’ll take a selfie before you start, and will take 20 selfies when you’re done with that MARATHON MEDAL AROUND YOUR NECK!   ~Caitlyn




Get a training plan & stick to it! I was pretty undertrained so miles 18-26.2 were painful – and  they don’t have to be!     ~Beth



Commit. Commit to all the millage you need to get in to make it a successful race.    ~Nick



Don’t set a time goal for your first marathon! That being said, set small goals to help keep you on track when it gets tough. Like “I won’t walk for more than 1 minute at a time” or “I’ll only walk at water stops”. 26.2 miles is a long way, and you should celebrate finishing and running a race you’re proud of. My other piece of advice, celebrate milestones in your training. The first time you go over 13.1, your first 20-miler, a good long run. These are milestones that should be celebrated. Don’t get so caught up in thinking about race day that you forget to enjoy the journey!      ~Tori



Don’t have a goal time. And if you’re hard headed like me and say, “but I have to have a goal time” then just make sure that your goal time and whether or not you hit it doesn’t make or break the amazing experience of completing your first 26.2.      ~Meghan C.



Don’t race your training runs!     ~Kat



I think the biggest piece of advice is to enjoy every second of it. Tedy Bruschi told us before the 2013 marathon that the Start Line is really the Finish Line and the race itself is the party. I really took that to heart and try to pass that on to others!       ~Dani



Pick a marathon known for its great crowd/volunteer support. It’s amazing the energy they can provide by giving a simple high five or a Kleenex at mile 25! And train with a group or friend. The long runs seem shorter and more fun when there is someone commiserating next to you.     ~Beka



If you have run a marathon before, what is one piece of advice you would offer? If you are training for your first, what is a piece of advice you’ve been offered?

Choosing a marathon training plan…

Now, that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say! Ever since I registered for the Space Coast Marathon, I’ve been thinking about the training much more than the actual race. Let’s face it… Running 26.2 miles scares the heck out of me, but I really think I’m more worried about the training part than anything. In 18 weeks time leading up to the actual marathon, I will run approximately 460 miles for training. My longest run will be 20 miles. I have never run a mile over 13.1 before.

To help with the enormity of all of this, I knew I wanted some advice on which training plan I should follow. And I knew exactly who I wanted to ask… My rock star runner friend Beth who blogs over at Discombobulated Running. She is also one of the first people I told when I finally decided it was time to do a marathon. Somehow she already knew I was going to do one and was just waiting for me to say something. This is why I knew Beth was the one to ask about training.



Beth and I  at Best Damn Race Orlando 2014


First and foremost, my goal for my very first – and possibly only – full marathon is to finish. I have 7 hours to finish and it just might take me all of that. I am not setting any time goals going into this because this is unchartered territory for me. I know that no matter how much training I do, there will still be walking.

Secondly, I am going to do everything I can to not get injured while training. I know the long runs are the most important aspect, so if I need to miss a shorter run during the week to be safe, I am not going to beat myself up over it.

Thankfully, Beth met me one morning for coffee to go over a couple training plans and she let me ask questions and she shared her advice with me. I know she’s not a coach or a professional, but she has been a big cheerleader in my running this last year, not to mention she has run a bunch of marathons herself and I trust her. Oh, and she’s also training for a full Ironman. Told you, she’s a rock star.

When I trained for the Women’s Half Marathon last fall, I modified and used one of the Hal Higdon plans. It worked well for me, I felt great going into that race, and I PR’d by over 20 minutes. So, I decided to look over his plans again and I printed out two of them to go over with Beth, Marathon Novice 1 and Marathon Novice 2.

She suggested, and I agreed, that I go with the Novice 2 plan because it has pace runs. She also suggested that instead of taking Mondays as a rest day, I switch Tuesday and Monday around and use it as a shakeout run, then rest Tuesday.

I will make a few tweaks to this plan, much like I did the half marathon training. All my long runs will be on Sunday instead of Saturday because that is my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. I also need to get creative with the cross training, which I will do on Saturdays. Since I don’t swim or bike, this will be challenging, but I also know that T25 will help with this.

I also need to find a half marathon to do roughly half way through. Depending on what races are going on, I may have to adjust that accordingly.

Here is the Novice 2 plan as found on Hal Higdon’s site. I will do a separate post on my plan as I make it my own.




Another piece of advice Beth gave me is to make sure by the time I start Week 1 of training, I have built back up to that mileage. This will be important in NOT getting injured along the way.

Training officially starts the end of July. Between now and then, it is my goal to build back up to running 3 miles a few times a week and 4-5 miles on the weekend to build up to the Sunday long runs. I have not been running nearly enough because I’ve been so busy, but I want to make it a priority again. I miss it.

I am thankful for the running friends I’ve made over the last year and a half. I am not sure I could even think about taking on such a challenge if it weren’t for the inspiration I get from them. I am also thankful for hubby because he is there with me on his bike when I do long runs. I’ll definitely need that for this!


What training plan did you use for your first marathon? Tell me one piece of advice you wish you had known when you trained for your first marathon.

{book review} On The Road To Find Out

Recently, I read a YA book for my sister-in-law’s book review blog, Jenna Does Books, which is always a treat. I am certainly not the reviewer that she is, but it’s fun to give my opinions on a book when she asks. Here is the review that I shared with her for her blog…


One of the many perks of being Jenna’s sister-in-law is that she shares books with me. She knows me well enough to know when I will like a book. So, when she asked me last month if I wanted to read a book about a runner and review it, the answer was a quick YES.


on the road to find out cover


I am a runner. I love to run. I have not always loved it; in fact there was a time that I would joke about only running if I was being chased. But running became a way of dealing with stress and heartbreak and taught me how strong I really am. And that is exactly what takes place for Alice Davis, the main character.

Alice is a senior in high school, the class valedictorian, and an over-achiever. She is the daughter of a dermatologist and a lawyer, has a best friend named Jenni, and a pet rat named Walter. Despite having everything she could ever want, all she wants is to go to Yale. When she is rejected, she feels like a failure and has to find something to do. And that is how she starts to run.

It’s not pretty at first, but running teaches her new lessons and leads her to meet new people. It shows her how to push through pain and limits and to be strong when she feels she can’t. She befriends the owner of a local running store, a patient of her mother’s, and takes on a part time job. She also meets a boy, cleverly named Miles. Being rejected by the one and only college she ever wanted to go to sends her down a different path that ultimately leads her to bigger decisions, better relationships, and helps her through heartache.

I really enjoyed this book. I love the running aspect because I can sympathize with running for the first time and feeling like I can’t possibly do it again. And how getting lost in a run, good or bad, can give you the clarity you need for just about any situation. Even though it is fiction, the development of Alice’s running is pretty spot on… It is well written, easy to read, and the characters all work well together. I especially love the use of SAT words throughout with the definitions, such as this…


As the sole offspring of two conspicuously consuming professionals riddled (“filled or permeated with something unpleasant”) with guilt about working too much and not paying enough attention to their precious child, I am often the beneficiary of bouts of excessive spending.


The author, Rachel Toor, is also a senior writer for Running Times magazine and has written Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running, a book that I have already added to my to-read list.


You can also read my review on Jenna Does Books here.

Read more about Rachel Toor here.