Saturday, December 27, 2014

Almost new years 5k

The weather report said the temperature would be in the eighties today, not bad for Florida this time of year and certainly a little hot for a race. Lucky for me my weather app told me it was about seventy three at 9:30 when i started the almost new years eve race.
I really was not up for this event for two reasons. First it's December  27th and second my gut was still full of christmas junk food and this body was not feeling very athletic that early in the morning. Now I know i shouldn't have done it but i had a lettuce,tomotoe and egg sandwhich on whole wheat toast for breakfast. I can't say why i craved it but i threw caution to the wind and downed that bad boy before the race.
By the time i made it to the course i was feeling better. I changed my shoes and hit the road. Right away an old couple caught up to me from nowhere and passed me. I know they we seniors because the wife wanted to take a day trip to the villages. For those that don't know thats one of the largest senior communities in the country. Then a friendly guy passed me and he was older than them. This man was moving and he soon faded from my sight. I continued to struggle along at snail pace despite the indignity.
Then i began thinking how my speed had gone down hill so fast. The injury to my knee years ago has left me unable to bend it fully. It's hard for me to run because i can't completely make a fill turning motion on the bad leg.  What I'm basically doing is a half bend with the bad knee which puts pressure on my entire frame.
Because of this handicap i wear out shoes like crazy. The bad knee grinds into the ground and wears out while the sometimes good knees shoe is hardly worn. It has added up to ten pairs of sneakers alone this year.
As i walked along checking my time i thought about the situation and one thing came to mind. Keep moving the weight will drop and the speed will come. I was already hitting eighteen minutes and wasn't close to mile. I was sadden but not ready to quit.I made the decision to hit the trail instead of the usaul loop i run. I was bored witg circling and the change was supposed to inspire me.
It worked i hit the dirt road and circled a nice trail carefully watching for snakes. I saw nothing just me and whatever was hiding in the scrubs.The change of worked unril mile two,after that i just wanted it over. Ir was a beautiful day for sure but i couldn't  shake the fact my foolish decision to eat the breakfast i did was coming back on me. Yep, i did the last mile in prayer mode. I need a potty break but refused to use those portable ones. When the pedometer  hit 3.1 i ran for the car and headed home to take care of business. Never again is all i can say, Ill be sticking to my prerace ritual of bananas and maybe a muffin. So Almost News years is in the book.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Year in review

As the year draws to an end i have one race remaining on the "14" docket  i feel it's time for a review. Having come to the almost half way point in my race calender reflecting back a bit is necessary.
Let me begin with the fact that I have trained hard since June for what is supposed to be a landmark year in my life.
I Starting with a goal to reclaim my physical and mental health to make a change in the direction i was allowing my life to travel in.So in September i got the party started by completing my first race.
From that day to now these old bones have finished twenty races which included a miler that almost killed me on Thanksgiving day, an assortment of 5ks, a 10k, and 3 half marathons. Along the way I met some really nice folks at races and learned the hard way to do research on the events i pick.
I did have some setbacks early on, due to pushing myself. My bad knee gave out just before my first in person race and i have struggled through it ever since. After the twenty year old knee injury could no longer be ignored, I made the decision to switch from run/walk to just plain walk. A woman on a mission has to keep it moving and thats what i did. It took some time for me not to be embarrassed by it though. I had to embrace the saying "my race my pace" before i let go of the shame though. The bright side was i discovered the joy of remote racing.
Once I discovered that i could sign myself up for virtual editions of realtime races to save money and check my progress by showing up in person for them in the following year it was on.Thus far it has worked great with a one exception.
I also suffered a disappointment or two. The women's race series in St Petersburg was cancelled, thank goodness i got my money back. I thought of traveling to another girl themed race but was to tired emotionally and physically to enter the run like a diva event in St Augustine. Im sorry for not being able to cross off a womens race this year in person but it will be done in 2015. My major set back happened in November. I gain weight after my mother took ill and fell into a funk. Unlike the past i had events to complete and with a broken heart i managed to complete them without training. This path saved me and while i put the November slump in the setback category it also represented my biggest victory. When times get hard i have always buckled down and did what i had to do by changing direction and focusing on everyone else. This time i took care of business keeping myself in mind. Bam, its what i needed to pull through the crisis and claim victory. I'm still struggling but Im stronger and carrying less baggage.
What i have learned so far is to not let road blocks derail me. No more rushing to signing up for a race early no matter how good of a discount i get if it's not a virtual.  I am stuck running races in person now that Im not interested in traveling to anymore.  Its not a good way to start the new year but i will make the most off it. I also learned to get in where you fit in. Joining moms run this town was a great decision but black girls run hasn't worked out yet. I see them at races but have not really been to any of the runs. I might have been expecting to much from that group because they are not a force in my local area. Surprisingly my Girltrek experience continues to inspire and i will keep close to them in the new year but let go of the group leader title. The real lesson here is my solo journey crosses many paths and i need to continue using those shared experiences to encourage myself and lift my game to where it needs to be.
Summing up my experience thus far i can say it's been good. I  learned the does, don'ts and must that a newbie should and hope to make corrections in the second half of  my 2014/15 season. Bring on the New years, this sister is ready!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mount Dora

With the holidays approaching i hadn't had time to put this race to paper. I completed this one in every parking lot in town, okay sort of.
Started off doing seven miles on my mapped out route but then had to run some  errands. So yep i took to the grocery store parking lots to finish it off. Ive never been more determined to get thirteen miles done.
The holiday bustle really kick my butt into high gear. I would have never finished this commitment  in the old days but the best part about this experience is triumphing over my own apathy. I had to get it done and hold myself accountable. Thankful to have finished it and put another notch in my over coming adversity belt.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I was unable to register for bgr walkb4urun at the begining of my race season because the event sold out earlier in the year. Lucky for me the end of the year made for a better time to complete it.
I would be less than honest if i said i followed the program too. I downloaded it and never looked its way again. I had already finished eighteen races and had my own routine going. So instead i simply kept my walking schedule and realized a day before the 20th that i had this event.What's a woman to do when she's busy. Well i put on the pedometer and used it while hitting the outlets.
Yes i did, the mega shopping complex with parking a mile away proved to be the perfect place to mow down 3.1 .  I don't enjoy or like shopping but this year Im so blessed to still have my mom it was worth it,plus trudging through shoe stores while completing a 5k seemed fitting.
It certainly was a good plan of action. I pulled off a little more than three miles, found the shoes mom had been asking for since summer and finished Christmas and Kwaanza shopping all in one trip. I have to say it was a good day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Best Damn Walk

Im not fond of hills but i have a thing for bridges. It's probably the views that help me deal with the inclines and thats why i decided after a long break in my race schedule to map a route that took me over the causeway. Let me tell you it was not just any bridge, i have at times referred to it as my nemises. Today however it was an old friend waiting to welcome me back. My journey started alone unusual for a Saturday when it is always filled with bikers, sightseers and runners. I had the beast to myself and i liked it. The only other souls around were two kayakers below me that were fishing. It wasn't until i reached the first summit that i saw another walker. Then the crowds began flooding the narrow lane to beachside. For me it meant that i had people to pull me along, because i tend to meander if its to nice a day. Within the crowd there were no serious runners though. I think everyone was just trying to make an effort to stay in shape for the holiday season. I was no exception the only claim i could stake was i was not conquered by the twi mile span. In fact i started amd ended strong a testament to my training this past summer. Once over the bridhe stage it was the long crunch of miles that gripped me. To be exact it was nine more miles of working to stay mentally strong. The distance never bothers me but keeping positive has been a problem. I learned in my first half to just keep moving, so at least i wouldnt slow to a crawl. In hindsight i had no worries, my pace was good and the route was interesting.To be honest i didnt remember to look at my ending time but it was around four hours certainly faster than my first one and now that i think of it fitting for a beach type medal.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I don't know when it happened but I'm hooked on racing. I know Im not fast but just thinking about the finishers high makes me excited.
I don't mean to sugar coat my plight during the race though. The start is the worst for me.That's the point where everyone and their great grandma passes me ( no joke). Even walkers clear out on me. Ive come to accept this but it is the span between start and finish that i crave. I roll in so many emotions after the crowd of runners clear that i swear I'm sybil. Only im not sure how many voices i talk to myself in. Go ahead laugh but the conversation goes something like this.
"Why the heck did you signup for this". "This whole thing is bullcrap". "I hate this course". " Who is that man with the sexy legs. He's not all skinny like those other guys." "You can do this girl, God gotcha back". "Good cause im not feeling it." " its a great day for a run, what nice views. I should take a picture,  naw". "Wait a minute who the.. is that a straggler, thank God im not last". " Let me speed up so they don't catch me". Im thirsty but no way ill drink that water with their nasty fingers in the cup." "How much longer is this damn course i know it's measured wrong". "oh theres people at the finish line, let me speed up like i ran this thing."  "What the world, this isn't the medal i saw on the website. What you mean that was last years picture and why is it so little. Next time im doing the half i need serious bling".
Yes i know its crazy but the mind does what it has to do to get( through. I don't have anyone waiting for me to cross the line so when i do the most exhilarating things have already happened to me. Things like making it up a hill, surviving a bridges steep incline or beating the heat. So as i watch the post on my running groups sites i become hyped. I want to be there at those races too.
Its been three long weeks now and i have counted three major races i could not attend. Im ready to train and get back my mojo,the road is calling.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving trot

November has been a heck of month. I've experienced the lowest of any low in my entire life and then just pure gratitude. Through it all my faith has kept me going. So as i seasoned the duck and washed the collards i had one thought. Thank you lord for the blessing on this day. I still have my mother to share this life with and it really does feel good just seeing her about the house.
I even managed to get out for a premeal trot. It was supposed to be a 5k but didn't turn out as i had planned. The weather was wonderful though. After a week that gave us an abundance of rain we had a sunny bird day. It started out in the high 50s but by the time i finished my walk the temperature had risen into the sixties.. Awesome weather for an almost turkey trot as i named it.
I'll be truthful about the walk. In my heart i wanted to go but my spirit wasn't feeling it. I knew within my first steps it was not going to be an average outing for me. I was slow but it was more of a mental state rather than a physical one. In the past three weeks since my last event i have mauled over doing speed work instead of distance but i never hit the road until Thursday. I made my way to the course mulling over how many laps i should do. I thought to myself just keep the 3 mile routine going but by the half mile mark there was no denying a shorter version was in the cards.
I wasn't tired, flat, hurting or bored. Something had happened to me and as i walked it hit me. Races just arent important in my life now. At least they dont excite me like they did when i began this journey.Life changing events can change and shape you, mine left me questioning what's next. The desire to keep a busy race schedule is gone but my continued comittment to complete the events on this seasons race calendar remains. As 2015 draws closer i will continue to tie up loose ends from 2014 and look towards new challenges in the new year. I have no intention of letting the fifty race promise go unfulfilled though
After all i need to stick with the rediscovering my lifes journey mission.Thats why i felt joy when this week my mother hugged and kissed me then said she loved me. That wasn't unusual but it was a bit different this time. She wanted to thank me for all i do for her. She spoke those words through terribly sad eyes and its pain touched my soul. Last week i had another surprisr when moms sister my aunt sent me a Thanksgiving card. She never writes notes just signs it love from her family. This time her special message read thanks for being a good daughter. Her words meant the world to me, not for what she said but that she said it. Receiving her note was a very wonderful surprise. I broke down in tears and it was liberating. We all have a need to feel appreciated if not loved. I hadn't realized i was going about my life not asking for support until that moment. I regifted a friend on facebook with that advice when she wanted to know if asking for encouragement was arrogant. Heck no i said,its a basic human need.
Now i remembered why i started running, I had to gift myself an outlet. I had forgotten to be selfish enough to love me first. Thats why when running didnt pan out for me i switched to walking. I wasn't going to let the slight difference between the two keep me from the sport. Besides, I learned walking fast was a more syitable style of movement for me so i made the adjustment and kept working out and entering races for enjoyment. I have found the that If i worried about a sick parent at home the happiness i get activity would have be moot. I need one hour just for me and in that time i choose to shoot for a milage goal that challenges me. My time really doesnt matter finishing does.
So i took my time on the Turkey trot. I snapped pictures of nature, greeted strangers with happy thanksgiving and strolled along as if i hadn't a care. I did one mile and knew that was it. I regained my will to train just by defying a lack of desire. Looking down at the pedometer i saw 1.2 miles so i rounded it down to just one. It was time to get home eat and watch the game.
The day turned out to be the best Thanksgiving ever. My home was filled with love and i ate to much.I could not ask for more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preparation to Finish

I haven't been doing anything lately although in my heart i want to. I'm tired and overwhelmed right now and Thanksgiving is approaching. I guess my main reason for being idle is I've lost some of the fire i started out with.
I plan for races by mapping out travel routes and event parking. Then i make sure the ride is fueled up and my gas money covers the miles I'll travel. All that after spending time choosing an outfit and a backup just in case i need to change. It's a long methodical process to reach the destination. Once i get there i feel relief to find a parking spot and then try to relax before the horn sounds.
Still i can't lie I'm alone with my thoughts while waiting for the race to start. I watch couples, families  and friends gather ad i wonder around by myself.  I have made an effort to talk to people and for the most part they are friendly but then it's back to me, myself and I again.
Then the race starts, the crowd gathers and im part of the horde. They take off like wild mustangs moving out of their corrals as i jog a few feet to keep from getting trampled. Soon the crowd clears and runners fade in the distance, I am alone again. I settle into my pace and begin the mental game.
I think about home bemoan the horrible course, question why i even signed up and look back to see id I'm last. More often than not i hold down the spot. I notice that the folks who claimed they were walkers run the first mile noone walks that fast.
Im content back here the world forgets me but i keep pushing to reach my goal. I came to finish and collect my bling. These are 5ks the medals are bubble gum machine quality, certainly nothing to go cross eyed over. I do the occasional half or 10k  but i mostly i take on the 5ks. Lack of speed keeps me from making the time limit cutoff at in person events. I know i can't make a three hour deadline yet. So i wait for the day my speed improves enough to do a half in person.
Right now this lone walker is content to make the best of each journey. I don't want to seem needy that is not my style. I do desire a more soulful race experience. When participants  finish the race they don't stick around they leave but after a five i still feel energized. For me getting the medal is a let down, finishing is a high. I want to do something more following my victory but what. I grab a water or juice and once my thirst is quinced all is good. I have the ride home to manage, i walk to my ride. The whole experience is anticlimatic i  let the dogs out of my shoes and lean back in the seat.I feel bummed but driving perks me up.
I make sure i get some tourist time in if the event is out of town or i stop somewhere local if im near home.
Still my mind is never far from the woman who gave birth to me. Im doing this guilt trip solo. I, no we had dreams now we just have hopes and prayers. I call on the lord often, well everyday more times than i can count. Thats why im making these trips, my spirit has to be let out to soar. I walk for peace of mind, not exercise,weight loss or health. I need a sanity booster and striving for the finish line gives it to me.
I return home turn off the ignition and gather the days goodies. A bag with my shirt and medal, receipts, trash sometimes a jacket. Thank God im home, i check on mom, wash then hit the sack. It was a good day i want to do it again.Thus is the life of a caregiver.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I took the folks at jost running up on an invitation to try their new website and order a medal. I figured I'm not big on holloween so octoberfest would be a nice theme and their homage to the fall tradition was a good looking bottle opener. Now i dont like beer but I'm down for some sauerkraut and pork.
So i decided to hit the pavement and maybe get into the german theme. I knew it would be hard squeezing in a walk but there are a few microbrewers that have opened up in the area and I could plan a walk near one of them.
Nope didn't happen that way, my mother was complaining about not feeling well so i stayed close to home not wanting to leave her alone long.
I brought new Brooks at my last race and decided this was the event to break them in. So i hopped on the jost running site to choose my distance i figured a good 5k would work. Signing up was no problem but checking out was. I dont know if the system doesnt like me but its teasing me and holding my medal hostage right now. They are trying out a new beta system but its not working with my computer. I spoke Cynthia jost she said they would have a techie work on the problem.They are easy to deal with but i declare the more technical things become the more i long for pen and papers rise again. Okay maybe not but you can't fuss at a computer without feeling crazy lol.
While i waited for the glitch to be fixed I took my run anyway. My mothers sickness weighed heavily on me as i mentally prepared for the race. I wanted to improve my time and move more efficiently for three consistent miles. To get in the mood I actually did fix pork shoulder no kraut because its been to hot here for heavy food. Okay it was just a fluke i fixed pork that day but i did fit the theme. Then i headed out the door.
I felt really cute in my new blue brooks but i have had better fitting shoes considering their high price. The first leg of my walk i just chilled i was only cruising to the local shopping center to get groceries. I had on a matching blue backpack but i had no intentions on buying much. Mainly wanted produce as i gave up eatting to all process foods at least ninety percent anyway.
I was surprised when the trip to the store took less than three miles in fact it was disappointed. The distance always seemed a lot farther while strolling in the sun. I should have driven to the store to check the miles before starting out. Hey as the saying goes it is what it is. If the pedometer had of read 3.1 i would have been done instead i had to continue on. Now i know its corny but since i needed more miles i detoured to the publix liquor store to see if there were any holiday beers. In a running group Im in someone mentioned a chocolate peanut butter flavor,eww. No such luck finding my own strange discovery but i looked down to see that somewhere along the line i was over three.
I picked up some produce on the grocery side and began the walk back home. I tried to take the long way even circle the parking lot to make sure i hit the six mile mark but my pedometer was not quit reading six when i got home.
I should have been happy considering it started out as an 5k but having my steps stuck on 5 point something erked me. I had to circle around until i hit six.
The best part of the trip was the walk gave me reprive from my usaul state of worry but i hadn't been able to post about it until now. Octoberfest wasnt festive for me but i finished a committment i made to myself and yes im proud of that.
I don't know if i will get this medal but i made the run and that counts the most. Hopefully jost will fix their glitch and i will keep yall posted on its receipt. Im looking forward to putting it in my display.


The last few weeks have been a crazy ride for me. I have gone from the high of enjoying the new found hobby of running, to being barely able to jog. I put in two many miles over the summer and my knees revolted.
To compensate I started walking all my events because i had burnt out physically but still maintained a high endurance level. Truthfully  i enjoy it more than running. There is no recovery needed unless i did more than a 5k and all i need to do is work on maintaining a 12 minute pace. In fact my first half i didn't have any issues, although it took me over four hours to complete.
The biggest blow to my fitness journey encountered so far was the sudden illness of my mother.
So my main focus now is to take care of her. Yet i realize dealing with moms sickness has caused me to experience chest pains to the point i thought i was going to have a heart attack. All my ripping and racing back and forth to the hospital for her was beginning to leave me in bad shape. I know i can't let myself take ill too.
I have one scheduled race left this year but its virtual and I am considering a Thanksgiving and Christmas walk around the neighborhood to keep my stress down. There were a few more i planned to sign up for but as a caregiver those are not options now.
Thank God i found this road racing journey, its giving me an outlet. Im not the fastest, in fact when the horn sounds I'm all alone but Im out there trying. I feel blessed to be able to move and while the lust for great bling moves some people the medal only serves as a reminder of the birthday goal i set for myself.
It simply was to partake in activity and complete meanful races. I have not been able to enter all the events that fit into the category but I'm making steady peogress.
At the moment my heart is filled with the joy that the lord will be with me as i reclaim my place at lifes table. I've learned it's okay to be selfish and take me time as my mothers caregiver.
As the year ends Im thankful my mother is still around and we still have time to chase some dreams together. Also glad that i live in a state with lots if opportunities to find a weekend race.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beach Running Classic

This calendar year was supposed to be about 5ks. Somewhere along the road i mapped for myself i exited off onto a multi lane highway. To be exact i told myself i could manage a 10k and up  because i usaully train six miles without a problem and have done as much as 40 miles in a week. As the saying goes, famous last words.
I can't say why i signed up for the beach run other than it was something i hadn't done. I knew it would be difficult but prayed i hadn't gotten in over my head.
The race started at 7:48 and for Florida it was cold. I think it was around 48 degrees as the sun came up. I saw people walking around in winter jackets and sweat pants but by the time the sun made it's appearance over the horizon everyone had their running attire on. A few people sported their throw away jackets but i had no intentions of tossing mine.
Once the start gun sounded i knew i was in trouble. Im a slow starter and like to build speed during the race, which always lands me in the back of the pack since im walking.
From early on it was apparent that i had forgotten one thing about the beach, its sloped. Fighting the wind and struggling against a sandy incline zapped the strength right out of me.
The first mile i was able to keep a fifteen minute pace but as my knees broke down i slowed. Mile two i started following the trails of clothing laying on the top of the beaches slope. It was warming up into the high fifties and people began flying through the course. My knees were starting to stiffen. Members of my running group were somewhere at the head of the pack as i trudged on with the only other member of our group who was injured too, she was nursing a foot problem. By mile three the faster half marathoners were on my tail as i made the u turn back to the finish line. My "running" buddys numb foot allowed her to take off and i watched her fade down the beach while i struggled to finish.
The incline was wearing me out. I looked down at the heavily packed brown sand and noticed sea birds pecking at jellyfish.The sight of numerous purplish blobs of nasty stinging ocean monsters began to make me gag. Around mile four i was thirsty but the water stop guy had the cups laying in the sand. I thought of the wind blowing grains of sand and fleas in the drink. When he dipped his fingers in the cup to lift it up i declined. I was so sorry i had not worn my water belt.
Trudging on i had the misfortune to scramble around couples disregaurding the race perimeters and walking hand in hand on the beach down the race lane. I had to dodge more than a few of them before i began playing mow down the civilians.
Every nonracer i spotted became a target to pass. Since they were the only ones slower than me it kept my motivated level high.
My mouth was really dry entering mile six but i was happy. That is until it began to feel like five miles instead of one. Im not convinced it was only a mile but maybe the ache in my bad knee made me delusional. Whatever the truth was the final attack on my knee joint was making it up the hill to the soft loose sand and the finish line. I had to stop and look for an easy path because i could hardly manage to lift my legs. I wasn't tired just crippled by damaged ligaments. I grabbed my medal, and not sure it i said thank you but ran to find water.
I never eat or drink race food but lost my mind and grabbed a sports drink i had never heard of and a slice of pizza from a box way underneath the pile no one had taken from. The pizza was cold hard cardboard,they must have received it the day before. It took me by surprise that i even took a bite bur i did i before i realized it. At leaat I didn't bother drinking the beverage.
Instead i walked over to the photo back drop and took my first picture with my running group ( i once vowed never to take a fat girl picture). I thanked them for helping me see the light about my pilgrimage. It really issnt about my weight, its about the road im traveling and the memories i should keep to look back on. After checking my time i bid them goodbye and headed to the parking lot.
My vehicle was stocked with water and Gatorade and the moment i got in it i reached over into the cooler for a drink. On the way home i stopped at dunkin donuts (yes i did) and brought a half dozen assorted donuts.Proudly i only ate three before guilt set in and left the rest for the house.
All in all it was a good day. I ended up a little sore but that lasted only a day. Now i can cross beach races off the bucket list. Trust me never again will i walk with the segals.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mustang Sally

The decision to complete the majority of my races locally came purely from an economical position. I knew if i went this route i could forget about finding interesting bling, i was wrong.
An event turned up in my news feed that grabbed my interest one morning.
An ad for the space coast classic Brevards only 15k included a nice picture of shining medals. The organizers are starting a new series that will feature a line of classic automobiles. I'm old enough to remember Detroit's heydays and you better believe i jumped at the chance to collect a medal depicting one of the cars of my youth.
To start things off this years medal was a 1964 Mustang. Seems old betsy (can you call a muscle car betsy) is turning fifty. I thought perfect we can celebrate together.
This old wannabe speedster signed up immediately after laying eyes on the bling. Actually, i quickly checked my calendar and was excited to discovered no race on that day. I did have a 10k on the schedule for Sunday but Saturday was open. No worries i told myself  if i walk a short distances on Saturday then Sunday i should be fine. I picked the two mile option to be safe.
Great choice i arrived beachside early maybe to early. Noone was there except workers and a rv that was boondocking on the post office parking lot. I found a spot on the eastern side of the street in the park by the beach and waited an hour for everyone else to showup.
Time fell  back on Sunday and it became clear i was going to endup walking in the dark to the starting line.
Once there i noticed that most of the participants were running the 15k but there were plenty of  people taking on the two miler. As the light of day finally found us i became a little excited to get going. Both races started from the same point but the routes were in opposite directions. The two miler moved along the intercoastal and through a local neighborhood before making an u turn back home.
I started off slow and never really warmed up. I heard an older man say he would  run the first mile than walk/jog the second. His group left me in the slow lane disappearing down the turnabout point street.  By the time i reached the one mile mark the only person behind me was an eighty year old. This woman competes in all the local races and wins because there's no one else in her age category.
Since i was alone again i tried to get in a run/walk rthyme to help myself speed up. It didnt work as well as i thought but it helped me stay on pace.
I can't say why two miles felt like forever but it did. I came across the line glad to finish but not happy with a seventeen minute pace. My bum knee is getting slower with each race but when i try and rest it the lack if training sends my pace into the turtle zone.
I collected my medal and stood around a bit before discovering i came in fourth in age group. One spot from a nice award bling. I love medal awards but i was pleased to see my time compared to the last two mile race i completed. I ended up winning a prize that made up for it anyway. I got a gift card for a RoadID which i promptly order at their anniversary sale. I'd say it was a good day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Running for the bay

Another bridge story this week. I just could not resist the challenge again.This week I found myself on Florida's northwestern peninsula. They called it Running for the bay and it was held in a very cold Apalachicola. Certainly was worth the drive but yikes winter in north florida by the water is no joke. I almost froze to death there. They said it was in the fifties but it felt colder then that the night before to me.
The temperature was still low when i woke up the next mornings . It was around 4am and i would have welcomed a warm bowl of cream o wheat. Instead my early morning breakfast consisted of a few bites of watermelon and cantaloupe leftover from my yesterday's lunch. I know it wasn't the kind of fuel i needed but it's all i had.
I made sure to double layer but not bundle up. I can't move if I'm freezing but couldnt run if I was weighted down in warm clothes either. I had my running jacket and pants over my race clothes, yes it was that cool. I know it would have been wrong but if they had a dunkin donuts I'd have stopped in. A hot chocolate and a plain cake donut would have done the trick. Alas the area is still rural in terms of businesses, i saw no fast food joints. I stayed in the next town down from Apalachicola and it was rural to say the least.There were plenty of vacation homes on the water though. After hurricane Katrina many had to be rebuilt. I noticed most were up on stilts don't know if that was the case before. I do know little towns don't have many lights and it was definately pitch black. The night sky was lit up with stars, something lost to me in my piece of suburbia. So when i left the resort for the race I was glad there was only one road into the town. Thankful that I couldn't get lost by taking a wrong turn down an unlit street, I eased out of the resort and drove slow on the dark and curvy road. I was not going to miss a turn and end up in the bay. When i arrived in town to look for a place to park i found noone the streets we empty. I decided to drive over near the startline and thats where i spotted the volunteers setting up. One early bird told me he couldnt tell me where to park ask the police up the street. It was so dark i couldn't really see them but i rolled down the window and asked for a good place to leave my vehicle and they responded right across the street. It was perfect and well lighted plus close to the start. I was the first one to a good spot, it's the little things that make me happy ! I could make a quick exit after the race so that was a bonus too. I smiled thinking one worry down, i fret over finding parking spaces all the time. It's an expected task when your ride is large but comfort on the road is always worth it, except when its not.
The race was planned to start just before the sun came up. There were ultra marathoners as well as the usaul distances. I toyed with the idea of doing the half but wasnt sure at the time i signed up if i could complete one. I know better now that i can. While waiting i met members of BGR from Tallahassee. They asked but i declined to get in their pictures. I can't stand looking at my fat girl pictures, an issue i need to deal with i know. The race started in time, i waited in the back with the 5kers to take off last towards a looming adversary. Just before the bridge those of us in the back of the pack group consisted of myself, a mother with her young (maybe 6 years old) daughter and two old men. There would be a few late stragglers but they were serious runners who caught up to and pasted us. I over heard the mother tell her daughter who questioned if they would finish,  "we have seven hours". Then they sprinted off never to be caught by me.
As I watched them run/walk just out of sprinting distance in front of me, i thought what a wonderful mother daughter memory to make. I wished i could have caught them, walk faster i tell myself.
Then I thought of my own mother at home not doing well. I wished we could have done something like this when i was young. Through the years she worked night and day ,weekends, holidays you name it to provide for the two of us. Now she is paying the price. Her body is slowly breaking down after years of strong willing it to get up everyday  and struggle on.  Yet when she'd asked me if she could ride along, I'd said no.  It was a long ride and i was leaving late, there was no time for rest stops. Sometimes she becomes violently ill quickly when out,  i didnt need more stress or to see her suffer like that.
When i signed up for this run the plan was to take her as a surprise. I looked into making reservations but a week before we were to leave she was sick again. "I feel weak" she said in a low and labored voice. I decided not to go and told her so. She lied and said she was fine but i waited till the last minute to leave just in case. How could i take her,  there are no bathrooms around finish lines except portable ones and certainly the spot o pots were not an option. It was cool in the morning and hot as the day went on, she doesn't tolerate the extremes. I would have had to lug a chair for her to sit on while waiting for me but no big deal i thought. Once again the battle in my heart that wages daily over wether i am doing enough to care for her or if i should be driving around the state doing 5k's while she's home sick began. I know in my heart these walks are my stress relievers and that every caregiver must take "me time" but it still bothers me. I've just started to take back my life after stepping off it seven years ago but in doing so i only feel guilt.
I kept up a good pace as i became lost in those thoughts. The steep grade on the bridge was no joke but unlike the previous week i was making smooth strides. I pulled even with an old man who had a gentle Charles kuralt voice. I wasn't fooled though, a lady told me once people pretend to be nice then they try and smoke you. I was ready for his move as we had a friendly conversation towards the top of the bridge. He told me it was his first race back from an knee injury. He took a year to heal himself  up and wanted to stay on a steady pace himself. I also learned that he was a widower with grown kids. The other older guy bringing up the rear with us bid us good morning as he passed by. When we arrived at the crest of the bridge the sun was just coming up. What a joy to view a beautiful sunrise across the bay.
My phone rings, it's mom. I tell her Im in the race and she says have a good day. As i hang up feeling glad she sounds good it puts my spirit at ease, she is fine. The old man says "thats why i turn my phone off during races". I say it was my mom and fret over not telling her i love her.
We move on across the bridge now and I stop for a second to take a picture, then continued moving. As i walked I allowed myself the pleasure of watching the orange tinge bounce off the water as a group of birds skimmed along the grass patches on the water and circled to do the same all over again.Before i knew it i was at the decent, it was time to move. The old guy said go for it as if i needed his approval, i wasn't there to wait for him. He was walking  when i took off jogging but i heard foot steps approaching behind me. It was him of course but he didn't catch me until after the bridge decent. He was doing a longer race so i kept focused on the 5k as he picked up pace and passed me.
A few feet in front of me I saw a lady cut the miles short and turn around, hope she didn't get an award. I wave to another lady i met at the start line, she was on 13 minute pace and on her way back up the bridge on the other side of the road. I stopped jogging and pushed my walking speed but i was flat. Keep moving baby i repeated in my head. I was enjoying the challenge then i looked up. The return trip back up the other side of the bridge began.
Thinking the assent would be tough i mentally prepared to work that thing as Mary J Blige would say. The cars were more noticeable to me on the way up.  The slant of the emergency lanes made me work harder to climb but i had a target. A walker with a knee brace that passed me on the other side was about a hundred feet in front of me.  I made up my mind i would pass her on the way down. She could feel me i know but everytime someone passed her it wasn't me. Until i made my move it was slow but steady. Finally midway down the deal was done. I jogged to the bottom and around the corner to finish. Walking just a bit before i scouted to the finish strip. I loved this race they annouce you as you cross the finish line it felt good. After all i already finished last wothout the finish being there, this made up for it. I walked over to get my medal and put it in my pocket. It was a little thing compared to the half and up medal which had a spinner. I saw people marching about proudly displaying it around their necks. I don't know why i felt like i didn't deserve it. My heart wants to run but my body is only about to do walk/run and more of the latter. I'm not happy about the situation. As of yet i still haven't unwrapped the medal. That race is behind me its on to the next thing.

I saw no all the way walkers at this event, mostly run/walking so sad it was a great race more people should be out doing this.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bayway Bridge Bash

I could not resist the chance to walk the now opened bayway bridge in Pinallas county. I like bridges, well actually i love the fact that most of them span waterways. I'm not so keen on the ones that cross gorges no matter how spectacular the veiw. My paradoxical fear of heights  would have me paralyzed at the thought of looking down into that kind of abyss. Just give me the soothing effects of h20 with the sun bouncing off of it and Im happy. That's why i traveled across central Florida to get my walk on in St Petersburg. This one time only race over the areas newest bridge seemed worth the effort to me.
Everything went well from the dieections i got off google to the packet pickup.I made it to St Pete arriving at the downtown location of the regional running store sponsor. It could have been a nightmare as the street it was located on was a construction zone. Luckily there were plenty of parking meter spaces on the adjacent street. I thought i would zip in and get the packet but nooo. The shoes (in my best mars blackman voice), i couldn't resist them. I have wide feet and that makes finding shoes tough as most companies seem to think women only need medium widths. While sitting in the store waiting to get my goodie bag I looked around at a shoe selection larger than what my local store offered. I might add their service was better too.That resulted with me being fitted and taking home two pair. Even with my shoes being on clearance i left nearly two hundred dollars lighter, ugh. The lady that waited on me was surpised i got two but no regrets on my part. I needed them and gas to drive over fifty miles each way to the closest city to me and look for and purchase shoes comes to about the same thing if im lucky enough to find a pair. Plus i hate shopping especially for shoes. Thus the reason running stores sponsor races and running groups, it brings in sales chi chang right out of my pocket. Mission accomplished i hit the road to find a parking space at the free lot organizers assigned us and headed to the race.
First impression of the event was it was not organized well. They had shuttles but it dropped you off at the location of late registration and pickup at a coumtry club close to the race start. To think i sweated over parking only to find out unlike what was stated on the website i could have gotten closer by parking on the greens. I thought that was a little odd because most places are extremely protective of there golf courses but perhaps they planned to resod in the future. With an half an hour to spare I walked around a bit which meant navigating around a pool (who throws a pool party with no food just drinks). I was crowded i was bored so i decided to make my way towards the bridge. You had to walk to the start line across a busy highway but the real disappointment came when i found out we would not run the bridge as advertised. It was supposed to be a one time thing yet when the horn sounded, off we went up the bridges pedestrian walkway. Major dissatisfaction boiled within me. I didnt drive all that way to do a bridge crossing that could be made at anytime. It was billed as a once in a lifetime chance to run the actual bridge and false advertisement wasnt the only mishap.
I managed to sprint to the structure but the steep incline to me out and i started walking. I struggled to make it while dodging people who were not in the race but standing on the bridge watching us, the sunset and boats. They were on bikes and some had kids and or dogs running about . Honestly it was a free for all but on the decent it was cool as the spectators cheered us on. I will say the overall course was plesant dispite the above stated but not even the fast dowm hill and the beautifull sunset as we made our way over the dunes could erase the hazzards on the beach itself. If you were fast you got a nice run on the shore, if not like me you got a dark beach. It was pitch black out there no stars and I would have welcomed a full moon. A runner next to me kept me company and used her phones flashlight app to guide us (thank you Katarina). With limited visability i had to walk the last mile. I did have my own headlamp but thought the course would be marked with at least some glow sticks or border lighting,i mean it wasn't a trail run. It was my biggest mistake of the day,there were no markers or people to tell you where to go. We dodged holes large enought to lose small children in. I have never been on a beach with that many holes. The lights from some of the hotels lite the diatance not the beach, thank goodness for an "anr trail" of walkers to follow or it would have been worst. I was at that point amongst the party people and fun bunchers. They weren't using timing chips so it didn't really matter when they arrived back. I finally made it to the dark finish line glad it was over and sorry about the time.
After getting my medal which had a ribbon that was to short to fit comfortably around my neck i checked out the food line. It was one line that was way to long and it was for both food and beer. Both race participants and spectators were in line. You could buy food if not in the race and i ean into one girl wirh a big plate of bbq she was taking home to her boyfriend. She told me at one point she was confused and had free dood from a private party. Noone was around to tell her which line she was supposed to be in. I ended up leaving thirsty and looking for the shuttle.
After walking from one side of the building to the other i found people i caught the trolley down with waiting in the parking lot. Enjoyed stricking up a conversation with an older man in his eighties while waiting on the ride. We talked about Tony Bennett, retirement and staying healthy in later years. I don't know it I'll be active let alone running at his age but ita something to shot for. After about twenty minutes a lady in the crowd waiting with me yelled we were in the wrong location we had to make it to the front of the hotel. During the crazy scramble that ensued to the front of the hotel we realized there was a gated garage the bus couldn't get through between us and the front of the hotel. It was 8:30 and the organizers said 9 pm was the cutoff time, not that any of them were around. That episode was followed by false hopes of the shuttles arrival as one guy standing by the curb thought a city shuttle was ours and over fifty people crammed up closer towards the driveway to get on. When we learned it wasn't ours there was a mad dash by many for minivan taxis" charging four dollars a head plus fare. I decided to take my chances on the free ride. It was the right call, i made it back safely, thanked the driver who did a heck of a job and headed home.
Overall it was not a totally bad time, i did managed to run a mile and change before walking a first. Alsi got new shoes but still feel jipped about the bridge. I could have done the virtual version but its like that sometimes. I entered and finished a 5k received some bling and got new kicks not to shabby a day, life is good

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pink heels

From time to time I'll check the local run shops website to see if there are any runs that are special enough for me to enter in my area. The definition of "special" to me just means it's a cause that is very worthy of my support. Right away after reading the details of the Pink heals event i knew i had to signup. I had soured on breast cancer "fund raising " in recent years, because most of the money goes to salaries not people who need the help or research. Some runs even have the nerve to charge high fees to enter them and require you to raise x amount of dollars lest your credit card be charged the difference! So when i read about the organizers of this breast cancer event information detailing what they do and how the money stays local it was a no brainer. I hurried over to the packet pickup location to sign up. I knew i was taking a chance after a two week hiatus during which time i did not course train. I did wear my trusted pedometer and seek out spots at the end of parking lots. The time spent away from doing all those miles helped me though as these old knees needed the rest and my attitude towards participating in races needed to be adjusted. I wanted this race to be my big redemption or at least a new lease on a walking journey. Don't call it a come back (sorry could not resist) but it marked a change in my goals. Now instead of working towards a set number of races I'm looking for how my time is improving and what i must do to obtain my end of season goals, now about that race. Oh how good it felt to get out and compete against myself again. I was excited to go at this 2 miler, after all it wasn't a 5k but the perfect distance for reentry. The crowd was small and yes there were plenty of walkers. Some did the jog/walk others just walked fast. I was encouraged by an old woman who said "you can do it baby" when i complained it seemed like a longer distance than a three miler. It really did, i guess i went in thinking 2.5 was going to be so mucj easier. Ha i have to laugh at my own self for that one. At the one mile mark the clock read around seventeen minutes.Instead of being disappointed i was encouraged. I was ahead of my last official race pace. I was not having negative thoughts or wishing the race was over. I was focused on making the finish line and from that point until the end i pushed to make it happen. I had only one surprise and that was my energy level was flat. I had the endurance but i usaully get pep at mile two this time around nothing. It probably was that publix chicken finger sub i fell off the bandwagon with just before the race. It was to big to finish with four jumbo strips of deep fried whole chicken breast, a large sliced tomato, four slices of cheese and enough lettuce to make a salad. I called myself being good becuase i didnt get any mayonnaise, oh well i won't be doing that again. It was my only meal of the day, i going to make it a point to work on my nutrition. Overall it turned out to be a good experience for me for a couple of reasons.First of all i wasn't last and while i didn't win a medal award my time showed an improvement .Plus not once did i day dream about riding a motorcycle but i did see a cool one.

This one was oseceola county sheriff's bike. They also had cool fire engines signed by survivors and well wishers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

lost but now Im found

There are all kinds of programs out for a person to learn how to train for any distance race. If you add in the explosion of running and walking groups fueled mostly by baby boomers there seems to be ample avenues to trek along on ones way to enjoying the marathon and 5k life. For me there is no better way to enjoy the weekend.Participating in racing events has given new spark to my life.
Im not a run fanatic or a speed walker and I never bothered with training progeams. Instead i prefer to tailor my own regiment. It worked for walking but somewhere along my way i joined to many run groups.  I not only pushed myself to hard to have a runners time while walking i demanded it. Ive paid the price with a sore knee. Now Im back on track as i resolve to walk the rest of the season like i originally planned. My body had to remind me I walk with purpose for causes and people while obtaining better health for myself.
As i enter into the month of October I have two weeks rest then it is another 5k before i begin the training schedule for a few half marathon. I want a light holiday season because surpassing my limits would set me back and i really dont want that to happen.The number of entries i submit to end of the year races could all change. I will have to see how well my workouts progresses. One obstacle i find hard to overcome is leisure walking. It seems i either push to hard to stay on other peoples pace or walk to slow trying not to over heat. I'm making it my mission to learn the art of pacing. In the meantime I might catch up on some things i put off so i could walk it wont be easy as my heart is truly on the road. Dreaming of walking some distance somewhere. I might be experiencing withdrawls!

Monday, September 29, 2014

You've seen the "glory",now here's the story

Its been a decade since i stepped off the wheel of life and dedicated myself to taking care of my mother.
Yes I'm a caregiver and at one point in my life the worst kind.
I was the child that stopped her bus to ride my mothers. What's wrong with that you say, well in order to take care of others we must first care for ourselves. I let myself go physically by eating away stress and putting off my dreams. Emotionally i shut down to simply an existing mode. I had given up my corporate america job and was surviving on a small self employement income. I sold my cars as i couldnt afford to keep them and walked, rode my bike or caught the bus everywhere. Make no mistake this was not glamorous. Lugging bags of groceries on and off crowded buses in hundred degee florida heat and walking two miles home wasnt fun.
I was stressed out with no support from family or friends. I saw dreams and goals slipping away while i watched my mothers memory and body deteriorate. What could i do but pray, it's what held me and saved me.
Then one day as i walked to the bus stop an inner voice spoke to me. It was a simple message, take better care of yourself. I didn't know just how much i needed to hear that. My skin was so blackened by stress and the sun i hardly recognized my dark overweight self in the mirror that morning. My eyes were dull and dark not their usaul light brown. I couldn't get over the fact i was so huge either. I was so large it broke my heart to see pictures of myself.
People don't understand that often our image of ourselves are heart felt not visually driven. Yes we see our reality in reflections but when you innately feel yourself first it causes hurt that others dont bother to probe that deep. We live in a picture perfect society. If our external appearances are pleasing then we are acceptable despite our faults.
I wasn't worried about society though i had already said to hell with what people think, it was my concern for myself that mattered most and the truth of the matter was clear I was dieing not literally but figuratively. I'd let go of life or to be more exact my dreams. I was walking down a road of sea shells and as i moved along many of my desires and goals where crushed. The pit i was in was dark and it's sides were so slippery i found it difficult to climb out. Until i heard that voice call to me.
That day instead of walking into the grocery first i walked up the street in the shopping center to the plus sized womens shop.
I entered looked around and annouced to the clerk i was tired of wearing mens jeans and tshirts just to be comfortable. I told her i would be back to buy nice feminine clothes. I did go back but it took a year! In that time i took up walking to help clear my mind. I was already walking because i had to but my new treks were personal. They were just for me because i wanted to. Not long after taking up walking i decided i wanted to run.I brought running shoes and started my own training. The plan was to do just 5ks so i would go about four miles daily besides my walking chores. I made it to a point where I was doing twelve minute miles on a run walk basis.
Thats when i went back to the store to buy some clothes. Exercising again made me feel good and the pride i used to take in my appearance returned. I brought regular clothes and cute running outfits it really felt great to look nice again. I was starting to reclaim the old me
Then i strained my knee before race season started. I wasn't running related, i turned in bed but my knee didnt, not the most exciting story but true. My times went down and and i struggled to keep up with the pack in races. I never gave up though and never will. I posted in a running group about my last race. I said whoever said that finishing last doesn't mattee as long as you Finnish lied. I meant it in a competive way. I already won they day god allowed my spirit to receive the message to get back up and do for myself again.I didnt tell those responders all that though but i thanked them for their support.
Today I'm walking the remaining events on my "run" calendar. I already know i will be last in most of them. This knee will heal the tenderness is going away slowly  but it needs rest. I have to keep moving though, it will take time to recover.
As i sit here and type the knee feels so much better and it didnt bother me at all in my last outing . Still i will be giving it a rest for two weeks and see how things go.
My reaaon for running is to get my life back not for the bling I'll be missing out on while i take a break . I am hard working but will admit that sometimes i forgot to become selfish enough to love on me every once in awhile. This new found hobby is my freedom, i shared my "secret" with my mom and she is supportive. Her health is failing but i thank the lord for whatever time i have left with her. However now i make sure to take care of me too. My mother is my life, running gives me strength and God has granted me the blessing of protection The lord walks with me and uplifts me daily and that's what i mean by freedom feels like this.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

CaraCara 5k

It's always great to learn something new and that's how i found out about this event. While scrolling through a list of races i came across an odd sounding one, CaraCara. Cara what, i thought before clicking on the link. I was treated to a new site, a pretty bird with a catchy name and orange and brown coloring.
I learned that it was endangered and less than two hundred pairs are in Florida.It was losing its prized habitat to development. Dispite being on the verge of signing up for the flock of birds run in Jacksonville i knew these birds were more in need of my attention. I had to enter this race and even though it had been raining for weeks i was ready to get a little dirty. Besides it was listed as a trail run and Ive never tried an off road race, so i went for it.
I will admit discovering the event two weeks before it was to take place had me off kilter, i never rush into things. So i kept watching the Facebook page and waiting for interest to pickup. Traffic on the website never did. Then while shopping I happened to see post cards and a flyer at a local instrument store that doubles as a spoken word and music venue. The organizers were really trying to get the word out that there was to be a drum circle before the race and i thought it sounded pretty cool.
Two days before the event a final notice appeared on my news feed. I was not interested in paying an extra five bucks for race day signup especially since there was no bling involved. I hopped in the truck and made my way to a local eattery where the organizer was accepting in person registration.
I met the organizer a former runner who do to injury was not able to continue to run. She wanted to stay involved with the sport so she gave birth to this race with a good cause. I plunked down my entry fee and was given a bib and a shirt i then prayed that it wouldnt rain during the race.

The morning of the festivities i decided to forgo the early morning drumming. The area had been soaked by rain, i was sure the mosquitos were going to be happy. I waited until dawm for at least some light. That was a mistake, the field we were to park in was mud city and very few spaces were left on the edges to park.Ten minutes and lots of help later i found a muddy spot that my truck wouldn't get stuck in. It was off to the starting line, i made it with two mimutes to spare. I had been nursing a bad knee for a month and to be honest running was out at the time for me. I did what i could but that was only short sprints. Walking the three miles was my plan for the day. When the horn sounded we were off like cattle at feeding time. A pickup truck served as pacer at the start of the race. The course curved around so that i could follow the leaders well into the second mile. I was dead last by the half mile mark when a little boy went running by. An older lady was about 100 yaeds from me but when she realized she was second to last she turned on the jets too. As her lead increased i resigned myself to not back of the pack but DEAD LAST. I really didnt feel to bad but it did bother me. I felt strong and was moving to the best of my ability. I looked around and the only souls around were me, the birds (i saw heron, an oriole and a few i could not indentify) and the gators. Since i was last i kept looking for a good photo opportunity. The right picture never came along though. With the only person in front of me long gone i was truly alone with my thoughts. It was just like training only with the addition of calls from wildlife. I worried i wouldn't find my way back but alas it was a large loop. By the time i passed the only water station i resolved to keep pushing and just do my time.A runner who had long since finnished ran by me in the opposite direction and high fived me. I wonder why people have to tell the big girl good job. Im sure they mean well but I'm competitive too im out there trying to beat my time and yours dude. Earlier I had forgotten to check my phone because when the race started i thought my chip would be working. Im guessing ten minutes in is when i checked my time so i ran that distance more past the ending marker to figure my time. No use asking the time clock people because as i neared the finnish line one thing was clear. Noone was waiting for me, well i did come alone. I just thought i would at least have gotten a finnish line with the strip that records your time but there was just a pink ribbon on a short wooden post and not one person around. Which i guess explains why my time wasnt recorded. I could see all the other runners walking around in the small vendor area so i walked towards them and found a juice. On the bright side there was something to drink leftover but in case there wasn't i did bring my own. Oh and the highlight, the zoo which was one of the sponsors brought out a caracara. They are in the falcon family but feed on carrion more like vultures. Im glad i did not pay much for this race. Twenty five bucks and no frills. If this is trail running or in my case walking then its probably my last one. I made the most of adventure but the attacks by the hundreds of mosquito flying around was not enjoyable . Having never been to the wetlands before I'd say the experience wasn't bad. My estimated time was around fifty minutes which is my average. Im just sorry i dont know for sure.Now i can say i walked a trail and all i got was this tshirt.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Detroit Womens 5k

I put off running this particular event early do to a busy schedule. After a rainy Saturday i checked the calendar and realized it was the actual date for women run the D .
I hadn't gotten an outfit together. So i hopped on the computer and turned my race number into a nice personal. Im no artist but it looked pretty good printed out on a light beige  parchment  paper.
Of all the events i have entered virtually thus far  this has been the best. The emails were informative and timely. Although i wasnt physically going to be there i enjoyed the updates on everything one needed to know for the race. They sent a link so i could find my bib number and a virtual goodie bag. I hadn't gotten one of those before. Nothing the sponsors offered appealed to me but i felt like i was really a part of this race. All of the emails helped me stay connected and ready to work for the bling but i was tired. I hadn't walked in a week to save my knee. Running was out of the question and i was bothered by the fact that going it alone is not helping to improve my abilities. Hey the show must go on so i drove to a new area to complete this walk.
I wanted to try something new becuase every race is different i figured why keep doing the same routes.
So I choose a nice little park with a small loop. I hadn't realized how small the perimeter was, looks can be deceiving.  My first lap told the not so great story though. The pedometer read .37 shock and regret filled me. I wasnt in the mood to circle the park the needed amount of times to get 3.1 in. So the next trip around i found an back path that looped around the swimming pool area and circled the parking lot. It brought me back to the loop without leaving the shaded confines of the park. Bingo, i picked up about a forth of a mile and it made my laps a little more interesting.
On my second loop i was close to two miles and feeling warmed up and was able to sprint from a group of trees to a fork in the path. It was my only attempt to move faster. I think even the parks turtles were moving faster than me. I was getting it done though.
My mind stayed focused, i was not questioning myself and the course was attractive which kept me on my toes and engaged.
Yes I got in my 5k and enjoyed it. I might go back to that local park but if i do I'll run. The lake and fountains were nice and the towering  boxwoods made for such a great running course.
All in all im proud of myself, this journey has not been easy and truthfully its a bit lonely. I gotten to the point that when i run my last steps to cross the finnish line i dont care who sees my arms raised in victory. I've done my thing and that's all that matters to me. Today it took 1:13 not great but it's in the books.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turtle Krawl

Your first "official" race is supposed to be memorable. That's why i choose to enter a local race for my inaugural in person race. It's a worthy cause I'm passionate about and benefits local business. In this case the Brevard zoo  joint vent with the sea turtle preservation society for a rescue facility.
I'll be honest and say i was a little bit upset that the only bling for the race was going for the top finishers and age group. Then i woke one morning to a post on facebook that you could buy a beautifull turtle finnisher medal to commemorate the event.
Yeah, I let out a big cheer but when i found out it was twenty dollars i deflated.  The price made a total of fifty dollars for a 5k. Good cause or not it was to rich for my blood and my run schedule. I'm running every weekend and the dollars are really starting to add up. Still i cant lie i asked and was sent the form to add it. I eventually decided against my own bling lust and just resigned myself to having the shirt.
So Saturday morning i left my house early to insure a good parking spot on beachside. I was surprised to find i wasn't early enough to get the prime spots across from the park where the race area was but i did snag a spot a few blocks away.
I was supposed to meet the ladies from one of my running groups but i couldn't find them. I happened to see one becuase she was wearing the organizations shirt and we took some pictures before the start of the race. I was in run walk mode so that was the last i saw of them as they sprinted off.
When the horn for the race went off i wondered if I'd be passed and pushed aside while walking fast. Nope, racers were more polite than those i encounter on the path that i take on my daily run.
I also found out running is like going to Walmart. You never know who you might come across amongst the people you know. I saw people i never knew where in to racing and a few i hadn't seen in ages. It was wonderful talking with them and meeting new folks as well. I was starting to see why people become addicted to the sport but the fun didnt last forever. The pace was to fast for me and instead of doing my pace i tried to keep up. That wasn't the only flaw in my game but it was the worst. Around mile one boredom set in, there should be a rule about how many turns a race can have. That course had more twist then a slivering snake. It drove me crazy and my bad knee was starting to act up to add more problems to my list of troubles.
As i entered into the second mile i wanted to leave the race. I had no joy and it felt like it was taking forever to get back to the beach. I thought why did i even bother to sign up this is no fun. If i were doing a virtual race i would have been having more fun. I question myself on why had i lost my mind and decided to take part in all these races.
That feeling didnt ease up until i neared a half mile from the finish mark. The sun was starting to shine bright enough to nullify the ocean breeze. Yet by that time i was determined to push my now throbbing knee towards home. I realized i liked widing through the neighborhood and seeing  whats back there on the side streets.  I saw some ocean shacks and a house wirh an entrance frame by a huge hidge it was an awesome entrance. There was a cool turtle mailbox and a great view of the ocean at sun rise. I got none of those picks i now regret. I did want the people behind me passing.
I was amused too with the high school kids holding signs and shouting encouragements to complete their required community service credits. Mostly the girls enjoyed it. I saw a few dead faced boys who would have rather been home lol. Finally my all time favorite moment of the day happened way back in the first mile. Some sneaky people tried to bring their little dog,( who was not allowed) in by pushing it in a stroller. Well the darn thing started barking its head off and when last i them they were on the side of the road in their event tops trying to quiet it down.
As i approached the finish i ran the final fourth of a mile. I wanted to pass a few people and improve my standings. I crossed alone and hoped my gapped mouth pic doesnt show up anywhere. The feeling of victiry was mine. I had decided to run again now that the whole ordeal is over. I received no bling but i broke a person best by nine minutes. That made me feel better about myself after what seemed like every senior citizen in the pack passed me. The say about run your race and compete against yourself comes to my mind. I won because i improve and now know my possibilities and limits in organized races. I now know what to work on for next year. Oh yes i shall return and medal!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Live your life

Yesterday a picture was posted on the NBMA page on Facebook. An over weight woman of color in flip flops jumped into a marathon race with a group of skinny male athletes.
At first i didnt get the posting,  i thought it might have been photo shopped. Frankly with my sense of humor i was going to say it was me. Upon review though she could never be me. I'm not spontaneous enough to crash a race. I'd be afraid of getting arrested or worst shown on media around the world. So to say the least i loved her free spirit but no the defiance . She decided hey what the heck Im going for it and as the saying goes, just did it. I think we all would love to have one adventurous person like her in our lives. Yes they are a little off but painting outside the box has it's place at least once in every life time.
As i looked at that woman in the picture one thing stuck out, her awful clothes. When your heavy you are basically punished by designers who insist on filling plus sized labels with bold flower prints and elastic waistband polyester pants. After a few washings you look sloppy no matter how neat and clean you really are. That's what drove me to the mens department for tshirts and jeans for years. I finally got sick of it and decided to start walking myself back to health. A woman needs to feel femine and i couldnt in mens pants.
The problem is, being heavy doesn't always come from gluttony in a pure form. We eat our troubles away in many situations to mask other problems. Besides the old fashion story of simply over eatting, we gain from stress too. Sometimes medicines and other health problems contribute.
Im a caregiver with a bad knee. Once i found my way back to recovering from this trauma i decided to give running a chance. Even in my younger "trim" days i hated races but everything in it's time i suppose. The memory of going shopping one day and seeing a whopper of a woman looking back at me as i passed a mirror was the straw that broke the camels back for me. My heart broke looking at her and still does.
Yes i love and respect myself but i need to take care of me too. Deciding to putmyself first and being unselfish enough to understand what that means was difficult. I was hell bent on doing the right thing for my family and totally stepped off the road called my life. That act was not and never will be substainable to any human.One must live a rich life not material wise but spiritually. I had to rediscover me and dance in the sun again. In other words start taking better care of me.
To the sister in the picture thank you. You reminded me that i used to follow my dreams and revel in an occasional whim. The older I've gotten the less i find the desire to do that. I realize that that's what gives life its kick. I get it now, just because I cut the salt out of my daily routine doesn't mean i have to give up the spice. Today i vow to just find my joy wherever it maybe, the heck with what people may think i just need to do me

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7th Trek

I woke up stiff  this morning but put some menthol rub on my knee. This body wasn't in the mood for a walk, stroll or run  but i got dressed and went out anyway.
I decided to knock off my usaul three miles by walking to the store. Imagine my surprise to find the mileage did not pan out. So i did what anyone doing mile work does. I walked in circles around the parking lot and in the store.
I took a few pictures at my nemis dunkin donut so i could remember why i have to move and then continued to the market. Unfortunately for me the shopping center had a few eatteries to entice me. Im not a fan of pizza hut but i got a little hungry when i saw their new pizza.

Who doesnt love bacon but i just pushed on. I was planning to make a coconut cake and I needed to find some coconut flakes. I was not thrilled to discover the ones in the publix were not fresh. I don't like dried flakes they should be moist and i was not in the mood to crack a fresh one open. Its bad enough the unsweetened variety are hard to come by but to not be able to find coconut in Florida is pitiful. So after three stores and no luck i returned home empty handed. On the way i saw a lady at the stoplight that always looks out for me while walking, we had a nice chat.Thats what i love about the south we make time to speak. She didnt have to pull into a parking lot and come talk but hey it made my day. Closer to my block i noticed i needed more milage. I walked a street out of my way then up and down the block to finally get my miles. As i was finishing up i was blessed with a few droplets of h20. The light rain felt good but i was glad i made it in before the heavy rain started. I had a coconut banana rum cake to make and i didnt want a storm knocking out the power before i baked or while i was baking it. My final miles made me glad i walked, because that cake was going to do some damage to this figure.

Rectify the race

I walked this race as a second half of a double header 5k Saturday September 6th. Despite resting five minutes between 'races" It was the hardest three miles of my life.
With an aggravated knee injury keeping me from run/walking and combat boots to support my arches it was a struggle. I could barely move had to give myself a prep talk and sing an inspirational song. Okay Sly and the family Stones "you can make it if you try" is not gospel but it helped.
I discovered something about today too. I am an impatient runner, had no idea of this. During training all i wanted to do was finish and build enough stamina to run three miles.
Yet as i walked all i could think about was how slow i was moving. I wanted to run but was afraid the knee would revolt. So i envisioned myself running while i walked (strange i know ) . Worst i wore a digital pedometer and watched it every chance i got. That was a big mistake, it made every step feel like an hour long journey. By mile four i was frustrated and the dogs were getting tired. I was in shape though i had more miles in me but the ajusted walking style was murdering my feet. At that point i wanted it all to be over.
Then i remembered the walk was about cancer. I found it ironic that i signed up for two races this weekend that were in support of the fight against cancers. It made my stuggle seem trivial so glad i can give a voice to the cause. I wished i could have just relaxed enough to enjoy the ride.
all I i could think of was all summer long i looked forward to race season and then this injury happened. 
Im making lemonade of the situation right now. At this time i may be over weight but Iam able to get out and stay active so i wont push to hard and throw my body out of wack. I want to stay fit and avoid injuries.
One thing i know for sure is cancer is no joke and life goes by way to fast. I m not taking this ride on planet earth lightly. I walked this race in solidarity with those that can't because they are battling a cancer.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I tried to register for BGRs walk before you run but it was soldout.
So the next best thing was to sign up for the sweat with your sole event. Its a big weekend for the blackgirls run organization. There's  an expo,workshops and the races of course.
There were two distances 15k and 5k. Thankfully i picked the 5k since i pushed myself to hard while training and aggravated my bad knee.
I had trouble bending it without straining so i decided to walk. I got out the hiking books to help my sagging arches and aid over compensating. They did the trick to as i have no foot problems to mention.
Oncw again I did see the same fast walking lady, this time she lapped me but didn't speak. Thank goodness i left my pride at home because everyone lapped me even a dog!
I'd say it was a good start to a busy day although hotter than i would like but then i started out late at 7:30am. One of the things that threw me was my persparation I dont usally sweat heavily but today i was pouring a watarfall. I felt my mouth dry a little and wondered if i was dehydrated. Another walker saw i was working hard and I got a word of encouragement from her.Another walker snapped the picture of my home made bib for me so yes it was a good day . I know it was lame but i really wanted to have one. This race was the first one i ever signed up for so it was supposed to be special. I looked forward to it and visualized it during training. Only i thought i would run it. I ll take this victory though after all i made sure to keep going even when i had to slow to a crawl. The knee held up and i was glad of that but it was my first of two 5ks of the day and i was concerned about the second.
The digital pedometer i brought the day before came in handy too as i was in no condition to keep track of miles. They can be off by a bit but this one was on the money.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Run for Ovarian Cancer

My bad knee has been bothering me since Tuesday and it couldn't have started to act up at a worst time. I decided it wasnt putting a damper on my 5k schedule though.
So today i shook off the disappointment of the promise organizers made that if i signed up more than a week before the race my race bib would be here before the event date. I ended up hitting the road without it.
Despite being stiff i made my way down the street. The first thing i see on the trek are tree trimmers and I thought, oh no there goes my shade.

I will miss the extra breeze provided by the over hanging branches guess this means i will have to get out a little earlier. Thankfully It wasn't as humid as it has been but compensating for my knee caused the big toe on my good leg to start hurting. Somehow i managed a eighteen minute first mile despite my hobbled state. My time was all down hill after that. I was stuggling so bad an old women wearing a big floppy brimmed church hat smoked me. I saw her as i entered the loop i like to walk. That hat just stood out and mama was moving too. I felt i could catch her but apparently she was on a mission and taking care of business. She left me so far behind that i never saw her again after she turned a corner. Then an older couple passed me,the husband seemed to be walking a moderate pace while the wife who was short a petite struggled to keep up with him. Once they passed i was finally alone with my thoughts. My pace started to slacked off and i began to struggle. I stopped a few seconds to get out the sports drink because the bottle of water i polished off had done nothong to quence my thirst. Alone again should be my theme song but this time as i restarted my engine i said a prayer for those who suffer from ovarian cancer. Its a tough battle to wage. Years ago i had a next door neighbor whose mother died of it and my moms coworkers sister who was only in her twenties was claimed by it as well. The later was misdiagnosed, a really sad story. That's why i limped on, it was a walk not only for a cure but of rememberence. I made the last if the three miles in 1 hour 22 mins. I have to give thanks to the lord for letting me make it between my big toe and the knee on the opposite side acting like polar vortexs it wasnt easy. God bless anyone dealing with this type of cancer my prayers are with you.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 5k

I left the house late this morning and i ended up paying the price for procrastinating. At a little after 8am it was already humid out but thankfully the sky was overcast and there was plenty of shade from the large oak trees lining my path.
I knew right away it was going to be a tough day. My first mishap was forgetting to note the time i began the walk what a big mistake. Seems odd that my beloved but departed Motorola phone had a stopwatch feature but my much newer adriod doesn't. I could care less about most apps they can be used as spying devices. Alright so is my phone but i disabled gps and i know Facebook is tracking almost everything about me. I just find myself sick of being forced into technology that hungers for information on my habits and where i go. Dont get me wrong i like the idea of apps some of them are really cool but not the ones that get in my business. I dont want my route mapped i only want to monitor and keep my time. I would like one watch that can do that without me having a fear of trying to reset it if something happens. Who has not been in that position with a new gadget.
While thinking about the simplicity i want for my life i looked around and realized that not many people were out. Then I spotted a couple crossing over to my side of the street and then take off running. Normally i try to use fast moving targets ahead of me as a pull. If they are moving quickly, I'm  moving faster to keep them in sight. This was not the case today. I had no umpth, not even a spark. These feet of mine remained flat and weighted like lead. I had no bounce and as the pair faded in the distance the universe told me today was not a keeping up with the jones kind of day. So i focused on the idea of finnishing the walk even though i just started it.
My spirit wanted to move, this body said okay but negative  energy was saying the heck with it lets go home. I decided to rebuke those bad vibes and go for it.  Thats when the second foley happened.I wasnt paying attention as i crossed the street and entered the part of my run i nicknamed gateway.  Its the begining of my run segment and sets the rhythm of the days course. I was walking in the middle of a narrow side street while my mind was involved in cheering on this body to move. I didn't noticed what danger i put myself in. Thank goodness i turned in time to see a pickup in position to take me out. Luckily the driver saw my confused circle as i stood startled in the middle of the road like future road kill. He rolled down his window and wished me a blessed day, i sure needed it.
I always run in the road on side streets to save my bad knees. The concrete would have long since done me in if i stayed on the pavement . Guess i need to stay focused.
The rest of the morning wasnt to bad. I got in a few run burst but failed to make a twenty minute mile. It was devastating, i had a twenty six minute ser at mile one followed by a twenty seven. On a good note my last mile was twenty two. A far cry from the PR twelve minute but I'll take it. I almost felt over heated so i really didnt push that hard.The Gatorade i was carrying wasnt going down easy.
Im also thinking of changing my shoes too. I noticed my times vary depending on the brand. Today i had in cheap filas, they matched but aren't good for anything.

Lastly i lost a minute when i stopped to wait for an even slower creature than myself to past. I found it fitting that on my way home this guy crossed my path. I waited so he would not turn and try to go out in the street to avoid me. In the area i saw him the turtles like to cross between ponds. No wonder it is also a hang out for vultures as well. All said and done i got in four miles total and i feel sore at the moment . I have a way to go in the conditioning department but I'll get there.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doing the work

If you want something bad enough you have top put in the work to get it. Today i did just that by walking to the grocery store and getting my run in too.
I was lucky this morning the sky was overcast making my 7am trek a little easier. Alone becuase 6am is to early and dark for me to join members of one of the clubs i belong to for a run. Actually it's funny that two of the groups i joined were running in the same place at the same time while i was home getting dressed.
Mornings are my meditation and then writing time. I try not to let anyone or anything disrupt me as my soul enters the day. It is the only part of day that I am relaxed and at peace. So i felt a little sadness that unless they change schedules i will not be running with them before the sun rises.
After the sun came up i was ready though. I thought over the idea of going for a brisk walk and then returning home and showering before going back out to walk to the store. It didn't make sense, so i threw on a backpack for the groceries  and made my way to the market.
One of the two groups that was doing a early workout was wearing pink to honor a member of the team. So I dressed in a pink and black running outfit also to show support for the sister runner lost to domestic voilence.
I felt really good as i made my way through the neighborhood. Half way into the first mile i hit the gas and ran a bit. Ive lost a step, the pre heatwave me could really move but i kept rolling.
Suddenly i heard a strange noise and i knew it wasn't the ducks by the "lake". Proceeding slowly i continued looking at houses as i passed by street entrances. The sounds were becoming more distinct. Screams, horrible crys for help it sounded like. I couldnt figure it out, where were they coming from. I really didn't want to run up on some crime scene. The closer i got to the park i realized it was a track and field event. Middle schoolers cheering on their teams in a cross country race. Through the woods it sounded like howling a bit. With that mystery solved my walk continued watching kids move through the course encouraged me. There was a straggler wearing a knee brace,one lone black kid and some fast runners who had finnished and ran back on the course to cheer on their respective teammates.
My mind traveled to the place that held memories of when i was their age. I wasnt into running cross country, softball and lacrosse were my thing. My schools fall sports were badmitten and field hockey.< I wasn't trying out for those lame teams. Still i looked at the young girls running and said to myself your future is yours to write. In comparison i thought of myself, where am i going from here. I heard the starter pistol go off just as i was exiting that part of the park. I had never dreamed i would one day be old, fat and struggling to make a three mile journey to the store on foot back then.
My feet took off jogging again
I spotted a police car hiding in the bushes. Guess that was park security for the people at the track event. I paid him no attention as i raced to the break in the yellow strip in the middle of the access road. Throwing up my hands in the finnish line stance i was feeling joyed.
Even though I rolled through the park and yet again was passed by senior citizens i was happy. The two older ladies who did lap me looked at me and said as they passed me, its okay we have more experience than you. We all laughed nut it did trouble me i need to work on strength training, it will help my endurance. I know i got myself up and out and God is good for letting me do it. As i exited the park it was just me and the rabbits. One hopped off the other stood her ground. I was left wondering if she had babies and was she protecting them.Whatever the reason was she didn't move and i decided to take advantage of the opportunity and snap a picture. It came out better than my selfie at least.

I assumed this is a mother rabbit and i wondered about the fallen sister. Was she a mother and how will her mother cope with the loss. I dedicate this walk to all those who have suffered though domestic violence. Many lives have been lost and ruined and not enough is being done to protect those affected. All i can do is pray that laws change.