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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dudes in skirts! Hula Hustle 5k Race Report

Today I ran a new race on a course I've run before.  I did the Hula Hustle 5k, put on by Clay County Young Life. 

We were all encouraged to dress in our best luau costumes, so I went and got some cool stuff from the Dollar Tree: some leis and a cool table skirt I fashioned into a hula skirt. 

It was unseasonably cold this morning, dropping below 50 on my drive to Orange Park.
Don't Pic and Drive, kids.

Parking was at the Orange Park Kennel Club (like the last time I did this course) but we had to park much further away.  My first stop was packet pickup, which was very organized and easy. 

Very organized, easy to read tent labels
I headed back to the car to gear up and put on the rest of my costume (I'd affixed the plastic skirt to my Sparkle Skirt before I left the house).

I went back to the start area to walk around, warm up and just wander.

There is SO MUCH FOOD here!
Gurl, that skirt is busted!
There was a cute photo opportunity, so I took advantage of it and asked someone to take my photo. 

Costume - Table skirt wrapped and pinned to a Sparkle Skirt; leis around both wrists, both ankles, two on neck.
Soon, it was time to head to the starting area, which was a little bit further away.  

Start line, that way -->
There it is!
With no fuss or formalities, we took off, down the road that runs along the St. Johns River. I made it to Mile 1 quickly, and with no problems. The road is cracked and bumpy, but not too terrible for running on. 

Mile 1 in LESS THAN 15 minutes!!  Aw yeah!
Not long after Mile 1 did I see people already coming back.  Ah, the depressing side of an out-and-back course.

He may be a dude in a skirt, but he's fast!
I got to the turn around and began to make my own way back along the river to the finish line, taking a few really gorgeous photos as I went. 

Good morning, river!
I wonder what the cost is to have this as my wake-up view?
Here comes Mile 2 - only a mile left to go!

I've slowed down a little, but still a great pace for me!
I've been trying a new thing with my Garmin - NOT looking at it... I like knowing how far I've gone, but not my time; I've found that I'm a self-defeatist... if I look at my time and see that I'm not going to PR or I'm going realllllly slow, my brain says "why try any harder?" and I don't push myself.  So, I used one of my leis to cover my watch.

It's "Go Faster" time
Here comes Mile 3, with the finish right around the bend in the road! (As usual, the road is really empty here in the back).

And there goes my 15 minute mile pace
And I finished!! My official time was 48:52, which isn't bad, but I really wanted to PR!
Oh well. I got my medal, a pretty white lei, as well as a bottle of water and a coupon for Chick-fil-A from the volunteers at the finish line, then wandered over to the snack table. They had a HUGE spread including milk, chocolate milk, granola bars, LOTS of stuff!

Really nice medal for a $20 5k
VARIETY! Three different kinds of chocolate milk (well, 2 types of milk, and a chocolatey flavored beverage)
Free Chicken Biscuit or a trio of Chicken Minis
ONLY good at the Eagle Harbor location, wherever that is...
More importantly, though, was the free shave ice!!  I love a good shaved ice/sno-cone/whatever you want to call it!

The line wasn't too long (maybe 10 people), so I hopped in line. It took FOREVER though, for the line to move. But, because I'm such an obstinate bitch, I figured I'd already wasted that time, might as well get rewarded for it...

Please move faster, my blood sugar's dropping and I need some Sno-Balls!
Lots of flavors to choose from... what should I get?

BANANA, of course!  So much syrup though... too much for me.
While in line for my shaved ice, they gave out awards for the best costumes. I would beg to differ that these were the BEST costumes on the course, but I had no say in the judging (they were all friends with each other and ht race director, so ...). I guess dudes in coconut bras get bonus points.
I do wonder what they got as a prize - it was never announced.
I hit the photo op one more time to pose with my medal, but I'd had my limit of fun by this point. I was ready to get outta here!

Aloha, Mr. Hand!
I made my way to the Orange Park Mall, which is a joke of a mall, but they have a Chick-Fil-A, and I love refueling with nuggets!

Sometimes I Polynesian, sometimes I Mayo my nuggets. VARIETY! Waffle fries with Ranch is the best, though!
I also hit up JC Penney, then a convenience store for road trip snackage, crossed back over the St. Johns River and headed home.  I was tired!

Location: Orange Park, FL
Host: Clay County Young Life
Race Fee:$20
Packet Pickup: Pre-race, very easy
Parking: Lots of available parking at the Orange Park Kennel Club
Support: One water stop
After Party: Photo booth, free sno-cones, raffles, costume contest, lots of snacks/drinks

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fallen Heroes 5k Race Report

The Kiddo and I did the Fallen Heroes 5k again this year. It's a really small, local race and doesn't have any sort of online presence at all. It was also a really uneventful race, so this recap is pretty short.

We got there an hour later than we did last year (the race starts at NINE, not eight!), so it was already much busier too.

Lots of runners
 I was happy to see another SparkleSister showing her patriotic colors!

Let "Freedom" ring!
 As before, the UF Color Guard presented colors and we all saluted for the National Anthem.

No, this isn't the Color Guard, but it is patriotic and really nice!
After the National Anthem, we all lined up on the road in no particular order (self-corraling) and took off.  The Kiddo and I ran together for about a half a mile or so, and then I took off. 

I realized at this point that it's NOT raining!  Every single time (not hyperbole here) I've run this course, it has rained.  The streak is broken!

I"m pretty sure science would beg to differ
I made it to Mile 1. 

I have no idea what that drawing is supposed to be
Pretty much alone in this mile, but I made it to Mile 2. 

There's a lone water stop waaaaaaaaaaaaay up there
Mile 2
Lake Alice, a lake completely on the University of Florida campus, and well-known for being chock-full of alligators, is looking very pretty today!

No alligators anywhere. Bummer.
I passed Mile 3, though you can't really see the sign, and I heard my name... Whizzah whuzzah?

Only .1 of the sign, too!
I looked back and there was The Kiddo! She had caught up to me!  A selfie to celebrate!

And there's people behind us - we're not last!
As we turned in to the finish line, I let her beat me, then I crossed right after. 

Go girl!
Official time? Nah, no official time here. No clocks. There was a clock at the finish line, but I didn't pay any attention to it. And, sadly, my Garmin died halfway through the race, so I don't have an exact time there either. BUT, I feel the need to get all geeky and scientific:  Using my Average Pace from before the Garmin died, I can extrapolate a finishing time of 50:07.  This seems about right, since The Kiddo and I walked in the beginning and the end. 

We asked someone to take our finish line photos (I'm so glad she's not so camera-shy anymore!). 

This is the first time I've worn a race shirt from a previous race to a race!
Then we took some fun single shots.

Standard Teenager Pose
Good jump
Not the best jump!
That is not the most flattering shot, but a great jump!
We stuck around and saw the last finishers, but The Kiddo was hungry and there wasn't much of an after party, so we took off to a local McDonald's near campus.  Unfortunately, they didn't start serving lunch until 11 (even though it was 10:45 and most McDonald's start at 10:30). She doesn't like McDonald's breakfast (sacrilege!) so we got out of the drive-thru line and just headed home. 

I love that SO MANY people stuck around for the final finishers, not just a few
Location: Gainesville FL
Host: UF Midshipmen
Race Fee: $20
Packet Pickup: Very easy; pre-race
Parking: Ample; UF Commuter Lot has a LOT of available spaces
Support: Meh – I think there was one water stop
After Party: None, really. Some awards.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Climbed a Barricade and Now My Crotch Hurts! Gate River Run Race Report 2015

Today was the day to beat the Green Monster!!!  Okay, so maybe "beat" is a strong word. I was going to give it a good talking to, then let it walk all over me, like a wimpy parent with a wayward teenager. But, hey, let's go!!!

Already running late, I was up and out of bed by 5:30.  I snarfed down some Cheerios for breakfast, got dressed and woke up the family.

Still late, we didn't get in the car until 6:30 (I wanted to be gone by 6).  We loaded up, cranked the car and ...


Say what now?

I have a dead battery.  Two hours before the biggest 15k in the country is about to start and I have a dead battery!

I headed back in to the house, ripped my AAA card out of my wallet and got those suckers dispatched asap.  I was told someone would be there within the next 1/2 hour. While I can say that I was very courteous to the operator at AAA, I was livid inside. I know it's not their fault I have a dead battery, and I know it's not their fault that it will take 30 minutes to get to me (which, in fairness, is a SHORT time window for AAA). I was just mad at the universe for throwing this at me, today of all days!

I threw on my fuzzy pink bathrobe (over my running clothes) and stood outside, waiting for the tow truck, so pissed I could cry.  Hubby waited outside with me, trying to get me to calm down by giving me big hugs. Honestly, (and he knows this), I didn't want the damn hugs to begin with - I wanted to rant and rave and pace and bitch. But, the hugs began to work and I began to calm down.

Our AAA guy showed up I think within 20 minutes, jumped us and we were ready to go.  I threw my robe back in the house and we floored it towards Jax. The Garmin says that our arrival time is now 8:30am.  The race STARTS at 8:30am and I still need to get my packet.

Driving backroads to I-10, I began to wonder if I should even GO, if I was going to be so late...  But I kept going. This girl is not a quitter, even if the race is to GET to the race.

Traffic, luckily, was really easy, until we got about 1/4 mile from the exit to the Stadium. I used the full stop to change my sneakers in the car (I drive in flip flops). In hindsight, perhaps I could have used that AAA time to put on my sneakers at home. I also grabbed the Ziploc bag I use to hold my race stuff (Garmin, fuel, lip balm, armband, etc).

We're close, I can see Lot W
While sitting in traffic, heading towards a parking spot, we heard the Elite's gun go off. Yep, the race has started, and I'm still sitting in traffic.

We were directed to park in lot XX, which is about as far away as you can be.

We parked in "XX," had to pick up my packet at the Fairgrounds (near "R"), THEN had to get down to Gator Bowl Blvd!!!
I began hauling ass towards the Expo while shoving the tiny Ruby Lube tube that was in my pocket (that I didn't think I needed now that I was dressed) to the Kiddo.

Halfway to the expo, I realized I forgot my Nathan water bottle, so I got the PoweAde from my post-race bag. It'll have to do.

All these goodies... would have been so nice to HAVE THEM during the race!
I half ran/half walked to the expo, got my bib and my shirt in record time. They only had 3x size shirts left, but I'm totally fine with that at this point.

At this point, the 3rd wave (MY wave) had already taken off, so I hollered over my shoulder that I was gonna haul ass to the start line and headed towards the Walker Wave - last year it was by the baseball field ("P" on that map up there).

They weren't there this year. They were back at the ACTUAL start line, in the opposite direction I was headed, with a huge retention pond between me and the start line. With some choice words, I ran my ass that way. There were a bunch of barricades in the way, so I just climed over one of 'em. The announcer said the final (FINAL!!) wave would take off in about 60 seconds.

I found a hole to slip through to get to the actual start line. Whew!!!!! I'm officially in the starter chute.  Start the Garmin! Start the Nike!! Start the RACE, I MADE IT!!!! With LITERALLY seconds to spare.

I saw the family past the start line and I gave them hugs (which I normally do before going to the starting line, but well...) and said "I climbed a barricade and now my crotch hurts!"  I also got some high fives, and off I went.

And I went still angry. I was angry at the car. I was angry that I missed my wave. I was angry to be stuck in the walker wave. After last year, I swore that I'd be faster and not be back here ever again, and yet... here I am.  Grrr.  I really let the past 3 hours of bullshit get to me, and I was angry a lot of the race.

About a 1/2 mile in to the race, I gulped some warm (ick) PowerAde, then reached for my lip balm... Shit, that's in the Nathan. Which is in the car. Okay, I'll use my lube tube... oh wait... that's in the Kiddo's pocket.  Jesus, shoot me now!!!

Obligatory Maxwell House Factory shot - it smells great when I take off, but never when I come back.
I made it to Mile 1 and if there were course photographers here, I think the photos would have been pretty funny. I look pissed and bitchy pretty much all the time (thanks, Resting Bitch Face), but I was PISSED right now, and I'm sure it showed on my face.

Mile 1 Sign (That's Gun Time, not chip time, thankfully!)
We passed some construction and saw that there was a runner down, being attended to by one of the volunteer policemen. I'm not sure what happened, I think she tripped.
Is Jacksonville ever NOT under construction?

Runner DOWN! But well attended to.
Right after Mile 1, we headed up the Main Street bridge, which I like because I'm not tired yet, and I can enjoy the cool grating in the middle of the brige. 

Doesn't look so bad from down here

Yeah, you can't get me to stop.  Only under the threat of death am I stopping this time!!
Soon... Aw, who'm I kidding?   Eventually...
Okay, I'll stop for a Foot Selfie
I got passed by this chick, and I thought taking a pic of it was appropriate today.

I'm pretty sure she was in front of me the whole race, too
I made to Mile 2, and my mouth was killing me. My lips dry out easily when I run because I'm a mouth-breather.  Not having any lip balm was a fate worse than death for me.  I try to be really honest on my blog, so here's some gross honesty - every few minutes I was trying to scrape some Ruby Lube from my shoulders (under my bra straps) to put on my mouth. #1 - Yeah, it's gross. #2 - it didn't work very well.

Yay, only 7.9 miles to go...
We passed a cool band and then headed towards Mile 3. A lot of people deviate from the course here, because there are potties right past the band area.  I kept on going.

At least they play loud enough to compensate for being so far away
Mile 3 - almost 1/3 of the way done
After Mile 3, you pass over the 5k timing mat. If you've signed up for race alerts, your spectators (in this case, Hubby) will get a text message with your split time.  They can use that to estimate what your finish time will be, so they know when to see you at the finish line.

After the 5k mat, you turn on to a road that runs right by the river. It's always pretty, and one of the best spectator spots, too.

5k Split Mat
Mile 4 goes into some nice neighborhoods, and shady ones at that.

Hey, check it out! It's my finger!
A HUGE shout out to the Med Tent at this part of the course - while they didn't have any lip balm of any sort, they gave me some lines of Vaseline for my lips! You have NO idea how hard it was to run 5 more miles with this on my hand...

"Don't wipe your sweat... don't wipe your sweat... save the Vaseline!"
As always, when you leave this neighborhood, there is an assload of traffic, backed up for a good mile or so.  Most people are in good spirits, but some are jackwads. 

Most folk are patient
We headed back in to more neighborhoods, and I knew we were getting into the Party Neighborhood. You'll see anything from orange slices to ice pops to sausages to any and every type of liquor you can imagine. (Though, if you're slow you'll see orange peels, ice pop wrappers, discarded forks and empty cups.) I was looking for the beer and sausage house.

It's the Beer and Sausage House!
I did it, I got some sausage this time!! (Last year, I only got a hot dog).

Look at all that sausage! It's a regular sausage-fest!
Aww man - the sausage is not tasty.

I only had one bite; it was really gross
Oh well.  Now I know for the future - skip the sausage.  

I made it to Mile 5, and I'm officially halfway done with this race. I'm not pissed any more, but I think at this point, all the fun was gone.  I was doing it, but I wasn't enjoying it.

Am I on the "wrong side of the tracks" NOW, or after I cross?
The Carol King fan club was back this year.  Sorry folks, BB King is a rock star. Not Carol King.
"Rockstar," "Trashcan," not much difference
This part of the race takes you down Atlantic Blvd, which is hot and there is usually a lot of traffic on the right. For the poor lady in the khaki shorts, it must've been REALLY hot.
It's like a thong made out of sweat. I felt realllllllly bad for her
We made it to Mile 6!

Why you sittin', gurl?
And with crossing the 10k mat, we are officially 2/3 of the way done!
I'm with you, Woo Hoo Girl
I don't think anything was fun at this point. I was super-sweaty, super-tired and still just in a general funk. I kept on trudging along, all the way to Mile 7. 

Yay, Mile 7! 
There is this little bridge that crosses over the river, before you get to the Green Monster. I love to stop here for a "Soon!" photo.  Usually I take a selfie with it, but I gave no shits. 

It's a bridge. I'm gonna cross it. Let's go.

I took a selfie to see how many people were still behind me instead.

That vaseline does wonders for my stylin' look
Alright, bitch (talking to myself). Get your sparkly ass up that hill to that bridge. Once you do that, it's all downhill. Literally.

So much worse than the blue one (Sweat Thong is lookin' strong!)
So close, but close your mouth, you look like a fish!
Mile 8, almost at the apex of the bridge. 

Yay, Mile 8! I can see the stadium from here!
Wow, what the hell is that? The photo doesn't do it justice, but it's a chick wearing panties, a huge purple tutu. knee socks and a sparkly bra (think Madonna in her Vogue period).  It was just really bad.

If you zoom in really close, you get a great shot of back fat

I did it! I made it to the top of the bridge, and as I said - it's all downhill from here.  I used the decline to put some pep in my step - I wanted to finish strong.
Slow walkers give runners weird looks when we try to pick up some downhill speed

Mile 9 is right at the end of the exit ramp, but because of the way the finish line is laid out, the last .3 mile seemed SO long - we had to basically walk all the way around the stadium!!

Mile 9, oh my God, make it stop!
I really wanted to run it in, but I had absolutely nothing left in the tank by this point. I just walked quickly, and crossed the finish line. 

YOU LOOK FAST, bitch. I got no FAST left in me for the cameras!

My official time was 2:44:30. Not too bad!  I guess Pissed + Running = Fast?

We headed back to the expo to trade in my shirt for a 2X (a 3X was just a tad too big for me) and took some finisher photos at the "I Beat the Green Monster" background (perk of being this damn slow? No lines for photo ops).

Yes, I DO have hair; you just can't see it.


The shirt is pink this year

Results -

I officially beat 498 people (even though it really did feel like I was pulling in the rear this time). I finished 14.403rd out of 14,901.

My split times were okay, but not spectacular. 5k time – 51:38; 10k time – 1:45:17.

Official Finisher Medal photo

I took advantage of the REAL bathrooms at the expo as well, and changed into some clean clothes.We headed to lunch at Arby's and, as we'd planned earlier, headed to WDW to spend the remainder of the day at Typhoon Lagoon. 

After about 15 minutes of driving, though, I started doing the math in my head, and it made no sense to drive almost 3 hours to get somewhere that would only be open for 2 hours after we got there. 

We decided to go to TL on Sunday, so we detoured through Green Cove Springs and headed home.  I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out on the couch, and just went to bed early.

Entrance of Typhoon Lagoon

Left or Right?
Damn, check out those beach babes!

Location: Jacksonville FL
Host: Gate Petroleum (Gas stations)
Race Fee: $40
Packet Pickup: Empty! (But I was so late!!!)  Paid the extra $5 for Out of Town Pickup
Parking: Ample parking, even when coming in so late.
Support: Excellent!  Thank you to the First Aid ladies for the Vaseline! There was sausage!
After Party: We didn't stay for the party.