Friday, February 9, 2018

Best DAMN Race Jacksonville 2018

My first race of the year is in the books, and it was a fun one! I set out to take it easy and was blessed to find Susan Haag’s group. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, just know that her presence alone = instant Pavement Party 🎉🎊🎈

It was a cold start and an even colder finish with a downright disrespectful, bone chilling headwind in BOTH directions, but we were having so much fun, I hardly noticed.

There were so many sole mates from the Jacksonville Galloway Training ProgramMoms RUN This Town / She Runs This Town, friends from PRS and sole sistahs from Black Girls RUN!… It was like a family reunion 


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Run The Year 2018

From the Run The Edge website: "Run The Year 2018 is a fitness challenge to run or walk 2,018 miles in the year 2018." Since I ran almost 1,500 miles in 2017, I formed a "Dynamic Duo" with one of my BGR! Sole Sisters, and we will split the 2,018 miles. 

This year is off to a slow start due to almost freezing temperatures (see above screen shot from The Weather Channel app). I, personally, love this weather for running; however, my neighbor/running partner has circulatory issues which are exacerbated by cold weather. Wish me luck . . .

Monday, January 1, 2018

Another Year . . .

. . . another plunge. Happy New Year! This marked my 6th consecutive year of taking part in the WaveMasters Society's Polar Plunge. It was a cold, rainy and windy day. I went out for our regular Monday morning bridge run and ended up cutting it in half, because the cold rain and wind gusts were brutal! When I got home, The Mr. was getting ready to hit the beach with me, and I let him off the hook. It was too much to expect him and the kids to endure those conditions just for me and my thrill seeking. By the time I'd changed out of my running clothes and into my swimsuit, he'd already climbed back into bed. I kissed him and the kids goodbye and headed back out into the elements.

I stuck to my usual routine of arriving early for prime parking and bought my shirt. As I headed back to the car, I ran into a couple who said their friend, an experienced surfer, backed out of going in for the plunge, not because of the cold, but because of the >20 mph winds, and I started to get nervous. I decided to head back towards the beach to see what exactly I was getting myself into. The surf was the choppiest I have ever seen, and the tide was pretty high too! It dwarfed the beach immensely, and I really started to worry. There was a little less than an hour left before the plunge, so I decided to collect my thoughts in the car.

What am I getting myself into?!
As I sat in the car, I decided to check out Facebook's "On This Day" feature, and there were Polar Plunge pictures from the past 5 years. I looked at my friends and how our group dwindled a bit each year until it was just me in 2017 and again today. I sent my husband pictures of the surf, and we joked  for a bit. A large truck pulled into the parking lot next to me, and I watched the driver get out and head toward the Pavilion. Several minutes later, the driver returned with a shirt and climbed back into his truck. I thought he, too, was going to hang out in the parking lot like me, but he started his truck and drove away! Shortly after that, I received text messages from my sister, and she encouraged me to stick to my plan. As I went back and forth between conversations, the parking lot began filling up. Before I knew it, it was 15 minutes before the plunge, so I hurried out to the beach to find a good spot.

Seeing all the other people on the beach gave me the motivation I needed, and I was ready to go, even though there was a little over 5 minutes until plunge time. It seemed I wasn't the only one with that sentiment, because I heard several people say the same thing. One guy even ran in waist deep and splashed around minutes before the official time. I snapped a couple selfies, undressed, then found a nice bystander to snap a "before" picture. Then, it was time to go, and go we did! I ran in waist deep and waited for a big wave before ducking down under the water. It was about 10° warmer than the air temperature, and it was quite invigorating. I splashed around for a bit, then decided I shouldn't press my luck any further and got out. As I redressed, I met a man who was on his 26th or 27th Polar Plunge, and he told me about how his kids started going with him as early as 8 years. His wife usually comes along and brings his coffee, but she was out of town today. He still had his coffee though.

I opted for a slideshow instead of my usual pre-plunge photo. Enjoy!

On another note, I'm kind of sad to see 2017 go, because I think it was one of my best years in a long time. I know, 2015 blessed us with a new child and a new home, but 2017 was about my personal accomplishments and rebuilding myself after the devastation of 2016. There were several PRs (including a couple half marathon PRs and a sub 30 minute 5K), I completed my first sprint triathlon, I trained for a century (Hurricane Irma derailed those plans), and I fell just shy of running 1500 miles! I will do my best to get you caught up on all that. I, literally, have several drafts waiting for me to complete and publish, if only I can find the words/time to get it done.

How did your first day of 2018 go? What are your goals for this year? Until next time . . .

Friday, September 8, 2017

Happy Birthday to MEEEE!!!!

You know you've got a keeper when he buys you fitness-related things for your birthday ❤️

On another note, I'm still working on a post that I've been working on since Mothers' Day. No more excuses. I have to get it done. :sigh:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Transformation Tuesday

In January of 2016, I posted a picture of myself poolside after my first Adult Stroke Class and announced my goal to complete a sprint triathlon by May 2017. Sadly, there were other plans for my life. 

A couple months after my declaration, my father experienced complications after a stem cell transplant. After a nearly 3 month battle towards recovery, his body, literally, failed him. He died July 1st. Exactly 2 months after my stepmother called me about my father, my mother called to tell me that her time on this earth was limited. A few weeks later, I became an orphan. Just when I thought 2016 could not get any worse for our family, my beloved Pug (my original baby), died the day after Christmas.

I tell you all this, because, as crazy as it may seem, running kept me sane through it all. Those who follow my personal Facebook page have seen my effort, and my aunt -- my mom's youngest sister -- once asked me what I was running from. I didn't have an answer for her at the time, but have since discovered my reason. My mom was my biggest cheerleader, although virtually, and had often called me her "shero." I continued to hit the pavement, because I knew she would want me to. It's also where I felt/feel closest to God and converse with Him often. There's a point here, I promise you 🙂

Putting in QT on the bike trainer (Photo credit: My 5 year old)

January of this year, I renewed my goal of becoming a sprint triathlete. I put my Christmas gift on the bike trainer and started to rack up some serious miles. I even participated in a couple IronKIWI virtual events. Although, I did not reach my May deadline, I still achieved that sprint triathlon goal Father's Day weekend during the Life's A Beach Triathlon! 

A BGDB Shero (greed/blue) and I (in red) heading into the water (Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)
Starting Garmin/Leaving Transition
(Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)
Sprinting Towards the Finish Line
(Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)

One of our local BGR! Ambassadors said, "We all have life circumstances . . ." In my case, I run to burn off the crazy! Stay encouraged friends!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Good riddance 2016! I am glad to see you go, but am devastated that my parents and my dog joined those whose lives were lost during your seemingly endless 366 days. As much as I would love to steal back my loved ones and bring them into this new year, I have to set my feelings aside -- for now -- and do my best to carry on, one day at a time.

So, Day 1 started with the Polar Plunge 🏊🏾‍♀️ I've been plunging with my running buddies every year since 2013. Over the years, our number has dwindled. Last year, I encouraged one of my BGR! Sole Sisters to run and plunge with me since our usual group decided to pass. The Mr. and the kiddos usually come too since we celebrate our plunge with breakfast at Beach Diner. This, however, was the first year that I have been solo. At first, I was pretty bummed, but chose not to wallow in self pity and, instead, "shifted the prism." I saw a new year with new beginnings and embraced the solitude. After all, here was the opportunity for the alone time I so desired and everyone always told me I needed. I took lots of pictures, even video, so I could look back on how I "survived" without the perceived security of familiar faces. I spent extra time in the water to reflect on the past year. I submerged myself three times in remembrance of my father, mother and dog. Every time the sting of the cold water washed over me, I acknowledged the pain of each loss and continued to kneel until I was ready to accept their absence. It was a liberating experience, so much so, that I went back to spend a little more time in the water, this time to celebrate the new year.

Oh! I also met a fellow blogger who asked to photograph me for her blog. I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts on the Polar Plunge.

After I got home, The Mr. prepared a traditional southern New Year's Day meal of Hoppin' John, collard greens and cornbread which was timed perfectly for my uncle's arrival. He was passing through on his way back home from visiting my grand/great uncle and stopped by to break bread with us. It was nice having family visit, even though it was brief. One of the thoughts that often triggered an overflow of emotions was that neither of my parents got to visit our new home.

By the time our visitor left and the children were down for the night, it was too dark for me to safely get any miles in for the IronKIWI 140.6 Challenge (more info to come). So, I ended the day with a little QT with my Christmas gift and the dreaded bike trainer for 10.17 miles powered by the first 17 songs in Act I of "Hamilton," because 20.17 miles was too much for me 🚴🏾‍♀️ Happy New Year!
Christmas gift from The Mr.: Fuji 2.0 LE - 2016
I survived Day 1, and I'm still smiling

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Be The Finish!

I have been participating in this race since 2010, but I never truly "got it." I mean, my mother was a cancer survivor, but I seemed to have repressed the memory of her battle, probably because there were so many other things happening at the same time (my parents divorce, my father's remarriage, and the loss of our home during Hurricane Andrew to name a few). I saw survivors at the races and heard stories of those we'd lost, but, for some strange reason, it never truly resonated with me until now.

2016 has by far been the most difficult year of my life. In the past 3 months, I lost both of my parents, and cancer played a role in their deaths. In honor of the DONNA's 10th Anniversary and in memory of family and friends lost, I am asking for $10 donations to help The Donna Foundation support families as we work to FINISH this disease. I am also taking part in the Inaugural Booby Trap Challenge. Let's make 2017 our best year yet!
The Booby Trap Challenge is the DONNA 10K, 5K and either the Full or Half Marathon