ColorMeRad5K Race Review and Recap

A little over a week ago I had the chance to participate in the ColorMeRad5K through my affiliation with the Tampa Bay Bloggers. I was compensated in exchange for my review. All opinions however, are my own.

colormerad5ktampa

Before the ColorMeRad5K I had never participated in a fun run. I had never even run a race without a Garmin or some other type of gadget to determine exactly how fast and how far I was running and I would’ve never considered it because I believed that all serious runners care about their time, period.

I didn’t think that it was impossible to have fun at a race because I’ve had fun at lots of races. I just didn’t think it was possible to run a race with the sole purpose of having fun without worrying about time or pace. And so I challenged myself and I decided to run. For fun.

Me, Jayde and Lily

In order to prepare for the fun I needed to enlist some help so I cornered all of the neighbors and I managed to convince 8 of them to run with me! If you really are determined to have fun, trust me, that’s the way to do it.  (Oh, and it’s healthy fun too, bonus!)

I needn’t have worried. I had a blast.

running a colormerad5k

The ColorMeRad5K was held at the Tampa Fairgrounds and I arrived at the race around 8:30am with Jayde and Lily and we snapped a few before pictures.

duck face

                           Everybody…………DUCK!

As soon as we got near the stage we could hear the music and feel the excitement. We instantly joined the crowd and even participated in some Zumba. (A first for me by the way.)

zumba

Around 8:55 we headed off to the start line. We started the race around 9 and running with Jayde and Lily was a blast. We walked, we ran, we jumped, we skipped, we danced and we stopped at all the color stations to make sure that we got blasted with as much color as possible. I loved every minute of it and I have no idea how what my time was!

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The only thing I would do differently is change the start time or possible route the course a bit differently. Tampa is really hot in April and the beginning portion of the race is in an open area which was already heating up. Thankfully the second half was mostly under trees and in shady areas and there was plenty of water along the race course as well.

colormerad

                             I’m pretty sure Jayde loved it too!

Once we crossed the finish line, they gave us each a color bomb which we threw in the air and stood under for maximum impact.

after race

I think we accomplished our goals, have fun running, check.  Wear white shirts, check.  Leave looking like skittles….

colormerad

Boom, Taste the Rainbow, holla!

Shortly after we finished two more of our neighbors came running across the finish line and we all headed toward the stage to enjoy more of the festivities.

Lori and Jenn

                           Way to go Lori and Jenn!

Later another family of neighbors crossed the line as well, the Neals.  All 8 finished and had a blast!  And now they all want to do it again.

running

The Neal family (minus dad because somebody had to take the picture!)

after the run

                                The Raddest After Party!

I’m pretty sure this was the longest I have ever stayed at an after party and it was so worth it. I had so much fun and I remembered how much fun running is. I got to share that joy with many of my neighbors and I got free photos capturing those awesome memories. I’m so glad that I decided to do this race and I’ve already promised all the neighbors that we will all run it again next year.

Have you ever run the ColorMeRad5K?
What’s your opinion of color runs in general?

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Recap & Review

#RunSarasota

#RunSarasota

I ran the Sarasota half marathon last year and y’all know I really loved it and was looking forward to running it again, in fact, I was hoping it would be a sub 2 for me. You can only imagine how excited I was when I happened to be fortunate enough to receive a free entry through my affiliation with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, however, all opinions about the race are my own.

Until a few days before the race, I would have said I was well-prepared and I would have said a sub 2 was definitely possible but that was a few days before. I did everything I could to ensure that my hips were in top shape and even though I did get a little tight in the IT band area, it was all good to go by race time.

Originally I had planned on staying at the house in Venice the night before the race since the drive would be shorter but that didn’t work out and instead I left from my house in Clearwater which meant we had to leave at 4:30am! My Mom is in town so she and the kid came along.

Van Wezel

Because the drive there was rather long, we stopped at a gas station close to the start so by the time we arrived at the Van Wezel, (near the start line), I didn’t have to visit the port-a-john and believe me that was a first, I highly recommend it. (There is nothing worse than standing in a port-a-john line and barely making it to the starting line.) We arrived around 6:15 so I had plenty of time to stretch out and get ready and I felt great.

#TeamJaimie

As always I dedicated this race to #TeamJaimie

The race started just a few minutes late but I felt really good and super confident. The kid even shot a quick video of me at the start line. You can see me when it goes into slow mode. I’m in the blue tank.

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That’s totally my game face!

It was a slow start due to the amount of runners but I was in the B coral and I got going and got through the first mile with no real issues. The first 3 miles felt awesome. I decided to keep the pace at around 9:30 until mile 3 because I knew the first half of the race had us running across a large bridge twice! I nailed my pace on the first 3 miles with no problem and planned on taking it down to 9:15 for the next 3. The plan was to scale down 15 seconds a mile every 3 miles to hopefully finish with a sub 2.

running to bridge

Sometime after mile 3, I got a pain in my abdomen. Not the typical runners pain but the pain I got when I took my in-laws to Mazzaro’s. This was bad y’all, really bad. It didn’t let up at all and sometime in that 3rd mile, I had to walk. I thought if I walked for a bit it would go away but that wasn’t happening. I was seriously concerned that I might have my first DNF.

running over bridge

I walked as much as I needed to because I didn’t want that pain to escalate into the pain that I had before. I didn’t know if I could make it go away and if anyone could have heard the inner diatribe in my head, they would totally have committed me. Somehow, I made it back over the bridge and by mile 6 the pain was barely there so I continued on. I won’t lie though, when I passed the relay point I secretly wished I was switching out with someone else.

running in sarasota

Miles 6-9 take you through the streets of Sarasota and there are tons of spectators to cheer you on. It’s one of the things that I love about this race. I got through those miles and had picked up the pace a bit but I knew there was no chance for a PR. The last few miles take you through some of the neighborhoods and there were lots of people outside cheering and offering words of encouragement. I needed it.

going to the ringling

neighborhoods

When I saw the finish I was elated and couldn’t wait to see my Mom and the Kid.

running in

They weren’t there.

where are they

It seems that when I didn’t finish in 2 hours, Mom was convinced that I was dying or dead so she marched right over to the medical tent to have them locate me…..EMBARRASSING!

Fortunately, I located the kid and we called and stopped her before they were able to do a full on search!

finishing time

I finished the race in 2:21:22 (chip time), the worst time I have ever run, but if it makes any sense, it was the most proud I’ve ever been of myself and my efforts because I fought through some pretty bad stomach pain to get there.

my medal

I still plan on getting that sub 2 and I will and I’ll also be back to run this race year after year because the scenery is beautiful, the course is fun and full of support and cheerleaders, and it’s extremely well-organized. If you plan on putting this race on your bucket list, I highly recommend it.

And so do Boomer and Hank!

I love my medal

this weighs more than meHere are the particulars:

Location: Sarasota, Florida
Host: Lifetime Athletic Events
Race Fee: This race offer blitz registration which offers huge discounts to those who register early and that’s a good idea because it does sell out!
From their website:
Blitz pricing
Tuesday, March 17 – 55% off
Wednesday, March 18 – 45% off
Thursday, March 19 – Sunday, March 22 – 35% off
Packet Pickup: I picked my packet up at Fit2Run on the Friday before the race. It was quick and easy and all of the people there were super nice.
Parking: Parking fills up pretty quick but I got there early so I didn’t have a problem. I do suggest getting there at least an hour early to find a good spot.

support crewSupport Crew: There were a ton of water stops and most also had Gatorade. I’m pretty sure one of them had gels as well, though I can’t remember which one.
Swag and Bling: This was the 10th anniversary of the race so we received a very nice T-Shirt and a bad ass jacket! This half also gives out the largest and best medal, ever! Seriously.
After Party: The after party was a ton of fun and I really like the fact that they encourage you to bring your friends and family. I would have stayed a lot longer too, if I had felt a bit better. I did manage to have a little fun on the way out too…

Fish Pose
Overall: Overall I think this is one of the best races I’ve run and I’ll be back year after year! I can’t wait to see what we get at the 20 year anniversary!

And in case you’re wondering, we still have no idea what is going on with my stomach and causing the intermittent pain and I suspect it will be many more weeks and a few more doctors before we do.

Have you ever had a dnf or a near dnf? Tell me why.

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon 2014 Review

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon has been on my to do list for quite some time so I was pretty excited when the opportunity to run it presented itself via the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

First Watch Sarasota half Marathon

Since we have a vacation home near Venice, Florida, I already had a place to stay which is always nice when a race is more than an hour away from your home. And since my niece and her friends were coming down for Spring Break we got to spend some time with her too, so it worked out perfectly.

We went down on Thursday nite and on Friday morning MacGyver and I went over to the Fit2Run store to pick up my bib. The packet pick up was a breeze and only took a few minutes and the ladies there were extremely helpful and very nice.

Packet Pick Up

My niece arrived Saturday morning at 2:30am so I didn’t get much sleep on Friday nite. Saturday was spent running around with the spring breakers, hitting up Trader Joe’s, and doing some shopping and other things; so I got to bed kind of late on Saturday nite as well, which made 4am on Sunday morning seem really early. Of course, if lack of sleep were my only problem, then this race would have been easy peasy…Unfortunately, this was half marathon number 4 of the year and I am 7 pounds heavier than I was last month but I am nothing if not a trooper so I powered on, full steam ahead!

Trader Joe's

Spring Break 2014

The Spring Break Seven…which later became 10!

The drive from my house to the race start is only about 20 minutes but as I got closer to the start there was a bit of traffic. It wasn’t bad though and parking was a breeze. I was directed to a spot right in front of the Hyatt fairly close to the start and once I was parked, I immediately hit up the port a potty because, well, because I’m me and that’s what I do.

The line for the port a potty’s near the start line was fairly long but there were additional port a potty’s near the finish and hardly any lines at all. I made my way to the start line with about 15 minutes to spare. The race start time was 7am and it started about 5 or 10 minutes late, no biggie.

Porta Potty Line

Because the race was the day before St. Patrick’s Day, I wore green and some pretty fancy beer socks!

Green Beer Socks

It was pretty windy first thing in the morning and I was really enjoying that wind, especially as I was chugging up the hellacious bridge known as the Ringling Bridge because this fist part of this race takes you South on the Tamiami Trail and then East over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle and around it and then right back over that bridge. But let me just tell you, the scenery is spectacular and it makes it all worth it. And on a side note, it’s probably good training for the Iron Girl half.

Race Course

After you finish crossing the bridge the second time you head North toward the Ringling Museum, which you get to around mile 9. It’s a long stretch but it was nice because there were quite a few spectators along the course cheering us on and the policemen along the course were also very nice, I may have even high fived a few of them.

Sarasota half Marathon

Once you reach the Ringling Museum, you turn left and enter the Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores neighborhoods. Some of the homes were really beautiful and I couldn’t help but stop to take pictures of the water along the way. I also saw some of the best race signs during this stretch.

Sarasota

Beaches of sarasotaRace Sign

Great Race SignWith only a mile and a half to go, I came upon a boy who was only 12 years old. He was walking and I stopped to talk to him. His name was Treyton and this was his very first half marathon and he was running with his parents and his sister, all of whom he was ahead of. He was tired but I encouraged him to start running again and I ran with him all the way to the finish line. That was the best part of this race. Seeing that kid in his superman shirt cross the finish line of his very first half marathon, I loved it. It was a beautiful moment and I almost cried. Seriously.

Best Race Medal

After crossing the finish line, I received one of the best medals I’ve ever gotten. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the after party, (which looked like a blast), because I had some Spring Breaker’s to attend to. And may I just add that every single one of them loved and wanted my race shirt and I have to admit, it’s my favorite race shirt thus far!

Race Shirt and Bib

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:15:10. It wasn’t my best or my worst time but I had a blast. This is a gorgeous course and other than the bridge it’s relatively flat. Despite the fact that there were over 3,000 runners on the course and it was a sold out race, it wasn’t over-crowded and the race organizers did a fantastic job. The course was well marked, there were plenty of water stops with water and Gatorade and they also handed out gels, (which I believe was around mile 7.) I’m definitely coming back next year and I’ll be back at fighting weight and hopefully injury free because next year, I’m gonna beat my time, and I’m going to party like a rock star afterwards! Count on it!

Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I received a complimentary entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon in exchange for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.
In case I didn’t mention it before, the medal was very cool, so cool in fact, that someone stole mine and now I need a new one….

Boomer with medal

What’s your favorite race medal and why?