October 16, 2013

If invited to Datz Dough, go!

Some words of advice: if someone ever invites you to Datz Dough, GO.

I was recently invited to attend a tasting there with the Tampa Bay Bloggers (organized by the fabulous Denise), and I went. I'm not stupid. And, I was not disappointed.

Tampa Bay Bloggers photo by Gerardo Luna

There was bacon brittle involved, people. Bacon. Brittle. Don't ever pass that up.

When I arrived, I was greeted with a Prickly Pear Mimosa. Yeah, that was as good as it sounds. It included sparkling wine, mandarin/tangerine puree and prickly pear syrup. And, it was pretty.

Next up was the Passport Salad. Reading the description, I was not overly excited about this salad. After tasting it, I was overly excited about this salad. It was made up of Belgian endive, Spanish olives, Turkish figs, French goat cheese and crispy Italian garbanzo beans. The sweet, the salty, the crunchy. It was all good.

I was excited about the next dish: Not Yo Mama's Mac & Cheese. It definitely wasn't. Well, the only mac and cheese my mama ever made was the kind out of a Kraft box. This was about 1,000 times better than that. It was cheesy with a crunchy cayenne panko topping. The topping was my jam.

Are you ready? Are you really ready? Because it's bacon brittle time. The bacon brittle came on a pan-seared scallop in The Sea & The Swine. It is as awesome as it sounds. I loved this. Loved it. But, when you think about it, what is not to love about candied bacon?

Steak is one of my true loves in life. You probably think I'm kidding. I'm not. So, when I saw steak on the menu, I was pumped. Then, I read that it involved a valronah chocolate coffee sauce. And, I wasn't as pumped. I'm a salt and pepper on my steak kinda girl because it's so delicious it doesn't need anything else. But, I will admit to being pleasantly surprised by the sauce. Plus, it wasn't like the steak was drenched in it. You could dip as you wanted. The steak came with a blue cheese cheesecake. I was hesitant on this one, too. I'm not a blue cheese fan. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite. But, I'm all about trying everything. So, I tried it, and I'm glad I did. It was rich and blue cheesy and I couldn't eat it all, but I was happy with my few bites.

Top left: Passport Salad; bottom left: Not Yo Mama's Mac & Cheese;
top right: The Sea & The Swine; bottom right: The Steaks are High

In the midst of this deliciousness, another drink arrived: the Bobby Boucher Spritz. I loved this drink before I ever tried it just because of the name. It included cherry heering liqueur, overproof bourbon, Benedictine and sweet vermouth. I like Bourbon (thanks to a bourbon schooling by my Kentucky friend, Erin), so I liked this drink. If you don't like bourbon, you probably wouldn't. You can just give yours to me.

We also got the opportunity to try Chef Domenica Macchia's speciality, duck fat fries. Wow. Just wow.

To finish off this delicious night, we ended with a Banana Foster Boozy Shake.  I like banana foster. I like shakes. I thought I'd be crazy about this. When it arrived, I knew I wouldn't. It had ... whipped cream on the top. Ick. That is one thing I really, really don't like. I'm weird, I know. So, even though I tried to scoop it off, I still felt like I was drinking it.

Whipped cream doesn't deserve to be photographed.

Have you ever had bacon brittle? No? Do it. Now. Have you ever been to Datz or Datz Dough? If you were there, what was your favorite item? If you weren't there, what do you think would be your favorite?

October 15, 2013

This "week" in running: week 5

So, this week in running is pathetic. I shouldn’t even call it a week in running. It was one day. Just one day. Sheesh. I think that’s the least I’ve ever run in a week while training for a half marathon. I guess being sick will do that to you.

After last Saturday’s disastrous 10K-5K challenge while getting sick, I didn’t run again until Thursday of the next week. Exerting any more effort than required to get to work, return home, walk the dog and return to bed was about all I could manage.

I was still a little iffy on Thursday about running. I still was feeling weak, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I’d either have success or collapse in a wilted pile on the ground. It seemed worth it to me. Thankfully, the wilting pile did not happen, and I actually had a really great run. Like the best run I’d had since the Spring. Yes, that long. Why? It’s finally a few degrees cooler than the surface of the sun. This makes a big difference, people. Huge.
So, while the 800-meter repeats were tough (as they always are), I did not feel like puking when I was done (like in the past). And, the hill repeats after that were tough, but not unbearably so. And, the run back was not horrible either. In fact, it was actually pretty good. Thank you, Fall!

Are you a hot or cool weather runner? Ever have a pathetic week in running?

October 8, 2013

This week in running: week 4

If this week could be summed up in a word, it would be “sick.” And, not the good kind of sick. The actually sick “sick.” Ugh.


I woke up not feeling great. I thought I’d sleep it off and run later in the evening. I attempted this. I made it 1.5 miles before I had to walk-crawl 1.5 miles home.

1.50 miles


I had grand plans of running 8 miles after work. Problem: I still wasn’t feeling 100%, but I thought I’d give it a shot on the treadmill at the craptastic gym. If I didn’t feel good midway through, at least I was close to home. I made it one mile (one measly mile) before the heat got to me. I called it and headed home. Failure again.

1.0 mile



I finally felt better, and I was able to run a slow 3 miles. The view was nice, and I felt pretty decent considering the previous two days.

3 miles


Due to Running Buddy Lori being injured, she gave me her bib for a race on Saturday. This made Thursday an easy speed work day with the running group to have fresh legs for Saturday.

1.5 miles


I woke up not feeling great (different than earlier in the week). My throat was on fire, I was on fire (temperature-wise), and I had a headache. I shook it off, got ready and headed to the race (I actually don’t feel great a lot of mornings because mornings and I just don’t get along, so I was hoping it was just that … but I really knew it wasn’t). I proceeded to run the worst 10K of my life. Then, I walked the 5K portion of the 15K challenge. Yuck. I spent the rest of Saturday getting sicker with Sunday being spent debating how important drinking liquid or going to the restroom really were … because both involved a 10-foot walk.

RunKeeper's version of my 10K

6.2 miles

Do you try to run while sick? Ever have to cut runs short? Do you panic like me about not being ready for a half marathon in three weeks?

October 1, 2013

This week in running: week 3


The first half of this run was awesome. You can probably guess where this is going ... the second half was not. It was probably because I forgot fuel and felt myself slowing fading toward the end. I ended up walking more than I wanted and cutting it 0.5 miles short. I'd love to see what would have happened if I had fuel, but I didn't. And the run is what it is. And I saw a beautiful sunrise.

7.5 miles


I felt like running, but it was raining, so I headed to the craptastic gym. I picked the wrong treadmill, and it stopped mid-run. I tried everything, but it would not restart. So, I had to switch treadmills. This is why I call it the craptastic gym, people. I listened to Katy Perry's "Roar" on repeat the entire run. I envisioned myself roaring to the condo board about their crappy gym.

2.5 miles

It should not have to be like this.


It seems like I either love speed work night or hate it. This week, it was love. Maybe I got all my hate out at the craptastic gym. The 800-meter repeats seemed tough (per usual), but manageable (not always the case). It was one of those times that everything seems right with running (these periods are usually short-lived, so I try to savor them when they happen).

3.0 miles

Ever have a treadmill quit on you mid-run? Anyone else obsessed with "Roar," too? Do you have a love-hate relationship with speed work?

September 30, 2013

October Instagram Challenge: #Octogram with #Parkesdale

Disclaimer: This Instagram #Octogram #Parkesdale photo challenge is a sponsored collaborative effort between the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Parkesdale Farm Market. Other than prizes to be awarded as giveaways for the Instagram photo challenge, the Tampa Bay Bloggers did not receive any compensation for this campaign.

Halloween is kind of my thing.

So when discussions began among Tampa Bay Bloggers about co-hosting a Halloween-themed Instagram challenge, I was totally in.

Starting on October 1, I'm co-hosting my first October Instagram Challenge with the Tampa Bay Bloggers

Follow each of these bloggers on Instagram and the hashtags #Octogram and #Parkesdale.
The #Octogram Hosts – Blogs and Instagram IDs
Denise of Run DMT @Run_DMT
Jenny of Metamorfit @metamorfit

To join in the freaky October Instagram Challenge photo fun, add your Instagram ID to the linky collection below. Then each day in October, snap a photo using the suggested photo prompt for that day and upload it to Instagram with the hashtags #Octogram and #Parkesdale.

Everyone who Instagrams and plays along will be entered for a chance to win a gift fruit basket from Parkesdale Farm Market valued at $65.90. TWELVE lucky winners (only eligible to USA and Canada residents) entered in linky tool below will be randomly selected on November 1.

We’ll be watching for your photos from the shadows of Instagram. 

Do you like Halloween? Are you going to join in the challenge? Let me know!

September 29, 2013

HOT Run 5K and 10K, St. Pete Beach, FL, Sept. 19, 2013: race recap

I may have mentioned a time or 50 that summer running kind of sucks for me. So, when an inaugural summer race came about, I really debated if I wanted to do it. I thought about volunteering. But, after the majority of my running group signed up for either the 5K or 10K, I decided to go for the 5K. Maybe it would be motivating? Maybe I could finally shake my horrible running streak?
The race was on a Thursday evening, which was a nice change from the super-early Saturday or Sunday morning. But, it also had the potential to be hot and humid. And, it was.
It also had some sprinkles, which caused a slight delay in the start.

Scary sky before the start

The course was a totally flat, rectangular-shaped loop. For the 5K, it was two loops. For the 10K, it was four loops. The course went along Pass-A-Grille Beach, east to Boca Ciega Bay, north along the bay, west to the beach and south again to complete the loop. So, incredible views the entire way.
The idea with the 7:20 p.m. start time is that you’d see a 7:30 p.m. sunset over the Gulf and at 7:36 p.m. full moon rising over the bay. Unfortunately with the rain, you didn’t really see either. 

Sunset trying to show through the clouds.
I should have gone into this race with the idea to just have fun and enjoy my running group pals. Instead, I got some crazy idea in my head that some miracle could occur and I could finally get that under-30-minute 5K.
Fun before the race

I started off “fast,” and boy did I regret that. I felt pretty miserable the entire race. There’s no need to analyze each mile or figure out where things went wrong. I just wasn’t ready for a personal record (PR) 5K. That sweet previous time of 30:09 seems so far away.
Aside from my performance, the race itself was fun! They had DJs stationed along the course. They had fun lighting and even a station that blasted out cryogen (cold air).
After sweating like a maniac and crossing the finish line at 33:21, I got this sweet medal. 

HOT is from a local radio station (HOT 101.5) not based
on the temperature or the people wearing the medal.
I actually had to towel off (well, napkin off, technically) before this
photo because I was so sweaty.

The Hurricane Restaurant provided the post-race food (the race began and ended there), and it was pretty sweet, too.

While this personally wasn’t a great race for me, it was for so many people in my running group. There were PRs and age group placers galore. These peeps are amazing! And, having that group support makes a personally poor race so much more bearable. If not for celebrating others’ successes (or even commiserating about others’ bad races), I would just dwell on my poor performance and take that turn to negative town.

Fit2Run St. Pete represent!

Thanks to some of these great running peeps, I learned so many things this race:
  • An injured runner is a bitter walker.
  • Fourth place is a very bitter place.
  • No matter how long the wait for beer is, it’s worth it.
  • Watch out for piles of puke on the course.
  • Celebrate others’ successes.
I also learned that the HOT Race was a blast, and I’m looking forward to running it next year.
Do you ever run races for fun? Have you ever done a loop course? Did you run the HOT Run? What did you think?

September 25, 2013

Island Boost review: a long-run fueling option

Disclaimer: I was provided three packets of Island Boost at no cost for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.

When you’re running a long distance, you need some nutrition mid-run unfortunately. I write “unfortunately,” because most of the stuff they make for this is dreadful. Gels that are funky textures and tastes and gummy things to chew (chewing and swallowing are not something I should be doing while running). Both make me feel ill either later in the run or later in the day. Blech.

I've used both types, tried multiple brands and ended up with the same result: ummm, no. I'd like them for a time, but it never failed that I'd still get that ill feeling. Yuck.

Enter a new player in the game: Island Boost.

Island Boost was created by a runner with a sensitive digestive system who got sick using the traditional options. This sounds familiar.

Some features and benefits of Island Boost, according to their website: it contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors; it's vegan and gluten free; there's no need to drink water to dissolve the carbohydrates since they're readily absorbed via the coconut water in Island Boost; and it's quickly absorbed in the bloodstream to fuel muscles.

Sounds good, right?

Well, I put three different flavors to the test on three different long runs. I used two flavors mid-run and one before the start of a run.

What did I think?

Texture: I liked the texture more than any gel-type product I've tried. It went down easily without feeling like it was sticking to my throat (please tell me you know what I mean). It was almost as easy as drinking water.

Flavors: The flavors were surprisingly sweet. I really like sweet, so I liked them. But, if you try them, be prepared for a kick of super-sweet liquid. I can see them being too sweet for some people. My favorite flavor was Passion Fruit, followed by Strawberry-Orange and Blueberry-Pomegranate.

Feeling: Island Boost delivered the nutrition I needed to keep running or the nutrition I needed before a run. But, the best part? I didn't feel sick during the run or after. I kept waiting for the miserable stomach issues I used to get, and they never came.

Want to try Island Boost? It's available via REI (in stores and online).

Have you tried Island Boost? What did you think? Do you have stomach issues with other products? What is your go-to fuel?

September 23, 2013

This week in running: week 2

I had another craptastic week of running. Darn you, Summer (or the Summer-like Fall weather)! Go away.


Since I missed my running group on Sunday, I made up my long run miles on Monday. I started off saying I’d run 8 miles. It went down to 6 before I started. I ended up with 5 miles. I’m just not great at running by myself. In fact, I’m pretty darn terrible at it. I just never got into a groove on this run. I’d go fast, then slow, then really slow (as in walk). I basically repeated this the entire time. Bah.

5 miles

After waiting out the rain, our group finally headed out, and I managed to get in a decent 2 miles. Definitely not as far as I hoped, but I was happy to get in any miles. I was afraid I’d end up with zero and have to run by myself again … yikes. These 2 miles after the rain were actually pretty sweet. It felt a little cooler after the rain, and my pace was closer to what it used to be … before the surface of the sun temperatures hit. It actually gave me some hope for a decent 5K on Thursday.

2 miles

Job hazard: red pen on the hands


I ran my first race since May on Thursday. It was such a fun race (recap to come this week), and I had a fabulous time (as in my time there, not my time for the 5K). It wasn’t the 5K time I wanted, but I really didn’t expect to see anything great with this race. I’ve struggled all summer and with this race being in the summer, I knew realistically that an under-30-minute 5K was probably not happening. I momentarily forgot this during the first half of the race, and I was completely miserable. 

3.1 miles

I thought the rain might make my run awesome like it was on Tuesday.
I thought wrong.
Do you run by yourself or with a group? Have to have it one way or the other or can you do both? Is summer running miserable for everyone?

September 17, 2013

This week in running: week 1

So, after I made the big declaration that I’d start posting my training, I probably had one of my worst weeks of running. Ugh.

It didn’t start off so bad.


Aside from a few glorious treadmill runs, this summer’s running has been pretty craptastic. So, imagine my surprise when this 7-mile outdoor run went pretty smoothly. Dare I say good? It was a few degrees cooler than it has been (so just really hot instead of really, really hot), and I think that made it decent. I’m still not where I want to be, but this is better than anything in recent times (i.e., the period that feels like the surface of the sun).

7 miles

It was super windy, which was strange. I’m used to no wind whatsoever. Running along the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront, I really felt the wind. The wind made it difficult, but it also made it cooler, which really, really rocks. I ran almost 3 miles (that were really not that great and I started doubting my running abilities) and walked 1 mile with Running Buddy Lori, who is currently on the DL.

3 miles

The wind brought out the kite surfers.


I was planning on going to running group. I set out my clothes; I wanted to go (even if I hadn’t eaten or slept much in a few days, and I just felt sick due to some unexpected bad news). But, pesky work actually interfered and kept me from going. I kept thinking I’d make it up that night or Friday or Saturday, but I just didn’t get it done. I just really kind of got knocked down last week, and it took me awhile to finally feel decent again. Everything suffered  running included. 

0 miles

Aside from Sunday, the week was kind of a disaster. But, there is no need to panic (I’m telling myself this more than anyone else).

How was your week in running? What are you training for? Do you panic if you miss a run? (For your sake, I hope not. But, I sure do.)

September 12, 2013

See the good things

Reader's note: I know I’m never serious, so this post will seem out of place with all the goofiness here, but I just feel that it’s something I need to write. I'll be back to your regularly sporadically scheduled goofiness soon.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I got married at the age of 21. It’s a decision I still regret, and it is probably the worst decision of my life to this point.

He was a cute charmer, and I fell in love fast. We dated six months, got engaged and married within one year.

I knew at the time it was the wrong decision, but it didn't stop me from doing it. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. I thought that’s what all Kansas girls did: go to college, meet a guy, get married. I fit in that mold.

But, we were both young, immature and didn't know who we were as individuals. And, the marriage was a disaster.

We stuck it out for a few years. We got separated. We stayed married for a few more years while we were separated. We’d hang out pretty regularly, and it was still a disaster. We finally pulled the plug, and I finally felt a weight lifted off of me. I could finally breathe again. I could be me.

We emailed a few times and still had some commonalities as friends, but I just remembered the nightmare of a marriage and wanted to keep my distance.

So, we did. I stayed in Florida. He moved to Texas. And, that was it.

I’d hear an occasional update, and while I wanted the best for him, I just didn't want to be involved.

So, when I started filling out an application for a passport and saw the section for marriages, I stopped filling it out. I couldn't remember where he was born, and the darn passport application asks that. Why? Why must you do this to me, pesky passport application?

I just did nothing with it for a long time. Like a really long time. After threats of going to the Bahamas, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand without me urging from my boyfriend, I finally decided to fill the thing out, and I knew what that meant. I had to use my friend, Google, to figure out where my ex-husband was born. If I couldn't find it online, I’d need to get in touch with him and just get it done.

So, on Monday, I used my smart friend. And, I found out where he was born: in the form of an obituary.

I was in shock, but I wasn't sad. I mean, I was sad for his family, and it’s sad for anyone to die that young, but I personally did not feel sadness.

I told my boyfriend what I discovered, and he asked what I needed. He wondered if I wanted to talk or needed days off from work. Neither, I said. Why would I need that?

I looked at some old pictures of my ex-husband and I together, and I didn't even recognize myself. I just don’t look happy. And, I still didn't feel sad.

On Tuesday, I still felt the same way. I mean, it’s not like we were in each other’s lives anyway, and I remembered so many bad times from our marriage. Why should I be sad?

Tuesday night, I ran along the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront with some running group friends. I ran the majority by myself because my running buddy, Lori, is injured and just walking for the time being. 

I decided that when I made it back to Lori, I’d walk back and talk with her. I made it back to her and another girl, and we walked back in a pack of three. 

I decided to tell the story of what had happened with them. I told them about the horrible marriage, and Lori said, “Well, there had to be some good things.”

"Yeah, right," I thought. I said I wasn't sad. And, I was starting to feel like a cold-hearted snake (cue Paula Abdul).

Tuesday night into Wednesday, I was working on a project that I severely under-estimated the time it would take. As I worked into the wee hours of the morning, for a break, I looked into the cabinet near the table I was working and found a photo album 
(some break).

I found this, and I suddenly remembered the good things (Lori is so wise).

Thanks for throwing such a fun wedding, Jay and Linda! This
photo from a disposable camera a guest used at the wedding
has always been my favorite photo of us.

And, now I’m sad.

But, I definitely want to see (or remember) the good things in everything. 

September 9, 2013

Many things Monday

1. I ran 7 miles on Sunday, and it was pretty awesome! It was just slightly cooler (still ridiculously hot and humid, but less so), and it felt so much better. Come on, Fall!

2. Also, after much discussion on Sunday, I decided to replace my February half marathon (St. Pete Rock 'n' Roll, which was cancelled) with a Gasparilla race. The Gasparilla Distance Classic consists of four races: a 15K and a 5K on Saturday and a half marathon and 8K on Sunday. The logical choice would be to replace the half with a half. But, I'm illogical ... and I really want a jacket. So, to get a jacket, I need to do a challenge. The plan: 15K and 8K (Bud Select Challenge). I really like half marathons and kind of want to throw that into the mix, too. Or maybe I'll just find another half (after I win the lottery).

3. I watched a lot of football this weekend. I even planned some activities around football games. Hopefully, this is just an NFL opening weekend thing because it could get kind of ridiculous. Well, I'm fairly certain I won't be watching the Tampa Bay Bucs anymore, so that's one less game each week.

4. But, my watching of football allowed me to see this.

5. EEEEEK! I just love this guy. I really need to chill out on him, though, so I don't become crazy-annoying fangirl. Sometimes I find myself telling myself, "Stop it. Not everyone wants to hear about Bruno. Not everyone thinks he's the best thing ever." So, after this mention, I'll lay off of him for awhile. Unless I win the trip to see him in Vegas. Or London. Or if he's on an awards show. Or if I dress up as Elvis for Halloween because that's something we have in common. But, other than that, I'll restrain myself (and the masses few people who read my blog rejoiced). 

6. Did you see the rerun of the Saturday Night Live that Bruno Mars hosted this weekend ... oops.

7. My dog's favorite thing ever is walks. Well, maybe walks are behind Milkbones, but they're a close second. She loves them. So imagine my surprise when she sat down and refused to walk. Stubborn dog. I have no idea where she gets that from, ahem. 

You think I'm moving? Funny.

Have you ever gotten a jacket for a race? I haven't, and I'm super excited about it! Did you watch a lot of football this weekend? If not, what did you do?

September 5, 2013

Looking back and ahead

I finally organized my  "Upcoming races" and "Race results" pages. My upcoming races make me excited. I really love running half marathons, and I can't wait to start in October (in a costume)! But, it really made me sad because it doesn't have the St. Pete Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on it. I received the news on Wednesday that one of my favorite races is cancelled. I'm still sad about it, but it's time to find another February half marathon.

Some options:
  • Best Damn Race, Feb. 1, 2014: I'm already signed up for the 10K (because I love this race), but I'm thinking about upgrading to the half. For anyone interested in this race (and you all should be), there is currently a discount code, ROCKROLL, for $5 off. It is active until Sept. 17.
One of the best damn races from 2013
  • Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans, Feb. 2, 2014: I love Rock 'n' Roll, and I adore New Orleans. This seems like the perfect combination. Well, except for the fact that I live in Florida. And the fact that it's the day after the Best Damn Race that I'm already registered to run. But, if I could swing one of my favorite race series in one of my favorite cities, it would be pretty sweet! 
  • Gasparilla Distance Classic, Feb. 23, 2014: I've never run this race, and I hear good things ... but something keeps me from really wanting to do it. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe because I work a few blocks from the start line, and I want to keep my weekends away from work? I don't know. 
I'm not ready to make a decision yet (or say goodbye to Rock 'n' Roll St. Petersburg), but I do have some quality options when I am ready to move on.

While the "Upcoming races" page made me excited, the "Race results" page made me kind of sad/mad/determined. I was kind of upset looking at my half marathon times for the past year. I don't want to sound whiny or overlook accomplishments (because I did get a personal best, and I did run eight half marathons). But, I really think I could of and should of done better. So, that's what my goal is for this half marathon training cycle: become a faster half marathon-running turtle. 

How am I going to do that? Good question. I'm still working on that. But, I am going to start posting about my training weeks again. I need to see how I'm doing and for accountability. And, I'm going to get serious about some cross training. And, I'm going to work on silencing that pesky voice in my head that says, "I can't." I think that will do it. 

Have you ever run any of these races? What do you recommend? Have any other races for me to consider? Any tips for getting faster?

September 4, 2013

A week of fabulousness

The past week was full of complete awesomeness.

It started off with the Bruno Mars concert. He was A-MAZ-ING. (Yes, it deserves all caps, and yes, it deserves hyphenation.) I can’t remember having as much fun at a concert before. We drank, danced, sang and screamed through the entire show. He is so worth seeing in concert, and I’ll go again the next time he’s back in town (I may have looked at his remaining tour dates and thought about the feasibility of following him the rest of the way, ahem.) 

We were excited (OK, I was super-duper excited)
about Bruno (and sangria). 
My favorite fedora-wearing guy: Bruno. (Both photos are courtesy
of Caroline because I was too excited and all of my photos
are blurry.)

After this glorious event, I hopped on a plane to Kansas (with my voice returning somewhat) and attended another glorious event, a Kansas State football game. Well, it really wasn't that glorious because they lost and it was over 100 degrees that day, but it was still good to have my favorite purple school playing football again and hanging with some of my favorite purple peeps.

Spending the long, holiday weekend in Kansas allowed for time with friends and family, sand volleyball … and no running. Oops. I wish I was a morning person who could knock it out before everyone woke up, but I’m just not. I keep trying to be, and I keep failing.

But, in other running news, I did sign up for a 5K this month. It is appropriately titled the "HOT Run.” At this point, every 5K I run I have the goal to do it in under 30 minutes (fastest official time: 30:09). I really don’t have a lot of running confidence at all right now (especially with the ridiculous heat and humidity), but I’ll give it a shot.

I almost cried when I read this news: the 2014 St. Pete Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is cancelled. This is one of my favorite events. I was registered for the third year in a row, and it makes me incredibly sad that this fun race is not coming to our area. So I have some work to do to rearrange my race schedule and find another half marathon that is just as fun.

How was your Labor Day weekend? What is your favorite concert? Ever have a race you were excited about cancelled? 

August 26, 2013

Many things Monday

1. After last Sunday’s run, I was so optimistic about running. I thought I had things figured out. I thought wrong. Back to struggling in the heat. Sigh. Is it fall yet?

The run wasn't pretty, but the view was.

2. I tried out a new handheld water bottle during the run (that I found on the cheap at Marshall's for $7), and it was actually pretty great. Unfortunately, I filled it with a sports drink I don’t usually use, and my stomach revolted after the run. I’m not blaming the bottle, though.

But, I have found a fun new way to hydrate after a run: coconut water. Why? It supports natural hydration and contains essential electrolytes.

(Disclaimer: I received these products via Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was provided these products at no cost for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.) 

And, my favorite brand by a long shot: Zola. I especially love the version with pulp. Getting little pieces of coconut in each drink is bunches of fun. I’m a coconut nut (well, you could probably just take off the “coconut” part), so I like anything coconut. But, I understand some people’s assessment that it tastes similar to feet. I can see where that comes from, but I totally did not get that with this brand. Yum. I also tried their Acai juice, which I did not love as much, but it had tough competition with the coconut water. I've never tried Acai juice, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. It was a thicker juice, and it's probably not something I'd drink again (especially if coconut water is around).

All the products and a sweet pair of shades
My favorite

4. I’m debating between a 5K, a 10K and 
volunteering for a race on Sept. 19. Since I’m disappointed in my running at this point, I tempted to not race. But, part of me thinks I need to race to push myself. I don’t know. Something’s happening that day, but I’m just not sure what.

5. So, lots has/is happening this week: the VMAs (yes, this is something worth mentioning), Bruno Mars concert (EEEEEEK!) and a trip to Kansas for the first football game of the season (K-S-U Wildcats).

6. Why are the VMAs worth mentioning? *NSYNC, duh. I can’t explain to you the level of excitement I had leading up to this. Well, I could, but it would be embarrassing. A reunion has been a dream of mine for some time. For a few minutes last night, it happened. And, it was glorious. 

7. And, Bruno Mars’ performance was incredible as usual. I just adore this guy. I really, truly do.

8. I went from loving Katy Perry when she first came out ("I Kissed a Girl"), then not liking her ("Firework") and now loving her again. I love "Roar," and the fact that she performed in a boxing ring just sealed the deal for me. You rock again, Katy Perry. 

9. Other than those three performances, the VMAs were extremely not glorious. Yikes. Miley Cyrus scared me and made me feel dirty. Like, I can’t look at her anymore. It’s weird.

10. I remember buying Bruno Mars tickets in February. I had no idea how I could wait until the end of August for the concert. Well, I made it. The concert is Wednesday. And, I’m glad I did. Because one of the girls I’m going with has a hookup for a limo. We are riding in style to see my favorite little guy. 

11. I’ll probably still be on my Bruno high when I hop on a plane for Kansas State’s home opener. The game is on a Friday night. Not terribly excited about that since I arrive on Friday morning in Kansas City; as long as the flight is on time, it will be OK. But, my brother won’t be there because of work. I can’t remember the last Kansas State game I went to without him. Maybe I haven’t?

One of these people will be missing

12. I looked for a race in Kansas because my sister-in-law and her sister have been running, and I thought it would be fun for us all to do a 5K together. Unfortunately, I didn't find one. So running will happen, but without a race. And, I’m OK with that at this point.

What are you looking forward to this week? Do you drink coconut water? Did you watch the VMAs? Are you an *NSYNC fan? What are your weekend plans (yes, I'm already looking toward the weekend)?

August 22, 2013

Preparation makes summer running better ... duh, right?

I may have mentioned a time or two that I kind of despise summer running.

Each run is a struggle, I get disappointed in my times, I have to walk, and I sweat a ridiculous amount. 

And, it's just not me. This is from an Active article: "You will be slower, feel awful despite running slower, and your recovery will be hampered. This is impossible to avoid and has nothing to do with a lack of fitness. It's simply a physiological reality."

But, this past Sunday, I was determined to have a good run.

So, I drank bunches of water on Saturday to get hydrated. I filled a fuel belt with Nuun to stay hydrated during the run. I started early to get a few miles in before the sun came up. I brought a gel with me.

The beach just before sunrise

And, you know what? It was actually a really good run. There was some walking, but it was mainly wandering looking for a non-existent cooler.

I ran 6 miles and felt better than I have on most of my 4-mile runs this summer.

The 2 miles before the sun came up definitely helped, but I think of it had to do with something I haven’t done much of at all this summer: being prepared.

Since I haven’t been training for anything specifically this summer, my mileage has dropped, and I definitely haven’t been taking it as seriously. When I hear, “we’ll run 4 miles,” I think, “no problem.” That’s nothing, right? Well, nothing when you’re used to running double digits anyway. Do I plan and prep as much as I normally would? Nope. Do I worry about drinking water on Saturday? Nope. Do I bring Nuun with me? Nope.

Well, darn. I wish I would have figured this out earlier so summer running wouldn’t have been quite so miserable.

But, with half marathon training beginning and it still feeling like the surface of the sun, I’m sure this will still come in handy.

Do you prepare as much for shorter distances? How is your summer running going?