Last Saturday I ran the Red Ribbon Half Marathon in Lakeland. I had a vague idea of the course and some friends warned me about the hills. But really, how hilly could it be? This is Florida after all. Well, they weren’t kidding. But before I get ahead of myself, here are my top five reasons to run this race.
- Beautiful Course: This course went through some of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Lakeland. Some of those houses could be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. I knew the homes around Lake Hollingsworth were beautiful, I just didn’t realize how many more beautiful houses were outside of that area. In addition, we ran through the Florida Southern College Campus which was amazing as well.
- Spectators: Throughout the entire course there were people cheering for us! I did not expect this at all. It was a great surprise especially since I went to the race by myself. So, people of Lakeland, Thank you! Oh, and to those kids handing out the icy paper towels at mile 11, THANK YOU!
- Supplies: So thankful for all the volunteers offering both Gatorade and water throughout the course. Half way through they were handing out Gu packets. Yum. Later on, I saw some bananas too. And let’s not forget the porta potties. Thank you!
- Challenge: If you are looking for a race to test your stamina and endurance, this would be it. There was a very long and steady incline hill at around mile marker 4. But the worst was Success Hill and Massachusetts Avenue both at mile 11 and 12. Yes, there were two very big hills, for Florida, so close to the finish line. Talk about intense. Despite all the hills, I was somehow able to manage a new PR!
- Fun: This was one of the most exciting courses I’ve done. I wasn’t able to do early packet pickup so I was a little rushed in the morning picking up my bib, but once the race started all the nerves settle down and it was a very enjoyable experience.
This week’s theme was “Test your Limits”. I was supposed to run 29 miles. Unfortunately, I only got 10 miles. If you live in Florida, you know August is usually the rainiest month of the year. No so much this time around. The past few weeks we’ve been pummeled with rain either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Woot Woot Week 6 is done! That means I’m halfway on my half marathon training. There’s been ups and downs, but I’m taking it a week at a time and rolling with the punches. The last time I ran 9 miles was March 2013 while training for the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater. I was supposed to run my 9 miles on Friday, but I overslept. So I made sure to get out on Saturday and catch up on my long run.
So, after last week’s “rockstar” training status, this past week did not go so well. I say rockstar because I actually did all my scheduled runs. But alas. Between evening and early morning meetings for work and waking up early to catch up on Parkesdale stuff, this blog, and the rain, I missed two runs: Thursday and Friday. It just wasn’t going to happen.
By the end of June I had decided that my running break was over. It was time to get back to running. I know its been hot and wet here in Florida, but honestly my shorts began to feel a little bit snug. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m fat. In fact, I don’t even own a scale. I’ve always gone by the way my clothes fit so I knew it was time to get back to running. I mean, I hadn’t gone for a run since June 4th and before that it was May 7th. And according to my trusted Nike+ app, it appears I only ran twice in April. Yikes!
Although it’s been extremely hot and wet this July, I’m happy to say that I was able to run 32.96 miles during this month as well as bike 38.44 miles! For the running, I attempted to run two to three times a week. For the biking portion, I attempted to ride my bike on Saturdays instead of driving. It just made sense to ride my bike as part of cross training instead of driving to the gym to go to a spinning class. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it. When you are short in time, you have to get creative!