Southernmost Half Marathon Recap

 

This was one of those moments.

Huh?

Let me set the scene for you.

Sometime early 2017:  looking for a fall half to run.  Because I live in the tropics and what better idea than to train through all levels of summer hell for a fall race.  IN KEY WEST.  Yes.  THAT Key West.

Then.  Hurricane Irma.

Not cool Irma. Not cool.

Fast forward to early 2018.  Sign up for said race in Hades.  Again.  Because one does get used to the sensation of boiling blood coursing through your veins during training runs.  Can be quite pleasant at times. 

But I digress.

Wanting to really PR for once since my very first half in 2007 – yes, it has been that long – I set my sights on lots of speed work and consistent mile times.  Twice a week I would be up and out the door before 5am, all in an effort to beat the heat.  Of course, Mr. Humidity likes to make an appearance daily and at times could make breathing a bit of a challenge.  I simply plowed forward with the mindset of, “Well, if I can train in this mess, at least I have the advantage.  Right?”

Yeah.  Not so much.

Every week, up at 4:30 every Monday for easy runs, and Thursday for speed workouts.  Saturdays I’d sleep in until 5:30 and then hit the road for LSD days.  Of course, those were much better as I had my very own Grouper Road Crew along for the ride.  Cold drinks and cloths in a bike cooler, tunes from the wireless speaker, and of course, the Grouper himself.

He doesn’t really look like this.

After a momentary panic attack about two-thirds of the way through my training plan when I discover I had counted my weeks wrong, (probably due to all those 4:30am mornings),  I realize I had less weeks to train than originally thought.  No worries, I’ll simply skip one of my cutback weeks and increase the weekend mileage a little quicker.  I got this.

If you previously happened to have followed my little corner of the internet, then you are well-acquainted with my long-running #brokeknees drama.  I am happy to report that I have officially moved on from that drama!  But now?  #brokebutt drama.

Gee, thanks.

Yup.  Once again we delve into the dark runner world of injury, this time centered around that bitchy little piriformis.  Ooooh boy, can that little flat muscle cause some BIG runner issues.  Now, being an expert at making myself crazy over training time injury maintenance, I do what every obedient runner does.  No rest, overwork the butt, and bitch the entire time.  I also did throw in weekly chiro adjustments, the hated foam roller, and standing at my desk with my leg up trying to stretch out my butt at work several times a day.

That made for some interesting looks from the coworkers.

And wept as I saw that PR slowly slipping away.

As always happens when time is running out, I had a few good long runs, mixed up with anxiety and tear-filled long runs.  Trying not to subject Grouper to more #brokebutt drama than he needed to witness, I sucked it up and limped home on more than one long run, bitching the entire time.  Sadly, prior to race day, my longest good run was only 10 miles.  No biggie, what’s another 3 miles, right?

After spending my last six weeks of training in a total crap shoot, on a beautiful Friday morning, we drop off the Wonder Mutt at the sitter’s, pack up the Mutt Mobile, and down the Overseas Highway we go.  Packet pickup took 5 minutes – all packet pickups should be at a bar on the sand if you ask me – and back to the hotel to chill before hitting the hay early.  Thank you 5:45am start time.  All those gawd-awful early morning workouts were paying off.

Saturday morning.  The humidity is pretty high, Hurricane Michael is making his way just south of the States – really Mother Nature? – and Grouper and I jump on a rent-a-scooter to make getting to the start line easier.  (Great idea if I do say so myself).  I hit up a surprisingly clean portapottie, then hang out in the start area stretching and warming up, passing the time among all the marathoners, halfers and 5kers.  And of course, petting ALL THE DOGS, which did wonders to calm the pre-race nerves.  The full marathoners get called to the start line and promptly at 5:30am, the festivities begin.  The half was supposed to start at 5:45, but kudos to the race director for delaying 15 minutes as the lines for the portapotties had gotten quite long.  An announcement was made for the 5k peeps to jump out of line, and let the half peeps do their business so we can get the show on the road.  At 6am, we were on our way!

Two things to keep in mind should you wish to indulge in such madness:

  1.  It’s still dark out at 6am in October and course lighting is definitely NOT in abundance.
  2.  Duval Street is more like a study in not face planting thanks to the road conditions.

And the biggest lesson of all – HEAD WINDS SUCK.

Me. FOR 4 STINKING MILES.

Nothing like feeling you’ve won the Powerball when your first two miles are run at goal pace, you’re on track to #PRCity, you manage to not go over the railing into the Atlantic Ocean because you’re running a pier in pitch blackness, and you have to deal with crap like Mother Nature with a bug up her dupa.  She couldn’t even make it a decent headwind, but an angled side wind.  The kind that no matter which muscley cute dudes you’re running behind, (I’m married for gawd’s sake, not dead :)), you just can’t seem to find that sweet spot that said muscley cute dudes can run blocker for you.  You know that goal pace I mentioned?

Yeah.  NO.

Miles 3-6 were spent battling a bitchy Mother Nature to the point that all I could do was try to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Pace?  Out the window.  Conserving energy?  #jokeoftheyear.  Ignore what is now your screaming glutes?  Got that down.  Grit your teeth and hope the normally beautiful oceanside view comes to an end as quickly as possible.  Or more like just come to an end at all.  I’ve never been so happy to see a Mile 6 marker in my life.  Especially because Grouper was plunked right there, cold Angry Orchard in hand, tunes playing on the speaker, and dancing like a fool.

Best road crew ever.

Miles 6-9?  Another round of runner hell, this time due to a lovely out and back along U.S. 1, most of which was on an angle of much like the side of Mt. Everest.  There was no where you could run to find a bit of even ground unless you went up onto U.S. 1 itself; which wouldn’t have been bad, but after the slowed pace during the #headwindsfromhell portion of the program, traffic had started to pick up and becoming roadkill wasn’t really part of the next act.  Continued teeth gritting and carrying on was the only option.  Plus I knew Grouper was waiting back around Mile 9 with more Angry Orchard on hand.  Apple juice makes the world go round.

Once I was properly refueled, hugs and kisses from #bestroadcrewever, I knew I only had about a 5k to go.  Team #Brokebutt was making sure there would be no chance to revoke my membership, and a shot at #PRCity had long ago evaporated, so it was time to just finish the damn thing.  At least I had great scenery along the way as I hobbled down U.S. 1 with the Gulf to my right and a busy U.S. 1 to my left (no sarcasm here).  And of course, #bestroadcrewever buzzed up alongside me on his scooter, backing up traffic, music blaring, and shouting inspirational messages for all us runners in the vicinity.  Oh wait.  That would have been me.  Only me.  I had lost sight of just about every other runner both ahead and behind me, we had become that spread out.  Onward and upward!

Something like that.

A right turn over the bridge – thank you tailwind for once – and down into the neighborhoods adjacent to Old Town we go.  Remember I mentioned I had lost just about every other runner out there?  Not good when you come up to an intersection AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO.  Granted I had looked over the course a few times, but when you’re dupa is broken, your previously busted up knee is starting to complain, and you’re starting to feel a bit goofy in the head – more so than usual – it gets a little nerve- wracking until you notice some nice race person had placed some cones basically MAKING you turn where you need to go.  Score one for the non-goofyheaded race peeps!

Now.  Repeat after me.  LONGEST TWO MILES EVER.

Good job.  Great audience participation on that one.

After what I swore was previously mentioned LONGEST TWO MILES EVER, the finish line was in sight.  Actually it was around a couple more corners, but I could see it in my mind.  A right turn here, a left turn there, (oh look, Schooner Wharf Bar!  I’ll be right back guys!!), and THERE YOU ARE YOU GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL FINISH LINE!!

Let me just interject said beautiful finish was momentarily marred by large muscley sweaty dude FLYING by me with about 50 yards to go.  Why marred you say?

He was the winner of the marathon.  Yeah.  The FULL marathon.  Turns out Mr. Speedy had finished 15th OVERALL at the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

STAY IN YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL PLAYPEN SPEEDY MCQUEENEY.  Leave the Keys to us pathetic amateurs.

A sweet little old lady handing out medals, a big hug from Grouper, and an ice cold Gatorade later, we were back on the scooter and heading back to the hotel.  I would have liked to hang out for the post race festivities, but girlfriend just wanted to get off her feet and into a nice refreshing shower.  Because.  KEY WEST.  Time to get this party started!

For all the bitching about the race conditions, it was still a well-managed race.  MultiRace puts on a good show and I would absolutely recommend any of their events.  If you’re intrigued enough to give this one a shot just remember to bring a light.  And extra apple juice.

SOMO Half

Nothing but smiles…

 

Enjoy the ride.

What is your favorite running destination?  Have you ever run a race in the tropics?

 

 

Friday Funny

As I have a 5k tomorrow – yes, I actually signed up for a race somewhere other than Disney – I figured I would need all possible advantages at my disposal.  Even if includes taking out the competition by less than graceful means…..

ff-race-farts

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever fallen victim to one of “those” runners?  Did someone have to pause your Garmin or drag you across the finish line?  Or were you the perpetrator of such shenanigans?  Do you have a race this weekend?

Just Be Grateful

Holy macaroni Black Dog!  Where the hell have you been??!!

Well, let me tell ya…..

Life has been total dog poop lately.  Shootings, mass murders, radicals running people over in the name of some twisted ideology, police officers being murdered simply because of the uniform they wear, the worst choice of presidential candidates in probably forever.

2016 elections

For. Real.

It would be way too easy for me to continue down this road of all things bad, but I just plain don’t want to.  Everyone has an opinion on everything, including me.  Much of what I think and believe is bound to piss off somebody, and this is not what I want my little corner of the world to be.  It’s much, much too easy to get sucked into all things negative, and once you do, it’s a hard pit to crawl back out of.  So, I’m just not going to go there.

Positivity-and-How-To-Change-Your-Life

Hey there cutie!

That’s the beauty of running, lifting, yoga, even SUPing….you can be in the worst place mentally, and sometimes – nothing is foolproof I know – just a few minutes out in the fresh air can totally change your perspective.  That little smile and wave you get when passing a runner going the other way, watching the fish scurry around under your board as you paddle by, actually feeling your head clear as you go through your yoga practice – ALL GOOD THINGS.

I admit sometimes it definitely takes a Herculean effort to get your head back in a good place, but once that effort has been put in, the payback can be priceless.  Sometimes that effort includes stepping back from the things – or even the people – that can bring you down and make you feel like there just is no good stuff in the world.  Your training may not be going the way you want it to.  Just stop for a minute and be grateful that you have a body that at least allows you to put one foot in front of the other.  Your significant other left dirty dishes in the sink again after you’ve asked them repeatedly to just wash them and put them away.  At least your significant other is still there to annoy you.  Your boss is up your dupa again over something totally ridiculous.  Why not be grateful that at least you have a way to pay your bills, when so many others do not.

 

It’s a simple thing…

just-be-grateful-85204354

 

In a world that, at least these days, is so centered around hate, fear, and hurting each other, it’s sometimes hard to see the good in life.  So I send out this challenge to you:  each day, if you feel yourself going down that road to bad crap, just stop.

Stop and look around you.

Stop and breathe in the air.

Stop and smile at someone you love.

Stop and think if you really, truly, are as bad off as the guy sleeping on a bench in the rain because he has nowhere else to go.

Stop and think of the people whose loved ones will never walk in the door again.  Ever.

Then maybe admit to yourself that your life isn’t quite as bad as you thought it was.

 

Cinderella hugs.jpg

 

Enjoy the ride.

What are some things you’re grateful for?  Do you find it difficult to pull yourself out of a bad place sometimes?  What do you do to try to remain positive?

 

Friday Funny

FF Turkey

 

Enjoy the ride.

 Are you looking forward to holiday shenanigans?  Do they include Uncle Bob getting on the hidden stash of moonshine or Aunt Mabel and Cousin Bubba getting into a WWF smackdown over the last turkey leg?  Let’s hear about some of your more colorful holiday traditions.

Please Stay Tuned

Black Dog Runs Disney is sad to inform you that it’s quite possible the very fancy machine, (um, NOT), that these masterful pieces of literary genius are created on, is going to be out of commission for a few days.  In other words, there’s apparently a whole lotta crap on my laptop and it’s overdue for a housecleaning.  So until I get it back – and puppies only know what THAT may be – please feel free to scout the BDRD Archives for your much needed hit of humor, sarcasm, and random brain vomits.  There’s PLENTY!!!

underconstruction

Cookies?! And I can’t even EAT them?!?!?

Enjoy the ride.

I’m SO Excited!!!!!

surpirsed-baby

YYYYYEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

That’s it.

Really.

Thought there was more coming, didn’t ya?

Nope.

HA HA HA, GOT YA!!!!!!

That ain't right Black Dog.

That ain’t right Black Dog.

Hee hee hee…..

For realz though, I AM awesomely excited for my return to the pavement.  I’m still currently limited to about a mile and quarter, but I’m okay with that.  For the moment.  PT Pam and I are breaking up – albeit temporarily – next week, but I shall continue to take it easy and ease myself back into the mileage.  As I still have that pesky other knee to keep happy, I still can’t go all stir crazy and go signing up for any marathons or anything, (no worries ladies, 2018 WDW is still a long way off).  In the meantime, I have to keep #KneeGate 2015 Part II happy until after Wine and Dine.  Then a quick bing-bang-boom and then BOTH knees should FINALLY be content to let me once again, beat the crap out of them.  This time though, training will involve alot more cross-training, therapy exercises, and a little less running.  Yep, two days a week this time around, plus I want to try and get a few runs of higher mileage – 15 to 17 miles – prior to Wine and Dine.  Let there be no mistake, Wine and Dine will be about nothing other than Team Can-Am Shenanigans, I just want to know that I can do the miles before I go under the happy juice again.

Oooooooooh, pwetty cowors.......

Oooooooooh, pwetty colors…….

So from here on out, it’s about slowly building mileage, cross-training, and not pushing it.  Well, not exactly pushing it.  Girlfriend just may have accidentally hit an 8:25 pace on her Independence Day run on Saturday, (never mind it was only for as long as it takes the signal to get to the satellite and back.  Still counts. So THERE.)

bbbbblllllhhhhhh

bbbbblllllhhhhhh

The next few weeks should be a good mix of sweat, pain, blood, and probably a few tears.  Just a typical training cycle right?  All good things.  All good things.

Olaf (1)

I like ice wraps!

Here’s my plan. With help from you dear faithful followers, I’m going to come up with a pretty conservative training plan that will start in two weeks, starting with a slow buildup of mileage and a little dab of speed work come September.  You know, just to see what the knees can handle.  I’d love it if you’d all throw out some suggestions as to how I should build this plan, including some weight work, therapy exercises, hopefully some spinning, and of course, moderate amounts of Moose Tracks and margaritas.

Did you really think I wouldn’t find some way to work those in there?  You know me so well…..

Hydration.  Black Dog style.

Hydration. Black Dog style.  With salt.  Of course.

Enjoy the ride.

Tell me a story.  You know, the one about the time you made a triumphant return to the pavement, kicked everyone’s dupa, and drank all the margaritas on the way to a PR.  Or, if the memory is a little fuzzy on the details, (damn tequila), then tell me the one about the talking snowman and the reindeer with an addiction to carrots.  I’m good either way. Thanks.

Will You #RunforCharleston?

If you’ve been following my little corner of the blogoworld for the past few months, then you know what I’ve been dealing with having #brokeknee.  Now that I’ve been officially cleared to run again – can I get an amen – I found it rather ironic timing that I stumbled across this post from Abby over at Back at Square Zero just as I was making a painful, but victorious, return to the pavement.  Sometimes I think the runner gods really have their poop together.

RunforCharleston_thumb

One of my favorite things about the running community is the amazing ability to come together when tragedy strikes.  The senseless, brutal killings of nine people – in their place of worship no less – touched the hearts of people worldwide.  And as always seems to happen when tragedy hits us where it hurts the most, we band together and show hate that it has no place in sports, especially in running.

no hate

I have family in Charleston.  They’ve only lived there for a short time, but have fallen completely in love with the city, the people, and the charm that encompasses southern hospitality.  Their Facebook and Instagram feeds make me want to drop whatever I’m doing, throw the Wonder Mutt in the truck, and hit the road north, if for no other reason than to hang out in Waterfront Park and watch the world go by.  And maybe run a few miles while I’m at it.

Which brings me to the point of this particular ramble.  Join Abby, and me, and hopefully many, many other running peeps, and become a part of something bigger than yourself.  Make your RUNNING something bigger than yourself.  If not, then really….what’s the point?

This is such a no-brainer, the Wonder Mutt could even explain it to you.  Run nine miles, one for each person who died.  Do them all at once, or one at a time, whatever you want.  When you’ve done them all, donate $9 to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.  The funds will go to various organizations that were near and dear to the Pastor Pinkney’s heart.  Of course, you can always donate whatever your heart tells you to.

Let’s see how much we can flood social media with #RunforCharleston hashtags and help those less fortunate.

Hate tears us apart.

Let running bring us together.

no hate

Enjoy the ride.

If you’re looking for donation information, please see below.  Once again, thank you to Abby from Back at Square Zero for sharing this information.  Be sure to check out her blog!

“The Mother Emanuel Hope Fund has been created to benefit the families of the victims of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.”

To donate, text “PrayforCharleston” to (843)606-5995,
or go to http://bidr.co/events/prayforcharleston

Donations by check can be mailed to the following address:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
C/O City of Charleston
P.O. Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

Will you run for Charleston?

The South Florida Edition of Run Where I Live!

Because where I live is AWESOME….

#heavysigh

#heavysigh

Okay, well not EXACTLY here, but you get the general idea.

When Danielle asked me to be a part of the cool kid’s club, I played it, well, cool.  “Yeah, well, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”  N-O-T.  It was actually more like this.

Whooooo hooooo!

Whooooo hooooo!

Along with a bunch of other equally cool kids, Danielle came up with the great idea of taking you on a virtual running tour where each of us live.  Cool, right?  Right? RIGHT???  Soooooo, I bet you’ll never guess where I’ll be taking you.  Go ahead.  Guess.  Guess again.  Nah really, guess.  No idea?  Heeeheeeheee, silly wabbits. Twicks are for the twopics.

Try saying THAT five times fast.

Uhhhh....

Uhhhh….

Once you untwist your tongue from your left ear, follow along with me as I take you on a short little journey NOT to the beach.  Sorry kids, I’m just keeping it real.  Real close.  Like across the street from my crib close.  Because the powers that be in my little corner of the universe were kind enough to provide us lowly residents with a dog-friendly, duck-friendly, dingo-friendly, well-marked running path.  (Actually I’m just guessing on the dingos.)

The dingos ARE the babies!

The dingos ARE the babies! HA!

So come along with me to a little cozy place called Coconut Creek, Florida.  More specifically, a lovely little spot known to the natives – well, everybody actually – as….cue drum roll here…..Sabal Pines Park.

See?  Sabal Pines Park.  The dingos are chillin' in the bushes.

See? Sabal Pines Park. The dingos are chillin’ in the bushes.

Coconut Creek – aka the Butterfly Capital the World – is doing it’s best to be a green city.  We get to reap the benefits by having numerous parks and walkways throughout our pretty little ‘burb, and Sabal Pines is no exception.  Located about five minutes from the north end of Fort Lauderdale, Sabal Pines has three baseball fields, one softball field, a couple of smaller ball fields for the smaller human units, and a couple of combination football/soccer fields.  ‘Cause, you know, us Americans are a little confused when it comes to what sport actually requires the use of feet.

Surrounding all this confusion, is a paved and concrete 1.15 mile path, marked approximately every 20-30 feet with…..wait for it…..PAW PRINTS.  Because we are JUST THAT AWESOME.

parkpath

Thought I was kidding about the paw prints, didn’tcha?

If you start at the conveniently marked start/finish line, and go toward the north end of the park and follow the path to the southwest, you’ll come out by the soccer fields.  Head south towards the water and guess what?  The locals will be only to happy to greet you with a flurry of feathers and quacking.  They often even get so excited, they just poop right on the spot!  So watch your step.  I like to consider it a stretch of a Spartan race.

Watch out for land mines.  They're not deadly, but tend to be bit slippery.  This is a public service announcement courtesy of Black Dog Productions.

Watch out for land mines. They’re not deadly, but tend to be a bit slippery. This is a public service announcement courtesy of Black Dog Productions.

As you run the path, you can always zoom your way into the main park building for pit stops and water.  There’s also bathrooms and a water fountain on the east side of the park near the tennis courts.  Two paws up for this one as the water is always nice and COLD.  That’s a BIG score when you’re running in 95+ degree heat.  The park rangers are also usually buzzing around in golf carts in case you need any help.  There’s also ample parking next to the tennis courts and by the main building near the big playground.  Remember not to leave anything of value in your car.  There have been a few burglaries over the years, even with all the traffic in and out of the park, so just be smart about it and leave your bling back at the home base.  You look fabulous in just sweat dahling.

I’ve found this little slice of park paradise to be perfect for timing Mr. Galloway’s Magic Mile, as you don’t necessarily have to have a GPS with you to confirm the exact distance.  It’s also great if you want to do so some quarter-mile repeats, as the pavement is marked at each – you guessed it – quarter mile!  Nice stuff, ain’t it?!

Overall, even though there’s not a lot of shady spots on this path, it’s clearly marked, flat, and not usually too crowded if there’s not a sporting event taking place.  The bathrooms are clean, the water is cold, and the natives are friendly.  What else could one possibly want?  You can even motor across the road and meet me in the pool for a nice post-workout cool down!  Just have your people call my people and they’ll see if I’m available.

Come on in, the water's fine!

Come on in, the water’s fine!

So that’s about it for a quick little running journey through the tropics.  If you ever happen to hyperspace to the northern end of Broward County and you’re looking for an easily accessible, well-hydratable, slightly poopy decorated running path, check out the ‘burbs and Sabal Pines Park.  I’ll be waiting for you at the end with a margarita and bowl of Moose Tracks in hand.  Because that is HOW WE ROLL here in the Creek.

Make sure you follow along on Danielle’s virtual tour of running HERE!  Her blog will have links to all kinds of cool places to run written by those peeps who know them best.  We even get to blast over to Aussie Land for a bit o’mate time!

Ready for some more running in the Sunshine State?  Your next stop on the Run Where I Live party train will be near our favoritest place ever.  Yes, we are headed to Orlando!  Yes, THAT Orlando!  The one with MICKEY!! So jump on board ’cause the train is departing.  Next stop, See Jess Run!  ALL ABOARD!!

 

Enjoy the ride.

If you’d like to make your hometown another stop on the Run Where You Live Road Trip, submit your link to Danielle at Live, Run, Grow, and she’ll gladly add you to the list!

Friday Funny

The latest conundrum I’m presently pondering…

FF Stop

Gotcha wondering now, don’t I?

Enjoy the ride.

Don’t you just hate when someone asks something totally stupid, and you suddenly find you can’t stop thinking about it?  You’re welcome.  Happy weekend.

Wonder Mutt Wednesday

With all the sadness that hate has fueled over the past few weeks, there is a lesson to be learned from  those beings who have no agenda...

With all the sadness that hate has fueled, last week especially, there is a lesson to be learned from those beings who have no agenda…

Enjoy the ride.

I don’t want to get on a soapbox here, but there is so much the human race can learn from our furry buddies.  If only we just took the time to watch and see how they interact with each other…

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Yup….it’s that time of the year again!  Time to once again celebrate the GREATEST DOG IN THE WORLD!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDER MUTT!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDER MUTT!!!!!

If you remember, last year I was trying get Calypso’s birthday declared a national holiday.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to make much progress on that front, but it’s not stopping us from celebrating this wondrous day!  So feel free to leave her your birthday salutations here, on our Facebook page, on Instagram, or Twitter.  Yes, she IS a social media hound.  No pun intended.

Calypso Collage

Just in case you can’t get enough of her.  You’re welcome.

Enjoy the ride.

Hard to believe it’s been five years since we were so so lucky to welcome this wonderful little black dog into our lives.  She’s our friend, our confidante, our running partner, and the silliest, swimmingest, just darn cutest puppy there ever was.  Just ask her, she’ll tell you!  Please join us in wishing her a happy, happy birthday!