Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Running Races Is Much More Than The Bling

Okay there is no greater feeling for me, than this moment. The moment you cross that finish line and they hand you your medal. The feeling you get is something, sometimes I can not put into words. You have this rush of emotion, joy, sadness, happiness, pain, relief. I swear it comes in stages and mainly all at once. It is something very special. And you look at that medal and it makes it all worth it. Because YOU EARNED that medal. You did the work, you put in the fire and ice, you made it across that finish line.

But sometimes the race isn't about the medal for me. Yes, I love the BLING. I love collecting the bling and each one of mine tell a different story.

I don't know where this is from but I love it!!!!

I can tell you about every single one of my medals and how I felt that day, who I ran it with. What made that race so much more special than the last, etc.

But it is the miles and moments that lead up to the medals that make it so much more for me. The race its self is special and that is why I love running races. I love finish lines and the atmosphere and the bling but it s the unity and the emotion and the runners that make me want to keep signing up more and more.

When you are covering some longer miles you tend to focus on things that make you get through the miles. I focus on my music, taking in the surroundings,  I think about work and life and my friends. But I also focus on those running beside me. I look at how they are feeling. I look at how hard they are trying and how determined and focused they are.

I look at how proud they look that they are out there getting this done, no matter what. The happiness on their face when they see a water station, or the last mile mark. The speed that comes over them when that finish line is insight. I love watching them look at whoever they are running next too and smiling that they are doing this together.

I love when there are turn around points in races and  you can see the ones leading the pack. They have a look all their own for sure. I love when family members are off to the side and you can see them cheering on the loved ones. I love looking around at races and seeing so many walks of life. Young people and older people, those running the whole race, those running and walking with Galloway, those just power walking the whole thing.

In the Gasparilla race, there was a man, power walking the whole thing in my pace group. He had to be in his 80's, didn't look like he was breaking a sweat, but he was giving it everything he had. It gave me chills. I have been seeing a lot of older generations out there running now and it just gives me such hope that I will be one of them one day. Still in my 80's out running races, not for the accomplishment but because I can still do it.

I love seeing  those who are working towards a fitness goal and not letting their weight or disability get them down. It is amazing to see and seriously brings tears to my face. I hope when people pass me or see me in a race, I hope they can see how much I truly love it. Not because of the end, but because of what goes on in these miles when we are all together as one big running group.

So the next time you are at a race, running the race, think about those around you. Look at all the runners and take it all in. Believe me it will make that finish line and medal feel and look so much more sweeter!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Running and Golfing with a PAR4MILER *GIVEAWAY!*

Happy Friday Friends!

Today I am sending your way a really fun Giveaway!!! Woohoo. That's a way to kick off a weekend if I do say so myself.

If your household is anything like mine, then you will love this Giveaway I have for you.

You can win an entry into the Valspar Championsip Par4Miler at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.

The course is a 4 miles on the roads of Innisbrook and the turf of Copperhead tournament course.

Okay so that is pretty awesome!!!

James and I went to this tournament a couple of years ago and the course is absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. When we were walking around the course, which that is a work out all its own, I kept imagining how fun it would be run around here and guess where the finish line is....

The 18th Green!!

And then after your cross the finish and get your finisher medal, you can head to the Post Race Party in the Hospitiality Suites.

The views along the course alone are a win for this race and the great golfers have also played on this course.

Now winning this giveaway you get a FREE entry to the four mile race BUT that is not all you get...

You also get.. a FREE entry to the Valspar Championship to attend either days between March 11-13, that alone is a 39.00 Value. The tournament is a lot of fun and you can see some of your favorite golfers too, including last years winner...

Jordan Spieth, whom if you follow Golf, like I do in my household, because James is OBSESSED than to watch Jordan Spieth play is pretty awesome, he is taking the Golf World by storm and is only 22!!

You also get a FREE gallon of Valspar Paint, Free Pictures, your choice of a FREE tee-shirt in 6 Different colors ( Love choices) and a finishers medal and the experience of running on a golf course.
What a better way to celebrate a Sunday Afternoon.

The race is March 6th at 4:00pm, walkers or runners are encouraged.

Okay so how am I going to get you to win this awesome entry....

Well all I am asking is...comment below with a Pro Golfers name :0)

Winner will be contacted randomly by Monday, February 22, 2016.

Good Luck and Hope to see YOU at the 18th Green.

Click this link to check out more about the race

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I Took A Week Off of Running

Good Tuesday Morning Everyone!!!

I am sitting here getting down on some coffee and waiting to take a conference call and then heading into work later on, so a nice calm morning is all I am thinking about. But I wanted to pop in quick with a post...

So some confession time a bit. After my half marathon on Saturday the 6th, I have to admit I had a devil and angel complex going on. One part of me was so happy and thrilled I got to finish and run the 13.1 miles and then the devil side was defeated and nasty and mad at myself for not doing better. I ran that one 5 minutes slower than my first ever half marathon. The big problem was I was not running as much as I was my first ever and that just seemed to beat me up and tear me up a bit.

Why was I not running as much?? Why did I make excuses?? Why didn't I push myself farther and longer when I could? Yes, I know I was injured for a good part and I probably even pushed it more than I should have, but I could have done other things to improve that. I didn't utilize being in the gym more, even though it is a smaller gym, I should have been on that bike and weights and really putting in the work.

I did gain some weight last year and I am chipping away at that little by little. I decided to change that around mid year and it was the best decision. Changing over counting calories has really helped. I mean I wore jeans on my day off and that is huge because I am all about leggings and sweats. Counting calories and macros have helped my food intake a lot. I am not hungry anymore and I am eating and making better choices, really looking into protein. I have always been big with veggies, but  now I am craving them even more. Seriously I am thinking now what can I bring to work with me as veggies and making them into a meal.

It has been really hard too and I know that is a change in my running. So after the half marathon, I took a week off of running. My body was really achy and I had some pain in my knee still. I did get my period right after the half so my energy and everything was so bad. I know that getting my period had a lot to do with my pain at the Half. Seriously it takes it all out of me. I decided to just rest and not stress about running. Enjoy my days off and take it kind of easy.

It was hard at times and I wanted to run, I set alarms but when I would get up, the pain was there and I knew I just needed to chill out. I started looking back to my old posts when I was in my prime of runninng, around two years ago. When I was running for races and fun. And that word right there was the main thing, FUN. I was signing up for races because it was fun and exciting. I was running after work because it made me feel good. I was hoping out of bed on days off because I couldn't imagine a day off without a run.

That week off got me thinking, I need to tap back into that. I just need to run for the love of it all. And that's what I planned. I have signed up for virtual races, because I mean who doesn't love to run and earn a medal. I signed up for a local race and then Gasparilla is this Saturday. I have not put any pressure into running and using the training plan I had for BDR for a guideline with IronGirl and running in general. Around 3 runs a week and then really working it at the gym.

I feel really good and excited to have that joy and excitement back with running. I ran on Saturday and did a virtual race with the company Gone For A Run...

2.14 miles for Valentine's Day. It was a great run and then I signed up for the St. Patricks Day one in March. They give you a shirt and medal and bib and a cute treat. The medals are even nicer than those at a race. I can do it at my own time and pace, no finish line, which I love me some finish lines, but they are still so much and it breaks up a regular routine.

Okay so my big point is if you have a bad run or race, take time to think about why it was a bad run, what made it a bad run, what could you have done better. Take the time to rest and regroup. I needed that slap in the face and it worked. I feel so much better and yesterday on my day off, I went out and just ran. I got 3.10 miles and had fun and got me focused for the 15k this week and tomorrow morning before my travel day, I will run more.

Have a great day everyone!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tijuana Flats Will Give You One Delicious Bird

Disclaimer: As part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given a meal and gift cards in exchange for my complete review. All reviews and opinions are 100% my own.

Okay if you have been following along with me for these past couple of years, you know that James and I love us some Tacos and Mexican we are HUGE fans of Tijuana Flats and there famous Taco Tuesday. In case you are not sure what Taco Tuesday is, well besides it being the best day of the week, it is the best deal out there that they offer in the whole world. You get two tacos, hard or soft with your choice of chicken, beef and now the LIMITED TIME offer Ground Turkey with a side of chips and a drink for 5.49! And these aren't any small time tacos, they are HUGE, stuffed with the works, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onions, jalapenos, you can opt of course to have what you want, and for those who are healthy lovers like myself, you can enjoy on a wheat tortilla and power lite, which is lower and reduced fat cheese. HOLY YUM!

Okay now that I have you running out the door for Taco Tuesday, hold on just one more second and let me tell you about what ELSE, Tijuana has to offer, you know for those non Tuesday days.

I had the privilege of sitting down with the Tampa Bay Bloggers last night to check out Tijuana Flats in Clearwater to try some of their menu items and especially around the newest, limited menu filling and item, Ground Turkey. Okay, I love Ground Turkey. James and I typically make our tacos at home with Ground Turkey, due to the lower fat and cleaner option. So I was super excited that they were offering it on their menu.

Upon arriving I was greeted by a young lady who kindly opened the door for me, letting me into the bright and fun atmosphere I love with Tijuana, Sarah let me in on the fun!

At the table was waiting for me Chips, with Salsa, Queso and Guca. A tri-greatness of deliciouness. Tijuana Flats chips are to die for, they are thin and salty and everything I love in combination. I was in heaven right away.

Not sure if you can read the cup but it says Crushed Ice makes me you happy. HELLO, any place that serves crushed iced is my favorite place. Tijuana has most coke products, beer, wine and sangria, also. I am a diet coke girl and seriously with the crushed iced they give, and unlimited, well it makes my mouth very happy. I had to keep myself from diving head first into the chip bowl, I didn't want to full up too quickly.

Next up was the Turkey Tostadas. Tostadas are light fried corn tortillas, refried beans, melted cheese and choices of toppings and salsa. Ours came with ground turkey and were a hit right away. James loved these, the ground turkey made it so fresh and light tasting and to be quite honest, I couldn't even taste the difference, they were so yummy.

Then came...

Blackened chicken Flautas. I have never had a Flautas before and man I have been missing out. They are lightly friend flour or wheat tortillas, with cheese, choice of filling served with Guca, Sour Cream and Queso. The Queso is so yummy, also onions and tomatoes are the side. I was in love with these and probably my favorite item. They were warm and doughy and just what I love. They had a great crisp taste to them and man looking at this picture again, I want them again lol. These can also be made with power lite and ground turkey, BONUS.

Here is another great Ground Turkey meal, this is the Norrito Bowl, which is No+Burrito=Norrito. How cleaver are they. It is ground turkey, salsa based rice, black beans, cheese, toppings and of course guca. You can have any filling you like, I loved it with the ground turkey. I didn't even miss the burrito. This is perfect for lunch and leftovers for dinner for sure.

We also tried the Fish Tacos, which are Mahi Mahi, topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and Southwest Citrus Vinaigrette. I am not a fish taco person, but again I am missing out. These were delicious, the pico de gallo and the vinaigrette gave it a great kick. I will eat these again and they are only around 210 calories for one, meaning I can hit all the chips lol.

Okay for the final tasting we had, I want you to think back to your favorite dessert, what made it your favorite dessert. Was it the taste? The smell? The memories it gave you, or was it because it was so genius of an idea of a dessert, that you can't imagine ordering a dessert anywhere else....Well Tijuana has done that for me with these....


SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, yes I did yell that out when they came to the table. We all could not wait to dive in, James even said, how good could these really be. Then we took a bite and I literally melted from the inside. These are a true heaven and everything I could want in a dessert, complete with powdered sugar and a cup of chocolate dipping sauce. Seriously I might have to run another half marathon, so I can order these all the time. They are pure heavenly.

Tijuana Flats has out done it for me. I was a girl who always went for the Tacos and now I see a whole new menu with so many more ways to enjoy my favorite place. Now you can enjoy your favorite menu items at many Tijuana  locations. Find one by you and make sure you Give Them The Bird until the end of the month and try new Ground Turkey, it is so good.


Make sure you check out their website also for catering options, the community events and outreach they provide, the story behind this great establishment and also for the nutritional information for all your favorites and when in the location hit up the famous Hot Sauce Bar, to add that extra kick and spice to your meal today.

Also if you are single or taken and what a great night on Valentine's day and not break the bank, they are offering 2.00 Tacos and 1.00 Drafts! Enjoy and give yourself the bird this Valentine's Day and one to a loved one!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Half Marathon #8: Best Damn Race Recap

Good Sunday Morning!!!

So yesterday was my 8th Half Marathon. I still cant believe that I am writing that. 8 races that involved 13.1 miles, that isn't even counting all of that mileage that I did when I was training for my FULL marathon, these are just 8 races, I signed up for and finished. I started this journey only 4 years ago, running my first half marathon 3 years ago this month.

This half marathon yesterday was a little bit bittersweet. I had a lot of different emotions and doubts going into this run yesterday. Even though I was training and felt prepared, in the bit of my stomach I knew I was lying to myself. My pace and endurance was not at all like it was a year prior. And that is 100% due to the fact of my injury last year.

When I had been training for all my other half marathons, I had A LOT of running under my belt all ready and I was feeling really good. I was running 3 times a week and doing some cross training. This half marathon, I literally felt like I was starting way over again. And I truly was. I started training for this half right around Christmas time. Which as we all know in my job, was intense and super hard to do. I even took the last 10 days off of doing anything because I was working at my job, non-stop, 13 hour days at that point. The longest in December I ran was around 6 miles, as a long distance and I felt pretty good but my body was achy and tired.

January came and I was ready to take it on because I knew the craziness of Christmas was behind me. And well that was an awesome plan and all, then I got sick. My body shut down completely from being worn down from Christmas. So one week was down a bit and I rested and took it slow, but I knew, I needed to have some long runs under my belt. My body was finally feeling like me again, my runs were getting really good and that runners love and high was back. I went out for a 10 mile run, I knew if I could 10 miles, I was golden.

James had come home for work sick and so nicely gave me the worse cold. Then the Florida weather wrapped in it and I was down for the count. On medication and coughing. And my high from my 10 miler was broken. I had planned to run 12 miles the following week, the week before Best Damn Race, but I was on medication and because I couldn't breathe, I had to settle at the end of the week 5 miles. Which still is a pretty great amount of miles.

This past Monday, I ran a nice easy 3 miles and I was feeling pretty good. But in the back of my mind, I was still anxious from not running 12. Training for me is such a mind game. I mean, I know I could run all the miles, but because I didn't do it, I felt doomed. Crazy I know. I took this whole week to just rest, I probably should have stretched more. But every night I laid out my legs and took it easy. Concentrated on my eating and water intake, which by the way was on point.

The night before I used a foam roller and stick to work out my calves. They were feeling really, really tight. I actually went to bed at a decent time and slept great through out the night.

I got up and was ready to go. Those evil voices in my head, reminding me of some knee pain I was experiencing were making there way to my brain. I had some coffee, which by the way, I do not mind having now before a run and I ate the Kodiak Protein Pancake Mug. I had my stuff all laid out and I taped up my ankle and calf like no other with KT tape. I used a whole damn roll. I stepped outside and it was freezing, so I grabbed a long sleeved and headed over to Jen's house to park and head to the race, she lives right by there.

It was great to start the race off with Jen. She is not only my Boss, but a true friend and my Mentor. I adore this lady like no other. She is on a run streak right now of 3 miles a day and she is up to 71 days. And taking on the half also like no other. Her spirit and positive was just what I needed at the beginning.

Then the race went on. 

I started race with out my Galloway beeper and just ran the first mile with the crowd, making my way through, trying to get past everyone and find a good place to hit start. I saw a lot of people doing the run walk method, even in the pace groups and that always puts my mind at ease. I hit my beeper and was ready to go right before the  mile mark. I was starting off at 5:1's. My mind was a bit distracted because my knee had some pain and I realized I had to pee again, damn water. SO I figured once I got to 3 miles, I would run in really quick and pee.

I got water at all the water stations, mile 3 I peed and headed out. I had started at the 2:40 pace group and I found I was lagging behind a bit. My pace was still in the 12's but for some reason my legs were not moving. This course was hurting me. The course had some many inclines and hills and up and down, I was no prepared for mentally and physically.

I had not ran any form of hills contiiously since my marathon in October. And for someone who  hasn't ran much of a whole year last year, because of slowly coming back this hit me pretty hard. Then the race became a mind game. 

The 2:50 pace group came up behind me and I was with my 5:1's for a bit with them. I was watching them and allowing them to be my rabbit. They say in a race if you can't focus, find a rabbit. Chase that rabbit. Well the pacer lady was my rabbit. They were following Galloway and doing 2:1's. So I figured heck I will join in. I couldn't figure it out if it was really 2:1's so I just kept watching and following along. Which became quite hard. I was focusing so much. I wasn't in a groove anymore. I wasn't enjoying the run and then the pain came all at once.

My body, was not happy with me. It did not want to be running anymore. My calves and knees were screaming in pain. The weather was becoming damp and colder by the minute, making my legs hurt, especially my knee. I unfocused from the group and changed my beeper to 3:1's. And went back to my own. I even called James around mile 11, just to hear his voice and have some encouragement. I was not feeling great. I was feeling pretty damn defeated.

I had  not felt that way in a race before. I kind of did when I did the challenge for Gasparilla because I had blisters like no other. But I was feeling just sad that I wasn't moving like my heart wanted me too. My legs felt heavy and did not want to move. So I figured I am going to walk more so I can finish strong. I saw a lot of people doing the same and believe it or not, it did bring some comfort.

 I snapped myself out of my pity party and knew no matter what, I was not quitting. NEVER would I quit a race, unless I was physically broken. Even though I didn't have a pace or time in mind, getting done under 3 hours would be nice for me. I knew I would hit that goal and it put some pep in my step and I just went with it.

Mile 12 I was like this sucks, why am I doing this and then the finish line was in sight and I was ready. My legs felt like they took flight. I ran that in strong and with some tears, not much and when I got that medal, I knew I couldn't wait to do it again.

Crazy I know. But that sense of accomplishment, it is a high like no other. It makes me feel so alive and awake and I knew I loved, everything about running again. 

I grabbed my free beer and it tasted AMAZING. I usually never drink beer after but this was so freaking earned. I walked around a bit trying to find some friends and food, but the line for the food was so long, so I met up with Nanci, her hubby and Corina at Starbucks, its a thing :0)

They earned 3 medals, running the 5k and the 10k Challenge, they are pretty bad ass. I grabbed my coffee and breaky with them and then headed home.

I was feeling a bit sore, but I was feeling really happy and satisfied that I accomplished the half and I never, ever gave up. Sure it wasn't my best run, but James said it best. He told me Ang you haven't been running like you were because of our injury and life, so you were just starting over.

And he was completely right. It took me a year to get back here, sure it was ugly but I got back here and ready to keep going. I love this life of running, how it makes me feel and how strong I become from it. One challenging race will not knock me down, it helps me stand back up.

I have the Iron Girl Half in April and I will be prepared for that one too. But no pressure, the pressure to do good is when all the fun goes away. 

I have the Gasparilla 15k in two weeks and I am back.

I am back to running races and loving my life in running!!

So here I am. After a rough year, I got my runners high and runners love back. How do you keep that motivation going, run a race, run a mile, Just never give up.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Weekend of Running, Babies, Date night and Football

Good Friday Morning Loves!!!

I am extra happy and giddy this morning because I have a lot of awesome things going on this weekend and I have the whole weekend off of work too. Today through Sunday, which is rare and  am loving it.

I slept in this morning. It is super cold in Florida this morning and being wrapped in those blankets with  no alarm, was something of heavenly like. Then I am headed to finally getting a hair cut, gosh this Biotin really works, and my hair is growing like a weed. But it is in an awkward stage and it just needs to be cut some.

Then I am headed to the Best Damn Race Expo to pick up my race gear and well it is an Expo and I love Expo's so I will probably buy a couple of things lol, even though I limited to just one. Then it is a day of relaxing, reading and some shopping. And eating some carbs.

Its funny any other times I would love to just go face down in some carbs, today I am finding it so hard. I of course, will have my favorite of spaghetti because pasta before a long run is life for me. And today I am going to try a new place for lunch for some soup and sandwich, called Newks.

Then trying my hardest to get some rest tonight, but lets be real, I can NEVER sleep before a long run, let alone one that is a race day. But I will try my hardest and thank god for coffee and Spark.

The race is early and after they have some pretty great post race treats, like I am excited about. There is nothing I love than food after a long run. Then I am running to a friends house for a Baby Shower, then James and I planned to have a date night.

Sunday is super bowl and we are having some friends over, so I get to finally use some Pinterest finds and put them to good use!! I will  be relaxing for a huge part of the day on Sunday also.

So you know how busy and awesome my day is...what fun plans do you have planned this weekend??