Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A1A Fort Lauderdale 1/2 Marathon Weekend Recap

I would say for about the last six months to a year myself and 3 friends had been talking about doing a girls weekend for our birthdays.  See, two of us are turning 40 soon and another one had turned 50 over the summer.  The fourth girl happened to be celebrating her 44th birthday the day we flew out.  When planning this trip, we decided we should try and coordinate it with one of our 1/2 marathons so we could cross another state off our list of 50.  All of us were really looking forward to the trip since the weather was predicted to be at least 100 times better than the crap that we have been dealing with for the past several months.  The plan was to fly into Fort Lauderdale on the Friday of President's Day Weekend and return home on Monday.  Nikki and I had a direct flight as did Deb from her airport.  Marilyn had booked her flight with a layover in Charlotte to leave first thing Friday morning.  Fast forward to Thursday evening that week and I get a text from Marilyn that her flight has been cancelled due to the weather in Charlotte.  The one time that Charlotte gets a snow storm and it has to put a major glitch in our girls weekend.  Poor Marilyn was on the phone for over an hour trying to find another flight.  She was even willing to drive to another airport but unfortunately there was just nothing available for a reasonable price.  Yes, there were one or two flights out but they would have cost her $1800-$2500 arriving a day later than planned.  Just so frustrating for everyone involved but of course incredibly frustrating and disappointing for Marilyn.  In the end, the Charlotte airport reopened early Friday morning and Marilyn's original connecting flight was delayed by two hours.  If they had just delayed her flight and not cancelled it, she would have made it.  Thankfully, she was refunded for her original flight but that still doesn't make up for what she missed.  Needless to say she told us that we are planning another trip in the fall to someplace tropical!  No objection from us!  Nikki and I were to be flying out Friday in the early afternoon.  Our plane did get delayed but fortunately the flight was not cancelled.  When we landed in Fort Lauderdale I turned on my phone and was greeted with this picture from Deb since her flight had arrived much earlier than ours and she had already been soaking up the sun!

The weather was perfect as we walked out of the airport and grabbed a cab to our hotel where Deb was waiting for us.  Seeing how it was Valentine's Day, Deb had thought ahead and made early dinner reservations at Grille 401 which was a restaurant that wouldn't be all couples.  She figured worst case scenario we would just cancel the reservation if we didn't want to eat that early.  In the end we were all hungry and hadn't eaten since we left our respective airports so the 5:30 dinner reservation turned out to be perfect!  Marilyn had told us to send her pictures so she could see what she was missing.  We obliged and sent her a picture of us toasting to her.

The meal was wonderful and we were even treated to complimentary chocolate covered strawberries and champagne since it was Valentine's Day.  After finishing dinner, we did some window shopping and people watching.  Boy were there some interesting people in Fort Lauderdale.  Once we made it back to our hotel we decided to have another drink at the hotel bar and make plans for Saturday. 

One of my high school friends had agreed to take us to breakfast and to the expo to pick up our packets.  We had a nice breakfast at O-B House and then made a quick trip to the expo to get our packets.  Once we were dropped off at the hotel we decided to spend some time on the beach.  It got a little chilly so we headed back upstairs to get ready for dinner.  My friend was kind enough to suggest a lot of good restaurants in Fort Lauderdale so while we were still in our hotel room, I went online to see what would work best based on the suggestions we had.  We decided on the Casablanca CafĂ© and ended up sharing a ride with another family who was going to the same area.  In the short trip we found out that they were from Columbus, Ohio and they were there celebrating their triplets 13th birthdays.  Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were told there would be a pretty significant wait so we headed into the bar to see if there were seats.  As luck would have it, things cleared out pretty quickly and we were able to sit at the bar.  We decided we would just order and eat at the bar at that point.  The food just kept getting better!  Steak and seafood seemed to be the theme of the weekend (for Deb and I at least as Nikki isn't a fan of seafood).  With dinner complete we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the 1/2 marathon on Sunday which started at the crazy hour of 6 AM!

My alarm went off around 4:15 AM and I didn't feel rested at all.  For some unknown reason, I kept waking up Saturday night.  I don't know if I thought I was going to oversleep or what but it was quite annoying.  After hitting snooze I few times I got dressed and then had my pre-race breakfast.  We were out the door in plenty of time to walk the 1/2 mile to the finish line to catch the shuttle to take us to the starting line as this was a point to point race. 

State #13

Nikki headed off to find a restroom and Deb and I stepped into the starting corral.  I was a bit chilly so I went ahead and texted my friend requesting a t-shirt at the finish line in case I were to get chilled after I finished.  With minimal fanfare we were off.  My plan was to just run comfortably and hopefully finish under 2 hours as I am pretty comfortable running at that pace.  I didn't really look at my watch much at all for the entire race.  I did come across "Dr. Dribble" who was dribbling two basketballs while running.  I don't think I have the patience or coordination to do such a thing!  The weather was really idea for the run and I was glad we had started at 6 AM.  Towards the end of the race we were running by the water which made it very enjoyable.  I kicked it in a bit at the end and finished in 1:56.  Happy with my sub-2 finish and negative splits for the most part, I grabbed my medal and a water and then met up with my high school friend.

Google him as he has quite an interesting story!
When I first finished I was actually pretty warm but about 10 minutes later I was incredibly thankful for the t-shirt and hot coffee that were provided to me by my friend.  Per Nikki's request, I texted her when I had finished and shortly afterwards she had finished her race.  I was starting to worry about Deb and then I got the normal "mile 10" text from her but this time there was more to the text.  It also said "right foot not good".  I was worried about her and asked her if there was anything I could do to help.  At one point she texted "not sure I can finish".  Well, I know Deb and she is one tough, stubborn girl and I pretty much knew she would be at that finish line.  A short while later she texted and told us not to wait for her.  Yeah, like that was going to happen.  She mentioned she was just past mile 12 so I did what any best friend would do and handed off my things and ran out to get her.  By the time I got to her she mentioned that her foot had gone numb a little bit prior to mile 12 which was actually making it easier for her to finish.  I stayed by her side and crossed the finish line (for the second time that day) with her.  I was very proud of her for not giving up but also worried about the status of her foot.  We all walked back to the hotel to get ready for lunch.  The original plan to go to Tap42 was nixed when my friend was told the wait for a table was over two hours.  We went with a back up plan of 15th Street Fisheries and it did not disappoint at all!  The food and company was great as it has been all weekend so far.  We spent the rest of the day resting, hanging out by the pool, and packing for the inevitable return trip home.  The three of us decided that we would just go down to 3030 Ocean in our hotel as it was ranked something like 4th best restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.  I can't remember the exact number but I know it was pretty high.  The added bonus was that we didn't have to leave the building.  After a light dinner and a few drinks we headed upstairs and called it a night.

I decided to go for a short run on Monday morning to take advantage of the gorgeous weather one last time since we would be welcomed back home by snow.  For some reason I didn't take any water and I quickly realized I regretted that decision.  While it was only in the 60's when I got out there, it was a sunny day which made it feel much warmer.  I had originally plan to run 6 miles but cut it short at 3 miles and walked the final mile back to the hotel.  It was still quite enjoyable.  Once I got back to the room, we all got ready and headed out to grab a bit of brunch at a Mexican Restaurant just down the street from our hotel.  The food was great but there was just too much of it!!  We spent the rest of the morning/afternoon sitting outside enjoying the sun before our flights.  Deb had considered getting an earlier flight since Nikki and I were leaving earlier than her.  In the end she was glad she hadn't because the earlier flights ended up being cancelled due to weather in Chicago.  My high school friend took Nikki and I to the airport and we were able to get on our plane with no problems.  Of course once we boarded the plane we sat on the runway for what seemed like forever.  I have no idea what that was all about.  We arrived back in Cleveland within 5 minutes of our scheduled time.  I checked on Deb's flight at this point and it was already delayed 2.5 hours.  When I got home, Deb called and let me know the status of her flight.  In the end her flight was delayed over 3 hours and she had to take a cab home because her husband couldn't get the car out of the driveway.  Have I mentioned that all of us hate snow at this point?  Yeah, well we do and we are so over it!!  Nikki and I lucked out and both arrived home minutes before the snow started coming. 

Yuck!  Welcome back to reality!

We had a wonderful girls weekend but truly missed Marilyn.  It just wasn't the same without her!

Complete a half in all 50 states status: 13 states and D.C. completed

Completed states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

Up next: State #14---potentially in Kansas in April.....just waiting on confirmation from the 50 states girls!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January in Review

A great outdoor 5.5 mile run last night brought my January training to an end.  It was so nice to be outside after being stuck doing indoor workouts for so long!

January 2014 Stats
44.50-- running miles
3.08-- walking miles
3--  kettlebell workouts
2--  stair workouts
47.58-- total miles

Current 2014 Stats
44.50-- running miles
3.08-- walking miles
3-- kettlebell workouts
2-- stair workouts
47.58-- total miles

2014 Mission check-in

Mission #1: Make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Action Plan: Always have fruits and vegetables cleaned, cut up, and ready for consumption.
Action Plan: Choose healthier options when snacking.
Mission #1 is going very well.  The bonus to this is that my kids are eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and opting for healthier snacks as well!

Mission #2: Accept and embrace that my best is good enough.
Action Plan: Stop comparing myself to others and compare myself to the person I was yesterday.
Action Plan: Define my own success and measure it by what I am able to do.
Mission #2 is a work in progress.  I have my days but I am learning to embrace that I am only competing against myself.
Mission #3: Run 1400 miles in 2014.
Action Plan: Run.
Action Plan: Run some more.
Mission #3 is off to a slow start with 44.50 miles run in January but I have 11 more months to get there! (1355.50 mile to go)
Mission #4: Run happy.
Action Plan: Run training runs and races with friends as often as I can.
Action Plan: Listen to my heart and not the beeps on my Garmin.
Action Plan: Be thankful that I have been blessed with a healthy body that allows me to run.
Mission #4 is right on track!  Loving and happy with the run right now!!
Mission #5: Do other workouts in addition to running.
Action Plan: Find workouts I enjoy and actually do them.
Action Plan: Participate in some monthly fitness challenges.
Mission #5 is going so much better than last year's additional workouts.  In January I walked on the treadmill 3 times, did 3 kettlebell workouts, and 2 stair workouts.

I can honestly say I am very happy with my January because I am doing what is best for me and not worrying about anyone else.  I am defining my own sucess and I'm loving it!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!