The Flavor Run 5K

This weekend, I volunteered (with a running friend) at the first ever Flavor Run 5K. This race was very similar to The Color Run with some key differences that make it worth the money. There were medals, and with an interesting twist, the colored powder was flavored. Runners could also volunteer to be Flavor Fairies which meant, along with running the 5K, they could chase people through the “enchanted forest” and get them with color there.

Before the Race
To volunteer, I was up about the same time as I would’ve been to run. This one was in Tampa at the fairgrounds, so my drive was about half an hour.

My friend and I stuffed hundreds of swag bags with paper, a Flavor Run tattoo, and when the bags went passed us, a color powder pack was thrown in as well. We also unwrapped hundreds of medals.

Runners and volunteers received a gray t-shirt. People could also buy Hawaiian lays, neon sunglasses, and white t-shirts. Volunteers who were throwing color powder at the stations also received a bandana to cover their nose and mouth.

During the Race
I was at the Flavor Fairy station handing out wings. By the end end of the race, I was covered in glitter like a day walking stripper.

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Runners who crossed the finish got a free towel to wipe the massive amounts of color from their faces.

Because we were standing under the volunteer tent, a stranger asked us to watch her bags. When she returned, she wanted to steal a pair of wings. Loads of runners asked us to take their pictures. One family asked us to take one picture then text it to them. This turned into a full on family photo session.

After the Race
The free post race food was fresh fruit from Whole Foods. There was a live cover band. Next year, there should be more of a party situation at the end. Runners could also buy carnival food and beer.

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In the end, I had a blast just as a volunteer. I can’t imagine what it’d be like as a runner.

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1 Year Anniversary

Today marks my 1 year anniversary of living in Florida as well as my first year living alone. I’ve learned a lot during this one year journey.

What I’ve learned about Florida…
-The trade off for snow is rain and humidity.
-Killing bugs is a part time job.
-Living in a blatantly “Stand Your Ground” state has tempered my temper when dealing with humans I don’t know.
-The teaching philosophy here is purely teach-to-the-test for subjects tested by FCAT.
-I still can’t get used to how beautiful it is here.

About money…
-It’s considerably easier to live on 2 salaries.
-Being invited to out of state weddings is expensive.
-60 days notice is required in Florida for moving out of an apartment.
-Movies are $10.50 here no matter the time. I don’t really go to the movies anymore.
-Living sans cable is very possible and saves lots of money.

About dating…
-It sucks ass.
-I seem to be highly attractive to men who aren’t ready for a commitment.
-It’s really awesome for trying out new restaurants and foods.
-I had to learn how to date because I never really had to, and I learned that rules are important to follow!

About running…
-It is still cheaper than therapy.
-Runners are the greatest people

About family & friends…
-Holidays without my family are hard.
-Some people are too toxic to hold onto.
-I am truly blessed to have met the people I have met down here.

About me…
-I bounce back from defeat pretty quickly.
-I have kept my weight off for more than a year.
-I am awesome.

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34th Annual Kiwanis Morton Plant Mease Midnight Run 1 Mile & 5K

1 mile (8:20) & 5K (31:40)

I have to do 8 races a year because I’m an ambassador of a local running store. I’ve done 4 this year as an ambassador, and I have 3 more planned. I signed up for the one miler so I could pick up an 8th race.

It was interesting how much of a joke I thought that distance was. Looking back, my very first mile on January 30th, 2011 took 16 minutes and 49 seconds. On Wednesday night, I ran a 1 mile race in 8 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s less than HALF the time of my first mile ever!

Pre-race:
We picked up our packets before the race started. I only got a crappy cotton t-shirt because I was doing the 1 mile. There were nicer shirts for the 5K & 10K runners. There was an MC leading different games and competitions for spectators.

The race was supposed to start at 11:00PM. Around 10:54, we started wondering where the start line was. We realized we were nowhere near it and ran to it which got us a little winded.

The Race(s):
I like to try and get as far in front of the pack as possible. Not because I’m fast, but because I hate dodging people. At the front of the pack were the really fast runners. The girls I ran with and I took off with them, but when I looked down at my phone I saw that we were doing a 5:22 pace, so I slowed it down to an 8:30 pace which was my goal. I finished it 10 seconds faster than that.

I got roped into also joining the 5K run. The real reason I agreed was because I wanted to behave badly on my eating habits on the Fourth of July. It was hot and humid and horrible especially after having run the mile as fast as I did. I sweat all into my eyes and mouth and was so grossed out, but I finished!

Closing Thoughts:
I loved running in the dark especially over the Causeway bridge where it was completely dark. The silence in the pitch black during that minute as we all padded along the drawbridge was pretty cool. It’s a small-ish local 5K which I liked. I did too many big ones last race season. I think I will definitely do this again.

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Race Season #2

My race season is finally over. (I have to stay strong though and not sign up for another race until this fall; I must save money!) I had a lot of successes in my second race season.

My successes:

  • I finally PRed by getting under my long time goal of a sub 30 minute 5K. Now it is pretty standard for me to run 3 miles in 30 minutes or less (if I try).
  • I finally logged 1000 miles of running as of last week. I got over 1000 miles a while ago for all activities (running, walking, biking, elliptical, etc), but I finally actually hit that mark for JUST running.
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  • Since the start of this race season, I have lost 4.5 pounds.
  • I am FINALLY in single digit pants and dress sizes.
  • I can do real push ups. No more lady push ups for me.
  • I can hold a plank for longer than a minute!

The races:

  1. Run for the Fallen
  2. UNCF Walk for Education
  3. Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon & 5K
  4. Florida Holiday Halfathon
  5. The Color Run
  6. The Glow Run
  7. The Warrior Dash Florida
  8. The Rock & Roll Half Marathon 5K
  9. Gasparilla 5K
  10. Tampa Bay Corporate 5K
  11. Iron Girl Half Marathon & 5K
  12. The Urban Chicken Scavenger Hunt

I tried to do a lot of races that were an “experience” of some kind such as the Color and Glow Run and the Warrior Dash. And for some reason, I almost exclusively did 5Ks this race season. Only two of my twelves races weren’t 5Ks (#4 and #12).

That will definitely change next race season as that one is all about distance. Wish me luck.

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The Urban Chicken Scavenger Hunt

This race was quite expensive, but thanks to a deal, it was affordable.

The swag bags were very sad, but they contained a water bottle, and we got a t-shirt.

My team was named The Bad Chics. We had chicken hats and made chicken feet.

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The way it works was as a team we sought out to solve 12 clues. We had to take a picture at very clue, and the whole team had to be in it.

The most evil stations had us working out. One station required us to do 10 push-ups, and another had us doing yoga poses. The most notable clue was a house that Ty Pennington built on Extreme Home Makeover for a family whose house was destroyed by a plane.

When finished, we crossed the finish line, received our time ticket, and had our photos checked to confirm we actually finished.

First of all, it was horribly hot. There was very little shade through the majority of the search. Also, it would’ve been much more fun in a place we were more familiar with.

With the help of other groups, townspeople, business owners, the postman, a map, and our phones, we finished in 2 hours and 50 minutes. The winning team clocked in at an hour and fifteen. When all was said and done, we ran 5.5 miles. I haven’t run that much since some time in December, and I am so sore.

Post race, there was fruit. We also got a free alcoholic beverage, and there was a costume contest and a live band.

I’m not opposed to doing a scavenger hunt again, but a couple things will have to be true. 1- I have to be in a place I know better. 2- It cannot be in such hot murderous weather.

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4 5Ks

The end of my race season was inundated with 5Ks. I signed up for a bunch out of excitement for the PR, but by the time I got to these, I was bored with the 5K race. From February to April, I was annoyed that I had to keep waking up early for these, but I managed to do them.

1. Roll & Roll Half Marathon & 5K (29:05)
This organization decided to add the 5k (the mini marathon as they called it) pretty close to the date of the race. I signed up with the amazing sale price.

Pre-race:
Packets had to be picked up during the expo the two days before the race. The expo was on the field at the Tampa Bay Rays stadium which was pretty cool. I only managed four hours of sleep before the race, so I felt like crud while I ran it.

Race Day:
The 5K started first. I struggled pretty hard to keep my race pace. This one didn’t loop back around, so essentially I ran 3 miles away from car. I slowed down a lot mile 2, but my friends were at mile 2.5 setting up a cheer station for the half marathon and started yelling at me because they knew I could run faster. So, I did.

Closing Thoughts:
I had to walk 2.3 miles back to my car. The other option was paying $15 for parking and the shuttle back. That was a rip off to me until I had to walk back to my car. The medal was quite underwhelming.

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At the end of the race, I got chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, strawberries, and a banana. If I wanted, I could’ve also gotten beer, bagels, and various nutritional bars. So on the food front, this race was great. Everything else was meh.

Gasparilla Race Weekend (30:47)
On Saturday, there’s a 5k and a 15k. On Sunday, there’s a half marathon and an 8k. Originally, I was going to do the challenge that did the Saturday races and the half marathon, but I got so burned out training for my half that I only signed up for the 5k.

Pre-race:
Packets had to be picked during the expo which went on Friday and Saturday at the Tampa Convention Center. I got so many freebies, but I also bought a headband and a handheld phone holder for while I run; no more Ziploc baggie for me.

Race Day:
It was disgustingly hot and was such a cluster eff. There was not one point in the race where I wasn’t running in a thick crowd of people. Very early on, I knew I couldn’t PR because I couldn’t get far enough ahead of the crowd, so I slowed down and ran it with a buddy from one of my run clubs and pushed her.

Closing Thoughts:
The medal was alright.

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I only got water and a banana. The other free stuff required walking to the race festival after. I did spend the rest of the afternoon as well as Sunday morning and afternoon cheering for the other races which was fun.

Next year, I am thinking I have to do the challenge that does all 4 races, but that heat situation was really awful.

3. Tampa Bay Corporate 5K (30:28)
This was a Thursday night race, and I signed up for it a week prior because it was comped through one of my ambassadorships. It is a team event that people run with their colleagues. I ran it with a running store I’m an ambassador for.

Pre-race:
I did this with a friend, and she picked up our packets. All that came in the bag were the t-shirts. This was literally the worst swag bag I have ever received, but this car sticker was in it:

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Race Day:
This race was in downtown Tampa. The park where it started was beautiful, but the neighborhood we ran through was a bit of a mess. It was disgustingly hot, and there was a really rough bridge that we went over before the first mile ended. Then came back over it at the start if mile 2. It was awful, but only because of the heat.

Closing Thoughts:
There was free beer and wine post-race which was awesome. The snacks were laid out on an unmanned table so that was a hot mess. I did thoroughly enjoy how melty the chocolate chip cookies were. There was no medal, and my size medium t-shirt was from Baby Gap. If this race had cost me money, I’d be really upset about its general jankiness. But it was free, so no complaints.

4. Iron Girl Half Marathon & 5K(32:20)
This race is similar to the Women’s Half Marathon in that it was only women running.

Pre-race:
Packets had to be picked during the expo. I didn’t go to avoid spending money like I did at the Rock & Roll expo, so a friend picked it up.

Race Day:
As a Clearwater race, it was incline central. Going over the bridge towards the beach and back was beautiful though. The bridges were very steady inclines, so they weren’t terrible. Difficult, but doable. I knew I couldn’t PR, so again I kept pace with a friend which I think helped make the bridge portion so manageable.

Closing Thoughts:
Between the medal and the free pancake breakfast after, this race made me happy. I may have interest in it next year.

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Finally. Done with my 5Ks. At least for this season.

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Last Night…

Last night, something very strange happened.

I was driving home from a friend’s place. I watched a man stumble on the sidewalk then fall into the street. He hit his head pretty hard on the road. Instead of getting out of the street, he sat on the curb with legs still in the right lane.

I watched him almost get hit by two cars, so I pulled off onto a side street. I went to him along with another woman who pulled off too.

The man was inebriated beyond belief. He kept mumbling about how he lost his glasses, and that’s why he fell. He refused to move back away from the street. We watched him almost have his legs run over several times by passing cards that could barely see him because of how dark it was.

During most of this, the other woman was on the phone with the police. Te man was shouting at us to not freak out every time we almost saw his legs ripped off.

When he did finally get up, he started staggering toward us in pursuit slurring “Let’s get this straightened out.” We both ran away, but by this time police were near. I hopped in my car and drove off.

Throughout the entirety of this incident, I was scared shitless that I was going to watch a man die. All I could think of was the time my friends and I passed a dead Fed Ex driver at an accident scene. The truck was smashed in a way that his body was stuck, but the emergency workers had taken the door off in their efforts to get the body free. So the bloody, maimed body was out for all to see.

Anyhow, the drunk man kept shouting at us and calling us bitches because we were so worried about him.

I had to remind myself that this isn’t Indiana anymore. I’d stopped being a Good Samaritan after living in Florida for a month. And his rude behavior despite the fact we were trying to help him reminded me why. Also, this is a “Stand Your Ground” state, so I definitely have no business sticking my neck out for crazies.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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