Race Recap: Wolfson Children’s Challenge

So this post is WAYY overdue! But here it is: The Wolfson Children’s Challenge was started by Paul Wilson. Watch the incredible story behind this unique race here. It is a 55K race with the choice to run as an individual or break up the 34 some miles into legs for a team relay.

This is the third year I’ve participated in the event and the second consecutive year I’ve organized a team. This year, they moved the location to inside the baseball grounds downtown. In previous years, it was held outside Everbank Field.

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With this sort of event, I assume at least a few people will drop out due to last minute demands or family emergencies, which inevitably happened. One teammate was stuck in NYC because of the snow storm and another had a family memorial to attend. Luckily, I was able to convince B and our high school buddy John to join the team a few days before the event. John was such a trooper! After working in Saint Augustine the night before until 2 am, he showed up downtown before me! This year, we lacked a pop-up tent, but we made do by arranging our couple of lawn chairs around mine and B’s bags to claim an area. It was close to freezing when our first runner took off.

 

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Amanda celebrating.

Amanda booked it, despite rolling her ankle during ultimate frisbee the night before. She passed the ankle monitor/race chip device off to her significant other, Matt and then we quickly found her the beer station.

Once the sun was up, other teammates slowly started arriving. I was most excited for my friend Hayley’s leg. This was her very first 5K and she had been training for it for a month or two. Her sweet husband even showed up to surprise her right as it was her turn to run.

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Hayley ready to run!

My oldest sister, Anna Laura even came to run the event, mostly because I forced her to. She hates running. And she nearly gave me a panic attack not answering her phone, until I remembered she is a college student and it was 8 am on a Saturday.

My best friend from high school, Hayley, also joined the team and started training a few months before the event. She was so excited to run her first 5K and made great time!

Our fastest runner was my coworker and friend, Whitney. She booked it and ran her 5k in 26 minutes and some change.

 

I waited all day for my turn and was unsure about what to eat. Because a few people dropped out, John and I agreed to run the extra legs so our team would still complete the 55k. When John started his double-leg, I was getting really hungry but was nervous about eating too much before running. Plus, the weather had really warmed up.

Then before I knew it, it was my turn! The first mile and a half of the course was a little odd. The course took runners about half way around Everbank Field before turning around and running a small loop in the parking lot and then heading back towards and around the baseball grounds. Mile 2 takes you along scenic Bay Street towards the Landing. I had really started to overheat before the breeze coming off the river on Bay Street started to cool me down. I felt great finishing my first leg and crossing the finish line. Seriously, check out this finish line photo:Wolfson 55K

But as I turned the corner out of the baseball grounds, I was NOT excited to run the entire course AGAIN. Point-to-point relay races, like the Ragnar Relay series, are way more intense but much less boring. The second time around the course I had to tell myself mind over muscle pain and power through. While I didn’t finish with my best time, I did have a fantastic day hanging out with my friends and raising money for a great cause.

What’s the most fun race you’ve ever ran?

Weekly Reading 2.26

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Single women now make up the largest political force in the country. This is a helluva read on the impact young, unmarried women are having on politics and public policy in an election year.

Speaking of marriage, Bloomberg charted the likelihood of marriage based on professions and created the most amazing infographic I’ve ever seen. I spent at least 20 minutes moving my cursor around the screen in amazement. According to the people at Bloomberg, I’ll marry someone in management or business operations.

Apparently, people who curse have better vocabularies. And they say, cursing makes you sound unintelligent. As someone raised by a sailor, I appreciate this study.

My favorite place to waste a day in New York City just changed its iconic logo. The new logo for the Met looks like a design student’s project gone horribly wrong.

I found this awesome sweater jacket in a  boutique in Winter Park last weekend. Thank goodness they didn’t have it in my size because I would’ve dropped wayyy too much money on a sweater.

My fashion-forward friends (read B) will love this article on how dressing up for work actually leads to success.

February Bucket List

Time flies! I completely forgot to do a January bucket list, but I did make it through most of my list for December. I ran my first holiday 5K and tried this winter soup recipe.

I’m so thankful to celebrate the holidays with great friends. My friend L’s annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party was a blast. And Becca & Co. made sure I rang in the New Year with style complete with a balloon drop. Anyway on to this month’s bucket list!

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How To Be Single comes out this month and I can’t wait to go see it in theaters. I’m terrible about remembering to send out cards for Christmas, so I’m going to make up for it by sending Valentine’s cards to some of my close friends who live thousands of miles away.

I just found out that there is a small track at my alma mater that is open to the public. When I was training for my half marathon, I made it to a track workout once a week for about two months. Those speed training sessions really helped my overall endurance on race day and I know I need that stamina for the upcoming Gate River Run.

I keep reading about how runners need to do more cross training and not just run, so one of my goals this month is to try a new workout. Whether it’s boxing or a bootcamp class, I want to get out of my comfort zone.

 

Summerville Run

They say what you do on New Year’s Day is what you end up doing all year long – so I jump started my 2016 with travel! I hit the road to see my family in Summerville, SC. When I arrived, my stepmom had all the traditional Southern New Year’s Day food going on the stove top; collard greens, black eyed peas, rice, ham, cornbread – the works. She even made mac n’ cheese, since that’s one of the few foods I would eat when I was a picky 8 year old.

Starting 2016 off right. Family & good food. #collardgreens #blackeyedpeas #newyearsfood

A photo posted by Monica Rose (@monicaroseruns) on

The next day I woke up and immediately threw on running clothes. The trick to sticking to a training plan when you travel is to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. I knew if I sat down to breakfast, I’d overeat and not want to work out. I jumped in my car and headed for a nearby trail I had looked up online called Sawmill  Branch Trail.

My previous run in Fort Myers was cut short by an intense side stitch and dehydration. The muggy, hot air was not agreeing with me that day, but the cooler weather in South Carolina had me feeling optimistic about this run. Plus, the trail had some great reviews online.

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Unfortunately, I forgot how much cold air slows me down and I tried to keep up with a speedy older man who glided right past me. Eventually I paced myself and decided to just enjoy the scenery.

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There was also this neat strength training area for push ups, dips, pull-ups, etc. It was too cold out for me to mess with all of that so I kept running, logging a short 3 miles.

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What’s the best travel run you’ve had?

Weekly Reading

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I’ve been worrying way too much lately about what to wear to work and on dates. I saw this “quotable” on Pinterest the other day and thought it was a healthy reminder to just do you, in whatever you’re wearing.

Glassdoor just released their top 25 jobs of 2016. Is your dream career listed?

Buzzfeed recently put out a video about the things you should start doing alone. It reinforces this article from New York Magazine about the simple pleasure of being comfortable hanging out with yourself.

I saw this off-the-shoulder knit sweater on Extra Petite and CapHillStyle and finally caved and ordered it. So much for my money diet this month.

This article by Marky Ramone on his life in the band stopped me in my tracks today. Give it the 30 minutes it deserves.

I am a sucker for a good planner. Came across this Daily Greatness Planner while reading HerAgenda. It’s taking all my willpower not to order it. I already have this Lilly Pulitzer and this Day Designer on my desk at work.

Book Club: Still Alice

What a heartbreaking novel. Alzheimer’s disease is the scariest illness to me. This book tells the story of a Harvard psychology professor with early onset Alzheimer’s. It takes you through her realization of memory issues, diagnosis, attempts at treatment and the heartbreaking, slow unraveling of her brilliant academic mind.

While extremely sad, this novel was so well written. You really understand the frustration the woman is dealing with. She knows she is intelligent and well-educated, and understands what is happening inside her brain.

The story delves into the lack of support for patients with early onset Alzheimer’s. People who still have plenty of life to live and don’t want to be stuck in an retirement home with no one near their age. This book is a reminder that life is precious and so very short. It is a reminder to be kind to one another, especially your family – even when you may not approve of the path they are taking.

I’m excited to watch the Oscar winning performance by Julianne Moore in the film adaptation of the book.

Race Recap: Jingle Bell 5K

I am doing a decent job of running a least one race a month. As part of my December Bucket List, I wanted to run a holiday themed race. Lucky for me, a coworker had already formed a team to run the inaugural Jingle Bell 5K benefiting the Arthritis Foundation and invited me to join.

The team named “Brewdolf & the Red-Cheeked Reinbeers” showed up in these awesome red and green tutus. The other girls in the group even picked up reindeer headbands to complete the look.

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*The guy in the superhero costume wasn’t on our team but we invited him to join the photo.

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What you can’t see in those pictures is that it was FREEZING! Temperatures dropped into the low 30s right as the sun went down. I have to give props to the race organizers. They realized everyone was standing around shivering so they brought out a trainer to rally the runners for a group warm-up.

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Then before I knew it, everyone was walking over to the starting line. After the national anthem and traditional gun start, we were off! My reindeer headband lasted an entire block before I gave in and stuck it in my tutu waistband. I had not ran once since Thanksgiving day and I felt it. The trick to an enjoyable race is definitely putting in the hours training before race day. I got an awful side stitch about 3/4 of a mile in and it would not go away. I also definitely underestimated the effect of cold weather on my speed. I was sloooow and my fingers were numb for the first two miles.

I had been excited to run past pretty Christmas lights, but the race route took runners behind business buildings and under an overpass for the first mile. By the time we finally got into the neighborhood, all I could focus on was the flashing police lights from the officers stopping traffic for runners. It was disorienting to say the least. If you have poor night vision at all, I would not recommend this race.

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All in all, I was really happy to be done with this 5K. But not nearly as happy as my teammate and coworker, Chris who decided to try and flip/roll across the finish line.

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It was so cold that I bee-lined to the nearby M Shack to meet up with my teammates for a beer. I completely missed getting a medal from race organizers in the park. Luckily, two of my teammates talked me into running back to the park and scooping a medal.

Jingle Bell Run 5K complete! #coldasf #runjax #running

A photo posted by Monica Rose (@monicaroseruns) on

December Bucket List

This month’s bucket list is a few days late. I didn’t do the best job of crossing items off my November bucket list.

I ran my first Turkey Trot, skipped Black Friday and started a gratitude journal. We really only got a day or two of fall weather so I didn’t get to enjoy a fall tailgate or roast marshmallows.

Hopefully, I’ll find the time to cross of more items this month.

december bucket list

Weekly Reading

pretty earth

Apparently, too many Christmas lights can screw up your wifi.

Zappos pulled an impressive PR stunt in a small New Hampshire town. They took a page out of Santa’s book and delivered nearly 2 thousand boxes in the middle of the night. Inside – boots, sweaters and other cold weather gear.

Here’s an invention that could make me into a morning person. An alarm clock that brews coffee right next to your bed.

I found these incredible fashion sketches made from flower petals on Tumblr the other day.

I’ve been searching for simple, pretty blouses to wear under cardigans and blazers for work. White Plum is my go-to right now. I just ordered this pleated blouse in emerald green.

GoldieBlox‘s latest ad is perfect.  “Fast Forward Girls 2015” spoofs Amy Schumer, Beyonce & Nicki Manj’s video, Misty Copeland and Hillary Clinton. My favorite part is the kid version of RBG eating cake in court. The company creates toys designed to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers.

*image found here.

 

Subaru Thanksgiving Day 6K

I had been looking for a local race to sign up for when my friend Becca, of Chambray + Coffee, suggested the annual Subaru Thanksgiving Day Classic. I jumped at the chance to do something new this Turkey Day and registered weeks ahead of time. My favorite thing about this race is that organizers used packet pick-up as a canned food drive for local homeless shelters.

Thanks to Becca’s wisdom from running this race in previous years, we made sure to get to the race start extra early before police started shutting down roads. This year there was a record turnout with hundreds of people showing up to register Thanksgiving morning. A finisher medal was offered for the first time this year and I think that may have motivated more people to run.

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The on-site registration line was insane.

Walking up to the race area, Becca and I ran right into an old friend from high school. Jacksonville really is the biggest small town. After pinning our race bibs on and making a porta-potty pit stop, we  took  advantage of the finisher photo op spot before the race started.

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We look nice because this was *before* the race.

I was surprised  by how close the 10-minute-per-mile pace flag was to the actual starting line. Fall in Florida is wildly unpredictable. One year the timing mats were frozen. The previous year, the temperatures were in the 80s. This year, it was nice and cool – at least until the sun got all the way up. After the national anthem and the gun, we were off!

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The course is an entirely flat loop through the Mandarin area. After the first half a mile on a major road, we turned into a more residential area with lots of oak trees and hanging Spanish moss. I felt great and felt like I was going pretty fast – until a dad pushing a double stroller passed me.

I only stopped to walk at the one water station on the 6K course. A quarter mile before the finish line there were other runners who had finished that walked back onto the course to cheer on friends, so I really picked up the pace at the end.

As soon as I crossed the timing pads, I grabbed a water bottle and found the beautiful pile of bananas. The only time I ever crave a banana is after a race.

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I was so happy to collect my medal and snag a picture of my race time. My watch read 9:28 minute-per-mile pace, but the official race results gave me a chip time of 9:16 minute-per-mile pace.

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As soon as my friends and I found each other in the crowd, we headed home to shower and make our way to the annual block party at Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach. It’s a great local tradition of mimosas, bloody marys and pilgrim costumes on Thanksgiving morning.

All in all – I loved adding this race to my holiday tradition and would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to gourge themselves on turkey guilt-free.