Something crazy happened to me back in February. I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t looking for it. It came unexpectedly.
I fell in love with running. Yes, running. Shocking isn’t it?
You read it right. I fell in love with the euphoric feeling of starting a challenge and finishing it. Those that know me can attest to the fact that I have a bit of ADD with certain things and get bored very easily. Notorious for starting things and never finishing them, it has been one of the biggest struggles I have faced in my 42 years of life. Endless art projects, books I have written, books I began to read, brilliant ideas that I had which never materialized, the list goes on and on.
This all changed on February 25th, 2017 thanks to Cabot Cheese. I was blessed to receive a free race entry to the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic on behalf of one of my favorite cheese companies, and I eagerly registered for the 5k. I arrived with low expectations and figured I would only be able to run half of it. I felt inferior to all of the seasoned runners and instantly began to doubt myself. I mean here they all were with their fancy running attire and I felt like Rocky Balboa when he began training to fight Apollo in the original Rocky. I was wearing whatever I had on hand and was very inexperienced. But I showed up and I was determined.
Then the race began.
I started off slow and was enjoying the scenery and beauty of the city of Tampa. I figured that I would only last a mile and would have to walk the rest so I was not in a hurry. When I got to the one mile mark, I felt an enormous surge of energy and almost felt possessed. I wasn’t tired. I kept going.
When I got to the half-way point, they were handing out doughnuts. I declined. Say WHAT?? Miss food blogger who loves to eat passed up a Krispy Kreme Doughnut. Damn right I did. I kept going. A fire inside of me had started and I could not stop running. This girl was going to finish the 5k without stopping.
And I did.
Was I proud of my time? Not really. I finished in 42:53 but was just excited to finish without pausing for even a drink of water. After the run, I drank several bottles of water and then enjoyed the post-race festivities. Surrounded by happy runners and an abundance of bananas, energy bars and beverages, I was content. There was a feeling of incredible happiness that I discovered that day and when I got home that night, I made a commitment to myself to complete ten 5ks in a row and then move on to run a few 10ks and eventually a half-marathon. Most of my friends said I was crazy. Maybe I am, but crazy is what it takes to accomplish goals and to challenge yourself.
I signed up for a few more 5Ks that evening and began to map out my plan of completing my goal. Here is a photo 5 weeks after the Publix Gasparilla Classic with my 5 medals. I celebrated meeting the half-way point of my goal with lots and lots of Cabot Cheese.
Every single 5k that I have done has meant something special to me. My kids and my dog have even joined in on the madness. On April 1st, my dog Vinny the Weenie ran the Goodwill Hippie Dash with me. He was a tad scared with all the loud music but completed the 5K in about 45 min.
Did I mention that Vinny is a 55 pound weenie dog? Follow him on Instagram @vinnytheweenie
He also ran The Great Father’s Day 5K with me and did great. He is starting to collect his own 5K medals:
I just love taking him on runs with me but with the brutal summer heat, he will be taking a break from 5Ks until the cooler weather in the fall. We are planning on going to the Wiener Dog Races in Savannah in October and I just know we will have a great time.
While I still have lots of room for improvement, I am making great progress with running and am ready to take on new challenges. I recently became part of Team Beef Florida and ran my first 5K as a Team Beef FL Ambassador at The Summer Hot Dog 5k in Palm Harbor. I was ecstatic to be a top finisher and look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes for pre and post run meals made with beef.
There is nothing more rewarding than being a part of a great team and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me. If I can make it home to San Francisco for a half-marathon, that will be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I know it will happen.
If you are in the Tampa Bay area and are interested in running, I would love to hear from you. I am still new to all of this and really need to upgrade my running apparel and shoes. What are your favorite running accessories? How do you prepare for a long run? What are your favorite pre and post run snacks? What are your favorite running apps? I created a list of my running essentials:
- Music! What is on your playlist?
- Celsius-I can’t begin a run without one and was beyond sad when I didn’t get selected as one of their Live Fit Ambassadors. Maybe next year.
- Beats by Dre (love my headphones)
- Pizza the night before a long run (it is my weakness but helps me)
- Beef Stir Fry with fresh ginger and chili for weeknight training meals
- Runkeeper App
- Active for finding the best local running events
- Cabot Cheese for snacking before a run
- Sunscreen for the brutal Florida heat
- Headbands to keep my hair tamed while running
Here is what I have accomplished and what I have coming up. My first 10K is September 10th and will be The Original Hooters to Hooters 10K. In January I plan on running my first half marathon in Key West. I begin training this week and am ecstatic to see where this journey takes me.
- February 25th, 2017: Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K
- March 5th, 2017: Bubble Run 5K
- March 11th, 2017: Halo 5K
- March 19th, 2017: Shake Your Shamrocks 5K
- March 26th, 2017: The American Dream 5K
- April 1, 2017: Goodwill Hippie Dash 5K
- April 7th, 2017: Parr For The Course 5K
- April 15th, 2017: Kiss My Whaaaaat 5K
- April 23rd, 2017: Let’s Beat Ovarian Cancer 5K
- April 29th, 2017: Epic Night Run 5K
- June 3rd, 2017: The Summer Hot Dog 5K
- June 18th, 2017: The Great Father’s Day 5K
- June 25th, 2017: The Shark Week 5K
Upcoming 5 and 10ks:
- July 9th, 2017: Run Thru Hell 5K
July 14th, 2017: Sunsets at Sand Key Park Beach Series 5K
- July 22nd, 2017: Run for the Summer Bling 5k, Clearwater
- August 5th, 2017: Tampa Ultimate Wine Run 5K
- August 20th: Sea Dog Brewery 5K and 1 Mile Dog Walk
- September 9th, 2017: Fit Foodie Run 5K
- September 10th, 2017: The Original Hooters to Hooters 10K
- September 16th, 2017: The Sugar Rush 5K
Running is quickly becoming my passion and if I can get on this crazy train and meet these goals, so can you. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or even feedback on running. It would mean the world to me.