Girl Scouts Thin Mint Sprint 5K

by jennifer2. October 2013 20:23
Disclaimer: My daughters and I received race entries to the Girl Scouts of West Coast Florida Thin Mint Sprint 5K in exchange for social media exposure and my honest review. This past Saturday the girls and i were invited to participate in the FIRST ever Girl Scout Thin Mint Sprint 5K and Tag-A-Long Trot 1 mile. We opted to do the 5K course. I knew we'd walk it and I was fine with that since I had Iron Girl the next day. And running has been giving me grief lately, so I was happy to walk! The girls and I arrived around 7:45am for a 8:00am race. We cut it close! But packet pickup was a breeze and I was able to park close enough that I could take the bags back to the car and still get back to the start line in time. I met up with Denise and her daughter, and soon we were off!  Girl Scouts was handing out boxes of cookies to the Top 50 Male and Female finishers, and I thought Denise had a pretty decent shot at winning a box, so we planned on Allana staying with me and my girls, while Denise ran for cookies! The race was great with over 800 people! But it was so well organized that you really didn't feel the 800 people. It had the feel of a much smaller race. Maybe it's the course because I felt the same way about another race that I ran down in Safety Harbor earlier this year. Maybe Safety Harbor is the key ingredient. I'm not exactly sure how long it took us to finish. I want to say something like 56 minutes. So we were out on a Sunday Stroll. We crossed the finish line and proudly displayed our medals. Denise did in fact end up winning a box of cookies! I never had any doubt! I'm always so proud to have such a fast mother runner friend. The mounds of Girl Scout cookies made Ella very very  happy! My Girls have been scouts since 2010 and they love it! Last summer they spent a week at Girl Scout sleep-away camp and had an absolute blast. I love supporting organizations that empower girls and women and the Girl Scouts does just that. A great little race which benefits so many young women in our community. Next year the race will be held September 27th, and at the same wonderful location! Were you a Girl Scout?  

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Jenny

Push Away the Screen-The Great Mother's Day Race

by jennifer12. May 2013 22:28
For the second consecutive Mother's Day, the kids and I woke up at dawn and headed down to Al Lopez park to participate in the 2nd annual Mother's Day 5K run. This is a great local race made better this year by having Ronin and Matthew join us. James had to work doing a code deploy so for the second Sunday in a row he missed out on all the fun. I'm sad he's not able to come with us, but so proud of him for all the hard work and dedication he shows to his job. The kids played on the great playscape while I checked in and got our race bibs. We walked our stuff back to the truck and we still had time for some pre-race photos! Ella is just such a beauty with long, fast legs! All of us wore our Polar gear today (including Matthew who has a Polar patch on his vest!!) We met up at the start line with fellow Polar Ambassador Mindy from Mindy's Fitness Journey. Mindy's 9 year old son was running the race, too!   I don't remember hearing the National Anthem (if you were there, please let me know...) and soon we were off!! Ronin took off like a mad-man, and thankfully so did Bryce! I had Matthew (the dog) and the girls. I tried to weave through the people to make it up to Ronin, but the dog created some issues because I couldn't weave through the walkers like I normally can and before I knew it Ronin was out of my eyesight and I made it to Mile Marker 1, and I was all alone. Well, me and Matthew. I had NO kids with me. Such an odd feeling. I backtracked to find my daughter's and they were holding hands, walking and talking. I asked if they were okay, they assured me "M.O.M. we are FINE, go run" so Matthew and I took off to try to catch Ronin. Matthew and I sprinted past the mile 2 sign and up ahead in the distance I could see Ronin's white hair, and thankfully I also saw Mindy. Thank goodness because I was quite worried. I knew that Ronin has run enough races WITH me that he knows what to do; he knows to stay on course, and wait at the finish line, but the fact that he was so far ahead of me had me a bit freaked out. Matthew was also nervous and he was really pulling me along trying to get to his boy. I hollered for Ronin, and he turned and saw me, and that little stinker took off!! I heard Mindy say "I've got him Jenny" and that made me feel so much better, but Matthew and I continued our pace until I caught up with Mindy. She took my photo at Mile 3 and I was so hot and sweaty. And so was Matthew; he was panting up a storm! I knew Ronin would continue his sprint to the finish, and Bryce was there waiting for his mom, so again, I felt good knowing that Ronin would see a familiar face when he crossed the finish line. Mindy and I sprinted, grabbed hands, raised them high in the air and crossed that finish line with our boys waiting right there for us. The four of us (and Matthew) got some water, snapped some pics, and waited for the girls. Ronin was a VERY hot, sticky little dude but he was so proud of himself, and I was quite proud of him, too. This is the FIRST race he's completed where he wasn't "beaten" by one of his sisters. We waited at the finish line for the girls for quite some time, but they just weren't coming so we decided to head back on the course to try to find them, but a lovely shaded picnic shelter was calling our name, so we decided to stop there first for a few minutes. It was then that we saw the girls and they were still walking. I hollered to them that the finish line was "right there" and I heard Haley say to Ella, "okay sissy, when we get to that bench, we are going to race to the finish line, okay." Ella agreed, they reached the bench, and BAM....they were off like pistons!   Ella came in before Haley, but they really pushed each other that last little bit. It was great to see! We met them at the finish line, they got their water, and then we got a group shot! We let the kids talk us into 15 minutes of playground time, and Mindy and I sat under a very shady tree and chatted. This is where I ran into Jen K. from Boys will be Boys and a fellow blogger on the Tampa Bay Moms Blog. This was a great race. What could have made it better? Just one thing: BLING. I love race bling. I know many 5K races don't give bling, but it would have been such a nice Mothers Day present Race results came in and I placed 191/326 overall, and 26/46 for my age group. I know I could have done better if I didn't backtrack to find the girls and if I didn't have the dog. But again, this is not my year for PR's. It's THEIR year, and Ronin set himself a new PR. He didn't wear a chip timer so I don't know what his time was, but he did good. I'm proud. Overall, it was a great race and I hope the kids and I can do it again next year. I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Skora Running shoes. This was the longest distance I've run in my new shoes and they were AWESOME!! Usually I have to stop at least once during a 5K to adjust my shoe laces, but not this time!! They were also very lightweight and I felt that they really helped improve my overall stride. Excellent running shoes. These feet were made for running!   Do you run races with your kids? Do they usually run ahead of you? Or do you run ahead of them? Or do you try to stay together? What's the longest race you've done with your kids?

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Jenny

Pink is the Color of Hope

by jennifer20. April 2013 21:04
I used to dream about being a runner.  In my dreams I always wore pink. In my dreams I was fast, I was fit, I was in control. But then I would wake up. And in my real life, I was morbidly obese, a condition brought on by a lifetime of inactivity and horrible eating choices. Pink is a powerful color for me. Pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding. Even at my heaviest weight, I loved myself unconditionally. I understood that it was up to ME to make the changes necessary to go from fat to fit. In color psychology, pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings, a sense that everything will be okay. Today I celebrate 4 YEARS since I stepped in to my first Weight Watchers meeting. In 2 weeks I celebrate 2 YEARS of maintaining my 212 pound weight loss.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Earlier this week, I was chosen as the Athleta Power to the She winner for the Clearwater Iron Girl. Ella (age 7 1/2) was supposed to run the 5K with me, but a few days earlier she got sick and was still feeling under the weather the night before the race. I was debating running the 1/2 marathon alone, but my older daughter Haley (age 9) asked if she could run the 5K with me. Of course I said YES!! Unlike her sister, Haley does not like to run, so having the opportunity to run with her made me so happy. We were honored before the race at the staging area for the 1/2 marathon where Mary from Athleta introduced me as the Power to the She winner, and read a bit of my story. The 1/2 marathon started, and Haley and I had about 35 minute before the 5K was going to start so we headed off to the bathroom, and before I knew it, it was race time!! We quickly made it to the top of the Memorial Causeway and saw the Mile 1 marker!! Many thanks to Meghan for letting me pull her away from her volunteer station to take this photo! Haley started to get REALLY thirsty and her pace really started to slow down. I was pretty thirsty too, but it's different for little kids. We had to get all the way to the bottom of the bridge to get to the one and only water station on the 5k course. She drank like 4 cups, and we jogged through the turn around, grabbed another few cups, and headed back up the bridge. We ran in to Caroline on the way up! Soon enough we were at mile 2!! Up ahead I noticed my favorite cheering signs! We ran down the bridge and Haley's little legs started to get tired. I was feeling really good, and knew that if I had run alone I would likely have PR'd, but this race wasn't about ME, it was about US. So I encouraged Haley to try a little bit harder, to run just a little bit faster. I reminded her that it's okay to sweat, and that if it were easy, EVERYONE would be out running; that it is supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it GREAT!  That seemed to work and we ran through downtown, inching closer and closer to the finish, when she suddenly STOPPED. I could see the finish line up ahead about 200 meters, and I told her that I'd wait for her on the other side; I wasn't planning on walking through the finish line. That was all it took, and ZOOM my girl took off and sprinted past me, past a bunch of other women, and crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of me. You can see her in the photo below, a blurry mess of pink on the left side. I was so proud of her. She finished in 43:10, which is a new PR for HER by nearly 15 minutes! And she ran more than she ever has before. I was (and am) so proud of her and now she has a new goal to beat when we do the Women's Running 5K in November. We'll have many many 5K's between now and then, but November is the one we'll train for. I'll also be participating in the Iron Girl Triathlon in Clermont in September, 2013. Soon I'll be able to say that I'm a multi-sport Iron Girl! Thank you Iron Girl, Athleta, and Polar for believing in me, sharing my story and letting me inspire other women. But let's not forget about our daughter's. We need to empower our daughter’s to embrace an active lifestyle. We need to show them the way. We need to give them the courage and confidence to seize physical opportunities and not let anything hold them back. Let’s teach our daughters that they don’t have to dream about being runners. They are runners. They are Iron Girls.  

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Jenny

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