Group Runs and Parties!

Last weeks 1/2 Marathon got me out of the little rut I was in. I felt good about my race time. I had a time under 2:30, something I hadn't done in my last two halves. And it was hot. And there were other factors that should have negatively effected my race. Nonetheless, I still broke 2:30. The after party was a lot of fun and the rest of the day was enjoyable as well.

Tuesday I headed to World of Beer in Westchase for their group run. It's the sixth time I've done this group run. I had done it twice when I had started running...and I've been doing it frequently now, almost every week for the past few weeks, except the one I missed when I was sick. Luckily I've been getting out of work early enough on Tuesdays to attend. I met Sara and Mera and we went off on our run at 6:30. I forgot to turn on my Garmin so I'm not sure of my pace, but I know I was going pretty fast for me. I held a pretty good pace for longer than usually before I had to slow it down. Luckily, since I've done this route a few times I know it was 3 miles. We got back to World of Beer had some water, and some pizza that was ordered for the runners. We hung out for a while and chatted with other runners. It was a fun time.

Wednesday night was the Run Tampa party. Last year around this time I ventured out to a Green Iguana about an hour from my house to attend one of these events. It had been when I had just started running. Everyone was very encouraging and was telling me how I'd be wanting to run half marathons. I thought they were crazy. It was "bling night" and you were supposed to wear a medal from a recent race. My medal was a starfish with 26.2 across it. Yes, a marathon medal. Who would have thought, in less than a year I would have completed a marathon. 

Nick (Beck's Buddy!!) , Brandi,  Me

John, Arianna, Doreen

I went to the party with my friend Arianna, and told Doreen, my aunt who had just recently run her first 5k at the Best Damn Race, to join as well. We met up outside, braved the rain, and entered the party. There were a lot of attendees and we all got to talking. We talked about upcoming races, of course, showed off our medals, and had some food. Ben, who had arranged a virtual half marathon for the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school, which I had participated in, brought my virtual half medal with him for me. We took a few pictures, and then we all headed home. 
Ben & I

My virtual 1/2 medal

The next morning I woke up bright, or not so bright since it was still dark out, and early to run with a group called the Suncoast Striders. I had been meaning to run with them for a while, and been talking with David, who organizes the group for a while through Facebook. Unfortunately due to my work and race schedule and the 10 days I had off from running when I was sick, I hadn't had a chance to run with what seemed like would be an awesome group of people to run with. I promised my self I'd wake up early enough to get out there Thursday morning. At 4:30am my alarm went off. I got dressed and Arianna picked me up at 5. We drove over to Longleaf, where they meet, and met up with Mera as well. Then we walked over to the group. It was Valentine's Day so everyone, including us, was wearing red or pink. I said hello to David, who I had met at a water stop at the Clearwater Marathon, and he started to introduce us to everyone. The group was super friendly and welcoming. I ran just under 4 miles and kept a pretty good pace. I was fast that morning, and it was with David's help. He was giving me tips on breathing - which would help keep my heart rate steady, and on form - so I would try not to heel strike as much. 
Valentine's Run w/the Striders stats

After the run we chatted with the group some more, had coffee, and some cupcakes that one of the striders made. They were delicious and I had a great morning! I'm excited to run with this lovely group again, and I'm sure my running will improve!

Then I had my sight set on the weekend. I had a 5k coming up. A small race in Starkey park - Fromt he sun to pluto 5k. I signed up with hopes of achieving my goal and getting a sub 30 5k. But that will be a whole separate post!