Tag Archives: tallahassee

Tallahassee Beer Mile Review

Last week a friend and I decided to participate in the first Tallahassee Beer Mile hosted by Madison Social, Proof Brewing Company, Grasslands & Brass Tap. The goal of this event was to “run” a mile and drink a 12 oz beer at each location. Its a fairly popular event and seemed like a pretty interesting “new” thing for us to try. We registered a couple of weeks before the “Beer Mile” through Eventbrite (painless) and I also bought the (pretty cool) t-shirt they sold to benefit the FSU Collegiate Veteran’s Association. The shirt was well designed and I really like it. Plus, I love donating money to any organization that benefits our veterans!

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Luckily the rain held off for most of the event but boy was it hot hot HOT. We arrived fairly early (thankfully I figured that the crowds would be pretty large so we got there early to beat that) and while we waited we were already starting to sweat our butts off. We hadn’t started walking yet! Unfortunately, that is just Florida. The event did not start on time because there was a massive influx of registrations over the preceding twenty four hours. That didn’t include the people who showed up at the event to register on site.

To give an idea of just how many people were there...
To give an idea of just how many people were there….

The event itself was fun. The beginning was a little chaotic and the beer at Grasslands and MadSo was warm (I can’t imagine how to rectify that, though). I really liked the beers at Grasslands (Horizon Line Saison) and Proof (Mango Wit) but wasn’t a huge fan of the beers at Brass Tap (Oyster City Dirty Blonde) and MadSo (Cigar City Jai Alai). That’s not the organizers’ fault, of course, that’s just my picky self when it comes to beers! The atmosphere was really great for this “fun run” and I enjoyed the company of course! I’ll definitely do this again next year, but there are a few things they could probably change to make the event much better!

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The company and great beer was my favorite part of the “race”!

A few points before I dive into the nitty-gritty of the “what you did great, what you could do better”:

  • This was the first year for this event. The organizers should not be expected to be pros at organizing a race.
  • I do not think that the organizers expected the huge turn-out that they got.
  • Its a massive undertaking to plan any race event – but to organize and coordinate an event like this between four local businesses must be incredibly unique.
  • I think they should be cut some slack for some of the things that didn’t go so well.

First, the things I really enjoyed/thought they did a great job at doing:

  • I thought the beer selections were varied and that’s great. I really enjoyed the first two beers but wasn’t a huge fan of the last two.
  • The atmosphere was awesome. The race volunteers were friendly and for the most part everyone worked pretty well in their positions.
  • Although there was a little bit of chaos at the start, the second, third and fourth beer stops moved very quickly.
  • The t-shirt design was great – and I’m really excited that they chose a great campus organization to donate the proceeds to!
  • I am very impressed at how much and how often the organizers asked race participants to insure they had a designated driver for the event. Not only did the organizers arrange for Uber to provide codes for users to use at the event, but they also encouraged those attending the event to have a DD or to make sure they had alternate transportation. This is very important when it comes to an event that features alcohol!
  • I was also glad to see that there was plenty of water offered at each stop. It was hot and we were also drinking beer – it was important for the race attendees to stay hydrated. Great job!

My suggestions on how to make this event even better:

  • The on-site registration process was a mess. For an event like this, I would suggest that you not have on-site registration. There was a huge turnout and it just adds to the chaos.
  • Hundreds of people registered the day of the event through Eventbrite. Because event organizers need to know how much beer they will need for the day and need to know what other items they’ll need (safety pins, water, etc) I would also say that there needs to be a cut off for the pre-registration/online registration. My suggestion would be at least 24-48 hours.
  • There needs to be multiple people checking people in at the event. They should be set up to accomodate multiple people at once. A great way to do this is to have multiple lines differentiated by last name (A-D, E-H, etc). The lines need to be clearly marked.
  • For the first stop, there needs to be better guidance on where to enter to get beer and where to exit with your beer. These lines need to be clearly marked.
  • The route itself needs to be more clearly marked. There was one point (between Proof & Grasslands) where there were many attendees that were “cutting” the course because it wasn’t clearly marked where you needed to walk.
  • I would also suggest having two groups of people – runners and walkers.
    • The runners: clearly want to run 1 mile and would also like to drink 4 beers. They will do this for time and will be eligible for the prizes. They will register for the “beer mile” run.
    • The walkers: clearly do not care about running 1 mile and would prefer to treat the “beer mile” as more of a pub crawl. They will register for the “beer mile” pub crawl.
    • Runners start 30 minutes earlier. They start at the same time and the clock is started once the runners are out on the course.
    • Once the runners are out, the pub crawl participants get their beers and walk to the next station at their own pace. They can visit, snap pictures, get another drink (a paid drink) if they wish.
  • In lieu of having two different groups — there could be staggered “waves” instead of having everyone start at the same time. I would suggest that the start times be staggered by approximately 15 minutes.

Overall I had a great time. I’m looking forward to next year’s event and hope to see some changes to make it a little better.

I also particuarly loved getting to enjoy this at the end of my beer mile. I love the Madison Mule!



Fear & How It Shapes Me

I work night shift. I live in Florida. I work twelve hour shifts. I try to sleep at least 7-8 hours a night. On any given day, that leaves me 5 hours to do what I need to do on my work days. That includes caring for three animals, getting food ready for my 12 hour work day (which includes snacks, lunch and dinner) and getting ready for work. That also means that I have two choices about getting a run in – I can do it before or after work. Running before work isn’t so bad… on a treadmill. But as my runs get longer throughout marathon training, running on a treadmill becomes very boring. Running outside (in Florida) before work is also very difficult. The humidity and heat are harsh here pretty much year round. I don’t mind the occasional treadmill run (in fact I enjoy getting to run while catching up on TV shows!) but running in 95+ degree weather does not appeal to me. And its just not as simple as running on my days off.

Running in the early morning tends to be my best option. It works the best for my work schedule. The sun is usually not out yet. I like the peaceful feeling of being one of the only people out. Its typically quiet and I like those moments of solitude. And while Florida summers can never really be described as “cool” there typically is quite a difference between 5 am and 5 pm. This morning I was drenched after a 40 minute run in 78 degree (felt like 82 or so) weather but when I step out of my door at 5 pm in the evening, I immediately start to feel clammy from the heat and humidity outside. So I choose to run in the early and often dark morning hours.

Unfortunately, the dark morning hours are not the safest hours to be out and about running. I love that solitude, but that solitude is also why running in the dark and wee hours can be so dangerous. Should something happen to me, who would know? My husband, certainly. But only hours after I had been injured. My coworker knows when I go out for a run post-shift and knows when to expect my post-run Runkeeper post. But who knows how long would have passed between something happening to me and when she became concerned after not seeing something from me on her feed? All are valid thoughts and concerns. I very well know and acknowledge that something could happen to me while on my runs. I could be injured. I could be struck by a vehicle (a concern of my coworker’s, especially, since I am not very good about wearing reflective clothing!). Someone could seek to do me harm (something we will address later in this post due to some unfortunate events that have been occuring in Tallahassee).

I refuse to let fear rule my life. I refuse to let what could happen influence my decisions. I refuse to let some creep steal my freedom to choose. I refuse to let the fear that someone could harm me dictate what I do and do not do. Running is a huge passion of mine. Running keeps me clear-headed, strong and happy. Its a source of mental relief for me and I refuse to let anything or anyone take that from me.

However – I will let my fears guide me. Running at night opens me up to dangers. I acknowledge those dangers and respect them. Because of that, I try to dress in light colored clothing so I am more visible. I run against traffic when I have to run on the road and I move as far over as I can if I see a vehicle approaching. I run with earbuds but I try to make sure I have one ear free so I can listen to what is going on around me. I keep an eye on people around me and take note of descriptive details, just in case. I run in areas that I am familiar with so that if I have to call anything in, I know where I am at. I avoid areas that I know have been spots of recent activity and while on campus I run my route as close to our blue lights as I can. I utilize the RoadID app (if I remember… I can be pretty lax about it) and I wear a RoadID just in case a medical emergency occurs. If I’m running on a day off, I make sure my husband knows I’ll be out for a run at some point in the night. If I’m heading out for a post work run, my coworkers know that I’ll be out and about on campus. I’m vigilant while out of on my run and try not to let my guard down. I know that anything could happen at any point.

I’m careful – but I’m not immune to mistakes.

This morning, I made one. Nothing happened to me – but I could have put myself in a bad situation. What made it more painful was the fact that I know better. In my three years as a dispatcher, I have talked to many parents and their children and advised them on basic safety tips. Unfortunately, I made myself a little bit of a hypocrit this morning! Over the past six months, Tallahassee has experienced a string of approximately six abduction attempts. Most of those have occurred on the outskirts of campus – a few of them located on one of my semi-regular routes. Yesterday, the Keep FSU Safe Facebook Page published a post with details about each of the attempted abductions. One of them reportedly occurred on the FSU Bike Trail. I took note of this and altered my route to stay off the Bike Trail. However, I neglected to alter my route to stay away from the main area where quite a few of the attempted abductions had taken place. Luckily nothing took place and there were a couple of local police department units out patrolling the area that made me feel much safer – but it definitely sent chills down my spine. I pride myself in taking great care with my safety. Yes, I refuse to let my life be ruled by fear but I’m not stupid. I try not to invite myself into dangerous situations.

I suppose this post comes from a desire to share at least one thing with my followers – don’t become lax in your attitude. Be vigilant. Don’t let your guard down. Think. Plan your route. Be familiar with where you are running. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Tell people when you are going out for a run and let them know your routes. Vary your routes so that you don’t maintain a routine. Criminals like easy targets. Don’t make yourself easy pickings. As always, be safe.

Training Review Week # 6

Training Run # 1: 3.18 miles, 40:01 minutes, Galloway Method 1:1

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Training Run # 2: 2 miles, 26:25, Galloway Method 1:1

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Long Run: 7.01 miles, 1:32:16, Galloway Method 1:1

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I started the week out pretty good. My first 40 minute training run went pretty well. I averaged about 12:34 min/mile despite some leg stiffness. I’m really enjoying listening to the “Zombies, Run!” storyline while on my runs. It helps to keep my mind focused on the task at hand while providing some amusing entertainment (there is nothing like hearing “You picked up a sports bra” half way through your run, ha!).

Most of my long runs will take place on the weekend but this week I decided to change up my schedule a little bit. I went into the week planning on running a 5K race at St George on the weekend and didn’t want to have to split up my long run. I did a little tweaking of my schedule and decided to run my long run midweek. On Wednesday I ran an early morning (STILL HUMID AND HOT) 7 miler. I actually felt pretty good throughout most of the run. The first few miles ranged from 13:05-13:27 but I was able to run faster for the last two miles (12:47, 12:57). I tried out a new route and encountered some unexpected hills but handled them pretty well.

Unfortunately my second training run was not a great one. Instead of running in the wee hours of the morning, we went out prior to midnight… which may have been a little bit of a mistake. I wasn’t properly hydrated for the levels of humidity and heat we experienced. I ended up cutting the workout short because I felt absolutely miserable. Hopefully Week 7 will be much better! I was kind of disappointed that this workout didn’t go so well. I picked up the newest Brooks Ghosts and wanted to immediately love them out of the box (as unrealistic as that might be!). But coupled with the heat, my still-sore legs and the lack of proper hydration… that just was not meant to be!

Hopefully next week will be much better.

In other news, I added another race to my line up. I registered for the Volition America Orlando Half Marathon on September 19. I am very excited to participate in this event. I’m hoping for a better half marathon time so that I can submit a better marathon time frame for the WDW Marathon in January. I’m still planning on treating it as a “training long run” but I think I’ll be able to do much better than the PHM time (especially considering how many times I stopped to take pictures in the parks!).

Marathon Training Week # 5 Review

Training Run # 1: 2.48 miles, 30:00 minutes, 1:1 Galloway Method

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Training Run # 2: 3.10 miles, 40:02, 1:1 Galloway Method (with a little more walking thrown in — the second mile was pretty hilly!)

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Long Run: 4.01 miles, 50:47, 1:1 Galloway Method


Week Review:

Another good week. I got both of my training runs in and completed my long run despite being soaked to the bone half way through. All three of my runs this week were early morning runs while it was still dark out (with the sun peeking out towards the end for the first training run and my long run). During my first training run both my Garmin and my Yurbuds died half way through the run. The Garmin died from a low battery (I had wanted to kill the battery to see how well the battery lasted. The battery lasted for approximately ten days without me turning it off, set at some seriously battery draining settings with about 2 hours, 46 minutes and 10 seconds of “run” time. Not bad!). The Yurbuds died from unknown causes which was pretty disappointing. Luckily, Yurbuds is a pretty fantastic company and I should have a replacement pair within the next two weeks. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to use an older not-so-nice set of Bluetooth earphones I have!

Midway through the week I decided to “shake up” my training plan a little bit. I love Galloway, but his beginner training plan seemed a little too easy for me. I bumped up my training runs (previously 30 minutes two times a week) to 40 minutes two times a week. I also changed all of my “3 mile” long runs to 4 miles. At this point, I want a little bit of a tougher schedule to better condition my body! The first 40 minute training run on this schedule went well. I was definitely tired after the run but it did not seem like it was too much for me.

This morning I hit a little bit of a road bump… when I walked out of work, it was steadily drizzling. I’m not a huge fan of running in the rain. I was wearing my glasses this morning so I was definitely not wanting to set out for four miles. But it was only drizziling and I did not want to have to run tomorrow. So I put all of my stuff in my car and set off for my four miles. The first mile and a quarter were great. The drizzle was cooling and not too distracting. As I got to a mile and a half the rain started to pick up. Within another quarter of a mile, it had died down a little. By the time I got to mile 2, I was running along out campus “bike trail” in a steady deluge of cold water. I had to keep snatching my glasses off of my face so that I could see where I was putting my feet. I was definitely cool but I was definitely feeling uncomfortable with my shoes soaked through. I couldn’t even dry my glasses off because I was soaked all the way through! Once I was able to break away from the bike trail I ducked into an apartment complex to get away from the worst of the rain. I waited for it to die down a little bit and snapped this “drowned rat” selfie.

Do you think looking like a drowned rat will be in this fashion season??

The rest of my run was fairly uneventful. Even though I was soaked through I completed my four miles. I even stopped at one of my favorite breakfast joints to meet a friend – looking like a soaked through drowned rat that had just run four miles. I have no shame.

***Side Note*** I am LOVING the Zombies, Run app! It is a really fun and interesting way to entertain myself during my runs. I especially love the zombie chases. ;D I am not a huge fan of “subscription based” apps but this is one that I just might have to make an exception for once I have run through all of the “free” missions!


Marathon Training: Week 1

Back in April, I registered for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon. This week was the first official week of the 28 week marathon training plan (from Jeff Galloway, of course!). My plan calls for three runs during the week – two 30 minute training runs and one long run (ranging from 3 miles to 26 miles). Some of the long runs have a “Magic Mile” thrown in to help predict what my race pace will be on race day. For the next six months I plan on writing a weekly blog post about how my training week went. This will be a great way to keep myself accountable while also providing a medium for me to keep track of my training and how I felt/what I did.

Week 1, Training Run #1: N/A

Week 1, Training Run #2: N/A

Week 1, Long Run (3 miles): 34th Annual Firecracker 5k, 38:20.0

Apt for the first week of training! Photo Credit: Herb Wills

End-of-week Review:

I could definitely be off to a better start when it comes to training. Luckily, I have gotten back to running 3 times a week so my base is up to what is “normal” for me. Since this is the first week of training, I’m not too upset about the fact that I missed the first two training runs. My hubby and I planned a quick trip up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so that kind of interfered with my running schedule a little bit (low motivation coupled with really bad weather while we were there – blah). This is definitely something that I need to be careful about, though. To me, the long runs are definitely the most important aspect of my training (to help build my endurance) but the two training runs are important in other ways, too (helping to maintain a base, helping to throw in some speed work and/or hill work). I definitely cannot fall into a habit of skipping on runs. I want to do well for this marathon and I definitely want to be able to finish!

Here's a bear we saw in Cades Cove.
Here’s a bear we saw in Cades Cove.

I did much better for my long run (probably because my legs were fresh from not running for a week!). I registered for the 34th Annual Kiwanis Firecracker 5K the night before, worked twelve hours over night and braved the awful heat to get my long run (and my July race!) in. By the time the race started, I was already nice and dewy from sweat. The race was also a little bit hillier than last year’s course – especially at the beginning of mile 1 and 2! I did pretty good though. According to my Garmin, my splits were: 12:08, 12:28, 12:06 (my splits would have been more even but I stopped at the start of mile 2 so I could get some water from one of the coolers). I averaged about 12:10 and finished the race with an official time of 38:20.0. By the time the race was done, it was already 80 degrees and not quite 9 am!

Definitely looking a little red in the face!

WHS Freedom Run 5k

Last Saturday, I made the short drive out to Wakulla Springs State Park to participate in the 2015 WHS Freedom Run 5K. The race route is an out and back course that runs out of the Springs, across the 61 and out towards the Cherokee Sink. Its fairly flat (the “hilliest” portion is at the very beginning and at the end – neither are very bad). I thought the route was going to be the same as the Friends of Wakulla Springs 5k (which enters the portion of the park that is usually closed to visitors – its a very enjoyable and “easy” trail race in my opinion). However, I really enjoyed the out-and-back course.

I arrived early so that I could park my car and pick up my race packet. I also wanted a chance to stretch my legs after being in the car for almost thirty minutes. Once I had my bib pinned on, I walked down to the swimming area to warm up my legs a little. The swimming area was still closed and it looked peaceful. The humid air was much warmer than the spring water so a light haze floated over the water. It looked very picturesque.

Very beautiful!
Very beautiful!

A few minutes before the race started, the sky opened up and dumped a lot of rain on us. By the time we started the race, the rain had finished but we were all pretty much soaked through. At that point, I was not complaining. It was pretty hot already and I was grateful for the cooling rain. On the flip side, the rain was just enough to leave the air feeling wet and sticky. It was going to be a very humid run!

Here recently, I have been sticking to 1:1 in my races. I decided to change my intervals to 1.5:1 for this race just to see how I would do. I’m really proud of my time. I ran negative splits (12:27, 12:19, 12:07) according to my Garmin and maintained my intervals throughout the race. I felt pretty good throughout and even managed to look pretty good in my finish photo.

Photo Credit: Fred Deckert
Photo Credit: Fred Deckert

I finished in 38:15 (official race time) and felt pretty strong. As a reward, I dipped my legs into the cool water of the Springs when they opened up the swimming area and admired the view.


The water felt DIVINE on my aching calves.
The water felt DIVINE on my aching calves.

Overall – the race was fantastic. It was a nice course and well organized. Case in point – the course was very well marshalled and it was extremely “clean”. The trail had been scoured to make sure nothing hazardous was in the way of runners. Anything they could not remove, they dusted with white powder so that it was easily visible. I was very impressed by that! The race tech shirt was great – I really like the design. I always enjoy running around Wakulla Springs – its a very peaceful place to be, especially in the early morning hours!

Running a 5k on this particular date was also sentimental for me. Two years prior to this 5k, I started my running journey. My best friend introduced me to the “Couch to 5K” program and I decided to give it a go. I didn’t know that I would be bit by the running bug! Two years later, I have come so far from where I was on that day. Running has become more than physical exercise to me. It has become my therapy. It allows me to see my internal strength in a very tangible way. I may not always be happy to go on a run, but I never regret going on one. Running is a cure-all for me. Two years ago, I could barely get out a mile in thirty minutes. Now, I can crank out three in a little over that same amount of time!



In less than two weeks, I will officially start training for the Walt Disney World Full Marathon. I can’t put into words how excited (and nervous!) I am to be making such a huge step in my running journey. I can tell you that the last two months have been a struggle preparing myself to get ready to undertake such a huge achievement.

It is no secret that I was having a rough time in many aspects of my life to include motivating myself to run. I slowly started to notice an upswing about three weeks ago. I ran in my first race in over a month (the Memorial Day 5k) and I also pushed myself to run more than once a week. I was able to crank out an additional run and also pushed myself out the door to get a two mile walk in. The next week, I pushed myself to get three runs in and a couple of walks. All three of my workout were outdoors. They were hot and they were sweaty – but I got out there. I also had a weekend race to motivate me. Last week, I had no race planned to motivate me to keep my momentum going. I also was in my “long week” of work (60 hours in the week, twelve hour long shifts at night, etc) which meant I might be more willing to sacrifice my workouts to get an hour more of sleep.

Going in to this week, I promised myself that I would do at least two things. I would go to the beach to treat myself to some sunshine and relaxation. And I would run at least three times during the week. Well, I succeeded.

FullSizeRender (8)On Tuesday morning, I was exhausted after a long 12 hour shift. My legs were achy and I very easily could have jumped in my car to drive straight home. But, I powered through the groggy feelings and got in a short and slow loop around campus. Certainly not my fastest times, but I was proud of myself for getting it done.

Wednesday – I treated myself to the beach. It was glorious.

On Thursday, I lost a little bit of motivation. I had intended on getting out of bed early to go for a run at the gym. When my alarm went off, I simply could not haul myself out of bed. So, I went back to sleep. I ended up getting to the gym later that night (much, much later!) and cranked out a pretty awesome workout. I increased my intervals with each mile and when I hit the third mile, I felt great enough to also up the speed during every interval. Because of that, I cranked out one of my fastest mile times in quite awhile! Leaving the gym, I felt like I was on cloud nine.

That runners' high feeling? Yeah, its pretty damn awesome.
That runners’ high feeling? Yeah, its pretty damn awesome.

By the time I got to work for my “long” three day weekend, I had already finished two strong workouts and only needed a third to complete my goal. I brought some running clothes to work with me Friday night and threw them on when my shift ended Saturday morning. I didn’t plan on a long run but I wanted to run hard. I have been running 1:1 intervals lately but decided to up that to 1.5:1 intervals. I also pushed myself really hard. I was drenched in sweat and huffing and puffing during my running intervals. I felt uncomfortable but I was also flying. It felt incredible. My Runkeeper clocked my first mile at 12:35 and it clocked my second at 11:18. I stopped running at two miles because there was no way I could keep up that pace – but it felt glorious. I was so proud of myself and excited to write in my running journal.

FullSizeRender (9)I’ve been struggling. But I truly feel like my running mojo is back. I ended only ran 10.2 miles in May. So far, I’m at 24.0 running miles for June. I feel great and I’m excited for the next two races on my schedule (this weekend’s Freedom Run 5K at Wakulla Springs and the annual Firecracker 5k for July 4th). It feels good to be back!