Clearwater Distance Classic – half marathon recap

I received an email last week with a race confirmation – a race I had no idea I was actually signed up for! I have ran a few of the Florida Road Races events in the past, and had never had the chance to run the Clearwater Distance Classic. I picked up my race packet last week, and showed up Sunday for the race!

First off, we were given long sleeve cotton tshirts! How awesome is that! I love long sleeve tees, especially cotton ones! I know many people would disagree, but I was thrilled about this for sure!

Ok, back to Sunday morning. It took me about 30 minutes to drive over to the race from my house, so I gave myself plenty of time to find parking, get to the start line, etc. The race started right in the water in Coachman Park, so the wind made it pretty chilly. I found a wind free spot in the corner of a building, and stood with a few other runners while we waited until it got closer to the start.

Clearwater Distance Classic

The race name was changed this year to the Clearwater Distance Classic because it has a lot of different distances to choose from:
5k walk
5mile run
1/2 marathon
Marathon
50k

Since there were so many distances, the walkers were given a chance a start 30 minutes before the runners, to get a head start on the heat and for safety purposes. They all left at 6:35, then the gun went off for the runners at 7:05.

Clearwater Distance Classic

The first mile took us straight up and over the Clearwater causeway. Then, we all headed down Clearwater beach. I forget how extremely pretty it is over there. During the day, it’s probably my least favorite beach to go to. In the morning before everyone else is awake, it’s the perfect place to be. The race stayed right on the main road, so there were no turns or anything. Luckily, it does wind around a bit so it’s not just a straight shot into nothingness. We headed up and over another bridge to Sand Key, so that was another test for the legs!

Clearwater Distance Classic

Around mile 5, I think, we headed into Sand Key park, did a quick loop, and then were out back on the main drag. We turned around right around mile 7 and then headed back the way we came (minus the park loop).

Clearwater Distance Classic

It was fun to be able to see the other runners on the way back. The weather was perfect and cool, so lost people were in great spirits. It’s amazing how cool temperatures can really affect the looks on people’s faces!

Clearwater Distance Classic

Toward the end of the race, the bridge we ran up during the first mile reappeared, so we had to get back over it to the finish. I took my tiny steps and got up the hill, little by little. I was able to pass 2 other women on the ascent, and then it was time to head down. I completely opened up my stride and let my momentum take me. I absolutely hauled ass that last mile.

Clearwater Distance Classic

When we came down the bridge, we exited a bit differently than we had come on the bridge in the beginning. There was a twirly sidewalk that circled around, dropping us off at the bottom. I passed another couple of people on the sidewalk, and then the finish was right around the corner. I am guessing it was about 3/10 or so of a mile to the finish, so I went as fast as my legs would take me!

I crossed the finish line in 1:42:05, which equates to a 7:48 pace. I honestly blew myself out of the water with that one. After not running more than 5 miles since my marathon back in December, I wasn’t expecting much. It is pretty amazing what the body is capable of!

Clearwater Halfathon

The Florida Road Race Series is growing to be my absolute favorite in Tampa Bay. The race crew is fantastic and really thinks of everything! Thanks again for another fantastic race. I’m already looking forward to their next half marathon on March 22nd!

 

4 Exercises New Moms and Dads Need To Master

There are so many different instances I think about the benefit of staying in shape after having a baby. The more and more mobile Grant gets, the more I am realizing I need to get consistent about lifting weights – just so I can keep up with him! Here are 4 exercise I am making a point to add into every strength session so I can keep up with Grant!

Deep Squats

Picking up a 20 lb baby consistently from the floor can really wreak havoc on your back if you don’t do it right. Regularly put a few sets of squats in your gym routine to strengthen those muscles. Don’t do minimal squats either – really go deep and mimic what it is like picking up your little one. Make sure your bodyweight is in your heels and you can move those toes. Keep your back straight and focus on form!

Front Raises

This one doesn’t seem like much, but try holding your baby out in front of you when they are covered in baby food or their own poop. Not so fun, huh? Strengthening your deltoids by doing dumbbell raises will help to increase your stamina when you can’t hold your little one on your hip or close to you. You will be pretty thankful in the end!

Baum 6mths Grant-33 5x7 L

Dead Lifts

Reaching over the crib to pick up your son or daughter is something we do day after day, many, many times. If you have a weak low back and core, you can easily tweak your back on not even be able to pick up your child for a few days. Deadlifts are a full body workout, but they really help core strength and stability, as well as your hamstrings. They mimic real lift lifting – think laundry baskets, grocery bags, or even that flower pot in the front yard. The lower you place your child’s crib mattress in their bed, the more you are going to be relying on your back to stabilize you. Focus on your form and start with low weight. You don’t want to start heavy and then injure yourself, right off the bat. Also, if you have low back problems already, stay away from the deadlift until your chiropractor or doctor gives you the go ahead.

Planks

A strong core is paramount to help protect your lower back. A lot of back issues come from a weak core, so it is very important to direct exercises at focusing on both of these area. Planks really are a full body workout, when you do them right. Really tighten your quads and arms, as this will help support the rest of your body. Don’t let your hips sag – if you need to reduce your time spent in the plank position so your hips don’t sag, that’s ok. Work up to 5 more seconds every few days. Before you know, you will be planking like a pro!

Grant aquarium

 

What exercises do you think provide the most benefit for new parents?

Saying Goodbye to 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve! Not only is today the end of 2014, but it is also Marcus’ birthday! Happy Birthday to the most amazing husband, dad, and friend a girl could ask for.

Gasparilla Marcus Eye Contact

2014 has been an incredible year. We had a beautiful baby boy, I started a new job, we bought our very first house, and I had a big PR in the marathon distance. Talk about a lot of change! I feel like life can’t get any better than it is right this moment, so I am pretty interested to see what 2015 will bring. I am not making any resolutions or even setting any goals for the next year. I am just going to be completely present to everything that comes my way and enjoy life with my amazing family.

Holt Wedding Michigan family pictureEven thought I am not taking part, with the start of 2015 comes many resolutions and goals set by people across the globe. Here are a few really great articles surrounding this topic and a few others for the start of a new year. I think you might really enjoy them!

15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life in 2015

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business in 2015

New Years Eve Around the World

Looking Back – Those We Lost in 2014

Why You Should Skip The Resolutions This Year

The Anatomy of a New Years Resolution

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve and New Years Day! See you in 2015!

Grant: 10 Months

Grant, you have moved to double digits! For 10 whole months, you have blessed our lives each and every day. Your personality is really shining through, and there is one big consistency – smiles! You are the happiest little guy I know. You really only cry at night when you wake up and need your paci, or your Daddy to rub your back. Sometimes, if there is too much going on and then you go down for a nap, you make sure we know you want to stay awake, but it doesn’t last for long. You always lay down and get in a good snooze twice, each and every day.

Grant 10 months

You had 2 more teeth come in this month, which brings you to four total. You have both bottom front teeth and now both top front teeth, which leads to one adorable little smile. You did really well teething with those top two, and were just a little fussy at night time, waking up and needing a little extra cuddle time with Mommy or Daddy. As soon as the teething stopped, your sleeping through the night got back to normal, which we both were very grateful for!

Grant's first Christmas

You are babbling more and more, so I am expecting some words any week now. You said Momma last week when you were eating, but I know it was just because I said it and you repeated after me. That’s ok – I’ll take it! It was the sweetest little sound!

Grant 10 months

Speaking of eating, I am pretty sure it is your favorite thing to do these days. You like everything you try. I really can’t remember you not liking any food lately. You eat eggs, pancakes, avocados, hummus, turkey, pork, cheerios, applesauce, black beans and rice! It is quite the variety and you can’t get enough!

Grant 10 months

Grant, Christmas was so much fun this year. All of your grandparents, aunts, and uncles made it to town to celebrate with you and it couldn’t have been any better. You were the star of the day and received so many amazing gifts. It’s a toss-up as to which gift was your favorite. You sure love being in your wagon, but a little pack of batteries was the most fun for you to play with – just look at that smile!

Gran't first Christmas

We took you to church for the first time as well on Christmas day. You did very well and just wanted to interact with everyone around us. You loved hearing the music, especially the organ. It made some crazy noises and you were pretty amazed by it!

Gran't first Christmas 2014

You are really starting to transform from a baby to a little boy. Your mannerisms and body language are just so revealing of the little guy you are turning into! It’s hard to believe we are going to be celebrating your first birthday in just 2 short months. I can see a lot will go on between now and then – talking, walking, and being a crazy little boy!

Gran't first Christmas wagon

Keep being you baby boy. It is all I will ever need! Love you to the moon and back!

Grant met Santa

We had our cliche “Baby’s First Christmas – let’s go visit Santa” this past weekend. I had no idea how it was going to go, but it ended up going great!

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We went to one mall, but the line was at least 60 families deep. Marcus and I quickly looked at each other and agreed Grant would never make it waiting in line that long. We hopped in the car and went to another mall, about a mile away. For any Tampa folks, we started at International Plaza and ended up at Westshore Plaza.

When we walked up to Santa, he was on his lunch break, coming back in 30 minutes. We also decided to grab lunch, and when we came back, we realized we made the right decision! We were the 4th family in line now, and Grant was happy as can be! I will definitely be using that in the future too! Find out Santa’s break schedule and plan around it.

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How did your visit with Santa go?