The 2017 Gasparilla Half Marathon: Race Recap

March 13, 2017
Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017

Oh Gasparilla, how I love thee!

This race is my absolute favorite has been my favorite for years and years for a few solid reasons – the swag is awesome, the medals are amazing, the on course support is stellar, and the route is fantastic.

This year, I got an extra treat, as my sister and I ran the race together. She has somewhat recently gotten into running (this was her 3rd half) and it was her very first time running Gasparilla. I knew I wanted to run it with her, so when we walked up to the start, we filed right in line with runners looking to go sub 2 hours. This was the first year they had the different waves (sub 2 hour finishers and 2+ hour finishers) and I think it made a big difference. It wasn’t nearly as tough to get in and out of the crowds as it had been in years past.

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017_4

Em led the way through the crowds and I stuck right on her back. It’s pretty easy to get separated in the beginning of a large race like this one, so I told her to lead so I didn’t push the pace. I tend to get a little caught up at the start sometimes. 😉

The first 4-5 miles are on Davis Island, which is a sleepy neighborhood perfect for a race. There were a few water stops on the island and then we went up and over the bridge onto Bayshore Boulevard, where we would remain for the remainder of the race. Since it is an out and back, spectating can be pretty great if you know where people will be standing. My friend Meg was right on the road after we hopped off the bridge, and then my parents were down around mile 6. I always look forward to seeing smiling faces in local races!

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017_3

We were shooting for a sub 2 hour finish, and per our watch splits, we were right on point! Emily was feeling strong and we just put one foot in front of the other as we moved along. I had to take a quick potty break around mile 8, so I did a quick sprint to the port-o-potty and then caught back up with Em – no sweat!

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017_1

As soon as we got to the turning point, we noticed a distinct difference in the race – a massive headwind. It looked like we’d be facing one heck of a windy last 4 miles. I did a little bit of wind blocking for Em to help save some of her energy, but she didn’t even need it. She was feeling great!

I knew my boys were standing right at the 12 mile mark, so I was so excited to see them cheer us on! Grant loves running now and is one of my favorite running buddies, so he loves seeing mommy run. He can’t quite understand why he isn’t able to keep running with me when I see him on the course though, so that is something we are working on 😉

After seeing my family, Em and I grabbed another sip of water and headed to the finish! She was really feeling the increased speed and headwind, and was pretty ready to be done at this point. With just one more mile to go, she really dug deep and found that last ounce of energy to pull off a sweet PR!

We crossed the finish line in 1:54:50 – right around a 30 second PR for Em! Woot!

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017

Other than the awful headwind, the weather was really ideal! Especially considering how hot and humid it was the day before, I call this a win! Can’t wait to be back next year!

Davis: 9 Months

March 9, 2017

Dear Davis,

Hey happy boy! You, little one, never cease to amaze me. Your smile is still my favorite thing to see every morning and I just can’t help but laugh when I see that toothy little grin! You have 4 chompers now, 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top, so your little mouth is having quite the teething party. You really were grumpy for just a couple of days when those two teeth came in, so we all gave you a little extra attention and snuggles.

Davis 9 Months_3

With more teeth comes the ability to eat more food. You still love anything we put in front of you and have definitely mastered the art of sucking down a pouch almost instantly. You are loving table foods and think cheerios are the best. Eggs, avocado, banana, oatmeal, PB&J all make it to the top of your favorites list. You sill like breast feeding and do well in the morning, but you are not as great at night. My supply isn’t nearly as big at bedtime, so you like to bite to show your frustration. I’m really hoping you stop that soon – it really hurts!

Davis 9 Months_4

You weighed in at 17 lbs at your doctor’s appointment last Friday, which is at the bottom 10% of the growth chart. You are just a tiny guy 😉 You still fit well into your 6 month clothes and are slowly transitioning to 9 months for some items. We are still using size 2 diapers with very limited blowouts 😉

Davis 9 Months_1

You are getting really good at crawling around the house and you love the new found freedom. Once you see any of Grant’s toys, you head their way fast! He is pretty good at sharing with you, but you both have your moments if you don’t get to play with your desired toy. Don’t get me wrong – you and your   Brother love each other more than I ever thought possible. You light up when he rounds the corner and he has to kiss you before I put you to bed each night. You two are really two peas in a pod. You still love Winnie so much, but I can’t say she wants much to do with you at the moment. You get so close to her and she gets up and walks away. One day she will be begging for your cuddles and scratches buddy, one day!

Davis 9 Months_5

Its hard to believe you will be a toddler in just 3 short months. The first year goes by so fast and I don’t want to miss a minute with you little man.

Davis 9 Months_2


Keep smiling and loving us all each day, sweet baby. We all sure will.


Grant: 3 Years Old

February 28, 2017

Oh Grant, how are you already 3 years old! It seems like we were just celebrating your 1st birthday, and now we just rang in year 3!

You are nothing short of a firecracker these days! Your speech is unreal, and you are always telling us stories and making us laugh. Your favorite phrase is “Come on, dude!” and it really is so darn funny! We celebrated your birthday at a park up the street and almost all of your friends and family were there to celebrate with you. I found a super cool cake and couldn’t have been more thrilled to blow out the candles!

Construction Birthday Cake

grant 3rd birthday family

Your second year was full of so many big milestones.

You became a big brother (!)

Grant meets Davis

You moved into your own room in a big boy bed

Grant big boy bed

You learned how to use the potty.

Grant potty

You made even more friends at school

Grant and friends

We had a few fun trips Disney

Grant Disney 3 years old

You ran your first race

Grant running race

We had fun at your first Gasparilla parade

Grant and dad Gasparilla

Grant and Mom Gasparilla

Grant and Davis Gasparilla

You played with more trucks than I could ever imagine.


And best of all, you continue to be the most amazing little boy in the world. You are kind, thoughtful, well mannered and very compassionate. Your dad and I are so unbelievably fortunate to be able to raise you into the wonderful little guy you are becoming.

grant and mom 3 years old

I love you little boy – thank you for being mine!


Best Damn Race Safety Harbor 2017: Race Recap

February 15, 2017

The Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor is a  gem of a race we have here in the Tampa area. They’ve expanded to other cities as well (I ran the Cape Coral Marathon back in 2014) and really know how to put on an amazing event!

The half marathon started at 7:15am (there was a 10k before and a 5k after), which mean the wake up wasn’t too crazy early! My friend Steph and I decided to ride together to Safety Harbor, so she picked me up around 6:15am and we headed over the bridge! The race start is only about 20 minutes from my house, so the commute was a breeze. We weren’t sure what parking was going to look like, so we wanted to give ourselves an extra few minutes. Luckily, we grabbed a parking spot in the surrounding neighborhood and used the distance between the car and the start line as a little warm-up. It was right around 60 degrees at the start, so warming up our muscles was perfect.

There were pacers standing in the corrals, so knowing where to line up was easy peasy. I started with the 8 minute/mile crowd, thinking I’d be happy to stick with this group, if at all possible. Once the gun went off, we all trotted on our way. It was pretty humid, but still cool and cloudy out, so weather wasn’t an issue. The first few miles, like always, flew right by. We ran on the water into Philippe Park, so it was a bit of an out and back. Seeing familiar faces in these settings is always a nice pick me up! Right around mile 4, we got back out onto a main road and start our trek back south. I was averaging 7:30 pace, which was much faster than expected!

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor_4

For anyone who has never been to Safety Harbor, its a cute little town right on the other side of Tampa Bay. I really enjoyed running through the neighborhood, and was so thrilled with the varying elevation of the course. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not calling it hilly, but it was just enough to get me thinking a little different in regard to race strategy. I really focused on taking on the hills strong, and really using the downward slope to my advantage, letting my legs really guide me down to make up for lost speed.

We ran in and out of neighborhoods, so there was a lot to look at! Spectators were minimal, except around mile 5.5 when we passed the start/finish areas. For me, this wasn’t a big deal – I just get out and do my thing 😉 This is truly a race put on by runners, so the amenities were not lacking! There were aid stations every mile and a half or so, which is so necessary in Florida. I always really appreciate it when hydration stations are on point. There are too many times when an out of town race comes to Florida and there isn’t enough water. That is not the case with Best Damn Race!

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor_1

Right around mile 8, I definitely started to feel the faster pace. The day of the race marked the 6th day of the Whole30 (more on that later!), so the altered diet was showing it’s face for sure! I could tell I just didn’t have as much in the tank right then, as my body was really still adjusting to the new way of eating. I slowed down for about a mile, and then dug down a bit deeper to get my pace back on track.

Mile 10 and 11 flew by, and at that point, it was really just a 2 mile run back to the marina. At this turnaround, the wind seemed to come out of no where and I really had to work for those last couple of miles. The headwind was pretty tough! I crossed the finish line in 1:41:05 (chip time) which was good enough for the 17th woman and 3rd place in my age group.

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor_3

I really surprised myself with the pace, and couldn’t have been more impressed with the race overall. Packet pick up was a cinch, getting to the start was no issue, the post race area was stocked well, and the medals are huge! Oh, and I forgot to mention – the race photos for this race are all free! Such an amazing perk!!

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor Medal

I’ll definitely be back next year for another Best Damn Race!

Davis: 8 Months

February 9, 2017

Dear Davis,

8 whole months baby boy! I say it every month and I’ll say it again, but time needs to slow down! You are the happiest little guy and your smile can melt hearts left and right. You are the best at giving away toothy grins and love to see faces you recognize.

Davis 8 Months_3

Any time your daddy or I turn the corner, you couldn’t be happier. As for your brother, he is the best at playing with you and keeping you entertained. You two are already fast friends and the bond grows deeper each and every day.

Davis 8 Months Grant 3 years

Month 7 to 8 was a big leap for you. You are (finally) sitting up like a pro and you’ve even started crawling too. You babble like a crazy man, blow strawberries, and scream at the top of your lungs to entertain yourself. You think that is so so funny! You’ve really taken a liking to music, really since you were a newborn, and can be calmed by most any tunes – even my rendition of the itsy bitsy spider.

Davis 8 Months_1

You’ve never had a food you didn’t like  – you sir, are an eater! I make your food at the start of each week and you just wolf it down every day. You favorites seem to be oatmeal with banana and peanut butter, sweet potato with applesauce, and butternut squash. You think pouches are the coolest since you can hold onto them and feed yourself without help from mommy or daddy.

Davis 8 Months_4

You are still on the smaller side and are in 6 month clothes and still in size 2 diapers. The doctors say you are growing right on par with your growth chart and say you are absolutely thriving. I have to say I agree! Nursing is still something I look forward to when you wake up, since its really the only time of day you and I spend together by ourselves. Sometimes at night you will nurse, but most of the time you take a bottle since my supply is a little lower then, and you get frustrated and start biting me. Ouch! That can stop sooner than later, mkay?

Davis 8 Months_2

Your sleep is still great, and I really thank you for that! Bedtime is right around 6:30pm and you sleep until 6:30-7:30am most days. Once I get back from my early morning runs or gym sessions, you are ready to play! You love coming on runs with me in the stroller and have an affinity for your thumb and lovies.  If you grab something soft, your thumb immediately goes into your mouth and spend a few moments cuddling. Its absolutely adorable.

Davis 8 Months_5

We are creeping up on a very busy spring, with your first trip to Disney, your brother’s 3rd birthday, and lots of other fun outings in between. You are so great about taking it all in stride (or nap!) and we couldn’t be more thankful to have you in the family, sweet baby!