So You Want To Run A Last Minute Race

March 29, 2013

How many times have you had a race pop up on Facebook, Twitter, or just heard about it from a friend, and then have an immediate interest to do it? First, you count the days until the event. Then, you assess your current mileage. Next, you look to see what your long run schedule would look like between now and then.

You ask yourself a few, very valid questions…

Can I pull it off?

Will I be able to finish?

Will it even be enjoyable if I do cross the finish line?

Seems simple enough, but this is where it starts. Think about races in the past that you ran. Was this same distance easy or hard the last time? How much training did you have back then? Remember, it is safe to increase your mileage by 10% each week. If you end up jumping from 20 to 50 miles per week to fit in a really long run and some longer weekday runs, you have a very big chance of getting injured. An injury could sideline you for weeks and even months if its bad enough. One race isn’t worth that.

Chicago Marathon 3

A very logical question to ask yourself is whether or not this race will hinder other training you are working towards. Jess talked a bit about this last week, and it really got me thinking. She brought up some great points in her post.

Running is supposed to be something that we enjoy. Sometimes it is very uncomfortable, but in the end, you should have a smile on your face. If you think during the whole race that you regret each step, then save yourself some time (and money) and just for-go the registration fee. Put the race on your calendar for next year.

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

So a logical question would be how soon is too soon to sign up for a race? I think it all depends on the race distance, the running base you are starting with, what you have been doing to elevate your heart rate, and your past injury history. I know, probably not the answer you want to hear, but everyone’s body is different. For a 5k, you can sign up for within a few weeks until race day. Even if you end up walking the entire thing, it is not going to put a whole lot of strain on your body. You won’t be on your feet for more than an hour (ish), so recovery is pretty minimal. As soon as you get to the 15k and higher, it gets a bit trickier.

If there is one piece of advice I want to make sure I mention, is please do not sign up for a distance at the last minute, for the first time. If you have never ran a half marathon or full marathon, giving yourself a few weeks to train is a very bad idea. You definitely don’t want your first experience of the distance to be a negative one. And trust me – if your max run has been 16 miles, one time, 26.2 is a heck of a lot further. All I am saying is respect the distance. This is no joke. The last 6 miles of a marathon are incredibly difficult, mentally and physically, whether it is your first or fiftieth race.

Chicago Marathon 11

If you do decide that a last minute race is possible, keep a few things in mind while you are racing:

1. Don’t expect a PR

2. Be ok with walking if you need to

3. Listen to your body – if you need to drop out, that’s ok

4. Don’t set a goal pace – if you end up running quicker than expected, great! But don’t put the pressure on yourself from the get go

5. Have fun! That is the most important part of racing anyhow, isn’t it?!

Are you a last minute sign up kind of person, or are all of your races pretty well planned? Have any other tips to add?

My Running Mantra

March 27, 2013

Ever heard the term that running is 80% mental and 20% physical? Just about every runner hears this at some point – whether it is while training for an event, during a race, or even after you have finished a race. The only real way to understand this is to get through a tough run or race, and have to use it in practice.

I remember first time I really dealt with the mental toughness of running – I was doing a track workout at UCF, where I ran in college. We were doing 28×200, with a 200 jog, at 37 seconds. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that workout. It was tough, and I really thought I was not going to be able to finish the workout. However, I knew that was not in my coach’s plans. It was up to her to have me finish it.

She always told me that I could handle the workouts. I just need to buckle down and conquer each repeat. I needed to believe in myself. From all of that coaching, I figured out the racing mantra during that workout that I have been using now for years.



This couldn’t be more true. In the past two half marathons that I have recently PR’d in, I told myself this many times throughout the race.

When my legs were burning like crazy…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I have someone holding onto my back so tight, and I just can’t seem to drop them…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I just want to slow down, because it would be so much easier…

I am stronger than I think I am.

This holds true to every runner out there. You can push your body so much further, faster and harder than you ever imagined. The moment that it starts getting tough, push a little bit harder – that is the moment that you will start to improve.

Moments in life that are easy aren’t worth working for. The ones that give you the challenge are the ones you will always remember.

Social Fresh East 2013

March 26, 2013

Attending conferences in a subject that interests you is one of the best and most effective ways to learn valuable, cutting edge information. Having one of these conferences in your hometown is an even bigger bonus.

On April 18th and 19th, Tampa is the host of Social Fresh East, a social media conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tampa Westshore (4500 West Cypress Street). It is a two day conference that starts around 11 on the first day, and heads straight through the evening on Friday the 19th. Their sessions are limited to just one speaker at a time, rather than the standard conference tracks of 2-3 speakers, and of course, has only 1 track. According to their website, 95% of past attendees would recommend the conference to others. I would say that is a pretty great track record!

Expanding my knowledge to get better at my job, along with getting great new ideas in the social realm is hands down the reason that I am heading Social Fresh. I really can’t beat the fact that is in my backyard either. ;)

Social Fresh East

The Speakers

The conference features 15 of the industry’s brightest social media professionals, and I am very excited to see a few people in particular speak. Here are my top 3:

Adam Kmiec is Director, Global Digital Marketing and Social Media at The Campbell Soup Company. He is responsible for developing a global digital marketing and social media strategy that encompasses both consumer-facing and corporate initiatives to make Campbell one of the most digitally fit organizations in the world. Adam is speaking in the session “Building an Insights Driven Social Media Organization“, which focuses on driving results, rather than just likes.

Morgan Johnston is the Corporate Communication Manager for JetBlue Airways. He leads both internal and external communications focusing on online/new media applications and is in charge of JetBlue’s social media efforts including Twitter, online video, and community efforts. In Morgan’s session, “Learn How to Leverage the Voice of the Customer“, he shares the lessons JetBlue has learned in building their award-winning social media program over the last several years. If you have ever travelled with Jet Blue or interacted with them on social media, then you can understand why I want to learn more about their program. Spoiler – its pretty awesome!

Chris Tuff, SVP – Director of Earned and Emerging Media at local ad agency 22squared, was one of the first marketers to work directly with Facebook, back in 2005. Chris brings his eight years of digital marketing experience and six years of social media experience to help lead the social media team. His session, Breaking Through the Clutter: Using Content, Analytics, and Paid to Achieve ROIsquared, looks like a session that I will be able to really learn a lot from. It is a bit more advanced than some of my current knowledge, so I am really looking forward to learning some more, valuable information.

For my full-time position, I plan conferences similar to Social Fresh – the one track atmosphere, intimate setting, and amazing speakers. Those three aspects are really what makes conferences amazing. I had the same experience last summer at Healthy Living Summit in Boston, and just can’t recommend it enough. I can’t wait to check out another conference in my industry, and learn some incredible valuable information while I am there!

Social Fresh is a social media education company whose goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media.




Are you heading to Social Fresh? Let me know and I would love to meet up!

Long Run Pear Power Smoothie

March 25, 2013

I tackled the first 20  mile long run of my training plan this past weekend. Sometimes they are hard, sometimes they are relatively painless. Saturday was a tough one. My legs were tired by mile 7, which has never happened before. I am thinking that it had a bit to do with the fact that I raced the weekend before, and my legs were still just a bit tired.

This is why we do these type of long runs – not only to prepare our bodies, but also to prepare our minds when the runs get tough, and all you really want to do is finish. And finish I did – nice and early so that I didn’t lose the majority of the day!

20 mile long run

One of the big side effects that I have found with long runs is that I just can’t eat right after. Putting my body through 3 hours of straight exercise really put a bit of stress on my digestive system, so a small meal is great post run to refuel, and then I load up with a big meal a few hours later. Saturday, I went for the pear power smoothie!

Green smoothie

1 banana

1 pear

1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt

handful of ice

handful of spinach

1/2 cup of your choice of milk

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Blend all of the ingredients together and you have a great post run treat! If the 1/2 cup of milk isn’t enough, add however much liquid is needed to get it all moving. This was a great way for me to get some fast calories after pounding the pavement for 20 miles, and even better – it tastes sooo good!

Do you eat a bit meal after long runs? Or do you need to wait a little bit before you refuel? What is your favorite post run meal?


The Tampa Corporate 5k

March 22, 2013
Tampa Bay Corporate 5k

One of the things I loved most when I lived in Orlando for the four years that I was at UCF was the running scene. There is a very well established running store, Track Shack, that has an awesome running series each year. Their events are all very well executed – they start on time, have great awards – they really just know how to pull of a great race.

One thing that Tampa lacks is that running hub. Don’t get me wrong – we have a ton of road races. But none that are in the same type of series like track shack does – all different race distances, locations, the works. One of the great events that Track Shack hosts is the IOA Corporate 5k. This race is held each year in mid April, and it touted as Orlando’s biggest office party.

Lucky for us, Tampa is following in Orlando’s footsteps this year – looks like we have our own Tampa Corporate 5k!

Tampa Bay Corporate 5k

On April 11th, downtown Tampa will be embracing the corporate culture and hosting an amazing group of runner for the very first corporate 5k! Straight from their website –> “Held exclusively for Florida’s corporate community; businesses and non-profit organizations form teams and participate in the Corporate 5k for camaraderie, friendly competition and celebrating with co-workers”. The race doesn’t start until 7pm, so there is no excuse to not participate. You can walk, run, or even crawl across the finish line!

My office is putting together a team and taking it to the streets! It’s been a while since I have ran a 5k, but I am really looking forward to this event!.My coworkers all know how to have a blast and I can’t wait for them to experience this race.

If you are in the Tampa area, be sure to sign up as well. There are over 500 people that have already registered. How high do you think we can get that number?!

Do you have a Corporate 5k in your city? Have you ever participated? Would you want to?