Go Get Your Goals

January 30, 2013

I think one of the biggest thing that happens after the new year when people set goals is they are too focused on setting them right away. If all of the goals aren’t set those first few weeks, then people feel like all is lost – so much for that goal, right? Wrong!

If you are training to run a race, and you don’t get your goal time for that race, do you push on and go for it again? Or do you completely throw in the towel? It is easy to feel that since you don’t accomplish something right away, that it is unattainable. It is just too hard, so why even bother?

You ate more dessert last week than you had originally set your new years goal to be, so next week you are going to have twice as many, because why does it even matter? You failed that goal. Don’t even think like that.

I believe the biggest thing to remember about new year’s goals (or any goals for that matter) is that they are ongoing throughout the whole year, not just the first few weeks. How many of you have fallen out of focus for your goals that you set on January 1st? I know that there are a few that I have definitely not been able to achieve the past couple weeks. For example, I set a goal to practice yoga twice a week this year. Well, the past 2 weeks I only made it to class once. The difference here is that I am not going to let that stop me. I can definitely pick back up and get to class twice this week, even if I missed that goal in the past. Nothing says that I can’t reach for the goal again. I haven’t failed – I just haven’t reached it yet.

I want to post my goals again so they are in the front of my mind. I challenge you to do the same. Give yourself a goal check and see what your progress is. If you have come up a bit short on some, no big deal. Just start at them again. No one says that January 1st is the magical day to make things happen. Why can’t it be January 3oth, or April 16th or even September 4th? It is any day that you decide to make it happen, plain and simple.

2013 Goals.jpg

I am making it a point to not let my goals get pushed to the side this year. Are you?

Pillage And Plunder

January 28, 2013

This past weekend, for yet another year, Tampa was pillaged and plundered by pirates. And of course, every year since 1904, we have made it out alive! Relatively of course – it was Gasparilla after all – Tampa’s biggest party day of the year!

South Tampa shuts down as the mayor hands over the keys to the city and the pirates invade, celebrating with their victory parade down Bayshore Boulevard! And yes, I get that this sounds totally silly to non-Tampa natives (and maybe others that live here). But seriously, this is one of the most fun days of the year here. It is wild and crazy awesome to people watch, participate in the parade, and just have an amazing experience

My favorite part of the day is early morning – the street that I spend pounding the pavement, day after day, is actually closed to all vehicle traffic. I always get out early and go for a run right on the street, as all of the tents, vendors, and some really early risers are setting up for the day. I was able to get in a nice and easy 14 mile run, tacking my run on the end of Meg’s 22 miler. She is running 26.2 for Donna in just a few weeks, and I was thrilled to be able to accompany her on her longest run yet, sporting my Gasparilla hat of course!

Gasparilla hatPost run, we showered up, ate a hearty breakfast and then got ready for round 2 – the Pirate festivities! We live very close to the parade route, so we are lucky enough to not have to worry about driving and finding a place to park. We had a few friends come over to our place, relaxed for a bit, and then hit the streets to take in some of the fun.

Gasparilla parade

There is a ton of fair food, booze and beads to boot. Most people in the neighborhood embrace the day, rather than shunning it. Really, it is the only way to go. Seems like a great day to throw a party to me!


GasparillaMarcus and I are lucky enough to get tickets to a tent every year, so we are completely spoiled. We have a place to keep us out of the sun, a buffet of food, our own port-o-potties, and bleachers to sit on, which are the prime viewing areas! We aren’t pushed around by other people trying to get beads, and you get a great view of the floats as well!





Gasparilla 2013Another year, and a neck full of beads later, another Gasparilla has come and gone. For those of you thinking about heading to the parade in the future, don’t think twice! It an absolute blast and you won’t regret it. If anything, you will come home with some fun new bling!




Ever made your way to Gasparilla in Tampa? Love it or Hate it? Do you have any parades like this where you live?




Running Speed Workouts: Defined!

January 25, 2013

First off, happy Friday!! I’ll start of by sharing a beautiful Florida sunrise with you that I was lucky enough to catch on my run yesterday!


Ok, now back to business. 😉 Whenever I have a new coaching client, we talk about previous training schedules and workouts that they have accomplished. Whenever I give the runners their plan, I always explain the different workouts in detail. I figured, since these runners aren’t always sure of what the workouts entail, then some of you may not know either. Here is a short list of some different running speed workouts that will help to get you faster!

Tempo Runs

Tempo Runs (or lactate threshold runs) are the most important (and least fun) workouts for just about any distance. They are going to be anywhere between 15 to 30 seconds faster than your desired race pace, depending on distance. For my tempo runs during marathon training, I will hold a consistent pace of around 7:45/mile. However, if I am training for another distance, – let’s say a 10k, my tempo runs would be significantly faster – closer to a 6:50/mile. As with every workout, paces are completely scalable to your goals. Just because someone may be running a faster tempo than you doesn’t mean that you have to keep up with them. Focus on your goal for your race

Pace Runs

These are probably the easiest ones to explain out of all the workouts. When running a pace run, you do just that – run at the pace you are looking to hold for a race. If you want to run a 3:30 marathon, your pace runs should be at 8 minutes per mile. Want to break 2 hours in the half marathon? Run at a pace of 9:09. Use this pace calculator to find out what your pace should be, based on your projected goal time.


My favorite way to do repeats is on a track, but they can be done anywhere, as long as you know the distance you are running (or have your handy-dandy Garmin). Repeats should be hit at the same time for each one. For example, let’s say you are running 10x400m –> you need to run 400 meters (1 lap around a track) 10 times. After your first 400m, jog a very easy 400m to get your heart rate down, and then start the next 400m. You should never stop during repeats. The lactic acid will start to build up in your legs, and this is not something that will aid in getting you faster. If you do not want quite as much mileage for your workout, just jog 200m in between repeats. This is a little bit harder to keep track of though, since you would be stopping at different parts of the track each time. Check out this ladder workout if you are looking to get to the track!


I tend to do fartlek runs at the beginning of my training plans. They are enough to get your legs used to speeding up a bit, but nothing too crazy. My favorite way to do a fartlek run is by light posts. I will start running fast at one light post, and then when I get to the next one, I slow down. I repeat this for as long as I want the workout to be. When I say I start running fast, I’m not talking about a sprint either. The goal is to be able to have them all at similar speeds, so don’t overdo it in the beginning.

Progression Runs

These are great to simulate racing. You start off holding back a bit (like the start of a race where it is bottle-necked) and then slowly, mile by mile, you speed up. At the end of the run, you should be going significantly faster than when you started. I will usually drop each mile by about 10 seconds so that there is enough of a difference in speed to notice. The first mile should be faster than an easy run, but not too fast. If you have an 8 mile progression run on tap, that is 80 seconds you are going to have to drop from start to finish. Don’t go out too fast (sounds like a race, right?), or you will not complete the run how it is intended to be.

Don’t forget to warm up before each and every speed workout so that you do not hurt your muscles! I always tell my clients to warm up for 1-2 miles before attempting any type of speed. The same goes for your cool down. This is also something that I practice myself. If you are in cold weather, a longer warmup is probably necessary. 

What other workouts do you like to do? Please share them below!

Pump Up The Heat Circuit Workout

January 23, 2013

I think I saw one very common thing going around yesterday on twitter – very very cold weather! Another thing that was pretty consistent across the board was people skipping their run or even trip to the gym to complete an at home workout. Lucky for you, I have a pretty awesome at home circuit  today for Workout Wednesday!

Pump Up The Heat Circuit Workout


Rather than having the standard 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps, this workout is completely based around what you can do. After completing the walk/run on the treadmill, advance to the next workout – in this case, the split leg squat. Do each leg until you literally can do no more, then move to the pushups. For some of us, this may be only 10-15 reps. For others it may be 45-60 reps. Do whatever your body tells you, but work incredibly hard! This is a full body, intense workout, and should take you no more than 35-40 minutes, including the warm up and cool down at the end.

Most of the exercises should be pretty easy to recognize, but I think the knee to elbow could use some explanation, so be sure to check out the video below if you are curious.

If you do not have a treadmill or elliptical at your disposal, warm up by doing 5 or so minutes of jumping jacks to get the blood flowing and your heart pumping. Working out with cold muscles is never advised!

I hope you are all staying warm and can still get your sweat on! Ever done knees to elbow? It is always tough for me once I get going!

The Zooma Florida Half Marathon

January 21, 2013

The Inaugural Zooma Florida Half Marathon is in the books! Unfortunately, I don’t have any fun to report on the expo or activities of the day before the race. We left Tampa with plenty of time to make it to Amelia Island, the location of the race, but we got stuck in some pretty rough traffic. I had to have someone leave my race packet at the front desk for me when we arrived – thank goodness I was able to grab it then!

The race was hosted at the amazing Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. I have stayed in a couple other Ritz Carlton locations and they have been amazing – this hotel was no different. The rooms were beautiful, the grounds were pristine, and the service unparalleled. I hope to be able to come and visit the hotel again! The nice accommodations are one of the drawing factors of the girls weekend that Zooma wants to attract. I ended up bringing Marcus and a couple of friends along since we had plans for the weekend after the race, but it was have definitely been fun to bring a car full of other ladies with me. Maybe next time!

On race morning, there was a departure time of 7am from the hotel to the start. The course was point to point, meaning the start and finish lines were in different places.

Zooma Map


We were on the bus for about 15 minutes before hopping off. A group of us immediately went over to a nearby building to protect ourselves from the wind – thank goodness it was there – it was cold! The wind was pretty intense and the temps were hovering in the 50’s – cold for this Florida girl!

Zooma(Race ambassadors left to right: Rachel, Michelle, Julie, Caitlin, Me)

In what seemed like just a few minutes, we all made our last porto potty stops and headed to the start line. Since it was the inaugural year, the race was pretty small. It was nice and easy to make our way into the start corral, which is always awesome! There is nothing worse than being stressed out just getting to the start! Yay for Zooma being so organized!


The first couple miles of the course actually had some little rolling hills – it was nothing too crazy, but my legs noticed it. I really just went out comfortable, knowing that if I pushed it in the first half, I would die in the second half. I just ran 10 miles the weekend prior to the half, which was my longest run in a while. I definitely wasn’t in racing shape, but I didn’t want to treat this as an easy run. I wanted to find something in the middle. The first half of the course was in a State Park. It was very shaded and the roads were very quite. I really like those first 6-7 miles. They were very peaceful.


(photo from Caitlin)

Once we got out of the park, we started the head south towards the Ritz Carlton. We got crazy lucky, and the wind was at our backs – thank goodness! We probably had gusts close to 20mph, which could have been a game changer if the wind decided to blow north instead of south. The rest of the course was a straight shot. I will say – if you are looking for a half marathon with a lot of support and spectators, this is not the race for you. There was very, very minimal support on the course from spectators, which really didn’t bug me. I could see this being a little rough though if this was the first time ever running this distance. Just something to keep in mind. Another negative of miles 7-12 is that they were on the shoulder of the road. The street wasn’t closed to vehicular traffic, so we ran on a portion of the road that was sectioned off for us. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing if that part of the road didn’t have a slight slant and it was just for a bit, but for 5 miles – I wasn’t a fan. My hip/ankle started to bug me a bit, and I know it was because of the slant. The views were beautiful though – we were right on the water, running past some of the most amazing homes in north Florida.


Once we got about 1/2 mile from the finish, I noticed something that I was not expecting – sand, and lots of it. The last portion of the course was ran on the sand into the finish line. It was very soft sand and I was definitely having a hard time with it. Since I was so late on Friday, I wasn’t able to make it to the course preview, which did mention this part of the course. Luckily, the sand wasn’t too long, and before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line.


Rather than a medal like most races, I received a little box with a cute necklace inside, made just for Zooma finishers.


Zooma The necklace represented the Sacred Fire – “symbolizing internal fire, passion, and will. Turquoise is the stone of health.” Pretty fun stuff! Once I finished, went quickly upstairs to shower and change clothes, then headed back down for the after party and awards ceremony! I ended up running a 1:42:10, good enough for 15th place and 2nd in my age group.

Zooma Results 2


Zooma Results


One aspect of the race that I love is the very usable age group award. We were given to-go coffee mugs, which was so so exciting! You all know how much I love coffee mugs! And how cute is the shirt we were given for participating as well?! Love love love the chevron print!


(photo from Julie)


ZoomaThere was a fun after party with different vendors, yoga, massages, and a lot of amazing girly activities! The race staff did a good job, and I look forward to even more improvements for next year’s race. To the Zooma team – thanks for having me as a race ambassador. I enjoyed running the race for the first time, and loved meeting all of the other ambassadors as well!



Have you run the first year of a race before? Would you run Zooma next year? What about girl weekend races – yay or nay?