Saturday, 28 March 2015

One week from today I will be running in the OAK BARREL Half Marathon in Lynchburg, TN.

I am going home (Nashville is about an hour from Lynchburg) to escape the Nova Scotia snow and to see my family.   This has been a BUCKET LIST RACE for me since it started in 2012. 

Since I am not doing the Boston Marathon this year, I decided to finally punch my ticket to this must do race.  As a gal from Tennessee and an absolute lover of all things Jack Daniels... well, I am pretty excited!

I have toured the distillery three times but am gonna lose my mind when I see this sign for ME!

The hill on the half marathon course is so nasty it has a name and its own facebook page - ugh, well HILLs don't scare me!

February 20-22, 2015 - FIVE races THREE days, ONE tutu, ONE birthday! 

Disney Princess Frozen 5K; Gasparilla Distance Classic: 15K, 5K, 21K and 8K

For the last 5 years, I have celebrated my birthday by going down to the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, Florida.  Perhaps it's because winter in Nova Scotia is a challenge. Or maybe it's because the race always falls on my birthday weekend? But, its become an annual event for me.  I love the medals, the pirates, the costumes, the 4 races in 2 days format.   Full disclosure, three years ago in an homage to Gasparilla I created a local pirate themed race weekend that "borrowed" the best elements that Gasparilla exposed me too! I am no longer the Race Director for that event here in Nova Scotia but I still go to Gasparilla... guess we really do hold on to our favorites.

This year presented a different set of circumstances for me as I have been dealing with a back injury that has limited my training.  I could have opted out of one of the four races (I have a tendency to Go Big or Go Home) but I decided to change my expectations and I even added a 5K at Disney the Friday before race weekend.  The only other time I did a Disney race it was horribly cold. Guess what happened this trip? It was insanely cold... go figure... Florida in February and I really wished I had gloves and pants.  But, I got to race the day before my birthday.  I couldn't pass up that opportunity. 
Leaping at the end of the Disney Frozen 5K - Friday, Feb 20, 2015
I decided that I would go as slow as I needed and accept that I wasn't going to be competitive.  Historically, I have raced well at Gasparilla.  Really well.  In 2012, I won the Ultra Challenge meaning I was the fastest woman to cover the four races: 15K, 5K on Saturday and 21K, 8K on Sunday.  That's 49 Kilometers over 2 days and I would be tackling that event again in 2015 on minimal training...

1st race on birthday = 15K
2nd race on my birthday (it's my BIRTHDAY!) = 5K
Previously, participation had never been the goal in Tampa. I wanted to win or win my age-group. But,  life throws us curve balls so I decided that being able to run/jog and cover the distance would be my PB ("personal best" this year). A little perspective goes a long way. I really would be grateful to just cover the distance in any particular time!

First race = 21K

2nd race = 8K 
I wish I could say that it easy because I wasn't racing.  Nope. I took the pressure off myself to perform and win (because that wasn't gonna happen) and I wore my beloved tutu.  But, I still had to cover a lot of miles.  Since it was 5 races in 3 days I can honestly say that sometimes it was really fun. Sometimes it was really hard.  But, overall it was all I hoped it would be. I FINISHED each race with a smile and actually lept for joy in every single race. Thank you Disney and Gasparilla for giving me the best birthday present I could imagine.   I'll be back next year.