a florida story and a long run

It is Friday, which is glorious since I’m off from work, but a little less glorious since I am working all weekend.  Cue the tiny violins, thanks.  Oh well.  Hopefully I can entertain you with a little story and a long run.

eric and i might be siblings

JUST KIDDING.  But seriously.  When we were checking out of our hotel in Florida last weekend, the lady at the desk told us that we looked alike..like we could be brother and sister.  Isn’t that a weird thing to say to two people checking out of a hotel?  I suppose siblings could be at a hotel together, but……not exactly the thing a young couple wants to hear.  I would prefer for you to tell us we’re a cute couple, not that we look like siblings…

Cast your vote!

the friday long run

Since I’m working both days this weekend (and worked Wednesday and Thursday…), Friday wins for long run day.  I don’t drink much water when I’m at work, so my (natural) cherry red lips this morning didn’t give me high hopes for the most well hydrated run.  Additionally, my legs keep feeling super tight (any recommendations for at home yoga routines), and starting off a run with a waddle doesn’t exactly instill confidence.  But anyway.  After enjoying my coffee, banana with peanut butter, and a Honey Stinger waffle (honey flavor this time), I layered up to head out the door.  Eric read me the weather report before I left – 25 degrees and sunny, feels like 15 (wind at 7mph).

The first thing I thought when stepping outside was that it definitely felt warmer than the weather made it seem like – the sun makes a big difference!  There was little wind which was even better.  The plan for the run was to do a loop of Central Park then head to the West Side Highway for the rest of the run.  My past few long runs have been loops of Central Park, and that gets monotonous after awhile.  After waiting for forever for my Garmin to get signal (last time I used it was in Florida…), I set out to the park.  It certainly felt like I had some kinks to work out in my legs…when your gait doesn’t even seem quite right, it’s hard to get in the zone and just go.  Not to mention I wasn’t really in the mood for a long run.

Easy loop of Central Park, not a fan of Cat Hill, but Harlem Hill was pretty smooth.  Although I did feel pretty warm for what 25 degrees should feel like, one guy seemed a bit extreme.  He was running in tight and carrying his shirt in his hand.  25 degrees.  No shirt.  I mean, I guess when it’s been single digits lately, you might think 25 is warm.  But not no shirt warm!  I’d ditch my tights for shorts before digits my long sleeve shirt for a tshirt or tank…let alone no shirt.  But you do you, buddy.  I saw him both at the bottom of the park and the top of the park, so he was out there for awhile.  I would like to know what he wears to run in the summer…

After the park, I headed west on 72nd St over to the West Side Highway.  I haven’t been over there in a few weeks, but I figured the path would be clear enough for running…or at least better than the last time I tried.  Luckily, the NYC Parks department is awesome and the path was free of ice, minus two short patches that I walked over.  Excellent.

I headed south for about five miles, dodging all the dog walkers (so many of them, so little room for them to go with all the grass covered…).  Every few miles, I ate a few Power Bar Energy Chews (Cola flavored – Eric bought them for his ski trips), but I was too lazy to carry water soooo I just crossed my fingers to get through the run.  The miles seemed to click off, and I counted down until it was time to turn around.  As I got closer to my turn around point, I felt myself speeding up – as if “two miles to go” meant two miles to go in the entire run.  Oops?

Of course, I turned around and still had five miles to go, but I still had that “I must be near the end of the run!” feeling going, so I had a little pep in my step.  The miles rolled along, and soon enough I was sliding back over those ice patches not far from my apartment.  Up the hill in the final mile, and 17 miles was done.

SEVENTEEN MILES.  I haven’t seen that long of a long run in…I have no idea.  Over a year?  It’s amazing to me how I can feel so unready at the beginning of a run – sluggish legs, feeling dehydrated, and really just not in the mood for a long run – but then have the run go so well and feel great as well.  98% sure this means I’m programmed for distance running, and I’m not complaining.

image Huzzah.

17.21 miles in 2:13:43, avg pace of 7:46

Pretty sure my Garmin was way off on that first mile – definitely didn’t start off at 7:00 pace!  I think the 17 mile mark is a big mental barrier in the marathon – you’re so far into the race, and you only have single digit miles to go!  Nine long miles…ha!

Hope all your weekend long runs go well – and stay warm!

wedding weekend in jacksonville

It is with deep sorrow that I say that I’m blogging from my toasty apartment in NYC.  While I am pleased that my four blankets are keeping me warm, I am sad that this morning I was in Florida where even 55 was warm enough to make me happy.  On Thursday, Eric and I headed to Jacksonville, Florida to escape winter to visit his dad and attend a wedding in St. Augustine.  Eric grew up in Jacksonville and many years in the heat has made him strongly dislike it, but I was so excited for Florida to bring the heat.

In honor of my “don’t make excuses to avoid training,” I got up early before our flight and bundled up for five cold miles – certainly to help me appreciate the warm weather in Florida!  Of course, Florida had some other ideas for us, at least for the first couple days…

photo 3 (19) Florida’s got a sense of humor.

I’m pretty sure it dipped down into the 30’s, and the news had warnings of a DEEP FREEZE for parts of Florida.  I was laughing on the outside, but on the inside I was so sad that I couldn’t throw my sweatshirt in the corner for the weekend.  Sigh.


I woke up Friday morning to the temperature of 39.  THIRTY-NINE DEGREES.  If it was NYC, I’d be rejoicing.  Not so much in Florida.  Luckily I had checked the weather and packed some cooler weather running clothes – black capris, a light long sleeve shirt, and some gloves.  I never felt chilled or too hot, which works out well when you’re doing to do a workout that will make you sweat!  Since I wasn’t quite sure which workout to do, I picked one during my two mile warm-up – it’s been awhile since I’ve done a fartlek, and sometimes it’s more fun to run by time instead of distance.  I went with a 1 hard, 1 easy, 2 hard, 2 easy, 3 hard, 3 easy, times two workout.  Hopefully around 5k-ish pace, which is always up in the air since I don’t really run 5ks much.

image Splits.

That last three minutes hard was a bit rough, but otherwise not too shabby.  It’s SUPER flat in Florida, so that helps.  Although I think I’m better at tempo runs (longer=better, obviously), short distances are much easier to push through simply because they’re over faster.  I probably should have added another set to this, but oh well…next time!

After some lunch, we headed to the Anheuser Busch brewery, where we were able to tour the facilities – much larger production than most breweries I’ve visited!  We stopped by the tap room for a beverage where I tried Shocktop’s Chocolate Wheat…it tasted like a chocolate stout but without the full body.  I’d never seen it before – give it a try if you do!

photo 2 (32) Eric and I picked up a new ride!

Otherwise, Gatsby tried to make friends with the horses, but perhaps he needs friends who are more his size…

photo 2 (31) Sorry, bud.


Saturday was wedding day…and long run day!  I figured that before the wedding would be a better day for a long run rather than the day after a wedding.  (Hello, open bar!)  We had plans to head to St. Augustine around 10:30-ish, so I woke up around 7:30am to hit the road by 8am for my long run.  I’ve been building my long runs for a few weeks now, so I figured it was time for a cutback week – even more convenient because I wouldn’t have to squeeze in a two-plus hour run.  Luckily I don’t need to eat much to prepare for 12 miles, so I woke up, drank some coffee, and chowed down on Honey Stinger waffle before hitting the road.   It was about 45 degrees when I started and warmed up to almost 60 by the time the run was over.  I still wore capris and a long sleeve, but I took my handheld water bottle with me.  The first half of the run draaaaaaaaaaaaagged along.  Although my pace was right around 8:00/mile, I felt so sluggish.  I even thought about throwing in the towel and cutting the run short, but I knew it was the best day to get the run in.  Luckily, I felt much better on the second half of the run, even picking up at the pace at the end to hit some 7:30 miles.  (This was aided by the fact that I knew I needed to get a move on to get into the shower before hitting the road!)  Whew.  I’m pretty sure I refueled with a doughnut as well…

12.02 miles in 1:34:41, avg pace of 7:53.  Not too shabby.

We headed down to St. Augustine to hang out with some of Eric’s high school friends prior to the wedding.  This included buffalo chicken pizza and hanging with Eric’s friend’s two month old baby.  Normally kids scream when they see me coming (something about that whole burn nurse thing…), so it’s nice to hold a baby knowing you won’t have to cause it pain.  (That just got deep…)  But the kiddo is SUPER cute and only tried to throw up on me once, ha.  Soon enough we headed to the hotel to finish getting ready – then off to the ceremony!

Apparently St. Augustine is where all people from Jacksonville get married (exaggeration, perhaps), but for good reason – it’s really pretty!  The ceremony was at Mission Nombre de Dios and was what I would call a “Catholic Light” ceremony.  A funny Italian priest did performed the ceremony, but no communion or anything.  It was a good length – perhaps 35 minutes.  I don’t think any particularly likes long ceremonies, but I figure if you’re going to have a big wedding and reception (by big I mean…more than immediate family?  Totally made that up), maybe it should last more than seven minutes.  Personal thoughts.  Anyway, after the ceremony, we had about 2.5 hours  before the reception.  We took some pictures and then a trolley to a bar near the reception location.

photo 4 (11) Hi Eric!

image On the trolley!

I have an ongoing joke with my friend Jonathan that you have to hug a palm tree when you see one, so I had to…that’s what you do in Florida, right?

palm tree You can guess who isn’t from Florida…

The reception was at the White Room, which has a beautiful view overlooking the waterfront.  I naturally don’t have any pictures, but I promise it was pretty.  The bride is a graphic designer and certainly has a good eye/good style, so everything was very well done.  The open bar and live band certainly helped, and we danced the night away.  Eric likes to dance, so he’s usually the one pulling me onto the dance floor – can’t complain about that!  I am sad to say that we were so busy dancing that we completely missed the cake.  For those who don’t know, I made one of my best friend’s wedding cakes a few years ago…and I simply love cake.  I’m absurdly sad that I missed it, especially since it looks like the cakes came from a delicious bakery.  So so sad, but the rest of the wedding definitely made up for it!  Post-reception, we headed to a couple bars before calling it a night.

In other news, maybe I should take more pictures at weddings.  Maybe I shouldn’t.  Moving on.


I had all intentions of running on Sunday, but I’ll admit that being post-open bar and a big brunch the next morning really killed my intentions.  We said goodbye to Eric’s friends during/after brunch and headed back to Jacksonville where we promptly took a two hour nap.  It was glorious.  Since it was a nice day out, I conned Eric and his dad into walking to the local pier – you get a nice view of downtown Jacksonville, although I learned that Eric and his dad share a disenjoyment (made that word up…) of exercise.  One of these days I’ll get Eric into a 5k…or at least to ride his bike with me!  By the time we got back, it was about time for dinner.  No run?  Oh well.  My calves were still sore from all that dancing, that’s for sure.


IT’S SHORTS WEATHER!!  ALERT THE MEDIA.  It was around 60-ish when I headed out  for a run – shorts and tshirt weather, although I certainly could have switched to a tank top and been just fine.  My feet and calves were still tight from the dancing – get me a foam roller, stat! – so a nice easy run was in store.  Or so I thought!  You know how you get those runs where your legs just take over and you just GO?  That’s what happened.  7:45’s were clicking off like no big deal, and soon enough I dropped down to 7:30’s and even a 7:15.  It’s the type of run all runners live for – where the effort is easy and your legs are flowing.  No complaints from me, my friends.  Especially not while wearing these bad boys:

photo 5 (5) Dear spring, please hurry.

8.09 miles in 1:01:33, avg pace of 7:37 and life is good.

I did end up with a massive headache later (relieved by Advil and a Dairy Queen blizzard…) most likely due to not hydrating enough to make up for all the sweat that was dripping off of me, but I’d take that back in a second.  (You hear me, NYC?  I’m done with winter.)

We spent the rest of the day running some errands, trying to find Gatsby a Florida shirt (no luck), and watching the Bachelorette.  Tough life, I know.


The day I wish didn’t come – time to fly back north!  It was a bit overcast in Jacksonville, so I didn’t get out of bed until 10-ish.  (I like my sleep.)  I quickly chugged some coffee and a banana before heading out for a run (shorts and a tshirt again – win!).  My legs felt like lead…I knew I should get a workout in since I’m working every day except one for the rest of the week, but I seriously wasn’t feeling it.  I don’t think I could have squeezed out a faster run even if I tried, so I stuck with another easy eight miles, but actually easier than yesterday.  Mentally wasn’t in the game – they say you never regret a run, but sometimes you just can’t wait for the run to be over.  Luckily, I saw some animal friends along the way which kept it interesting.

photo 1 (33) Chickens in a random yard…odd?

My long run had led me past two dogs that were basically the size of me, so I steered clear of them on all future runs.  They didn’t seem tied up and certainly barked like they hated me, so that didn’t make me feel so safe.  Luckily the chickens stayed away.  I plodded along for the rest of the run and was happy when it was over.

8.06 miles in 1:04:90, avg pace of 7:57.  Maybe I should slow down these “feels like lead” runs…

And now, back to reality.  And by “reality,” I mean job and apartment hunting in San Diego…right?  Someone get me a California nursing license…

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