Best Damn Race 2013 Recap

February 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Foreshadowing…this is how this race began:

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and this is how it ended:

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This morning I headed to Safety Harbor, about a 30 minute drive from our house, for the Best Damn Race.

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This was the inaugural year for this race and it included a 5K, 10K, and half marathon.

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I did the 10K. I arrived in plenty of time to find a good parking space on the street near the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa which is where the start was located.

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I walked down to the expo where they were still setting up the finish line.

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It was cold and dark out there at 5:45 a.m.

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I immediately spotted some of my Tampa Bay Blogger friends hanging out by the registration table.

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I chatted with them for a few minutes then checked my bag, reluctantly giving up my coat, and headed to the starting line to look for my friend Jenny. She ended up finding me in my bring pink and green IRunMommies uniform.

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I wore a throw-away toboggan on my head (it said Coca-Cola on it and was Yelp swag) and a pair of Chad’s tube socks on my arms. They sacrificed their toe seam for my arm warmth.

Everybody filled in at the starting line, getting impatient because the 10K started about ten minutes late.

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After the National Anthem we were off. Jenny and I started together, but soon my constant photography made us drift apart. We came back together several times during the course, however. How could I not stop and take some photos of this amazing sunrise?

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One mile down.

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My homemade, super attractive arm-warmers worked great.

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I lost the toboggan somewhere before Mile 2.

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By this time the sun was truly rising.

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Crystal clear skies and chilly temperatures make for perfect running weather.

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Almost the whole course was right along Bayshore Boulevard.


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In the above photo you can see two ladies with blue shirts and one lady in black with a red jacket tied around her waist. Those were my running “buddies” for the entire race. Super nice random stranger ladies.

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Jenny had been ahead of me, but after she had to make a pit stop, we ran together for a while.

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At this point we entered a park.

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Jenny, pulling ahead of me again!

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Running through the park was nice.

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Back on Bayshore Boulevard:

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Red jacket was ahead of me again.

I never saw a mile five marker for the 10K, but it would have been close to the Mile 12 marker for the half marathon…heading into the last mile.

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Oh what a beautiful morning.

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The finish line!

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My friends were cheering me on as I crossed and the announcer stumbled across my name.

My official 10K race results:

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I’m very happy with that!

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Go Tampa Bay Bloggers and in this case Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers!

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After we took the above photos I headed back out onto the course (in the same direction that we started the 10K) to add on two more miles for a total of 8 miles this morning. My goal was to do the 8 miles with a better than 15 minute/mile average. I definitely succeeded in that and ended up doing better than 14 minutes/mile over all.


My official race results average pace is a little shower due to the fact that my Garmin auto-pauses whenever I come to a complete stop (like to take a photo).

The biggest victory is that I had no hip pain at all! Seriously, this seems like some sort of miracle to me. By those last two miles I could definitely feel tightness in my hip, but then again I was feeling tightness everywhere by that point. I was aware of my hip, if you know what I mean, but I never felt any pain at all. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow, but all hail the Whole30!

Here’s a close-up of my boobs:

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The medal is a bottle opener!

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As I was picking up my bag from gear check I ran into my friend and fellow blogger Nanci.

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In the food tent I ran into yet another blogger friend, Jina.

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I swear not all my friends are bloggers, but I do have quite a large network of blogger friends and I love it. They are all so fun and friendly and nice.

The after party spread was pretty nice.

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I still want to stick with three meals a day and nothing in between, so I didn’t take any of the food even though I could have had fruit. I took a handful of the little Mojo Clif Bars to make up for the fact that I wasn’t eating anything. I think that’s fair.

The race expo area at the Safety Harbor Marina:

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Originally I thought that I would hang out until the end of the half marathon, but it was so chilly that I decided that it would be a better idea to get out of the cold before my hip stiffened up too much and to go home and ice it. On my walk back to the car I ran into my blogger friend Debbie at the starting line.

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Bloggers sure do like races, or maybe lots of people who like races also blog. Either way it’s great to always see so many friends at events. I got to slap hands on the course with my friend Tori of In Love and Peanut Butter, and missed my friend Meghan of Little Girl in the Big World because she had to head out right after she finished, but the camaraderie amongst all of us is fabulous.

It was an amazing morning and I had a blast. I think that Best Damn Race did a great job on their inaugural event. The only criticism I have is regarding the shirts. I was really happy when I registered for the event and they had women’s XXL as an option when choosing t-shirt size. Women’s cut t-shirts size XL never fit me. They are too short for my long torso and often the shoulders are too narrow for my manly broad shoulders. When I went to pick up my packet they told me that they did not have the XXLs that day at Sports Authority, but that I could exchange the shirt I took (men’s L) for a women’s XXL on race day. But this morning at the expo they had NO women’s shirts at all. Womp womp. Oh well. Stuck with a men’s shirt again.

It’s not a big deal and otherwise I thought the race went perfectly. Thanks for a great morning Best Damn Race!

Above the Barre Fitness review

January 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yesterday I had the opportunity, thanks to my blogger friend Raffi, to check out the new fitness craze that I have been hearing so much about…barre fitness!


Above the Barre Fitness recently opened a new location in Allendale at 3326 MLK St. N. (that’s 9th Street to us locals) and I was psyched to get to check it out.

Barre fitness is influenced by classical and modern dance (though it’s not a dance class) and utilizes a barre to help with optimal positioning. It uses insights from Pilates, yoga, and orthopedic stretching in its approach. Many of the moves we did reminded me of the Pilates-based exercises I have been doing in Restore the Core.

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The new location was beautiful and pristine. I loved the shiny, organized class room.

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They also have a large child care room.

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I met up with seven of my fellow Tampa Bay Bloggers to give Above the Barre Fitness a try.

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We were goofy as usual before the class started…

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but soon got down to business and all jokes were over.

Maria Gerelus, the owner of Above the Barre Fitness, was great about introducing us to the concept of barre fitness and explaining all the moves in detail. She was also sure to encourage us to go at our own pace and not to be embarrassed to take a break if necessary (whew, it was necessary for me). She was very welcoming and friendly and not at all intimidating despite her rock-hard frame. That’s her on the far left below:

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The class uses precision-oriented technique, focusing on small, isolated movements within deeply held, challenging positions. I started out with tiny two-pound weights for all the shoulder and arm movements, but quickly had to change to even tinier one-pound weights in order to be able to (sort of) hang in there. Within minutes I was dripping with sweat.

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If you do squats on your toes, are they called pliés? We did a bunch of them in a variety of ways and I was momentarily transported back to my youth which involved years and years of ballet lessons. It’s embarrassing to admit that considering how klutzy and uncoordinated I am now.

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Runners lunges at the barre:

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I was impressed by how challenging all of the moves were, and thought it was really cool how the barre was integrated into otherwise-familiar moves. It was tough and sometimes awkward as a newbie, but hey… AWKWARD IS AWESOME!

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(Check out my friend Robin’s great challenge called “Awkward is Awesome” if you have tried anything new lately. If you haven’t tried anything new lately, you should! Robin is the genius behind Southern Fried Fitness and is one of my fellow Mom Power Team members. She’s giving away prizes!)

Thank you so much for having us Maria!

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I had a great time and would definitely recommend Above the Barre Fitness if you are looking for a new, fun, challenging work out. Raffi gave us her own stellar testimonial as she has been going to Above the Barre for a while now, and you can check out other testimonials on their website.

Be sure to “Like” Above the Bar Fitness on Facebook to be in the loop about classes, challenges, and specials. Check out the Above the Barre Fitness website for class schedules and pricing. First class is free!

Thanks to all my blogger friends for being so awesome.

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