Category Archives: Diary of a Runner Girl

Shamrock Half Marathon 2016 (Virginia Beach, VA)

Shamrock weekend in Virginia Beach is one of the most anticipated race weekends. It is like the kick off to the season of racing here in the Hampton Roads area. There wasn’t anything that was going to keep me from attending and racing, including gale force winds.



This year I participated in the Dolphin Challenge (the 8K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday).


Saturday morning the temperatures were in the low 50ºs when we started out, but the winds were gusting across the oceanfront. There were times it would rip across you, and you literally would start running sideways due to the wind pushing you. A gust head on would push against you, and you knew your legs/feet were moving but you GPS on your Garmin said otherwise. My face was wind burnt, and while I tried to enjoy the festivities in the finishers’ tent – my thoughts were drifting to what tomorrow would have in store for us. The weather reports were forecasting worse weather…


Two very different races less than 24 hours apart, and here is what I have learned… I am stronger than rain, cold, and wind – but not faster. 13.1 miles in 42° temperatures, 22-24mph winds with at times 40mph gusts and BONUS… heavy rain. At one point my borrowed poncho was no longer around my body, but flying high behind me like a cape. I must be Wonder Woman by this point right, or at least that was my thought? At the start of the race I found myself mentally comparing it to the Harbor Lights half marathon walking up to the starting corrals, thinking “Harbor Lights was cold, it poured down rain, and I never quit. If I can get through that, then I can finish this?”….right?


With few exceptions, we did not have strong winds and it was 10° warmer. It may not seem like a lot, but when it’s blowing harder than what seems like CAT 1 hurricane at times you begin to question your judgement. Yes, I know I’m exaggerating – but seriously I think snails and turtles could probably move faster than I was. The only reassurance was my “ride or die half marathon sidechick” Angela (aka Pea) pushing along right next to me, and seeing the J&A mile marker flags flapping away in the wind. With everything being said, finishing the race only 3 minutes slower than Harbor Lights is an accomplishment. I tried not to focus on my overall time, and instead enjoyed the spectators and the company around me.


While it wasn’t a PR for the course, it was for the conditions – and I’m pretty damn proud of myself that I didn’t end up with a DNR or DNF. If you ran at Shamrock, whether you finished in the top or if it took you the entire course time limit – you’re a hero in my book for sticking it out and finishing what you set out to do. I also have to give a huge thanks to all those who set up stations, and volunteered their time in those conditions. As always, J&A puts on an amazing event (regardless of the weather conditions which are beyond anyone’s control) with a rocking afterparty, great race swag, gorgeous finisher medals, awesome finisher items, free race photos, and excellent course support. Registration for the 2017 Shamrock weekend is now open (, and I guarantee you will see me out there. This course and I have unfinished business…

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Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon 2015 (Virginia Beach, VA)


As much as I would love to write an entry about how amazing this experience was, in some ways it was and in others it wasn’t. What I can tell you is that from this I have learned some extremely valuable lessons about what your body is capable of, and when it completely fails you in the end when it’s had enough…


It started out like every other typical race morning. The corrals were packed, and the level of energy was high. Everyone was in good spirits, even though it looked like at any minute the sky would give way to a huge rain storm. I happened to be next to an awesome group of people who were joking and snapping pictures while we waited for our corral to launch. The best part of race day is making new friends in your corral while you’re waiting. It was extremely humid, but in my mind all I could think was a nice shower would cool things off right? Man, was I ever wrong about that. At 7:30something our corral launched, and it had already started to sprinkle lightly. By mile 2 the clouds opened up, and the rain was pouring down on us. Between losing traction with the ground, and the salty rain stinging my eyes – I am sure I looked like a newborn baby giraffe trying find my footing and manage a steady pace. At mile 3 my race buddy (and partner in crime) needed to use the facilities, and I should have taken that time to adjust my laces and tighten everything down since now I had a river flowing through my shoes – but for whatever reason – I didn’t. From there things just continued to go down hill for me…

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Honestly, I think by mile 9 we had done more walking than running. It was not the strong finish that I had been hoping for after my performance at Shamrock Half, and more than anything I just wanted to finish. I felt like such a disappointment to myself. I had to remind myself that there are people who wouldn’t do what we are doing even if you paid them, and I paid to do this. Pull your compression shorts out of your butt, put your big panties on, suck it up, and keep pushing through.  There is so much that I have learned from this experience, but here are a few important points… 1.) Running to music is definitely better than running to an eBook that you downloaded to try. While it may work for others, for me I was restlessly bored and couldn’t find my stride. Plan your music ahead of time, so you don’t get bored while you’re out on the course. 2.) When your feet get wet in your running shoes, it’s a good idea to tighten everything down to keep your feet from slipping around. As a result I experienced my first ever bruised runner toes, but fortunately did not lose my toenails as result. 3.) Extra hair ties are a necessity in the event that your only one snaps around mile 5 when you’re trying to pull up your hair for the hundredth time.


Regardless of the time, we finished which is what we set out to do. Do I feel slightly defeated, of course – but I can tell you this – I am far from broken or giving up. If anything, it is fuel to fire me to push myself further, and be stronger for the next one. I also learned what my body is capable of. I am hypoglycemic, and I wear a Road ID bracelet with a medical alert badge, for this very reason. After the race we decided to just leave and head to meet our significant others out for a celebratory lunch. We arrived at our location about a half hour before they were to open, which gave my body just enough time to let my blood sugar crash. By the time the restaurant opened their doors, the onset of the drop was beginning to show. Everything was blurry, and I felt extremely light headed. Once inside I braced myself against the bar, and next thing I knew I was going to pass out. There’s nothing scarier to me than knowing I am about to pass out – I just know, and I know there is no stopping it. My friend asked me what I needed, and all I could mutter was “sugar”. Someone brought me a sugar packet, but I couldn’t get it open. I remember someone opening it, I tried to get it in my mouth, but ended up coughing on the sugar because it was too late. The back of my head hit the bar, and I slouched to the ground. Fortunately, I came around quickly and was able to get a soda down and ramp up my sugar level quickly.  So the final lesson I learned from this half marathon is to always be mindful of my levels, and bring something with me on the course to replenish my sugar levels. If you have any health concerns or issues, be sure to let others know about it prior to your race. If you don’t have a Road ID badge (or medic alert bracelet) write your medical conditions in permanent marker on the front of your bib in the event that you have an issue on the course, this way responders are able to help you quickly. Rock-n-Roll Half Virginia Beach is a tough course, between the heat and elevations. To my knowledge, 6 people were taken by ambulance from the course to a near by hospital for treatment, several others dropped out for a DNF, and others didn’t make the cut off for time and were bused ahead to the finish. I am thankful that I was able to finish on my own two feet prior to the cut off, thankful for my running partner in crime who swore she would never run a half marathon (but did this one so I wouldn’t have to be alone), thankful for the opportunity to run the next one stronger, further, faster.

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With a little determination and encouragement…


In the words of Marilyn Monroe – “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” No one ever said what type of shoes they needed to be though. For me, I found my personal strength in a pair of Brooks running shoes, and no – Brooks doesn’t pay me to say that – I happen to be partial to Brooks. Running, training, and the satisfaction that came from getting stronger with each passing mile was amazing – and I knew I needed to share what I found with everyone I possibly could. SWEET Workout was growing, but I wanted to do more. It’s hard to connect when everyone’s schedules are so varied. What was the answer? Virtual Challenges!


Virtual Challenges can be as helpful as the $100.00 workout DVDs you purchased last week. The bottom line is accountability. Who’s to say whether or not you actually accomplished today’s challenge? No one but yourself. To cheat yourself out of success is selling yourself short, undermining everything you want to accomplish, and believing that you aren’t capable of the very thing it is you want. It’s easy to say I am going to set about changing something I dislike about myself, it is another to actually make strides towards doing it.


Establishing routines is the easiest way to create a habit. For some it is saying they will set their alarm clock 30 minutes earlier, for others it is working through lunch to go to the gym after work, or packing gym clothes to go during their lunch break. Wherever you can find time in your schedule, make it happen! Remember this always, you don’t “have” time – you “MAKE” time! Make it a priority – your body will thank you!


For me, personal satisfaction is found when my “SWEETies” (as I have lovingly come to call them), comment and post in our closed groups and virtual challenges. Knowing that I am behind the scenes motivating these women drives me to be an even stronger person! Find what motivates you, so your energy will overflow and be a light to shine for others to see. I love to think that is what makes SWEET Workout so unique – I make it a goal to form personal connections and relationships with the women who actively participate in the group and events. If someone is behind you supporting you every step of the way, you are that much more likely to succeed! SWEET Workout wants every woman to succeed!


This email recently received here at SWEET Workout headquarters just about sums it all up though:

I wanted to share with you my personal experience with the Sweet Workout 30 Day Challenge. I am a 52 year old female, overweight most of my life and have been trying to make lifestyle adjustments to improve my overall health and lose about 50 lbs. I have lost a total of 20 lbs since February by walking 5 days a week and making healthier food choices. With the arrival of the colder weather and time change I needed to find some other activity during the winter. My niece introduced me to the Sweet Workout 30 Day Challenge. I am willing to try anything, and decided I would give this a shot. I had to make a few modifications initially to the push-ups and planks, but by the 5th day I lost 2 lbs. I was so surprised how easy this has been and can’t wait to see what changes will occur by day 30. I can already see improvement in my strength and muscle tone. This gradually builds from one day to the next adding more reps and new challenges as it progresses. I have tried other fitness programs before, but they have been so difficult from the start that I got discouraged and gave up feeling like it was designed for people more physically fit and athletic. This feels like a program I can easily maintain and can accomplish in a few minutes each day!”


If you haven’t checked out what SWEET Workout is all about…maybe it’s time for you should! Email us, find us on Facebook, check us out on Instagram! Whatever you do though… Stay SWEET!


Another Cinderella in Running Shoes Story…


As a full time mommy, business owner, soccer coach, and recent founder of SWEET Workout (a Virginia Beach, VA based fitness movement) – I juggle everything from clients to soccer schedules, meal plans to homework and housework. I recently found that running was an excuse to give me time to myself. After a month I realized I was seriously addicted. Not only was it anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of peace, there was also that sudden burst of energy and euphoric feeling I have now come to know as “runner’s high” to look forward to.
In the last 2 months I’ve completed 5 races, and have decided I’ll need a 3rd job in 2015 to pay for race entry fees and running shoes! Once you’ve started one thing is for sure, you won’t stop! I spend more on athletic apparel than I do on anything else. And don’t think for a second those soccer socks are going around in the washing machine with my gear. Every week I have a special load I wash separately, which is lovingly referred to as my “runner girl gear”.
As supportive as my family is, SWEET Workout was born out of a need for support, motivation, and encouragement. After a running episode, I realized according to my GPS I had run further than I ever had. I came home feeling like I was the baddest mother in purple running shoes ever! Overwhelming with excitement I spew my mileage achievement to my husband who ever so casually looks at me and says flatly “Good job.” Wait…what?! That’s it? No high five, no fist bump, not even a pat on the back? Well, thanks for killing my runner’s high. So I set about changing that, and created a group for women looking for encouragement and motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes. What I initially thought was going to be a few friends has turned into a 200+ member group, a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram following. I couldn’t be more excited with how it’s moving and motivating others. It’s exactly why I set out to do it!
Now I’m at another place…blogging. Holy Blogger Batman?! What exactly have I gotten myself into. I’m not exactly sure. A few things I can tell you… I’ll always be honest. It might not always be attractive, because let’s face it – talking lady business isn’t always sexy. I do my research. If I give an opinion or suggestion, it’s founded on education and research. I have a limited filter. So basically that means no subjects are safe, and you’re guaranteed a good laugh. Thanks for joining me on this journey!