Archive for the ‘races’ Category

Clearwater Half Marathon

Posted: January 22, 2012 in races

Ah where to start.  After finishing the Clearwater Half Marathon, my 5th half marathon, I felt so many emotions. Pride, for one, for pushing through the physically hardest race I’ve ever done.  On the other hand I felt disappointment and embarrassment about how slow my race was.

Slowest half = my hardest half.


I originally wanted to call this post, “How to NOT PR a race“. Here’s why…
How to not PR a race: 
1. Pick a race labeled the “toughest half marathon in Florida”. 4 long, high bridge climbs.

2. Sprain your ankle 24 days before the race.
3. Spend 3 days on crutches and only manage only a 2,3, and 5 mile run before your half.
4. Run your first 4 miles faster than you’ve trained.


Add those 4 things together and at mile 5 things get ugly.  Chills, goosebumps, inability to feel hands….and a burning desire to quit set in.
But let’s start at the beginning…

I set out to PR this race.  I plotted out a training plan that included long runs, tempo runs, and repeat 800’s.  I had high hopes.  My ankle injury derailed me, however I still had hope for a good run.


On race day, Kyle’s sister, Kelsey, and I woke up at 515am.  We wanted plenty of time to eat, use the bathroom, and warm up before the 705 start.

Am I an elite runner or a jet plane?

I had a whole wheat bagel with PB, coffee, and a banana for breakfast.  I had 2 power bar pre-workout bites and some honey.
I felt like I had to go to the bathroom right before the race, so I got in line….a very long line.  I didn’t want to have to go on the course so I waited…for 20 minutes!! That’s crazy!
I made it to the start with 1 minute to go and was off!


Miles 1-4 felt great.  I had good speed and my ankle wasn’t bothering me.  I kept speed up the first bridge and made time going down.


Mile 1- 8:54
Mile 2- 8:20
Mile 3- 8:52
Mile 4- 10:13
I knew that I was going too fast.  I kept trying to “slow down” but I’d find myself at 8:45 pace again.  I needed to maintain 9:09 to reach my goal. I know the dangers of going out too fast, but I did it anyway. And I paid for it.
I came to the second bridge climb and gave myself a walk break going up it then I ran the way down.
I slowed to get Gatorade at an aid station around 4.5 and when I tried to run again I instantly felt awful. I couldn’t breath, I had chills, and I honestly couldn’t feel my hands.  It was so weird.  It felt like they were asleep.
Mile 5- 10:03
Mile 6- 11:10
I let myself walk for a minute or so to try and recover.  I started running again and I was “gassed”. I agreed with myself that I would run at a slower pace and allow myself a walk break every 1/2 mile. 
It didn’t help.  By mile 6 I felt horrible. I was exhausted and not even halfway done.  I seriously thought about quitting. I didn’t know how I could go farther then I had already run feeling this bad.  I could blame it on my ankle or on my lack of training….I could quit.
Mile 7 – 10:52



Yeah right? Quit! I’m not a quitter.  If I quit I couldn’t enjoy my post race cheat meals!
I couldn’t imagine having to tell all those cheering for me that I didn’t finish. Sure I could’ve said that my ankle hurt, but it didn’t.  My body just wasn’t prepared for what I was asking it to do.
I pressed on.  I had no strategy.  I’d run a little then walk.  I don’t know which one was harder. It all hurt. 
Kelsey passed me on her way back. She was close to mile 9 and I was just past 7.  I screamed to her to tell Kyle that things were going bad and I was going to be much later then anticipated.

Kelsey finishing – 1:35

At this point I was just so so so mad at myself.  My brain wasn’t remembering that I hadn’t run this far in a month because I was injured.  All I could think was that here I was, “failing to do what I set out to.” I was crawling along and being passed left and right and I simply couldn’t go any faster.
Mile 8 – 11:42
Around mile 9.4 I turned my Garmin off.  I didn’t want to see just how ugly things were getting.  In hindsight this was another bad idea.  I think if I knew my overall time I could’ve structured a run/walk plan and tried to finish better.
I barely made it across the third bridge.  I was walking at an 18 min pace.  Are you kidding me? My hands were on top of my head and I was just a zombie.

At mile 10 I passed our hotel.  Again I had a burning desire to quit.  I could go inside, get a key, lie in bed and cry.  Oh how I wanted to. I couldn’t fathom how slow I was going and how long it was going to take me to finish.  It was depressing.
Somehow I trudged on.  I’d walk, I’d run, and I kept beating myself up mentally.
My first 4 miles took 36 minutes…my last 4 took over an hour!!!
Somehow I managed over the final bridge and finished.  I don’t even want to tell you but it was in 2:25.  The slowest half marathon I’ve ever run.
I saw Kyle and the beautiful/hilarious poster he made me and I just broke down in tears. I was covered in goosebumps, dizzy, and defeated.

Isn’t Kyle a good poster maker?
My great cheerleader!

Kyle’s sister, Kelsey, also said this was the hardest race she’s ever done physically and mentally.  She finished in 1:35 and took second in her age group.

Our posters!

The moral of this story? I don’t know that yet.  
I don’t have some glaring revelation about how this race will make me stronger or how I can run faster.  But I didn’t quit.  I finished.  When every part of me wanted to stop and cry.  I finished.

What wisdom I can offer you is this: 
Don’t try to PR on a clearly difficult race AND don’t start too fast. Oh – and finish!


Love and a snails pace,
Carissa & Kyle
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It was an ugly half-marathon

Posted: January 22, 2012 in races

It was an ugly half-marathon…but I did it…..and by did it…I mean finished it.
And today THAT was an accomplishment!

Yes, I need new running sunglasses.  I’m so hip!

Full recap tomorrow!

Thanks everyone for the supportive messages and tweets!

Love and a near death experience,
Carissa & Kyle

Disney Marathon Video Blog

Posted: January 16, 2012 in races, video, vlog
I made a VLOG aka video blog!  Considering my 4 years of college as a Radio/TV Broadcaster…I’d say there’s room for improvement in future Vlog’s….but I had fun making it.

This Vlog gives you about a 3-minute glimpse into portions for the Disney Marathon weekend.  Let me know if you enjoy it and I can plan future Vlog’s with better video production!


Thank you also for the great response to my Walt Disney World Marathon announcer post! It was fun writing and “meeting” so many of you that ran the race.

Who’s running the Tinkerbell Half or the Princess Half?

Love and the rule of thirds,
Carissa & Kyle

If you’re just catching up for the weekend check out:

WIAW – Disney Marathon

Posted: January 11, 2012 in races, wiaw

Thanks for all the great feedback on my Disney Marathon announcer post! It is a long day, but all the runners make it fun! Isn’t fitness awesome? 🙂

I decided to use the marathon to put a fun spin on this week’s What I Ate Wednesday post.


It’s hard enough to plan and eat healthy on a regular day…but how about when you’re up at 1am and working through 2pm?
The folks at Disney are great and provide us food, however it’s a lot of carb-heavy snacks.  Through my years at the marathon, I’ve found that if I munch too much on processed snacks then I feel even more tired.  Insulin spike anyone?
This year I tried to pack healthy, nutritious snacks, stay hydrated, and eat at regular intervals.

Here’s a look at a Disney dining day:
Breakfast – 3am – Whole wheat bagel + PB + blueberries + coffee. Wouldn’t you know that I forgot to take a picture?  It’s 3am…forgive me.
Snack 1 – 6am – Muscle Milk 100 calorie shake (I took this pic late after the drink was long gone…hence why it’s so sunny)

Snack 2 – 730am – Honey Nut Chex + apricots

Lunch – 10am – Veggie omelet + potatoes + fruit from the VIP tent. That was a seriously good omelet.

Snack 3 – 1230pm – Low sodium V8 + yellow bell pepper + H20

Lunch #2 – Lasagna + roasted broccoli.
Whenever I have a really busy time coming up I try to make a meal that will have lots of leftovers that I won’t mind eating. My skinny turkey lasagna fits that bill perfectly.

3pm-6pm – Coma like sleep
Dinner -730pm – Carnitas de pollo + ranchero beans + chips

I tried to be healthy all day, however I wanted to get out of the house and enjoy a meal with my husband.  I was in no condition to head to any place nice and we have a pretty good Mexican restaurant by us.  Ole! Ironically one of our other announcers was there too!
We also got to watch Tebow’s amazing OT touchdown against the Steelers.  Wow!
I came home with a full belly and was in bed my 930pm.  What a weekend!

I have one more Disney Marathon post to do…a video blog! Check back Friday!

Do you keep up your healthy habits when you’re busy?

Love and early birds,
Carissa & Kyle

Are you one of the 50,000+ runners who crossed a finish line this weekend at Disney?
If so, congrats! I hope you and your family had a wonderful time!
For those of you who don’t know I am a race announcer and I had the honor of announcing at the Disney Marathon weekend.  This is my 8th time announcing the big event!  Wow! I am one of four great announcers who work together to celebrate the runners during the weekend – Creigh Kelley, Rudy Novotny, and John Pelkey also share time on the mic.

I often talk to runners about their races and they say they’ve raced Disney….so I say, “I was there.  I’m one of the announcers.”  Then they stare at me with a blank look on their face with no memory of every seeing (or hearing) me.  It’s okay.  I get it..it’s not like you have a massive athletic feat ahead of you….however…I just thought I’d put together a post about us announcers and maybe you can give us a listen next time!


Here’s a breakdown of a typical day as a Walt Disney World announcer.
Wake up by 12:45am, in the car by 1:15, and in the Epcot parking lot by 2am.

Script review at 2am

 Start line rehearsal at 3am.

Start line show starts at 4:50am.

This year for the start line I handled several VIP interviews.  For the half I interviewed Trista & Ryan from The Bachelorette.  She was SO nice and gorgeous at 4am. They were honestly really cute together.

Trista & Ryan

I also interviewed Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca both winners of Survivor.  They ran the Princess Half in February and I interviewed them there too.  It was a bittersweet moment.  Ethan was diagnosed with cancer previously and was in remission in February 2011, however a recent scan found the cancer had returned to his chest.  This was his last public appearance before he starts chemo again.  He had a GREAT positive attitude and I encourage all of you to send prayers and good thoughts his way.

For Sunday’s full marathon I interviewed a principal from Pennsylvania who encouraged each student in her school to read 26 books in honor of her first marathon.  Overall 18,000 books were read!
Finally I interviewed an Orlando woman for runs with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I could write a whole post on LLS (and I probably will), however I encourage to look at their site and see how you can get involved. 
Liz ran with LLS in 2009 at Disney and had no idea that soon after her Mom would be diagnosed with a blood cancer.  She spoke about how much LLS helped her family and her mom.  Sadly, her Mom passed away and she was running the Goofy Challenge (13.1 Saturday & 26.2 on Sunday – 39.3 miles) in honor of her Mom’s 38 days of Chemo.  It was very emotional and makes you remember to never take a day for granted.
After the fireworks and the runners start all 4 of us announcers head over to the finish line.

Kids races

For the half marathon we will call out runners for about 4 hours and around 7 1/2 hours for the full.  

Creigh Kelley interviewing marathon winner Fredison Costa
Video feed of runners at Cinderella Castle

We have a computer screen that the runner’s name pops up on about 30 feet from the finish and we try to recognize and encourage as many runners as we can.

After the 6th hour on full marathon we are all a little hoarse and slap happy, but if the runners can keep on chugging then so can we! Go Go Go!

It is an exhausting weekend but one I enjoy so much.  You are in the happiest place on Earth surrounded by people achieving their personal goals! 
Later this month I’ll be heading to DisneyLand in California to announce the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon too!
Check back for more WDW Marathon posts this week.  I have a marathon What I Ate Wednesday coming and a video blog (once I get it edited) of parts of the weekend. Also if you are interested in starting running I am happy to give you advice on training.


Have you ever run a Disney race?  What did you think?


Love and mouse ears, 
Carissa & Kyle

It’s random

Posted: January 6, 2012 in races

Do you ever have a whole lot of random you want to say?  Well I do today. So bring it on!


First of all a big hello to any of Julie’s awesome readers who have clicked over to my blog.  I was added to her blog roll today and I consider it a huge honor! Her blog was the first to ever hook me and helped me decided to become a blogger too.  Plus, she’s super nice and all that jazz!  Thanks Julie!


Secondly….two words…spaghetti squash! Have you made it?  You HAVE to! I posted a blog about it a while ago.  It’s so easy and really, honestly, truly, without a doubt makes a fantastic pasta substitute. Throw some marinara sauce on there and it has all the Italian comfort you’re looking for. My sister-in-law finally made it this week and she’s hooked.

Thirdy, Target had Christmas goodies on sale for 90%!  I limped so quickly over on my bum ankle to check them out! I was giddy! I got wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper, and some cute Christmas signs for about $4.  Score!

And finally, it’s about 530pm and I’m going to bed.  We are in the midst of the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend. As you may or may not know I am a race announcer and this will be my 8th time hosting the Disney World Marathon weekend!  
I’m very excited because I have been told I will be interviewing Trista & Ryan from The Bachelorette! I hope I can get a pic! 
Also for those on your running I will not be on the starting stage after my interviews as I am heading to the finish.  If one of us doesn’t leave before the runners we get trapped and miss the winner!  BUT I will be at the finish to cheer you on! Tweet me your expected finish time and corral and I will do my best to workout a VERY special shout out!


Today was the 1st day of kids races.  Cute overload x 1000.  Picture 3,000 kids and their families beaming with pride.  It’s a good time. Tony Horton of P90X also hosted the warm up…I didn’t tell him that my husband was a better trainer 🙂

I hope to have some great posts from the weekend and maybe a video blog.  We’ll see at 2am!


Love and mouse ears,
Carissa & Kyle

Norfolk Freedom Half Marathon

Posted: November 14, 2011 in races, travel

Ready, set, go!
That’s how most races start? Wrong!  The preferred method of race start is two commands: “Runners set” and “Go” or an air horn.  How do I know? Because I say it!

This weekend I said those magic words for 1500 half marathoners and 500 5k runners in the inaugural Norfolk Freedom Half marathon

Freedom Marathon, INC is a fantastic organization to work for with a focus on celebrating and supporting our nation’s military through endurance events.  I announced their Memorial Day 8k in Green Cove Springs, FL.

The weekend started off at the health and fitness expo.  Boy did we have some celebs in the house! Bart Yasso, chief running officer of Runner’s World Magazine, was there to speak along with and Annie Audain, 6-time Olympian and former world record holder in the 5000M. We also had some local Virginia pageant queens.
Miss United States
Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen
It was wonderful talking and interacting with Annie and Bart.  They are a wealth of running info and I picked their brains about how to conquer my first sub-2 half marathon. 

How to run faster? Bart recommends running slower as well as faster during the week to allow my legs to rest.  Annie is a fan of running 50m repeats on hills.  This she says helps you in races of all length.
My favorite booth of the weekend was the Cabot Creamery Cooperative booth.  Free cheese samples? Yes please! I limited myself to 2 a day, however they were thoroughly enjoyed.  They even gave me coupons to take home!!  Cabot has a tasty line of reduced fat cheeses, which I always go for.
The race was in a stunning location right on the water in downtown Norfolk. As the runners took off I enjoyed seeing the pride in the faces of many people who made this event possible.  As I said before, this race supports the military and as a Navy brat I am all for that.   This particular event raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Norfolk Office to End Homelessness. 

The Freedom Marathon will be back in Norfolk next Veterans Day so please consider adding it to your race schedule.  It was a cool, flat course for a great cause.
I’ll be there!  Runners’ set…

Love and magic miles,

Carissa & Kyle

Burgers for Big Boys

Posted: September 24, 2011 in dinner parties, races

Last night Kyle’s friend, fellow USF alum, and Best Man (1 of 2) at our wedding came over for dinner. 

Kyle and his best “men” at our engagement party- 2009.

Davis is not what you’d call a small man.  Kyle is a big, muscular man.  Davis. Nicest guy ever. Beast mode. Two big boys men to feed? Burger time!

Not just any burger – Hawaiian burger!
We grilled Jenny-O extra lean turkey patties and a brand of lean ground beef I found at Target.  The beef was grass fed without antibiotics.  Beef is a meat that I personally struggle eating, so I make sure to get Kyle the best beef possible.
Kyle also grilled pineapple rings and red onion on the grill.


Bun + burger + pineapple + red onion + avocado + swiss +BBQ sauce = one delicious burger!

We kept the sides simple with baked sweet potato fries, vegetarian baked beans, and a spinach salad.
Kyle’s the grill king and also in charge of sweet potato chopping.  I’m just not as good at chopping them into “shoestring” shapes.
We leave the skins on (more nutrients) cut them small, coat them in EV and cayenne pepper and salt, and bake at 450 for about 35 minutes until crispy.

My bunless burger.

It was great to enjoy another meal around our new dining room table with friends.


This morning I was up early to announce at the Miracle Miles 15k here in Orlando. It’s part of the Florida 15k challenge (Miracle Miles, Gate River Run in Jacksonville, and Gasparilla in Tampa).  The event is a lot of fun and raises funds for the NICU at Winner Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

It was hot today and I know those runners felt in during their 9.3 miles.  Both the male and female winners are training for Olympic Trials this January.  Exciting stuff! 
I also made up a new word at the finish. “Winisher” Yeah totally said winner + finisher at the same time.  Poof- you’re a “winisher”! 🙂

Betsy from Track Shack.  ❤ her!

I didn’t get a chance to run this afternoon, because once I was home it was a balmy 90 degrees and tomorrow am looks like a much better time to get my jog on. If you ran and are blogging about the race please share them with me! 🙂


Also speaking of Gasparilla above of, I’m still trying to find a 1/2 marathon to run.  I’m thinking Gasparilla….it’s a little farther away than I wanted (March) but….who doesn’t love a good pirate party? Thoughts?


What’s your favorite burger?


Love & your inner Bobby Flay,
Carissa & Kyle

I got a Garmin!

Posted: July 30, 2011 in cardio, races

Yes!  I finally got a Garmin!  My running superpowers have been optimized!


I am a saver and not a spender, so it took me a long while to finally get a Garmin.  I was using the RunKeeper app on my phone, but now that I’m “thinking” about running a sub-2 hour half I needed something more accurate for my interval/tempo work.  Kyle, who hates cardio, even supported my Garmin purchase.  What a sweet husband! (I got it on Amazon for $130 with free shipping)

After some research I went with the Garmin 305 with the heart rate monitor.  I looked at the newer model, however I didn’t need the extras that it offered and I had read so many great reviews about the 305 that I stuck with it.  I’m very happy to have a heart rate monitor.  I want to learn more about how heart rate affects your training, stamina, weight loss, etc so this is a good way to start! For those of you not familiar, the Garmin Forerunner is a GPS device that tracks your pace and location while you run. 


I was so excited to run when I went to bed last night.  Enter DOMS.  Delayed onset muscle soreness.  Kyle killed me in a workout yesterday so I was quite sore.  


After a leisurely breakfast of coffee and a cereal bowl with Kashi Go Lean, Honey Nut Cheerios (free sample), chia seeds, raisins, and almond milk…I was ready to go!

Good things: I had my Garmin and I was ready to run
Bad things:  It was 94 degrees. It was sunny.  It was 94 degrees.

Muy caliente.  

Oh well.  Me and the Garmin were off.  I settled on a 3 mile trip today.  

I “think” I’m running a half marathon as I said before.  I usually try to do one 1/2 marathon each fall/winter.  I’ve never run for time, but I’m really motivated to do a sub 2 hour half.  Problem is that I work so much on weekends in the fall and winter that I’m having trouble finding a race to do.  I’m in no way complaining…I LOVE my work especially hosting races.  However that is why right now I’m training for a “phantom” half marathon.  There is one with 1st weekend of November that seems possible and if that doesn’t work I’m into 2012.  Thoughts?


Today’s run was 3.01 miles with a pace of 9:16.  Not too shabby for me!


Now I’m off to do a little studying, couponing, and then work.


Do you have a Garmin?  If not what device do you train with?


Don’t forget to enter our LaraBar giveway before Monday night to get 5 Larabar(s) mailed to you!


Love and laps,
Carissa & Kyle

Feeling Pride through Fitness

Posted: July 22, 2011 in motivation, races

There are few feelings in life that can rival true pride.  Not boastful pride, but the pride you feel when you work hard for something and achieve it.

The kind of pride that makes you hold your shoulders and head a little higher.  The kind that wipes away your insecurities and makes you feel limitless.  The kind that just feels good on the inside. If you’ve felt it…then you know what I’m talking about.

For me, fitness brings about magical moments where I feel that pride.

It can be something monumental like finishing a marathon OR something simple like pushing through the last set of a grueling exercise OR even showing up to the gym on a day you’re tired.  It can be as simple as avoiding cake at an office work party or taking the stairs.

Every little fitness victory gives you pride. Think of these little victories as coins. Each little victory goes in a bank and day by day it grows.

One day you realize that you’re so much stronger/thinner/confident then when you started out.  How’d you get there?  Fitness.  For me, fitness goes way beyond a physical appearance.  It gives me focus, it gives me energy, and it gives me pride.

Here are some of our proudest fitness moments:

  • Hitting a PR in the Holiday Half Marathon (2:06)
  • Competing and placing in natural body building show
  • Having Kyle push me to a 5k PR (26:30) in his first 5k
  • Throwing away my “fat day” jeans from college
  • Enjoying and looking forward to clean eating
  • Appearing on Home Shopping Network as a Fitness Expert 
  • Being able to share our knowledge and know that it impacts people
I like pride….when you earn it.  It feels good on. 
What have you done that makes you proud?  
Love and brags,

Carissa & Kyle