Summer Sum Up

Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Humperdink is.... Wait, no, that's another story.

Today, I'm back after a long time lapse. I've blogged about writing quite a bit over at Writing for the Love. But it's been a tough summer for running. I feel like that every summer, but this one felt worse than others. It didn't rain as much as usual, and I have a theory that the heat index was higher because of it. The humidity...killer.

Although my running suffered from consistency this summer, I still ran fairly regularly. Thanks to the bi-weekly group runs at St. Pete Running Company, I was able to join in a few times and ran with friends new and old.

The Blackjack group run. I'm in pink in the center.
We all got two cards on the way out and back.
At the store, we could hit or stay. Winners got a prize.
They think up such fun things for the group runs. More on the SPRC below.

On Wednesday mornings, I got up early to meet a friend, Terry of Running With Jesus. That's always helpful when it comes to having someone waiting for you. Good motivator.

Getting it done! Photo by Terry
A few times, I decided to run to places like the post office to drop off mail, or the store with a short grocery list. Practical ways to help me get my run in for the day. This handy-dandy Publix backpack that I got from one of the Gasparilla races (can't remember which one) was perfect for carrying the mail or a light amount of groceries. I didn't want to weigh myself down too much in the heat.

LOL I didn't even notice all my race medals in the background. I swear!
Occasionally, I went downtown to run along the waterfront. Even got up at sunrise...once? Maybe twice. I even have proof.

Sunrise at Tampa Bay
Love running here
Then there were the few times I did stair jogs. The positive side: shade while in the stairwells. The negative side: the heat while running across the top of the parking garage. Note to self: run from stairwell to stairwell on ground level in the heat next time.

But it's a fun view from up here!
New Saucony shoes from the St. Pete Running Company
And of course, I must mention the new shoes from the St. Pete Running Company! First of all, I love the color (as if that's the important thing). Second of all, they have not given me blisters. This is a huge plus. My other shoes didn't really either, but as they neared the end of their running life, I noticed my baby toes rubbing more and more which would lead to those pesky blisters I used to get all the time.

Thanks to the friendly and knowledgeable owners (Cody, Janna, and Chris) at SPRC, I'm very happy with the Saucony Kinvara 5 shoes. The wider toe base seems to be the solution for me in terms of no rubbing the baby toes.

Cody took me through their StrideSmart Fitting Process. I'd never done anything like that before. He had me doing squats to see how my body tended to lean while showing me the proper form. I ran on the treadmill while he filmed with an iPad. Apparently, my video stayed up on their big screen for a few days because I had such good form! That made me smile. Then he had me trying on several different shoes and running outside (very short distance) so I could see how they felt. He assured me that if the shoes I picked didn't work, I could bring them back.

No need for that! They're working great.

Every Monday and Thursday at 6:30 PM, they host group runs that begin at the store and head out onto the Pinellas Trail. All levels welcome, including walkers, joggers, mix-it-uppers, etc. The distance is up to each individual. Newcomers get a $10 off coupon for the store. There is usually some kind of fun twist on each group run.

My favorite this summer was the the Scavenger Hunt. Everyone was encouraged to team up. We ran toward Azalea Park where there were people stationed to tell us what to do. Each completed station earned each person a raffle ticket for a later prize drawing. First station, jumping jacks. Second, burpees (new to me). Third, we had to carry co-owner, Chris, hence the need to buddy up. He's light, luckily. Then skipping. Really, it was a blast. Here was my team:

Me, Jonathan, Kathy, and Alex
(Alex is a high school friend I hadn't seen in years!)
If you live anywhere near St. Pete, you've gotta come to this amazing store. It's the best. I plan to go to more group runs, especially in the cooler weather. For the first time last week, I joined their once-a-month Tuesday beer run.

At 3 Daughters Brewing Company with Wendy after the beer run.
It's been really fun meeting new people. Wendy race-walked (she's fast) and I ran while chatting, and then we continued the conversation at the bar while she enjoyed a beer and I enjoyed my water. I'm not a huge beer person, but next time I'll probably try the wine. We had so much fun.

Tomorrow night: an eight-miler with the bestie, Hea, The Running Pet Sitter. Time to start training for that half marathon we signed up for, the Halloween Halfathon. It's gonna be brutal!