I’m Back!!!!!!

Finally! My wedding is over- it was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but consumed my life to the nth degree and now I am so happy to say that I no longer need to cut paper and tie bows in every waking moment so I can officially get back on track with documenting my fitness journey! And what better way, than to do that on my one year runniversary ūüôā Thats right! This Saturday, last year I participated in my first 5K ever, starting my road to my first half marathon. Now here we are 365 days later and I’m two weeks out from my 3rd half marathon and in line for a fourth in October and my first marathon- whew that makes me shiver- in January!

Unfortunately, due to honeymooning in paradise for a week I couldn’t get yet another weekend off so I had to miss participating in the 5K I ran last year- the Dunkin ARC Run. It sounded like a blast, and this year they even got medals! Why I am so jealous even is because my parents both ran it and PRd and my cousin at The Fit Foodie Mama rocked her socks off and got first place in her age group!
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So in leiu of running in Syracuse with the fam today, I took my new Brooks out for a spin in between night shifts ūüôā Better than pouting!

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So just wanted to say I’m back! And I can’t wait to share with you my life while I train for my first marathon and the exciting products and what not I get to try along the way! Thanks for hanging in there and not forgetting about me!

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Strong Stroll 5K Recap

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This weekend I participated in the Strong Stroll 5K at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, NY. It was a fun course through a gorgeous park and the best part about the day was spending it with my mom and co-workers.

The Strong Stroll is a 1.5 mile walk celebrating the miracles that the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong help make each year. It is a charity event for the Children’s Miracle Network that gives back to GCH. Each year there is a 5K and a walk for individuals and teams to participate in. These teams consist of families and friends of loved ones that have benefitted from the hospitals work, families celebrating the lives of children that are no longer with us and teams of people that work for the hospital (like me :)) After the walk there are also endless activities to do, geared toward children such as bounce houses, dunk tanks, sand art and so much food you can’t eat it all while you were there. I definitely sampled Abbots Ice Cream, kettle corn, and got a sub from subway that I brought home to eat for lunch at work that night!

So on to the run itself! We had a team of 8 people for the run. My mom and I were using this race to see if we could PR due to the fact that there was only 900 runners and the course wasn’t anything too difficult. It also helped that it was a perfect 70 degrees with the sun shining. We squeezed our way in to the beginning of the start line. There was no chip time, just gun time and we didn’t want to have to bob and weave the whole race. (I did that at the Chase Corporate Challenge this past Thursday- NEVER AGAIN!) The start time wait was a bit longer than I wanted or my bladder enjoyed but once we were off all was well. My mom and I run a pretty close race and she took OFF! I haven’t trained with her in months and I was blown away. Well I was exhausted thinking I had to have been at least half way though and looked down- .74 miles. Well shoot just kept trucking. I eventually caught up to my mom and passed her- she told me she needs to learn to pace mid breath and I saw her at the finish line about a minute after I had crossed. Either way we both felt fantastic at the end. We each had run our fastest logged mile to date as well as our fastest 5K!!
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I was blown away by my Scrubs and Stethoscope 5K time and that was a month ago and to have finished that much faster this race really shows that I have been working on my speed during my weekly runs ūüôā

My co workers finished one by one and couldn’t be more proud of them! It was one’s first 5K, another is still running 24 weeks pregnant and my best friend from work’s second 5K- I’m her running cheerleader and it’s so fun to see her progress!
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Running for such a wonderful cause that directly affects me on a daily basis at work makes it so worth it, but to have the people that I love by my side makes it that much better! I will definitely do it again next year!
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Friday Favorites!

I see a lot of bloggers posting about their favorite things- as in fit gear, products, etc. and I LOVE to read them because who wouldn’t want to know a tried and trusted product that fellow fit friends post about out of love and admiration?! So I figured instead of using an entire post to gush about my list of favs I would start a weekly Friday Favorites post! First up on the list: Sparkly Soul Headbands!!

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So this girl has hair. We’re not talking just a ponytail keeps it out of your face type of hair, we are talking down to her waist, horse tail thick, nothing can keep this girl’s hair in place. UNTIL I spotted Sparkly Soul during February’s Fit For A Princess Expo before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Before I fell in love with Sparkly Soul I was using rinky dink Under Armor thin headbands that fell off with one sign of movement or sweat. Why I love my new go to headbands? They don’t move!! Unlike their competitors they have 360 degrees of sparkle with NO black elastic piece in the back so unlike those other headbands they don’t start to lift from the back! And when I say don’t move I mean it. I have ran two halfs in these babies and my hair practically fell out of its braid and hair tie after 13.1 miles but my headband never budged.

These headbands come in 2 widths 3/8 and 5/8. I have only tried the 5/8 as I prefer more sparkle and the more help I can get keeping this mop off my face I will take! Also one size fits all ages 5 and up so you can share your sparkle with your little ones ūüôā

I not only use my headbands for running but throughout 12 hour shifts at the hospital I need a little help controlling my hair and after an entire shift no headache! MIRACLE ūüôā They also come in every sparkly color you can think of, even satin if you’re going for that toned down look so they match all my scrubs.

Best part! Sparkly Soul runs giveaways practically every week and on holidays they’re always on sale. Speaking of! This weekend honoring Memorial Day you can get headbands 20% off using code MEMORIALDAY at http://www.sparklysoul.com. These headbands are worth every penny and I will be expanding my repertoire of colors with 20% off this weekend! So that’s my Friday favorite!
What is your favorite workout headband? Do you have a product you can’t live without?

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Recap: Scrubs and Stethoscopes 5K

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day Weekend! I was in fact working the entire weekend supporting the mothers of babies and children with congenital heart defects that have recently undergone open heart surgery. I suppose when you say it like that it doesn’t make you feel so
awful that you only got to talk to your own mother on the phone for 5 minutes and completely missed two family get togethers celebrating all the other important mothers in your life ūüėČ Life of an ICU nurse!

Anyway on Saturday morning before work, myself with 3 of my co-workers, including my Nurse Manager had the opportunity to run a 5K in celebration of National Nurses Week where a team of four nurses from the same unit got to compete with other unit teams for a trophy to display for the year showing all your co-workers and patients how awesome you were at running! Well honestly I knew we had absolutely no chance in winning due to the fact that Prince Charming’s Emergency Department unit team was composed of 4 men all under the age of thirty, one of which was in the Reserves and another which was an important Lifeguard of something or other. BUT I was still excited to do something fun to boost the moral of our unit and celebrate the fact that it was one of my co-workers and great friend’s first 5K!

The location was a park called Mendon Ponds Park. I was a little apprehensive when I found out it was there as it’s known for its hills and our local Fleet Feet does a trail run series there called the Dirt Cheap trail series and there’s also a run in June there called the Mendon Mauler- yeah me and trail runs aren’t exactly friends yet I prefer the lovely asphalt venues ūüôā So anyway I’m like hey it’s a nursing run how much trail running could there be?

Well let’s start off with the start! Oh ya know just a gravel hill up to the road. Hey at least it’s road, right? Well for about a mile we were pounding pavement but I felt like I was in the rhythm section at a motocross race- up and down and up and down.

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20140512-111346.jpg My co-worker Kristen and I on the ROAD!

Then I see people below me just as I’m about to take a right turn on a grassy field. So off I go 1.5 miles in across a grass field- I thought for sure by this time I would be pacing way slower- I mean grass isn’t exactly the grip you need to beat your last 5K time right? So off we go into the woods! Oh hey horse poop and oh see ya later Mulch Pit! I was bitter at this point. My first 5K since running two halfs the only thing I really wanted to do was run sub 30 minutes and I knew it was not even happening- clearly my Garmin was dead and I didn’t charge it the night before like a normal person so I was pacing based on feeling. Well I knew I had to be almost done as we weaved our way out of the woods and up another grassy hill. Until I saw the second hill and I thought screw it, I’m walking. So I did! Up the hill to catch my breath. What a slacker! And then once up the top of the hill you look down and it’s an enormous grass downhill and I thought oh shoot I have no footing for this I’m going to bust my butt but run it anyway because I can see the finish line. The guy behind me even said to his running partner, “Looks like fun, wanna roll down it? It’ll be easier.” Well props to me I didn’t fall over and as I rounded the corner to the finish I saw 27 minutes and something on the clock. NO WAY! I knew I was out of breath but after the half of a trail run I just did there’s no way. Well I busted out my finish at 28:19 officially! I did it ūüôā Sub 30 while thinking the whole time I was no where close!
My co workers finished one by one and then we waited for the awards as I was staring at catered Panera Bagels thinking OMG carbs don’t eat that but ooh I want to! I’m on my last week of 21 day fix and am pretty much banished from the carb life which is the only thing I’ve ever known. Let’s just say you’ll find out plenty more about that next weekend when it’s over ūüôā The ED team won as expected but in good spirit go them!

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I wore my race shirt to work to show the love and that will certainly be the end of my stint as a Scrubs and Stethoscopes 5K participant ūüôā Unless of course they decide to have it on a road next year!

Next up! The Strong Stroll ūüôā A 5K and 1.5 mile fun walk that helps support the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital and all of the amazing patients we care for every year! If you’re interested in donating please visit This Link and I cannot wait to run for such a wonderful cause that consumes me on a daily basis!

What was your least favorite race experience? Does your work support your love of health and fitness?

RunDisney and the Disney World Marathon Weekend 2015

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I just wanted to use tonight to gush about the race empire that got me into running… RunDisney! There are many views on runDisney and mine is such a positive one. So let me first tell you how I became obsessed with running at Disney.
About a year ago, I was so stressed with life- I had a new job as an ICU RN (that can put any normal person over the edge on its own), just bought a house and was heading towards an engagement with my lovely Prince Charming. Amazing happy life things by all means, but I felt like everything I was doing day to day was to become more accomplished and work towards my future goals. I really had nothing I was doing for just me to stay healthy and relax and enjoy myself. So somehow I stumbled upon the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
13.1 miles of running through Epcot and Magic Kingdom. So how awesome does that sound- well to me freaking AMAZING. One small glitch, I have never been any sort of athlete nor had never run more than 5 miles in my life. Well my mom began running and was currently training for The Boilermaker- a 15K in Utica, NY in July- and I thought ya know what my mom was never any sort of athlete either and she’s a running fanatic why can’t I be like that? So I signed up for the email they send out letting you know when you could sign up as my research showed races at Disney sign up quickly, asked my mom who was hesitant but said, “Hey why not? It’s Disney World.” When the registration opened we were on it and there I was, officially signed up to run more than double than my wimpy legs have ever carried me. So September came and I began using Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon training, the one sponsored by RunDisney and 5 months later my family and I flew to Florida for a running inspired vacation.
Well let me tell you it was an amazing experience in which Disney had all perfectly planned. I mean I wore a Princess Belle outfit and crown and got to run through the parks I grew up going to on a yearly basis. I was able to reach a goal that I signed up not even knowing if I could complete. And I got to do it side by side with my mom. How could I not be in love with running at Disney World.
Everything about the weekend was fantastic. An amazing Expo where I learned all about the newest and greatest running products. It was there I fell in love with my now favorite and unable to live without- SparklySoulInc headbands! It was an amazing run filled with characters, barbershop quartets, gospel groups, fireworks, people on stilts! I mean it had it all. And then to finish off the weekend an after race party at Downtown Disney where I celebrated with all the fellow runners the amazing feat we had accomplished.

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Well once the week in Florida came to an end, I knew I would continue running, as it was something I learned I loved and can never again live happy without doing. But was at sort of a disconnect because I had such a good time running in Disney I had no idea when I would be back, something I never felt growing up because as a family it was a yearly trip we would be back at Disney the following year to experience the magic.

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So I see it as Divine Friendervention because a few weeks later one of my best friends from college messaged me in a group letting us know she was planning to do the Dopey Challenge in January 2015 and wanted to go to Disney as a runcation with other runner friends to be there to support her. So for all those who don’t know the Dopey Challenge is a crazy running weekend challenge including running on marathon weekend- the 5K, 10K, half and full all on consecutive days. I give kudos to anyone willing to accept this challenge and because my friend reached out I wanted to be there to support her journey and uh DUH go back to Disney World to run again.
So of course initially I said yeah I’ll totally do the half with you. Then because I had an entire month to think about it before registration started and I was at the end of my second half marathon training, I came up with the crazy idea that I could accomplish a full marathon. The Walt Disney World Half and Disney Princess half are nearly the same route so I wanted to experience more of Disney running and took the plunge last week and signed myself up for the Full! And thank goodness I didn’t second guess myself because I signed up at literally 12:13 and when I went on later that evening everything was completely sold out except for the Full was at 50% and the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge still had availability. I still am in shock and have no idea how far these two little not so wimpy anymore legs will get me but I cannot wait! I have even made the decision to go to Disneyland August 2015 and run the 10K and half there as a one year wedding anniversary trip and run for the Dumbo Double Dare medal(running the 10K and half on consecutive days) and the coveted Coast to Coast medal, one in which you receive for doing a half or longer at Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year. I started this running journey at the most magical place on earth- why in the world would I not continue?!

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Have you ever run Disney? What was your first race? Will you be running the Disney World Marathon 2015?

Flower City Challenge: Half Marathon Review

Tonight I am reviewing my second ever half marathon, Rochester’s Flower City Challenge!¬† I was so incredibly nervous, as my first half was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Febrauary, which according to “all those real runner people” is super easy and flat and to do a “real” half marathon with hills scared me.¬† But, I am incredibly happy to say I honestly had more fun during this half than I did in February.¬† It was for so many reasons but to finish with a smile was wonderful, and I am so excited to share my half marathon journey ūüôā

photo3 So let’s start off with the night before.¬† After a wonderful date night with the mister, I headed to bed at about 1030 after setting out all my necessary gear for the next day.¬† The butterflies floated over at about 7pm so I knew it was going to be rough getting to sleep.¬† But after thinking through every subject my brain could have possibly scanned through, and after using my phone calculator like 5 times to see what my average mile/minute had to be to get under the time I wanted, it was 1:30am before I think I actually fell asleep.¬† A quick four hours later, my alarm went off and hello!¬†here it is, Half Marathon Day!¬†

My go to running breakfast of a half of whole wheat english muffin and a bannana was stomached, my sister, who currently lives with me as she does her masters, was awake and ready to go as she was volunteering, and then the fiance ushered us out the door.¬† We arrived about 45 minutes early as I’m deathly afraid of being late and so we waited.¬† And waited, and waited.¬† And then 10 minutes before the start I thought it was a wonderful idea to hit the restroom.¬† So did everyone else aparently.¬† So I nervously awaited the line, while the lady behind me was talking about her previous years experience and how¬†she wanted to call her husband during the dreaded cemetery hill and I’m in my head thinking,¬†“Oh great, the hills are haunting me before the¬†stinking¬†race even starts.”¬† Well¬†two minutes before the race started I ran out of the bathroom, found my support, crew waived bye and out the¬†door I was to the start line.¬†

The National Anthem was played, I hit start on my Pandora and Charity Miles App (one of my most¬†favorite apps in the whole¬†wide world, who wouldn’t want to¬†pick a charity and use the miles you ran to help others in need?!) and off I went.

A wonderful part of the Flower City¬†Challenge, is that¬†it¬†tours you through¬†many of the popular neighborhoods and sights of Rochester.¬†¬†Being that¬†I’ve¬†lived here for almost three years now, I was excited¬†to run some¬†of the streets that I have come to love and think¬†of as my¬†new home town.¬†¬†The neighborhoods are also¬†in competition¬†with each other for the most spirited,¬†and¬†awarded¬†by the City of Rochester, which¬†gives them¬†the umph to work extra hard to cheer the runners on.¬†¬†The first neighborhood we ran through¬†was the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood.¬† If you remember your¬†11th grade history, she¬†was a leader of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and Rochester was her family’s home town.¬† The neighborhood dressed up in¬†period outfits of the mid to late 1800s and spoke in the accents they had back then, well screamed at you to keep running in their accents ūüôā¬†It was a fun first neighborhood to experience!¬†

We then passed by¬†Frontier Field, our local baseball stadium and rounded on Park Ave.¬† Park Ave is the¬†hip area¬†with all the go to eateries and bars and¬†the neighbors had side walk chalked so many parts of the¬†road.¬†¬†It was very festive and a good reason to look down, rather than at the back of the¬†man in front of me who’s shirt said “I¬†love running, I¬†hate running, I love running, I hate running, I¬†love running¬†(only¬†when I’m finished).”¬†

Up next was the Highland Neighborhood, and the only thing that spoke to me about the¬†Highland Neighborhood pre-race was hills.¬† I looked up the elevation¬†on mapmyrun.com the week previous, and remembered the hills were between miles 6 and¬†8, and oh boy here was¬†Highland and here were the hills.¬† The wonderful part about it was¬†how many cheerleaders we had!¬† The most out of¬†every other neighborhood and when you see a hill in front of you it was¬†much nicer to smile at those cheering you on then to look at what was coming¬†up.¬† In all¬†honesty it¬†wasn’t as awful as I’d imagined, so I got up them and moved on to the “dreaded” cemetery.¬†

The Mt. Hope Cemetery is over 175 years old and was about 3 miles of the course. The only dreaded part about it is as soon as you entered you had to climb a cobblestone hill and all I could think of was “Don’t Fall!”- I’m so clumsy it was astonishing it did’t happen.¬† The course took¬†you¬†through the 196 acres of 350,000 beautiful¬†headstones and cremation gardens and¬†they¬†promote it as being the most peaceful part of the course.¬†¬†Which, it was a great place to reflect upon what you were doing and¬†allowed you to take in the beauty around¬†you.¬†The cemetery itself is actually directly across the street¬†from the hospital I work at and it is the view¬†of about half of¬†my patient’s¬†rooms.¬† Yes to some that sounds morbid, looking over¬†a¬†cemetery in an ICU but really its¬†kind of calming for¬†parents because of how peacful it is- or at least it’s what we tell them anyway.¬† After we ran through the cemetery we were spit out right at my work.¬† I¬†was tempted to call my unit and say, “Hey guys I’m outside running, look at me!” but the fact that I was on mile 10 was a little¬†daunting considering the energy it would have taken.¬†¬†

So we ran by the hospital and then onto the¬†trail along the Genesee River which was within the¬†University of Rochester.¬† This was the hardest part of the course for me.¬† I had passed mile 10, was on 11 and even took my headphone out to speak to the lady next to me I had been running¬†with for a couple miles and¬†told her I couldn’t believe we were still on mile¬†11.¬† My¬†Garmin had also died¬†so I had no clue how much longer¬†mile 11 was going to be.¬†¬†Then I thought of the article that @fitfoodiemama had posted the¬†other day by runnersworld.cm¬†called “How to pace your first half or full marathon”¬†in which said that I was supposed to be pushing it at this point to where I¬†should not be getting out more than one word at a time and finishing was all I could think about.¬† So I kicked¬†my butt in¬†gear,¬†found mile 12 and¬†kept on going!

Mile 12 I¬†heard passed out beer instead of water.¬† Well this year no one was giving enough¬†:[¬† That’s okay, I hate beer and wouldn’t have drank it anyway, it was¬†just the point that it was “supposed” to be there.¬† I¬†ran over the¬†Ford St. Bridge and¬†by Cornhill, the first¬†neighborhood¬†I ever lived in¬†when I moved to Rochester,¬†and saw the mile 13 sign.¬† I knew just¬†.1 miles left and I was¬†done-zo!¬† The finish was just ahead of me and I heard the lady¬†say my name and the only thing I could think of is where is my sister?!¬† Her volunteer spot was to hand the¬†runners their medals.¬† Well after sprinting across the finish, there she was!¬† I was never so excited to see her 4 ft 11 inch 95 lb¬†self in my life.¬† I even cut a lady off who was going to her to get her finishers medal¬†so she could medal me.¬† I gave her the biggest hug ever- She told me later it hurt!- Blaming it on runner’s high! and high taled it¬†for water and a banana.¬† My¬†fiance was so excited for me¬†he videoed my finish and¬†could not stop talking about¬†my finishing¬†time.
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So for the standings!¬† No I am not a super awesome fast runner, but¬†I have never been an athlete in my life so¬†for an average gal like¬†me I am pretty darn¬†proud of myself-¬† I finished the race as #1696th in 2:20:32!¬† That is¬†15 minutes FASTER than my half¬†8 weeks before.¬† All I wanted to do was finish in under 2:30, and to¬†do it 10 minutes quicker was a¬†fantastic feeling ūüôā photo2

I¬†waited around at the finisher area for a¬†half hour until my sister was done with her duties and off we went to a post-race¬†food celebration.¬†¬†And what’s better on a¬†Sunday morning than DINER FOOD?!¬† Heck yes french toast and bacon ūüôā¬†
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All in all an amazing day that¬†I couldn’t be more proud of!¬† Next up on the race schedule are a few 5Ks and¬†the next big one is the Boilermaker in Utica in July.¬†¬†My next actual challenge is the 21¬†Day Fix- 21 days of clean eating and¬†daily workouts.¬† The workouts, yes I know I can do.¬† Not eating what I want when I want, huge issue!¬† But hey, a girl only gets married once and that honeymoon bikini is calling to me to look fantabulous!¬†¬†That’s all for now!¬† I will keep you updated on the fix as¬†I¬†get more into it.¬†

What has been your favorite race?¬† What keeps you motivated?¬† What’s your worst mile?¬† What accomplishment has made you feel on top of the world?

And so it begins…

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Lately I have been a running and fitness addict. I am training for my second half marathon- well actually DONE training- it’s on Sunday ūüôā and I will be starting Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix on Monday, yay clean eating! Honestly fitness is the only thing that has come out of my mouth lately. I think I’m beginning to exhaust those around me with my running stories and fitness goals.

My job is a Pediatric Cardiac ICU nurse and I work all sorts of hours including 12 hour day, night and weekend shifts so I spend a lot of time awake when the rest of the world is fast asleep, which means plenty of time alone not having others to converse with. In addition, when I’m at work most of my patients are one of two things, too small to know how to speak or have an actual adult conversation with or are so critical they have breathing tubes in and can’t speak at all. Yes, there are parents but they would rather you keep their kid alive then talk to them about how many miles you ran before you came to work.

So, I began to search for an outlet for my passion. I recently began searching for fitness lovers via Instagram and I’ve been reading so many quality blogs that involve exercising and nutrition. I love that bloggers review all the new products that people enjoy and find effective, and thought to myself, I would love to share my passion with others and have them WANT to listen (well I hope so, anyway)! So here we are at day one, the start to my life of blogging! I’m so excited to share with everyone what I love about health and fitness and in turn hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and join the fitness movement.

So bear with me as I learn to navigate the realm of blogging and stay tuned for my post this weekend as I review the half marathon I am running called the Flower City Challenge in the lovely city I currently reside in Rochester, NY.