Welcome to PinkFeet! 
Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

Who is Pink Feet?

Burn Your Half Off!-Harrison Bay State Park, TN-July 7, 2017

This was the Burn Your Half Off trail half marathon organized by a small running group called Run Chattanooga. The group created a weekend long running bonanza including a Friday and Saturday night trail run at Harrison Bay State Park, as well as a Saturday and Sunday morning Chattanooga Riverwalk run; both including a half marathon, 5k, mile run....or whatever distance tickles your fancy. That's right. That is exactly how laid back this race was! This is a no sponsor, volunteer based only, no fancy schmancy anything; just a bunch of people that want to get out there and run, have a challenge, and enjoy the camaraderie in nature!

For a $5 registration ($10 if you are late online) includes a bib, one aid station (basically at the start/finish and every 4 mile lap) with water and Gatorade, ice, cold wash cloths/sponges, a marked course, free race pictures, a card stock 'medal', a potluck style refuel station, and an option to purchase race memorabilia.

I opted for the Friday night trail at Harrison Bay State Park so then I would have all day Saturday to relax before driving back to Florida on Sunday. The course was advertised 6p-10p, but really you could start at any time as long as you are off the trail by 10p. All you had to do is check in, receive a bib, and take off. There were about 80 half marathoners and 40 others doing various distances. The course was three 4 mile loops and then a mile out and back. I was worried with this being such a small race I wouldn't see many runners. Once you entered the woods, you came to a sign that read 'chose your adventure' pointing in either direction. I think this actually helped you to see more runners, as some went one way and some went the other. Every single runner I passed, said 'Hello' or 'Good Job' with a smile! This group is definitely one of the friendliest! 

The course was in thick woods, but also right along the bay coastline, making it absolutely one of the prettiest courses I've run! We even got to run with deer and snakes! The hills were not too bad, but one direction was definitely steeper than the other! (I did Right, Left, Right, with the Right being the easier). It had been raining all week, so a large amount of the technical course was covered in mud....slippery mud, thick shoe sucking mud, having to find a whole new route type of mud. But that just added to the excitement!

This was a cup free event, with one aid station located at the end of the 4 mile loops, so I carried my CamelPak with water. It had been a rough week for me being sick, having a lack of sleep, driving 7 hours to Chattanooga, not sleeping well in a tent,  and somehow I managed to forget I would need GU for a race! The first 4 miles were rough. It was hotter than Hades! I decided within the first half mile I was taking my shirt off and running in my sports bra and I didn't care how much my belly shook in front of everyone! I've been a runner for 10 years now and I've always had a secret desire to be body confident enough to run in a sports bra. I would enviously watch elite female runners with six packs that effortlessly glide through their race without a bit of fat on them moving. But I've just become so tired of falling for this belief that only that type of body is worthy enough of living the life they want, and that only that body type is considered strong. Everyone has their own journey in life and you can't tell by just looking at someone how far they have come and how strong they have become because of it. Every body shape can be strong. Every body shape can be beautiful. And all of us should own, love, and appreciate our bodies for what they are and what they have done for us. My body has gotten me through SEVENTY FIVE half marathons now and 8 marathons! Ask me eleven years ago when I was overweight, smoking, and couldn't even run to the mailbox if I would think this is where I would be and I wouldn't believe you! But here I am, and I deserve to be able to run in my sports bra too!
Look at that smile! So HAPPY to be Free!

And I'm so glad I did. Even that little bit helped with the heat. However, I still ended up drinking entirely too much water the first lap of the race and paid the price the remainder of the course. With each four mile lap, I got slower and slower with a nauseous stomach.

This was my 4th trail half marathon and every time, I am reminded how hard they really are! As runners would breeze by me without even a drop of sweat (probably locals who run this terrain all the time), I would give props by thinking 'trail runners are badass.' When it came down to the last few miles, I kept saying to myself "yes, trail runners are badass. and YOU are a trail runner now, so you are BADASS TOO!!" It didn't matter how slow I was, I was still doing it, and I was still finishing it and finishing is winning too!

By the time I was done, there weren't many runners hanging out and things were already being packed away, but my proud boyfriend was right there at the Finish with my puppy taking pictures, flabby belly and all, and still loving me for who I am and what I do. And that is all I need.  

The group warns you its a $5 race, so there's not much of a medal, but they tried and did a paper cut out on string. I probably would have laminated it at least, as being all sweaty at the finish, mine is already tearing.  I decided I would just add it to my bib binders. 

I love the name of this race and the tank I purchased for $20. They change the design every year.

What $5 race gives you free photos? A volunteer was at each of the races taking random action shots. All pictures were then posted on the Facebook page.

A website is lacking, but they are active on Facebook and emails were packed full of information.

Harrison Bay is TN's first State Park and is truly a gem of a park! Located right on the water, three loops of campsites give you endless beautiful scenery, each with a different vantage point. Some located on cliffs, some in thick woods, some right on the water you can jump straight into. Deer walk aimlessly through the grounds during the day, and raccoons will scurry throughout the night! (they even know how to open your coolers!) Rent a boat from a local marina to spend the day on the water, or relax on the calm bay with kayaks, paddle boards, or tubes. Located right on the outskirts of Downtown Chattanooga, this park is one to escape the daily hustle and bustle without having to go too far! 

 I was supposed to run Bryce Canyon for this months half marathon, but I opted to defer because of the wildfire. This was a perfect substitute! Dare I even say, I may have had more fun here than Bryce??? If you haven't been to Harrison Bay State Park, you  need to check it out! If you are looking for a middle of the sweltering heat summer race, then check out Burn Your Half Off and it won't disappoint!

HM #75
13.1-3:14 (TRAIL)

Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

VA Wine Country Half Marathon-Loudoun, VA-June 3, 2017

Va Wine Country Half Marathon is part of the Destination Races series which hosts races in iconic wine regions throughout the US. There was a half marathon and 5k, with about 70% of the runners being female.  Overall, there were approximately 1400 half marathoners.

Loudoun County, VA is literally a hop skip and a jump away from Washington DC. Fly into Dulles for your most convenient, but BWI and DCA are also very reasonable options. Three options to get here=three times the chance to score a cheap flight! My nonstop out of Orlando with Southwest was only $160! As soon as you leave the airport and the packet pick up, you are quickly on country roads noticing more and more farmland and vineyard signs popping up!

To run this race, is not cheap, approximately $100 not cheap depending on when you get registered, but in order to enjoy the after party, you have to then purchase a wine glass for an additional $25 ....Plus Tax. And of course who wants to party alone, so your spectator/loved one/friends/family can purchase a wine glass to for $30. They also have convenient adds for those that live in the city , such as Early Packet pick up in Arlington ($10) and a shuttle from Arlington ($38). And if you are traveling far and have a late flight coming in, the only way to do race day packet pick up is to pay an additional $15. And of course things happen in life and sometimes you just can not make the race you registered for, so they offer a Transfer option ($20) and a year deferment ($50).

The website is fully packed with all the information you need. There is a Facebook page with frequent posts, but not a single question posted on their site was acknowledged. Emails are sent frequently as race day approaches.

The race expo was held at the host hotel Lansdowne Resort. This is a beautiful golf course property, so be prepared to pick up, shop, and maybe sit and enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the golf course! There were a handful of vendors to shop from and Homeaway was giving away running fuel belts!

The race starts and finishes at Doukenie Vineyard. Surprisingly, we also parked on two lots on their grass. The course is constant rolling hills on back country roads passing by farmlands, country houses, and one other vineyard with a third of the course on  hard gravel. We saw lots of wildlife including a Bambi, horses, sheep, rabbits and lots of honeysuckle lined the road.

I arrived an hour early and had no issues parking or with the port potty lines. There were two separate areas of porta potties, which I don't think a lot of people realized.

We had about a 5 minute delay due to the traffic with parking.

There is no official line up nor flags to indicate time separations. This led to entirely too many walkers in the front. When we crossed the start mat, almost no one was running. Once we got off the property drive, everything spaced out on the open road.

All the station were properly stocked with water and Nuun and had enough volunteers. There were no extra fuel provided so make sure to bring your won.

Being on country roads closed to the public, there were only a handful of spectators cheering you on, but when you approach the finish everyone is waiting to party!

We got extremely lucky on the weather with this being a June race! It was overcast, in the 60s, with a frequent breeze. The sun made its appearance with perfect timing at the wine festival. Hills can be fun; what goes up, must also come down. With running that means, you have a variety of workout; slow and challenging going up, but fun fast and free going down. The gravel road also mixed things up, having to use different muscles to steady yourself. It was a fun course; until I hit about Mile 10 where I was So.Over.Hills. I'm not going to lie, for a sea level Florida runner, this course was Hard! I wanted to cry (I didn't). I wanted to scream (I did. Sorry nearby runners). But I never gave up and I ended up finishing my average finish time for a flat course, so I am happy. I even had a pit stop to take off my shoe and compression leg sock to see what the intensely sharp ankle pain was  that I was having around M6 (it was my anklet).

After 13 miles of hills that last .1 of gravel road was depleting. Exhausted, you are handed your medal, water and a bag of.....say what? vitamins, applesauce and a mini Cliff bar??? Looking around for food, I found that was it. They did have a food truck and a crepe cart.....you guessed it....for purchase! I was so sure I missed the real food, I went back and asked a volunteer if there were two different bags and was told the only other thing they had was pork grinds. Not good Destination Races. Not good.
Doukenie Vineyard

So to the wine festival I went. The setting was beautiful; located right on their gorgeous pond and in the middle of some grape vines. There was a band playing some oldies but goodies to keep us entertained. People brought their chairs and blankets, some even a picnic lunch, and enjoyed their time. The first thing that caught my eye was a sign up high reading....'COLD SANGRIA!' I headed straight there and found another sign....you guessed it....'For Sale!' WHAT?! Didn't I already pay for this?? I found out they were giving out sips to taste and then you could order a pitcher or buy a bottle of wine. Um, no thanks. I looked around for another line to go to and noticed all of them were about 30 people deep. Exhausted, depleted, starving, I went to the Homeaway tent where I knew they were giving away more goodies and received a phone charger. I then put my name on the massage list and just waited, despite them saying it could be an hour and half. There was no way I was STANDING in line for a SIP of wine after running 13 miles. My plan worked, people were too busy standing in line, they did not show up for their massage and I only waited about half an hour. Once my awesome massage was done, the lines started to go down a bit and I got to enjoy every single one of the 12 vineyards. I met so many interesting people from all over while waiting in those lines and I felt great walking away from this race knowing I had told so many people about The DONNA.

The shirt is mainly cotton and ran at least a size smaller. Thankfully they let us exchange sizes. The medal is unique as it holds your wine glass.
Salamander Resort

Salamander Resort Stables

Salamander Resort overlooking Middleburg, VA

Salamander Resort

This is a true racecation event. The race partners with Homeaway which is a house rental app, but if you are looking for a top notch hotel, Lansdowne Resort is the host hotel or just a little further check out the expansive grounds of Salamander Resort, which is where I stayed. The Salamander is about 35 minutes to the race start, but will definitely round out your long weekend vacation with several outdoor activities to enjoy right on property such as horse back riding, zip lining, hiking, lawn games, falconry, bonfires, basketball, tennis, awesome spa, and outdoor pool (I'm sure I missed so much more). On the expansive grounds you will find lots of wildlife including roaming deer, and fire flies that bring in the night! The Salamander Resort sits right off the small downtown of Middleburg, VA where you will find a handful of other wineries nearby, as well as a cider distillery, historic buildings, and even a polo field.

Bluemont Vineyards is noted as one of the best vineyards with a view and it was true. I was surprised to find out they actually have the vineyard, a farm across the road, and a brewery next door, Dirt Farm Brewery which had just as fabulous (if not better) view. On a clear day, they claim you can see the US Monument. It was hazy my day, but they did point out Tysons Square skyline which was cool. Bluemont has a double decker patio as well as outdoor bar. Dirt Farm has a large patio with umbrellas on the cliff. Both are family and pet friendly.

I also stopped by Breaux which was seemed fabulous and everyone else must have thought so too, because I could not find a solo chair outside. They had live music and lots of seating, but none open, so I continued on and found Hillsborough Vineyard which had a nice patio with garden overhang for shade. Both of these locations let you bring outside food.

Dirt Farm Brewery
Bluemont Vineyard
Bluemont Vineyard

Breaux Vineyard

Hillsborough Vineyard

I grew up in Virginia Beach but never really experienced this part of Virginia before now. I had no idea how beautiful the countryside is in the summer, with so many cute small towns, and an endless supply of vineyards and breweries to explore! The race, despite being on the expensive side, was a lot of fun and something different to enjoy for a racecation. I walked away remembering why "Virginia is for Lovers." There's so much to do and see you will want to share it with your loved ones! So pack up the family (and pets) as almost everywhere you can bring both and enjoy this unique experience!


Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

Run Sunset Beach-Sunset Beach, NC-May 20, 2017

This was the 4th Annual Run Sunset Beach half marathon and 5k, hosted by Coastal Productions with the BAM Series (big ass medals) of Oak Island, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isles, and Holden Beach. There were approximately 750 half marathoners (not sure of 5k runners since results are still not posted online 4 days later).

Sunset Beach, just north of Myrtle Beach, is a very quaint beach town that consists of both mainland and barrier island and neighbors the remote space of Bird Island Reserve.

When I registered, the race was set to start and finish on the island, so I quickly snatched up a steal of a deal Airbnb room rental. Unfortunately, last minute, the race moved the start/finish (with no explanation) to the mainland and utilized a shuttle system which was even further from where I was staying. Thankfully the host of my stay drove me to Start (or this could have been walked or biked about 1-2miles, but there is a bridge to deal with). From speaking to locals, this race has changed courses a few times.

There is a Facebook page which is active, but lacking on answering people's questions.
The website had accurate information and frequent emails were sent advising of the new shuttle system.

The packet pick up was located outside of Sunset Beach in Callabash at a community center, which was fine with me as I passed it on my drive in. There was a long line waiting to get your bib. Only a shirt and bib was provided, without bag, even though they had a bag check at the Start.

This circle course started at Sunset Beach Park located just over the bridge on the mainland. Right away we go up over the somewhat steep, but short bridge, circle the island (with no ocean views), then back over the bridge, onto some open major roads, and finishing up through a golf course community.

The setting of the start/finish ended up being absolutely gorgeous. Sunset Beach Park has intracoastal views with the sun rise and has several swings to relax on.

The porta potty lines were about normal in wait (5-10min).

Word of mouth was the shuttle system was backed up, which led to them delaying the race 15 minutes.

All the sponsor vendors were out if you wanted to shop/talk

A megaphone was used, but was entirely too low, so only the people up front could hear what they were saying. All I heard was 'you should always run against traffic.' Later I learned this was important with the open busy roads we would be running on without cones/barriers.

The sun rose approximately 640a, so this was already a late start of 7a for late May. Then with the delay until 715a, the temps and humidity was already getting miserable. I forgot my Camelpak, so was praying the water stations every 1.5 miles would be properly stocked.

The first half of the race (bridge and island) actually wasn't that bad but once we went head on into traffic on the mainland, I became a little worried as some cars would not even move over or slow down. There was not a single cone out protecting the runners from traffic and there really was not even a bike lane to run in.

Most of the race was in direct sun, but thankfully some clouds rolled in towards the second half, and the golf course section of the last couple miles was shaded.

I felt pretty good for most of the course but was definitely slowed down with the heat.

I am still a little dumbfounded on why the race would decide that hose water is acceptable for a race. Did we not pay for this race? Where did the money go? Growing up with well water for hoses, I was shocked at first, but no one seemed to have the same reaction as me. I kept asking the volunteers if it was actually potable and not well water, and I finally received an answer of 'sure.' All I know is heat, and unfiltered water, leads to stomach craps. There was only one station that had bottled water, yet on Facebook they were thanking sponsors for providing water!  Thankfully I did see a group of spectators passing out individual water bottles, so I snagged one of those which helped me for the first 6 miles. I definitely did not drink enough water for the hot race, too afraid of stomach issues later.

No GU was given, but they did have a ice pop station around M9. They were only passing out half sized ones and they were mostly melted. I later learned the slower runners did not get any at all. I also grabbed a huge chunk of ice to cool down my body.

There were a couple of people at the end of their driveway on the island that cheered us on, but other than that, there were no spectators other than the finish.

At the finish, you were immediately handed your medal and an ice cold cloth. The park was a nice relaxing area to hang out and celebrate, after you waited in the very long line for your beer (2) and pizza (2small slices) and a second line for an Icee (which I ended passing on because I was tired of waiting).

Free finish line photos were posted on Facebook in no particular order.

The gender specific shirt is a cute design. The fabric is a little rough though.
The medal is what the race tries to use to hook you to register. And I have to admit, it is pretty damn big (and heavy). I like how it has the local imagery. Pieces come off on the front and back of the medal and has magnets, which I assume means it connects with the other destination course medals.

Sunset Beach, NC is a very small area. Myrtle Beach is nearby if you want to stay there and drive in, but I would highly suggest against it. Rent a house on Sunset Beach island and enjoy the peacefulness of this small, very friendly community! Pick a house closer to Bird Island Reserve, and you get the less crowded part of the beach!

-walk or bike south on the beach and find the Kindred Spirit mailbox
-kayak the intracoastal (i heard there are wild goats on one of the islands)
-enjoy a peaceful dusk or dawn on one of the swings at Sunset Beach park
-have a beer and mingle with locals over live music at Mavericks
-carbo load at Robertos

Staying in Sunset Beach, NC was an absolute joy and I definitely regretted I did not stay a second night. Maybe it was my Airbnb hosts that made me feel like family, maybe it was their awesome beach house that had so many places to kick back and relax, maybe it was the peaceful white sand beaches, maybe it was the overly friendly people everywhere I went....but it definitely was not the race. Unfortunately this race needs to make some major improvements before I would recommend it. Running into direct, heavy, and fast traffic is not safe and to pay to run in a race, there should be some road closure for us. Using hose water, whether it is regular drinking water or not, is not good. Everything else I can forgive, even the late start. But when you pay to run a race, these are the two things you can not slack on.

13.1 -2:32

Pink Feet's half marathon calendar runs from March to February with the final race being the full marathon at The DONNA Marathon! I am on Year 7 of a 10 year mission to complete the 50 states while also running a half marathon a month; all to help spread the word of breast cancer prevention, early detection, and living a healthy lifestyle including running and walking. My goal is to raise $100,000 for breast cancer charities. Current donations are going to The DONNA Marathon whose beneficiaries are The Mayo Clinic and Donna Foundation.  

USA Beach Running Championships-Apr 30, 2017

Love Running? Love the Beach?...then you would absolutely love the Run On The Beach half marathon in Cocoa Beach, FL, aka USA Beach Running Championships! Picture this: dawn breaking; the sky filling with amazingly pink hues; dolphins jumping; a rain cloud rolling in the distance creating a rainbow; seagulls cheering; the waves rhythmly crashing on the hard packed sand....who needs earbuds?...you are engulfed by natures beauty; the breaking of a new day; and a chance to show what you are made of! 

This was the 7th Annual Run on the Beach which hosts a 10k and half marathon out and back course on the hard packed sand. Step it up a notch, and enter the barefoot challenge!

Packet pick up was held at the infamous Ron Jon surf shop both Friday and Saturday, which gratefully provided an additional 15% off discount while you were there! Be prepared to spend hours exploring this two story expansive store! The race also gave away free hats to the first aprx 2,000 runners to persuade early packet pick up. You could also pick up the morning of the race. 

There was limited $5 parking for the first come first serve early bird risers at Shepherd Beach where the start was. Otherwise you had to find surrounding parking, mostly metered at $2 per hour. However, ask a local and you will get some insight to secret free parking. I arrived an hour and half early and had no problem getting into the $5 lot.

There were plenty of porta potties in the parking lot, with little lines. They also provided coffee and donuts to get things going. There's a nice boardwalk between the parking lot and sand to watch the sunrise. The race starts right after sunrise ON the beach at Shepherd Beach at low tide. It had been super windy for a couple of days, so the beach was a little slanted. The timing mat was placed on the soft sand, I assume to be extra sure it did not get wet from the waves, which made it a little weird to start and finish on a soft incline. 

The weather was predicted to be sunny and 80. It was a cloudy sunrise, but I was not complaining. Mile 1 I was actually happy with the cloud coverage and headwind which kept the heat at bay. By Mile 2 I was laughing as it started raining, but not for long. By Mile 3 I was ecstatic as a rainbow appeared in the distance. At the turn around at Mile 6.5 I was elated that I had survived that constant strong headwind and finally had it at my back! Miles 7-9 I felt like I was effortlessly sprinting. Miles 9-13 the sun was out in full force and my energy had dropped, but thankfully I just ran in the water to stay cool!

I finished with my average time, which I walked away okay with, since this was on the sand, we had a strong headwind, I was running in Vibrams, and my heel had been bothering me for a few weeks so I consciously did not push it.

I carried my CamelPak because of the heat, but the stations were fully stocked and had enough volunteers. The turn around point provided gel. 

There are very few people out cheering for the race, so don't expect people with posters shouting your name. Instead you will see those with a surprised look on their face that just happened to come out to watch the sunrise or go for their morning stroll or towards the finish, families setting up to enjoy a full beach day. 

The race provided leis, mimosas, and a live band right on the sand to celebrate. Because I met up with some Running Buddies who ran the 10k to go to brunch, I did not get to see the food up close, but it looked like some sort of egg and bread was served. 

Love collecting medals? This is a race to follow! They change the medal every year and they have been awesome! This year was a huge octopus. The gender specific shirt is not splattered with sponsor logos and has the race logo. The hat matches.

There are plenty of options to chose from right near the race start, however, I opted to camp at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, which was only a 5 minute drive away. This campground was definitely a perfect choice! There is a separate tent area which is perfectly shaded and away from the rvs. (there are cabins for rent as well if camping is not your style). The campground has direct access to the Jetty Beach and Pier, which is fun to explore both day and night! The bathhouse has really large showers, and there is a small store on the campground as well as on the beach park. 

Must see while in Cocoa Beach and surrounding area....
-Exploration Tower in Cape Canaveral-family adventure
-I Dream of Jeanie Lane-not only to take the picture, but to visit Lori Wilson Park which is one of the only beach parks that has free parking
-Manatee Sanctuary Park-awesome sunset views over the Banana River
-Cocoa Beach Pier-tourist trap, but there's a bar on the very end of peir- Rikki Tikki with cool views-be prepared to pay to enter that part of the pier-hint, parking lot is free after 4p. 
-Historic Cocoa Village-super cute village with shops and restaurants

Running on the beach takes running to a whole other level. I feel completely rejuvenated from head to toe after being embraced in so much natural beauty. I highly recommend this race for this experience, as not many beaches have this opportunity.