Hunters, Hortons and The Harbor Lights Half Weekend in Review

It is Monday morning and the dust has settled from such a record setting weekend in Downtown Norfolk. I look back on the past few days and feel I have so much to be thankful for. I ran a great race on Sunday, the fastest half to date but that isn’t what I keep thinking about. There are so many other amazing things that outweigh the time on the clock.


Friday morning began by training at JWFNS surrounded by clients who want to make life changes and by my co-workers sharing thoughts of good luck race wishes with each other. Like myself, Jim White was also preparing for the Harbor Lights Half Marathon on Sunday. Many of my fellow trainers tackled the 5k and half marathon respectively as well. All of them continue to impress me by showing what it means to be really, truly fit! After a grand opening Thursday evening for the Norfolk JWFNS studio, Jim himself had an impressive personal best in the half.


The JWFNS team crushing the 5k !

Friday afternoon was spent recording the latest episode of Fit Founders with my buddy Zack. We also spent some time reviewing his race day plan, as he would take on his first half marathon on Sunday. I always knew Zack was strong, but 16 weeks ago he reached out to me with the dream of running the Harbor Lights Half. I couldn’t be more excited to train someone. For once, I was the expert in our weekly discussions and it gave me the opportunity to mentor him for a change. He amazed me weekly as he conquered 5,6,7, even 10 mile training runs. Something that may have been impossible to think of for so many was now a reality for him and on Sunday he officially earned the title of Half Marathoner!!!

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16 weeks ago when he committed to train! #HarborLights

Saturday morning started early before the sun as my parents and I ventured to Norfolk for the Harbor Lights 5k. This time Dad and I would be the spectators and mom would be the runner!



12 weeks of training under Ryan Conrad with the J&A Harbor Lights Training Team and she was going to put her mind and body to the test. This goal was something she decided to take on completely on her own. After watching Dad and I run for over 30 years, it was her turn. There was never a doubt in our minds that she wouldn’t do it. Our good friend Carly Hunter jumped in earlier in the week to run with mom. We set them in the coral early and by a little after 8 they were on their way.


Mom and Carly at the start

Between Mom’s determination and the gentle encouragement from Carly, the 3.1 was achievable. A runner was born!

Sunday morning was my turn to hit the streets. An early morning meet up in the new JWF studio in Norfolk was the perfect spot to surround myself with good energy, good friends, and ready my mind for the 13.1 ahead. Carly’s Husband and good friend to me, Rob would be pacing me through the race.

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Rob and I moments before the start

After a frustrating Crawlin Crab Half with challenging hip and leg issues, I had rested and prepared accordingly. I  knew my body was ready but it was my mind I struggled with. Questions or maybe it was even doubt that bounced around in my head. Could I push for sub 2:00? Would my body cooperate? Was I mentally strong enough? 12 weeks of training under the supervision, support, and encouragement of Ryan Conrad proved I had put in the time and the workouts showed that I should have a good race. I knew I wanted to push myself but remain conservative through the 13.1 and that is exactly what we did. Rob knew my race plan and he held the clock. All I had to do was settle in and run.  The 8:45 pace was effortless for Rob and the perfect low risk and conservative pace for me. As we came about the 5k and 10k checkpoints I tried not to look at the clock. The course was scenic and quick. I knew we were moving at the speed we should be and I didn’t want to be distracted with math problems trying to figure out my pace. Through 10 miles Rob repeated the phrase “Short and Quick” referencing my steps. We ran Wicked like this and it was the best strategy to conserve energy and remain in control. As we approached the 10 mile marker Rob called out to me with a bit of a chuckle “Ok girl, now you are allowed to race!” We opened up the stride a bit and I could feel myself steadily dropping time as we ventured under the bridge, around the cobblestone, over the Nauticus pier, and eventually headed toward the Bank of Hampton Roads. We passed my parents and many friends with 1 mile remaining. The energy and cheers from the crowd was palpable. Again we steadily dropped seconds and quickened the pace. I knew we were rolling as we rounded the bank and set our sights on the finish. I began my chase on the last straight away. Rob ran ahead and yelled back “Whewwwww!!!! Let it rip! GO! GO! GO!”


This picture captures the moment perfectly! Thanks Catrina Ralston for your cheers, support, and paparazzi skills!!!

Before I knew it, it was over. The inaugural course proved to be a quick one and made for a successful day.

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FLYING (photo credit Catrina Ralston)

I nearly fell into Rob and I knew we did it….together. As I made my way through the finisher shoot I was greeted by Ryan Conrad with a high-5 and a congrats. While the time was a good one, it was the time Rob and I spent together on the course that made the race memorable and one of my favorites. The experience of true friendship, true accomplishment, and true grit was laid out yesterday on the streets of Norfolk.  By the end of the race we were both moved to tears by what had occurred and it was so much more than the time measured on the watch.  My relationship with Carly and Rob Hunter is the true, easy kind of friendship which is bonded now even stronger by 13.1 miles! 4 half marathons this year, all surrounded by great friends and that is something that can’t be measured.

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A 13.1 Mile Story That Only Runners Would Understand


I rarely run with music in a workout these days and I never race with it anymore. But these songs are usually floating around my head at any given time on the course. I have turned these songs a story of 13.1 from warm up to after party.

Warm Up

Jump Around – House of Pain ~ Get the body moving

Shawty Get Loose-Lil Mama ~ refers to my warm up routine

First Few Miles

Let’s Go – Trick Daddy. That moment you hit your coral and settle in to the starting line, you feel ready, you feel pumped, and you are ready to let it out.

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty ~ always been a theme song for me and a good steady beat for the first few slower miles

Problem-Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea ~ The verse of one less problem with out ya refers to the mental note I make to myself as I pass each mile marker in the race

Last Stretch

Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G. ~ Most of the races end up as a blur. In the zone, don’t remember the pain, the crowd, or miles 4-7. When they are over  I swear for some I have been hypnotized.

Catch My Breath – Kelly Clarkson ~ This song single handed me got me through Shamrock Half Marathon 2012. My favorite line “laughing hard with the windows down, leaving footprints all over town”

You Can Do It – Ice Cube ~ Push, Go, Grind out the last few

Scream and Shout – Will.I.Am and Britney Spears ~ We literally want to scream. Picture mile 12 of 13.1 or mile 20 of 26.2 Finish

Applause – Lady Gaga ~ I do it for the applause. The last few hundred meters of a race are usually loud and exciting. People you don’t know will call your name out and cheer for you.

Post Race

Wobble – V.I.C. ~ Pretty much sums up how most of us feel at the end

Day Drinking-Little Big Town ~ Beer Truck and reward! Need I say more

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Healthy Holiday Challenge: Be A Vixen

The holidays are here! You have two choices, let all that good work you have spent the last 12 months doing go to waste and sabotage yourself…or….stick with your healthy lifestyle, stick with the gym, and shine like the VIXEN you are this season…and we don’t mean one of Santa’s reindeer!!!

I birthed this theory recently as I was prepping an outfit for a fun filled night out at a swanky bar here in Virginia Beach. With a closet full of clothes, I simply had nothing to wear. Sound familiar? It was then that I realized my closet wasn’t the problem. My head was. I have fallen into a rut. A no make-up, messy hair, lounge wear rut. With most of my time spent in workout clothes, I barely have the desire or the need to get my self together for those “none sweat” appointments. I shared my rut dilemma with some of my girlfriends and it seems that many of my fellow gym rats struggle with the same issue. With so many festive holiday outings upon us, I am challenging myself to unleash my inner VIXEN and get with the program!

What does it mean to be a VIXEN ?

1. Wear clothes that make you feel good

jeans, leggings, boots, sneakers, sweaters, slinky tops, heels

It is different for all of us. Spend some time discovering what you feel best in and rock it! When you feel good, you look good!!!

2. Do your hair

blow it out, wear it up, bust out the hot rollers, get a new do

Even if you are running around town in sweats, feel good about yourself and rock your own individual sassy hair style.

3. Consider makeup for day to day activities.  Not to hide your imperfections, but to highlight those features you love.

carpool, a meeting, a lunch date with girlfriends, dinner date with your guy

Every winter I bust out the bright red lip. It is one of my favorite holiday accessories and swear it channels a certain alter ego to appear. Nothing bad has ever happened to me while wearing my red lipstick.  Step it up a notch!  Hit the drugstore or make up counter and stock up on a few essentials. A good skin care line is the most important item.  Then treat yourself to a new lip color, mascara, or even splurge on an eye liner. Besides…you just never know when you will find yourself under the mistletoe.





4. Smile, laugh, and find joy in the holiday hustle and bustle. Rejoice for the people in your life you get to spend the season with.

children, friends, significant others, family

5. Unleash your inner VIXEN and dance like EVERYONE is watching! Happiness is contagious so let your happy out and inspire others!

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Borrow, buy, or piece together that must have look for your next holiday event. Paint your nails that color you’ve been dying to try, hit the town with your gals, your guy, or alone for a much needed day alone filled with coffee and Christmas shopping.

Release the inner criticism and embrace your awesomeness in all its glory. You may just surprise yourself by how amazing you feel by taking more pride in your look. You work hard on your body, soul, and spirit and now you should celebrate it!

Share your VIXEN moments with us this season by using #BeAVixen on Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to tag @thefitpetite. We look forward to having a healthy holiday with you!



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Quick List of Fall Family Friendly Fitness Events

The countdown is on until the Norfolk streets are shut down and filled with runners. We will be spectating Saturday and racing Sunday. See you on the course.

Harbor Lights Weekend 5k, Final Mile, and Half Marathon- November 21-November 23, Events kick off Friday November 21 with the Sports and Fitness Expo. Charities include Wings Over America and The Noblemen.


Two ways to sweat before you feast on Thanksgiving morning.

Tidewater Striders Turkey Trot- November 27, Kicks off at 7:00 am, $18 before November 16th at Family Friendly Mt. Trashmore Family YMCA

Blue Talon Bistro 5k and Kid’s Run-November 27, kicks off at 8:30am, course takes you through the streets go Colonial Williamsburg and the grounds of William and Mary.

For A Full List of Fitness Events Click HERE

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Your Race Day Concerns Answered: Tummies to Traffic

From tummies to traffic, here are some tips to make your race day morning run a little smoother.

Watch The Fit Petite HERE


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