When I moved to New Orleans a couple years ago, I was excited that I was going to have a 70.3 distance race right in my backyard. Do my favorite distance without having to travel? Sign me up! And so I did. Last year. Unfortunately, because the universe is cruel, my race involved 30 of us huddled under our tent in an insane thunderstorm. The race was ultimately cancelled which was really a bummer, though understandable. But there’s always next year, right? Fast forward to, well, a month later and I signed up again for the 2018 edition!
Alcatraz deserves a full race report so buckle up! This is, for most of us, a real bucket list event. I’d rate this right below Kona, for me, as one of the most iconic venues and “must-do” races. So I can’t thank Bill Burke & PEM enough for making this possible. If you want to read this one you might want a pot of coffee ready.
The cliff notes version of my race report is that if you want a challenging race, go do Wisconsin. If you want a race with the best spectators I’ve ever seen at any event, go do Wisconsin. If you want to do a race in a city that has plenty of fun things to do before the main event, go do Wisconsin. Be ready for a really tough bike though. It will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not ready for it.
Sometimes I do crazy things. Crazy things involving endurance sports; I’m not that crazy otherwise. This past weekend fit right in! I got started running back in 2007 with the Gasparilla 5k and the Gasparilla Distance Classic has remained one of my favorite race weekends. I had so much fun and it helped me get back in shape, so every year I try and make sure to do a Gasparilla race. Since this is my last year in Tampa I decided to step it up a bit and do all four races! That meant 30.4 miles over two days between a 15k and 5k on Saturday and then a half marathon and 8k on Sunday.
The Miami Marathon has definitely become Melanie and my ‘race to do’ every year since we did it last year. We signed up for this year’s race just 2 days after doing it last year and it didn’t disappoint this year again. I expect when we get the 50% off sale tomorrow we’ll sign up for 2017’s race. There were some changes to the race that actually took it down a notch in some ways for us. I think the expo was disappointing compared to last year not in size or quality but just in location. Due to Miami Beach Convention Center renovations, the expo was moved to Wynwood which is a really strange area of Miami (and really in the middle of some really bad areas). At the MBCC, we could walk from there to Lincoln Road and check out all the high end shops. I expect it will be back to that next year. They also changed the course slightly so they could shut down only one causeway vs two. And for the second year in a row, we lucked out with a major cold front coming through Miami bringing temperatures that allowed for great race performances. Last year was the 2nd coldest at the time and this year was the absolute coldest. So in our two years of racing, we’ve done the 1st and 3rd coldest races. Our luck on that is going to run out eventually but we’ll enjoy it while it lasts!