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!
Wow, has it really been six months since I posted here? That length of time matches up to the length of time since my last race! Its been a few years since I had a six month break in racing. The difference between then and now is I didn’t stop training. What I did do, over the summer, was cut back a bit on mileage and focus on speed. We’ll see how that goes when the Miami Marathon rolls around but first up, TriRock Clearwater! I did this event 2 years ago and I really wanted to do it again this year.
Last weekend was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga and also my third race at the distance. Up until this race I would have suggested anyone looking for a great half iron distance race to consider Augusta. After racing Chattanooga I’d have to defer to this one! (Not that Augusta doesn’t remain an awesome race) The town itself is perfect for the race. There are a ton of good hotel options that are walkable to the Ironman village and transition. There are also a lot of restaurants in the downtown area that make dining easy in the days leading up to the race. I had some delicious BBQ on the Friday I arrived.
If there’s one thing I enjoy more than races, its traveling somewhere for a race. Supporting a local race is important and there are a few that I really enjoy but when you travel for a race there’s a whole new layer of you add on top of the event. The downsides are you have to spend more money and your hotel may not be as comfortable as home. You also have to pay close attention to your packing list or you could forget something important. The upsides are you get to go somewhere for a mini-vacation, try new restaurants, run in new locations and just an overall sense of you’ve gone to “An Event”. That’s how Miami felt for the Miami Marathon this past weekend. Now, I was born in Miami but I haven’t spent much time down there in over 15 years so it may as well be a different country to me (actually it does feel that way…)