Our girls' weekend in Tampa began Friday night with a very long drive. We left with plenty of time to arrive at the expo at 7, an hour before it closed. But due to some ridiculous traffic, we literally parked and sprinted to the expo and arrived as the doors were closing!
We slipped through the last open door and ignored the guard who called after us, "It's over, ladies!" We were able to grab our bibs and shirts as the announcement was made that the expo was closed, just in the nick of time!
|A sigh of relief! We got our bibs and shirts just in time!
|We took some extra time to find our names on the giant banner.
We had a nice big dinner at Outback - I haven't eaten there in forever! - and fell asleep way too late for our 5am wakeup the next morning.
|Sweet potato, steak, and shrimp...Now that's a good pre-race dinner!
Back at the hotel, we got our stuff ready for the morning and took a look at the race shirts. They were really cute this year!
|Flat-Ali is ready for the 15k!
|The half shirt is long-sleeved and the 5k is short; it's a nice little combo there!
With all that taken care of, there was nothing left to do but get some shut-eye.
Saturday's 5am wakeup came way too quickly, and it was cold! We got to the Convention Center around 6am for our 6:45 start time.
|Don't laugh...this was cold for us!
We crowded into the corrals and started on our way. Mari took off, her usual speedy self, and Kristin and I stuck together at a nice conservative pace. The course was beautiful and flat, and the sunrise was gorgeous over the water.
The race was very well-organized and we had a blast. We were wearing our GGM shirts and had a few conversations with fellow runners about Ragnar. Kristin and I kept an eye open for Mari at the turnaround, which was a nice distraction, and even though we'd planned to run an easy race all throughout, we couldn't help but sprint into the finish together.
This was probably one of the most crowded races I've ever been to. Although I loved having a crowd around the entire time, one of the problems of big races like this is that many of the runners don't follow proper race etiquette. Walkers didn't move to the side or signal; many stopped directly past the finish line and I literally collided with people as I crossed. But overall, the entire race was fantastic!
|I don't really know how many were in my division or gender etc...I wasn't really worried about rankings for this race.
I don't have a lot to say about race strategy or anything today because our goal was just to not push too hard, bearing in mind that we had a half to run the next day.
We had breakfast at Daily Eats, then went back to the hotel for showers and naps before heading back to the expo. It's funny how a 15k didn't even feel that far and I had no problem walking around afterward.
|You've gotta love a menu with "gluten free" clearly labeled!
|I had a goat cheese and spinach omelet with avocado and bacon added, plus cheesy grits!
While Mari and Kristin got massages, I wandered the expo and did a little shopping. Matt's brother and his boyfriend Robby are in Florida for a really short time so they were able to stop by and say hello quickly before we girls took the trolley to Channelside for dinner.
|A quick "hello" with the boys.
|Our lovely view of Tampa.
|Dinner was more sushi than I could comfortably fit in my stomach.
Given how hectic Friday was, it was really nice to have the evening to relax and plan for Sunday's race...but that's another post to come! (I'll be out of town for work stuff so the half post will have to wait a couple days!)