Race Recap: Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

In all of the years that I’ve lived in Florida, I have never been to Fort Lauderdale, but I am aware of the A1A highway and all of its appeal. This race drew me in with the promise of an oceanside run, though I was completely nervous about the heat as I was told there was no cover. Thankfully, the weather gods were in my favor because th

Pre-Race Communication was great, actually superb. I think I received a “final race information” email about 4 times. There was no way that people could say they didn’t know where to pickup their packet or what time the race started, that’s for sure.

Packet Pickup was easy. It was at the Broward County Convention Center, which you had to pay to park at (so annoying) but the hall was large and there were lots of great vendors.

 

Parking was a breeze for me as I opted for the VIP parking pass which allowed me to park near the finish line. I took the shuttle bus to the start line and after I got off I learned that there was free parking near the start. BUT- I think the $27 was well worth the money so that I didn’t have to worry about fighting with thousands others to find a spot. The convenience of know that I had a place and could get to the start line on time gave me peace of mind. 

The start line had SO MANY port-o-potties, which was great. I had the oddest experience, though, where a runner had a stand off with me when I hopped in the potty. She was convinced that it was “not my turn” (even though there were multiple lines for the port-o-potty) and decided that she would hold the door open and tell me to get out. Other runners started shouting at her that, yes, it was my turn and someone had to physically remove her from the potty door. That was so random and taught me that there’s a first time for everything.

The corrals were fenced off really well and there were pacers in place for both the half and the full marathon. There was a great big American flag hanging and they had an awesome saxophone player do a rendition of the national anthem.

Bag check was pretty cool, since this is a point to point race, they had UPS trucks at the back of the running corral waiting to collect our bags and then they drove them over to the finish line. I brought along my goodie bag from the Expo because I knew that I’d need my Oofos after running 13.1 miles.

I was able to meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pro Lisa for a quick chat and a Pro Photo before the race. We were both concerned about the heat and agreed that we weren’t necessarily running for time, but just to finish.

The course started closer to downtown, worked its way to the coast, we ran through a park and then made our way back to the coast. What a beautiful coastline to run on! There was water and BodyArmor all long the course, 2 first aid tents, and port-o-potties. There were some great locals that were giving out Twizzlers and around mile 10 a family was passing out beer in front of their house (no thanks).

Upon crossing the finish line, you received your medal (which is awesome!) and water. There were TONS of food options including Michelob Ultra beer, Barefoot Wine, BodyArmor sports drink, Bubba Burgers, and more. I opted out of eating anything that heavy at 9 am or drinking beer. I walked right back to grab my bag from the UPS truck, stretch out, and gulp down tons of water and a bottle of Body Armor. I did go back to grab a banana before heading back to my hotel.

There was this amazing sand sculpture made by the folks at Sandtastic.com, which was their rendition of the jellyfish medal. The line was crazy, stupid long to take a picture in front of it and I’m not one for lines, so I skipped that.

Even though it was ridiculously humid, it was overcast and I didn’t have to worry about the sun burning through my skin! 

Overall, it was a nice, quick getaway with my family- my kids got to enjoy the beach and I scored some great swag. Win-win for all parties involved.

 

Get Ready, Get Set: Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to XYZ race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’ve got my hotel booked, my registration is set, I’ve purchased my VIP parking at the finish line, and I am almost ready to head down to Ft. Lauderdale for a great run in the sun. Though, admittedly, I hope it isn’t too hot.

I’ve been running a few races here in Tampa Bay to get myself ready for the distance and I plan on picking up some gels to help fuel me during my long run. I also like to run with a water bottle on my hip and I’ll have either my Bib Rave visor or hat to keep the sun out of my face. I haven’t quite planned my race outfit yet, but I’ll be sure to post it on Instagram when I do.

It looks like online registration is still open, so today would be your last chance to sign up. Use code BIBRAVE for 15% off of your race cost.

Top 5 Reasons to run this race?

  1. Awesome views
  2. Good looking medals.
  3. Multiple distances for various ability levels.
    1. 5K
    2. 6K
    3. Half Marathon
    4. Full Marathon
  4. The ocean is your finish line. (What better reason than this??)
  5. It’s Florida, come on!

So, will I see you there?

Fort Lauderdale or bust!

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate Tampa 15K

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate Tampa 15K race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

I have had my eye on the Hot Chocolate race series for a while now, so I was glad that I got the opportunity to try it out and see what all of the rave was about.

Pre-Race Communication was great. They emailed me to let me know that I forgot to pick a size for my pullover and they had a great training plan that you could choose to follow leading up to the 15K.

Packet Pickup was easy. It was at the convention center downtown, which I hate going to (mostly because you have to pay for parking). I had no trouble with lines, I was able to walk right up, show them my QR code and receive my bag. They even had an area for you to try on your shirt just in case you wanted to switch sizes, which I thought was very nice.

Parking was a breeze as there is ample parking in downtown Tampa. From parking garages to parking lots, I don’t believe that anyone would have had a problem finding somewhere to park their car.

The start line was right outside of the Tampa Convention Center and there were plenty of port-o-potties, bag check, and pre-race festivities going on. This is the first time that I have ever used bag check at a race, but I knew that I’d need my Oofos after running 9.3 miles. The bags were kept behind a fence, you had to place your bag check slip on it and they even had little zip ties to close your bag for you. That made me feel comfortable that my shoes would be safe.

I was able to meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pros for a quick chat and a Pro Photo before the race. Kathy and I were even a bit matchy-matchy in our Bib Rave Pro gear as we both wore our Buff hats that day. Shout out to Michael’s wife for getting us the picture.

 

The course is gorgeous as you run along Bayshore Blvd. with great views of the Bay (aka Gulf of Mexico). The thing is, Tampa Bay gets pretty sunny and when the sun is beaming off of the water you can get pretty hot. Luckily for us, the weather was fairly cooperative, so it wasn’t ridiculously hot and there was an awesome breeze. It was a great day for running!

There was water and Nuun available at all of the aid stations AND they had sweet stations filled with M&Ms, marshmallows, and other sweet, chocolate goodness. I personally can’t run and eat snacks, but I know that those who can surely enjoyed it. They also had some awesome volunteers along the route telling people where to go and cheering us on, which was nice. There were first aid people bicycling along the course as well for those who may have needed help and I saw quite a few photographers out there.

The sweetest surprise for me? Was that photos were free! And were ready within HOURS of me crossing the finish line. That was amazing.

Upon crossing the finish line, you received your medal (which is awesome!), water, and WET TOWELS. I never knew how much I wanted or needed a cool, wet towel until I crossed that finish line. I am so happy that they had those available to us.

After picking up my bag, I head over to get my mug which included a cup of hot chocolate, biscuits, Rice Krispies Treats, a bag of pretzels, a marshmallow, and fudge. YUM! There was a DJ there playing music, plenty of photo opps with blow-ups, and stairs for you to have a seat on.

To me the swag was unbelievable. First of all, the mug was filled with goodness, but the medal was amazing! The medal this year had a keychain attached to it with the city name and year. AND? The pullover? I have never gotten a shirt like this in my very short running career.

 

 

I would absolutely do this race again, it was great fun.

Believe

There is something to be said about believing.

Belief gives us hope.

It has taken me a while to come to this realization, but it dawned on me recently.

 

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do your children?

 

When I was growing up I knew that no fat white dude was sliding down my chimney to bring me gifts. A. I didn’t know any white people. B. I didn’t have a chimney. C. There were burglar bars on my window, so he couldn’t come in that way. And let’s be real, my mother ruined it when she told us that she works hard to buy our gifts, so…

 

My kids believe in Santa. Not because I pushed Santa on them, but in our culture it just goes that way, right? They hear about Santa at school or on the playground and BOOM! Santa is coming. With gifts to put under the tree and reindeer to feed. It’s wondrous to me how the slightest mention of Santa will bring the children to attention. Their eyes light up with such joy at the thought that this magical man could be bringing them every. single. thing. that they circled in the Target toy catalog.

 

Momma’s got some work to do to make their dreams come true this year, lemme tell you.

 

Do you believe in God? I do. And no judgement if you don’t, but look- millions of people around the world believe in this Man that they’ve never seen, heard from, or touched. That He will bring us peace, joy, and so much more. We believe. We believe that he can heal, save us, forgive us.


We believe.

 

I wonder, then, why it is so difficult for us to believe that a woman could have been raped, molested, or assaulted today, yesterday, last week, 9 or 30 years ago. That she has just built up the courage to say out loud “this man violated me” and we raise eyebrows and say, “Okay, whatever. Liar.”

 

Here is a woman bearing something so intimate, yet we don’t believe. Women who can’t even go get a massage or act in a movie or sit in a studio with a predator without him thinking he has the right to touch her, and yet we don’t believe.

 

Does it matter when it happened? Does it matter what circumstances it happened under?

 

I always think, what if she was your mother? Daughter? Grandmother? Aunt? Friend…

 

Would you believe?

 

And let’s be clear, it shouldn’t take it being someone in your family or fold for you to believe.

 

What blows my mind even more is that the person who mustered up the courage to come forth and say what happened to her has so much to lose as well, so much public scrutiny, embarrassment, shame, yet she stepped forth anyway, and we shoot her down. We take the side of men that we don’t even know, although we think we do. He acted in that movie, he produced that song, he was in that TV show for years. He would never.

 

But he would. He could.

 

These are men in positions of power who feel like they have free reign on a woman’s body. These are men who have no regard for women who catcall and touch us as we walk by.

 

But we believe them.

 

The question for me is never how long it took a woman to come forward because hell, it took me over 20 years to say those words out loud.

 

Do you believe me?

Am I a liar?

 

Belief is a funny thing. We can believe in things that we can’t see, hear, or touch. But when something or someone is brought to our attention that can be seen and heard, we ignore it. We shun the people who have come forth.

 

What will it take for you to believe? When a woman is found dead? Beat up?

 

And then we say “why didn’t she say something?” or “she should have left.”

 

Well, she would if she could have. But who would believe her?

 

Not you.

 

We should all listen more. Take more time to believe more. Maybe if we did and men knew that she would be believed they wouldn’t do it in the first place.

 

Have her back. Stand up for her. Believe her.

Race Recap: St. Pete Run Fest

The St Pete Run Fest brought races back to Saint Pete. It has been a while since we’ve had half marathons here in Saint Pete, so I was excited to have an opportunity to run through this beautiful city.

Packet pick-up was easy. They held it at the Mahaffey Theater and it coincided with the Saturday Market, which allowed runners to do a little bit of shopping from local vendors. Some races have vendors at packet pickup, but there weren’t any vendors at the St Pete Run Fest packet pickup and I think it is because the Saturday Market was going on. I didn’t wait very long to be helped as they had multiple volunteers helping out with each distance. Relay runners get a timing bracelet to wear on your leg that you will pass on to your partner at the exchange point.

Parking in downtown Saint Pete is plentiful. There is both paid and free street parking as well as the Mahaffey parking garage (which is closest to the start) for $10.

Parking for relay participants, while they tried to make it as seamless as possible, was not necessarily the best. Runner 2 was supposed to drop Runner 1 off at the start line and make their way straight to Ferg’s to park. Well, my partner wanted to see me off and so when she tried to get to Ferg’s, the street was already blocked off and she couldn’t park at Ferg’s so she had to find street parking. After I exchanged with her at the relay exchange point, I was directed to drive to the Albert Whitted Airport and use my parking pass to park in volunteer parking. Well, I never quite found volunteer parking and so I went to the Mahaffey parking lot, showed them my pass and they were kind enough to let me park. There weren’t really signs for volunteer parking and so I didn’t know where to go. Relays that I have done in the past have had a bus that shuttles the runners to and from the exchange point. I think that would be a fabulous addition to this race so that runners aren’t worrying about exchanging cars, rushing to get to the parking place, and whether or not they’ll be able to see their running partner off.

I ran the first half of the race and the course was nice. I was hoping that we wouldn’t run over the brick streets that I ran over for The Getaway 5K and we didn’t. We weaved in and out of the streets of Saint Pete (lots of twists and turns), but the best part was being able to run through Tropicana Field (where the Tampa Bay Rays play) and around the outfield. We got a blast of air conditioning and I was able to make a restroom pit stop. There was also a DJ playing music on your way out of the field. I also ran past a marching band playing music, which was very cool.

There are tons of murals in downtown Saint Pete, which I think is part of the city’s charm and I do wish that we were able to run past some of the awesome murals during this race.

The exchange point was right outside of Ferg’s and I was able to get my medal and swag, grab the car keys and drive to the finish line to meet my partner. She says that her half of the race was beautiful but ridiculously hot (my half of the race was hot as well). There isn’t much shade on the course and while there was a 7 am start, I could have done with an even earlier start on this day. The problem with Florida is that the weather is so unpredictable- you don’t know if you’ll have breeze, humidity, heat- it is a toss-up.

The post-race party (expo) was amazing. Not only did you get a Tervis tumbler upon completion of the race, but you also got a towel, smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Outback/Carraba’s/Bonefish were present, I mean- they thought of it all! I was very impressed with the after party and the swag. The medal had a spinning pelican’s foot and was a nice size.

After the race, I did not receive an email telling me where to find race photos, so I had to go to the website and look under their FAQ section to grab the link for race photos. I did, though, get a postcard from the race directors wishing me happy holidays, which I thought was a very nice touch.

Overall, it was a great race that I would consider doing again.