Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm Here for Cupcakes and the Beach! - Bridge of Lions 5k Race Report

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I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess, so I'm back again to do the Bridge of Lions 5k. In Saint Augustine. In July. Yeah, Florida in July. Where it's 75º before the sun even comes up.

I decided this year, rather than parking at the starting line area (by the Castillo), I'd park at the finish line. I usually park at the Castillo because after the race, I walk around St. George Street, but I wasn't planning much sight-seeing, so I didn't want to take up a space from someone else.

I didn't know how long it would take me to get to the start line from the finish line, so I arrived pretty early (like 6:30am early), and ended up getting great spot on the edge of the park, where the finish line is.

The finish line is on the other side of the trees
 After getting all of my gear, I began my 1/2 mile warm-up and walked over to the start line.

Good morning, beautiful Old City
Ain't nobody got time for a drawbridge!
I never noticed that they anchor in straight lines!
Hot and hazy
Once I got over to Avenida Menendez, the line for packet pickup was pretty long! I got my goodies though, and then wandered around the Castillo. 

Packet Pickup
Sparkle Selfie by the Castillo sign
"Freak out the Family Because I'm So Close to the Edge!!!!" Selfie
Looking toward Packet Pickup from the Castillo
"I love you, wall... you totally get me!"
It's getting' CROWDED!
One thing I didn't plan for - duh! - was the packet itself. I couldn't really (well, I could, really) walk back to the car and put my stuff away... I ended up carrying it. Okay, so one con for parking at the finish line.

Bag, shirt and some other goodies
There were over 1100 runners for this race, and at the starting line, we all sang the National Anthem, and then we were off!

It might be damned hot, but the views across the water are always beautiful and today was no different.

Feelin' good, but I just started, so...
I was already tired of this damn bag by the time I got to the bridge.

Yeah, that's gonna smell pretty rank by the time I'm done!
There is a guy in a suit with advertisements velcro'ed to him!
Action Shot! The old ladies look like they're mall-strollin'
There wasn't much action in this race, so we made it to Mile 1 pretty quickly.

Mile 1, some water, and an old dude in jorts...
At Mile 2, I realized this was the area where I parked the car.

I'm gonna pass my car!
Action Shot, still wogging!
There it is! I threw my bag in the trunk and headed off packet-free.

Stop throwing trash at my car!
Soon we were at Mile 3, and the finish line was right around the corner.

Mile 3, almost home!
It's up there, I can see it.
Action Shot, Finish Line... so sweaty!
Yeah, I'm a little sweaty! But I'm finished! My official time was 56:11 (that's an 18:05 pace, ugh), by far my slowest (non-Gasparilla) 5k to date. But I finished, at 1106th out of 1171 total runners (I beat 65 people).

I grabbed some water and a bag of ice (which I promptly shoved down my bra), as well as my medal and headed into the park, where it's shady and cooler. (The high for the day was 89º, but it felt a helluva lot hotter than that!).

So. Hot. and Red. and Sweaty!
I wandered around the park for a few minutes, grabbing a post-race snack, checking out the smattering of vendor tents before heading to the opposite side of the park, where my car was. BEST PARKING EVAH!

I'm coming, car! (Wish I had remote start!)
After the car had cooled down with the AC blasting, I made my way to A1A (Beachfront Avenue), and promptly had to sit and wait for the drawbridge. Eh, at least it wasn't during a half-marathon this time! It's mean of me to say it, but I gotta say I was feeling a little haughty for being in a nice, cool car, rather than having to walk back over the bridge in this heat!

Motherfuckin' drawbridge and shit
Once I cleared the bridge, I hightailed it to a local Subway to pick up lunch (and change clothes), then headed back over to St. Augustine Beach Pier. I found a great place to park, grabbed my beach bag and my camp chair and plopped my ass down to enjoy the sunshine! I'd wanted to do this a few weeks ago (after Beck's 5k in June), but the weather didn't want to cooperate. So I was dead set to do it this time!

Weisswurst or Legs?
I dined al fresco on a beautiful Spicy Italian sandwich, some potato chips and a huge Polar Pop from the Circle K across the street from the beach.

Nothing says "beachy" like slightly warm Italian meats!
The spot I found was great - it was a little bit away from the pier itself, and close enough to the water that the sand was packed, rather than sandy (so, no sand in my food!).

Saturday morning on St. Augustine Beach - maybe 20 people from here to the horizon
For a while, there were two ladies there with their dogs, and it was so much fun to watch the dogs play in the water. One was a bigger dog, like a pittie, while the other was smaller and couldn't keep up with the pittie.

He was the happiest doggo!
While not dressed for it, I just had to get in the water. I was born steps from the Gulf of Mexico, and I never realized how much I missed the beach until I moved away from it!

I couldn't stay too long - I am a pasty white chick, after all - so about about an hour, I packed up and headed back to the car (I was still crispy by the time I got home...). I popped over to this awesome Dollar Tree - it's HUGE! - and did some impulse shopping.

Sweet! I didn't know I could recycle my kids! I thought I had to trash 'em...
Not the most... reputable... shopping center... but a great Dollar Tree
My next stop was Happy Cakes - the bakery that made the cupcakes for Beck's 5k last month. It was a bit out of the way, and in the end, I didn't feel like it was worth the trek to spend $10 on three "normal size" cupcakes. Oh well, lesson learned.

On-street parallel parking, my speciality!
Next up - St. George Street. I parked on Spanish Street (near the Columbia Restaurant), but probably won't park there again - you can't pay for only how long you think you'll be. I had to pay for two hours, even though I was only going to be 30 minutes at the most. Oh, well, again... lesson learned.

Not the smartest parking I've done
So, funny story... Y'all know I love my Savannah Sweets fudge.Y'all know that's why I'm here. I generally don't carry my purse when I'm on St. George Street (for safety reasons); I just carry my phone and my credit card. As I was paying for my treats with said credit card, the cashier (a lovely older woman) asked me for ID. I told her that I was very sorry, that I didn't have it with me. Another woman came over, whom I'd seen many times, and she looked at me, then told the cashier, "Oh, she's fine! She comes in here all the time!" Then she asked me what race I was in town for!

So, is it a good thing or a bad thing that I'm being recognized in other cities for my love of fudge and running?

Anyway, I was able to pay for my treats without having to go get my credit card, and after doing a little more window shopping, I headed back to the car, and got ready to go home.

I hit up the RaceTrac for caffeine and set the Garmin to take me to Hardee's in Palatka. I couldn't find it last time, and I was so pissed, it became a mission this time.

It turned out that this Hardee's in Palatka was inside a gas station, rather than being a stand-alone joint!

With burger in hand (which was very tasty, but who the hell puts ketchup on a burger with bacon?!?), I headed home, picked up Hubby and vegged on the couch the rest of the day!

Bacon & Cheese Thickburger... really, ketchup? Ick.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bill Pullman Rocks! - Celebration Run 5k 2017
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After getting Hubby to work at about 5:15, I headed directly to Jax. I skipped my Circle K stop, since I brought a can of Pepsi with me this time. The drive was pretty uneventful and I got there just before 7am (cutting it close to the start time of 7:30). I parked in front of Stonewood Grill, a little closer than I parked for the race on Memorial Day, and walked over to the store for Packet Pickup.

I'm parked to the far right, just out of sight
There are already a lot of people here
Almost 10 minutes

I was in line for almost 10 minutes, and once I got my shirt, I went back to the car to gear up as quickly as I could. On the way back to the race start, I drank my Pepsi.

Nice and soft v-neck shirt (still doesn't fit though)
One awesome perk of this race is that the race director brings out tons of HUGE American flags, for runners to run with.  I was just sure that they'd run out of flags before I had a chance to get one, but I was in luck (though, I did miss out on the Betsy Ross flag...)

Oh say, can you see?
I got into the crowd around 7:25 and waited for the start - and of course, took a few start line photos!
My shirt says "Home of the Free, Because of the Brave"
3rd time I've used these pompoms!
After the National Anthem, we were off! I didn't take very many photos this time, mostly due to the giant flag! I very much underestimated how heavy and hard to run with it would be! I would lay it against one shoulder for a few minutes, then switch to the other. Back and forth for 3 miles!

At the beginning...
I noticed one runner early on, an older (okay, middle-aged?) gentleman in tiny shorts, and he gave off an "Elementary PE Teacher" vibe to me. I couldn't keep my eyes off of his legs! Unfortunately, none of my photos came out worth a damn, so you don't get to appreciate the curly-haired-ness of them (is that a word?)

Really pretty older ranch-style home with lots of flags

By Mile 1, I decided to give up trying to run with this grand ol' flag. I would just carry it proudly, as I listened to Sousa marches on my iPod.

It's hot people. Like it's July or something...
There was a water stop between Miles 1 and 2, but I skipped it, since I still had some ice in my Nathan.

One thing I love about this course (and this area) is that they are all very patriotic. So many houses had some sort of flag decoration!

Another great house with flags
After I passed Mile 2 (no idea where the photo is...) there was another water stop, so I got a cup. I soaked my cooling towel and poured the rest on my head.

Cutie-patooties with flags!
Anyone know what TV show or movie this is from?
Finally, made it to Mile 3 and the finish line, which was right around the corner. 

So close!
It's up there!
And I finished! I held the flag high and let it wave as I crossed under the banner!

My official time was 51:59 (pace 16:43).  I was 53rd out of 59 in my age group, F35-39, and 830th out of 886 total finishers (I beat 56 people).

I got my medal then headed over to the trailer to return my awesome flag.

I'm a winner, baby... okay, I'm a finisher, baby!
Look at all the people who finished before me!

I walked back towards the after-party area and got a PowerIce and a few packs of Toast-Chee crackers. There weren't many vendor tents, and none of them had anything I wanted to look at, so I grabbed a slice of watermelon (it IS Independence Day, after all!) and watched the last few runners come in. 

I ate some of it

Once everyone had come in, I walked back up to the front to watch the awards and participate in the raffle. 

So, most raffles that I've ever participated in... they call a number and if you have that number, you get a prize. Seems pretty normal, right? Not this one!

They were using a random number generator to call numbers (rather than having everyone's bib number in a cup or something), but at the same time, there was another guy literally throwing inexpensive prizes into the crowd! Kids wised up to this pretty quickly, and they became like a fucking pack of velociraptors! Bigger kids were jumping in front of smaller kids to get all the prizes, even if they'd already gotten a prize, and the guy tossing stuff wasn't tossing very hard, so nothing ended up in the adult section of the crowd. 

And then, the guy calling actual numbers... If the number he called wasn't an exact number - like if there was no 74 in the crowd, but there was a guy who had bib 71, that guy would get the prize, since he's the closest to the actual number. I stood through the entire raffle and ended up being the closest bib for the number called, and I won some Thera-Band kinesiology tape, worth about $12 (I tried it out later that night on my PF and WOW! Boys, and girls, this shit is FANTASTIC!!!!) Ironically, my number was even closer to the final prize - a Polar fitness watch - but I'd already won, so I couldn't win again (even if I gave back the TB tape). 

Once the event was over, I headed back to my car, rolling my eyes at some little asshole velociraptor in the parking lot - literally screaming at his parents because he didn't like the prize he won in the raffle. He apparently won a book and was pissed about it. I have no patience for ungrateful people, especially ungrateful children, and I was very close to backhanding that little bastard. The only saving grace was that the parents, while not telling him to shut up, was being very logical in telling him that he could have refused the prize, or given it to someone else, or donated it to a needy person. In other words, they were only having a little of his bullshit, but not all of it. 

I hit up a nearby CVS to change clothes, and purchased some Milk-Duds and soda for the Pee Fee™

I ended up taking a wrong turn and crossed over the Main Street Bridge, which threw me for a minute... I usually am walking over it coming the other way (during the Gate River Run)! It was kind of fun to go the other way!

Oh shit - I'm headed downtown!
Oops... gotta turn around
I stopped at Daily's and got gas and a car wash and then headed over to Orange Park Mall for lunch and some shopping.

Yeah, it's hot. Damn hot. Real hot.
I scored some clearance clothes at Penney's then got some tasty Chick-fil-A  (no Moe's this time) before going over to Party City. Finally, even though I didn't have to pick up Hubby from work, I was ready to head home, so I hit up another convenience store for a fountain drink, then made my way home.