Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bridge of Lions 5k Race Report

Since the Kiddo is enjoying her summer vacation way too much, and Hubby had to work this morning, I was flying solo for the Bridge of Lions 5k in St. Augustine. Not that I'm totally sad about that - I've mentioned it before that Hubby doesn't really enjoy the whole running scene, and it's boring for him to wait around an hour for me.

I was up and ready to go by 4:30 (I had to take hubby to work before heading to the race), and I was so proud of my gorgeous 2-day hair, I felt the need to take a selfie. My skin needs some work, but my hair is great!

Second Day Hair Selfie
No road trip photo this time around, but the trip was uneventful, and I got there around 6:30a.m.  The sky, just beginning to light up was beautiful and I spent way too much time shooting the water!

Good Morning Sunshine
Eventually, though, I made my way over to packet pickup, which was two tables. We got a shirt in a nice reusable grocery bag provided by a local chiropractor. The handles of the bag are obnoxious, so I probably won't use it much (they're too short).

Getting to races early is much less stressful
I took my stuff back to the car to chill out before the race started.

There's not a lot of folks here yet
I got a great spot! (And free until 10am)
Once the sun came up fully, I was out and about again, taking more photos (no seriously, I have more photos of the sunrise than I do of the entire race... but I'll spare you the majority of them).

Bridge of Lions over Mantanzas River
You idiot, a schooner IS a sailboat
More people gathering now
Chillin' at the Castillo
Lots of people chillin' at the Castillo!
Soaking my chill towel before the race
Do it! Jump!
LOL, JK! Not gonna jump!
I truly love St. Augustine
Back at the starting line, crowds had really grown!  This is much bigger than last year, I think!

Wow, lots of people this year!
We started shortly after I got back to my car (conveniently within the 12mm pace zone) and we headed down the road.  From behind me, near the bridge, I heard the weirdest noise... like a flapping noise, like someone running in a windbreaker and flip flops. Yeah, he beat me to the finish line.

How he didn't pass out in there, I don't know!
Crossing the Bridge of Lions
Once we crossed the bridge, we went into the Davis Shores neighborhood and quickly came up to Mile 1.

Water! Water!
I love this guy's political sign. There's a shitstorm coming this fall, I can feel it.

Sweet Meteor of Death '16
Another view of the Mantanzas River
We made it to Mile 2, which was actually very close to the finish line.

2/3 done and I'm not ready to die? Good day!
I can see the finish!

I finished with a fair amount of people! Good day!
My official time was TERRIBLE, the worst I've ever done. 53 freakin' minutes!!! I was 84th out of 90 in my age group. BUT!  I beat 86 people!!!  And I had fun, so really, isn't that all that matters?

After the race, though, I had to walk all the way back across the bridge to my car. I passed these classy bitches who think that historical statues are there for you to stand on for photos.  I wanted to push them.

Get your rude, fat asses off the canons! You aren't cute.
I chose the very tasteful selfie instead.

That is ice in my boobs, but I am glad to see you
Back to the car I go! I had fun taking lots of medal photos while I walked.

This is such a typical Florida neighborhood street, I love it
Modeling my medal with Firm the Lion (or is it Faithful?)
One of the drawbridge towers on the bridge
A fellow finisher took my photo for me... I'm smizing
Money Shot
Faithful the Lion (or is it Firm) on the other side of the river

Back in the car, I decided Arby's was the lunch for me. 

It's no Chick-fil-A, but it'll do

I'm literally the only customer here...
And I shit you not, they're playing Christmas music on the radio here.

After lunch, I did some exploring of the non-tourist side of the city and discovered a large shopping center.  It had a Kirkland's, which I'd heard from coworkers was a cute place to look for home decor.

Will I like Kirkland's?
No. It's not.

Unless you want your house to smell like a redneck whorehouse, do not buy stuff from Kirklands. Gah, it's everything I hate.  Wine jokes, too many tacky Tervis tumblers (lol, alliteration), ugly-ass mirrors and huge wall hanging signs with cutesy slogans like "Grateful, Thankful, Blessed" or "Find Happiness in the Little Things." If it's distressed, it's here. If it's tacky, it's here. If you're 67-year old grandma likes to drink wine in the afternoon and get botox on Saturdays, she shops at Kirklands.

Can you tell I wasn't impressed?  Yeah, no.

Anyway, after that little excursion, I went next do to explore Party City (yeah, the Party City, the one with the horrible commercials).  Yeah, we have party stores in my town.  I think we have two.  They're very boring. You walk in and it looks like a circus exploded, because there are eighty bajillion balloons either stapled to the walls or hanging from the ceiling.  PC has that going for them too, but only in the Balloon Area, off to the side. When I walked in, there was lots of luau stuff, lots of summer stuff, lots of patriotic stuff (for the just-passed Independence Day and upcoming Election Day). I liked how it was sorted by section.  In the back of the store was a rainbow section - a bunch of items that come in specific colors. So if you wanted purple sunglasses, purple legwarmers, purple wigs or purple hats, you could go to the purple section. I think there were about 10-12 different colors (obviously all red through purple, plus black, white, neon, gold, silver and rainbow; probably others I can't remember).

🎵 Cuz this is Thriller! Thriller Night! 🎶
And in each section, oh dear lord, each section had head boppers! (I love head boppers, and recently Hubby told me that they made it easy for him to spot me at finish lines, so I've been searching for inexpensive options - I found 'em!) I ended up getting blue, purple, red and multi-color boppers. I also picked up this "Men On" style tiny cowboy hat for an upcoming work function (and eventually, I'll give it to the cat).

On the way out, I discovered another awesome feature of Party City - the wall of candy. 15 pieces for a buck.  Cost efficient? Not really. A nice inexpensive treat for me? Definitely! I scored some Rolos, Brach's Royals, Sixlets, and Atomic Fireballs.  Not bad for a buck! (And it will save me from wanting to get candy at the gas station on the way home, too!)

My stash for when I'm driving
My last stop of "We don't have those in my town" stores is Aldi's.  We have a Sav-a-Lot at home, but it's always struck me as dirty, and one step away from a dent-and-bent store.  Aldi's was supposedly the upscale version of a SaL, so I was curious how they compared.

There is a lot of similarities - off-brands or house brands, that look remarkably similar to their name-brand counterparts.  But what Aldi's does much better than SaL, I think, is their produce.  I don't eat a lot of produce, but I can tell that what Aldi's carries is pretty good lookin' stuff.

I got some Happy Farms whipped cream cheese and HF spreadable cheese (similar to Laughing Cow wedges) to take home and taste test. (I'm happy to report that the spreadable cheese is good and 10 calories per wedge less than LC; but the cream cheese wasn't as whipped as Kraft, so I may stick with Kraft).

Once I got back to the car, the sky opened up, so I took it as a sign it was time to go home (also, it really was time to go home; Hubby would be getting off of work and he needed a ride home!)\

Rain Rain, Go Away (or not, that's cool too)

All in all, in was a great race (well, except for the fact that it took me so long...) and a great afternoon.  I hit up the closest 7-Eleven for some Gas Station Nachos, then headed home and chilled out for the rest of the day.

Hello, My Name is Lazy, and I'm Addicted to Electric Cheese
Oh, Palatka, you do you - there is a store called "Dollar Wang"

Monday, July 4, 2016

Melon Run 3-Miler Race Report

Ooh, it's gonna be a hot one today!  Of course, what do you expect on Independence Day in North Central Florida?

While sitting in my car, I pulled up the weather on my iPod.  Yeah, it's nasty already.

Race started at 8am, I finished by 9am
The car's thermometer said it was even warmer, already 76º.  With humidity at 95%, this was gonna be hard. With the humidity, the feels like temp will be up near 80 by 8am.

Temp courtesy of my car
I was able to score a pretty sweet parking spot this time around - just a few hundred feet from the finish line.  "No Parking" signs be damned!

I will park here, and you can suck it!

Packet pickup was easy, so I was able to grab my stuff and head back to my car and gear up over there (in the shade).  Once geared up and it was close to start time, I headed back to join the rest of the crowd.

Look at all the crazy runners
Sparkle Skirt for the win
Soon, we were led to the start line and sent on our way.

Start line is up there somewhere
The course was still detoured, like it was last year, due to never-ending roadwork on the route we normally run on. This time, though, there are two streets that are under construction!  So, instead of just going around twice, we had to physically enter the park and run on a jogging trail. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As it normally does (no matter the year), we always start with a lovely uphill takeoff.  This really separates the good runners from the not-so-in-shape runners (waves hand). Once I'm over the hill though (lol), I'm good to go and I can do my intervals.

You can't see it, but there's a hill up there
My intervals were good this time around, since I was way near the back and no one was in my way. There were a few folks behind me, but they weren't close.

The pastiness of my shoulder is bothering me
This is the running trail we had to run on. It's limestone, I believe, heavily packed and covered in green fungi/moss/something.  Plus, since it's humid and early, this limestone is slippery. Truly not the best surface for running on (at least for me).  I was pretty much forced to walk this entire section to ensure I didn't fall down.

How is he RUNNING on this trail?
Hey look, roadwork!
That blue car is mine - can I go home yet?
It's so quiet
Once we left the park, we entered into a nice neighborhood, full of gorgeous homes. I'm always jealous when I run though here, but the houses generally go for anywhere between a quarter to at least half-million dollars, so I think of the mortgage payment and I don't feel so jealous anymore!

After running through the neighborhood, you turn right and do the entire course again. Including the nasty uphill. Since I'm very near the back of the pack, once I started round 2, the course became very empty!

Hello? Anyone?
There was one guy behind me keeping me company.

Dude, either pass or move back
Only Mile 2? I feel like I've been baking in the sun for hours!

Mile 2. People in view 0.
Wow, I scored a race photo! Yay me!

See, I run with an actual camera!
Two loops also means I have to run - walk - on this stupid trail again.

I hate this trail
And... back through the pretty neighborhood, where the guy who had been behind me for two miles finally passed me.

You feel better now, you passed a fat girl?
Leaving the neighborhood, I turned left this time and headed to the finish line, where many people had already crossed, and already LEFT.

Oh what a shitty run this was!  My official time was 52:25. For a race that isn't even 5k! (Remember, last month, I did a 5k that took only 45 seconds longer than this race.  I did still beat 9 people (man, how far back were they?) and came in 27th out of 32 in my age group.

After I finished, I checked out the post-race party and was sad to see that everyone had already cleaned the place out. It's not that I want watermelon, but it does irk me to see that there's nothing left for us in the back of the pack. I don't think there was anything left but oranges and bananas at this point - neither of which I wanted - so I basically just packed up my toys and went home.

Excuse me - who ate all the damn watermelon?
Okay, so I took a Watermelon Selfie first.

Cut these up - people still out on the course!

You'll notice that I don't do a lot of races in my own town.  I don't feel like we have a good running community - for slower runners. We have a lot of bad ass runners who are part of the Florida Track Club, but for the casual runner, there is a serious lack of community. Very few races include bling (I can think of two, and one is a tiny "I got it at Oriental Trading" medal.  Many races are expensive for the swag you get (seriously, $35 for a 5k that only gives you a t-shirt?). Many races are put on by the local college, whose proceeds go to charities I don't agree with. So, yeah, there's a dearth of running opportunities in my area. And sadly, this race is beginning to feel like one of them.  I may start looking for other races to run on Independence Day - there's one in Jax that gives a medal for the same cost as this, and it's an actual 5k.