Last weekend Lauren and I paced the Tampa marathon and half marathon. I paced the full marathon and she paced the half (and the 15k the day before :<)). More on the pacing later....
So we had flights out of Allentown and St Pete/Tampa and it just so happened that another nor'easter decided to hit us at the same time of our departure flight. So we make the decision to DRIVE DOWN! Now, we're blessed beyond words that Carolyn & Mike and my mom were gracious enough to watch the kids and dog for a few days and even more blessed that they were willing to add a day on to that so we could road trip down. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
The snow started a couple hours before we left on Thursday but traveling was smooth sailing (except the darn rental car had no cruise control!). We stayed over in GA about 5 hours from Tampa, so Friday's drive down to the expo wasn't bad. We were hoping to escape to some warm weather, but the lows were in the 30s and highs in the 50's and 60's.
I was really impressed with the expo, and the race was much larger than I thought. A two day event w/ a 5k and 15K on Saturday and half and full marathon on Sunday....totaling about 20,000 entrants! We stayed at the host hotel, a Hyatt down town which was nice, walking distance to everything. Below is a picture of me posing at the expo....
On Friday our pace director asked Lauren to pace the 15K on Saturday, so I got up and race some of the race with her, a little chilly and some rain showers, but after we finished and showered we were greeted with some Florida sunshine! The expo was at a huge convention center down town, when we strolled outside we found the Gasparilla Pirate Ship which was cool...
Sunday's race was EARLY, started at 6am. It was a little chilly but overall supposed to be a beautiful day. Low 40's at the start (and very DARK), but once the sun came up it was great. I had a great group of guys (and a few gals) in my 3:20 group, and probably had 8 or so still by mile 21. The first couple miles were crazy with it being dark and crowded but we ended up carrying an extra 30 seconds or so through mile 21. Most of the talking stopped by mile 22 and the remaining 4 0r 5 guys were looking good. I picked up a few stragglers that just couldn't bear to see that pace sign pass them and wound up finishing by myself because they all picked up the pace for the last 1/4 mile or so. I was greeted by some happy guys with PR and Boston Qualifiers, so it was very well worth it. I felt pretty good the whole time and got a good long training run in for Boston. Ended up finishing in 3:19:47 chip time, 13 seconds off....not too bad!
Lauren was pacing the 1:40 group in the half and we got to run together for the first 7 miles or so which was cool. She had a pretty big group and just nailed it, crossing the line at 1:39:59!!
Sunday afternoon, Laurens dad came up with Jean to meet us. It was a beautiful day so we strolled around and then had some lunch at a great little Irish sports bar and watched the Olympics. I don't know why a meal just tastes so much better after a race like that but it was awesome! It was great to see Dad and Jean as they had been in Florida for over a month already.
We came home on Monday, needless to say there wasn't a dull moment until we finally got onto the plane, but we made it safe and sound and the kids were so excited to see us. It was a fun trip and we got to enjoy some warmer weather (for us anyway, it's the coldest winter on record in Florida)!
I signed up for REV3 Quassy in June, so that has motivated me to get back in the pool. These guys know how to put an event on.....not only do they think about the families and athletes, but they've got a line up of pro's that blows the Ironman events away. I had a great swim on Wednesday, just what my legs needed after the marathon and why my mind needed after 6 months without a swim. Wednesday is also swim lessons for the kids, so I was in the pool twice and got to give the Triswim products that I got a few weeks ago a try. What a difference, the chlorine smell was gone!
Looks like we've got some great weather coming up this weekend. Autumn is excited to go to her cousin Adi's birthday party on Saturday at Boing to do gymnastics. Lauren is excited to get a long run in and I'm hoping to get some riding in!