I lucked out with a Saturday off, so in a very last minute decision, my friends and I signed up for the Easter Beach Run Daytona. Four of my friends from three very different social circles of my life all came together in person for the first time, but the best part was that we all went to UF together. I think the last time such a diverse group of my friends came together for a race was back in 2012 when we ran the Family Fun 5K at Princess Half Weekend. The Gator Girls decided to run the 4 mile distance, and Mom joined up by participating in the 2 mile!
My on call concluded way too late the night before, resulting in my missing the earlier flight that would have got me home in time to actually enjoy dinner, wine, and quality time with my friends. Instead, they hung out with my mom and had a great time without me! 😉 She wasn’t kidding when she said, “You can come on over, even if Karen isn’t home!” Allyson and Kate drove down from Gainesville, and it was so great to see them. It’s felt like forever since we got together for a girls’ run! Kim’s been embroiled in her accelerated nursing program, but she lucked out by being on semester break (wooooo!! SPRING BREAK!!). Meghan was in town for the weekend, visiting her family who lives up the road, er, interstate.
The course was a simple out and back, starting and finishing under the boardwalk (out of the suuuunn….) of the Daytona Beach Pier. The rain the night before helped to make the silty sand nice and solid and the tide washing up on the shore gave it just enough give that it was quite easy to run on. The hardest part was the heat once the sun finally burned off the clouds during the last mile of the return. We started out together, but the group split once everyone settled into their paces. Meghan and Allyson paced with me, and Kim and Kate got into their own rhythms.
I loved that the groups volunteering at the water station were very proactive about collecting and stacking the cups to minimize the little on the beach. One of my biggest pet peeves are little bug runners, as they aren’t taking proper care of the environment. Yes, winning your age group or the entire race may be the most important thing, but why ruin the path for everyone else. There was no lack of waste baskets along the route, so I really burns my biscuits to see people being negligent. The beach belongs to everyone, and the three seconds it takes to actually properly deposit one’s trash should not make or break the final results.
Seeing the finish line start to have that nice heat mirage wave, I gunned it for the finish simply to get it over with. Seeing my mom being, well, a mom at the finish line, I ran up to her and gave her a high five before continuing through the chute. I got my hefty bling and water, and then joined her in the shade. Then it was my turn to be the mamarazzi, and take photos of the girls as the crossed the Finish. When I can’t cross with friends, I love being there to cheer them on. Running has brought us closer and made each of us healthier and happier over the last years. I am so thankful that we can still share this together.
Yes, I love a good photo bomb!
Krispy Kreme Daytona was out in full force!
After the conclusion of the 4 miler, the folks lined up for the 2 miler, and as it turns out, some people ran both! I was all too ready for post-race shenanigans, but we all hung out with my mom until it was time for her race to begin. Throughout the morning, there was plenty stuff of going to entertain the runners and spectators, including heaps of food from the local Bubba Gump (shrimp pasta and Caesar salad for breakfast? Sure, so long as it’s not me)! There was a giant stuffed shrimp roaming about, but they yanked his head off by the time we moseyed over to the festivities. Usually bananas and bagels are two of my post-race go tos, but today, Krispy Kreme won me over with free donuts. After catching the award ceremony for the 4 miler, we returned to the boardwalk and just in time, too! Mom was tearing it up!
Forrest wasn’t able to out run us! We caught him!
Daytona’s finest ran the 2 miler in their full gear, so naturally Mom had way better incentive and scenery during the race than we did! Heck, I think I would have had a bit of pep in my step! I promised her that if she participated, I’d take her photo with them. Guess who quickly became the envy of all the other lady runners out there, starting a queue for photos with the fire fighters!
Once, Mom achieved her bragging rights, we relocated to the Lucky Rooster. The weather was too beautiful to waste the morning inside, so we took over one of the picnic tables along the roadside and opened up the umbrella. Having feasted on the free food at the race, I wasn’t actually hungry for our proposed brunch, so I went with a single pancake and beer for brunch. The service was decent, but I wished it has been a little quicker since there were not many patrons at the time. Also, the beer menu needed some revision, and I was a little bummed that I couldn’t order dessert.
A smug chick with an Arrogant Bastard
It was great sitting and catching up with everyone which is one of my favorite things about running races with friends. My only regret was having to get back on a plane that night to go back to work as another on call blocked started at midnight. I think that is one of the blessings of my job, my schedule is very fluid, and even though I may not always get to spend all the time I want with people, I am able to squeeze in quality time. Now, I just have to figure out where we’re going to run next!