Since coming back from Tampa, I’m been a little MIA on my blog. We got back late Monday night and I’ve basically been recouping since. Luckily, we had snow fall a few days this week which meant no school and lots of family time! Total win! 🙂
Our Gasparilla trip was so awesome! I’m going to break up the trip and the races into separate blog posts because I’m having a hard time narrowing it all down.
Travel Days and the Gasparilla Expo
So let’s jump back to a week ago, we left Wednesday for Tampa. Thankfully, due to snow, we were able to leave earlier in the day. Christine, Cara and I started the 10+ hour trip south around mid-morning. We made great time and enjoyed the car ride. We got to Savannah around 3:30pm but still felt good so we continued on making it to Jacksonville right at dinner time. We called it a day, grabbed some dinner and stayed overnight there.
We got up early on Thursday, hit the gym downstairs for a quick run, and enjoyed the “free” breakfast. We left Jacksonville right at 10am and drove the rest of the way to Tampa. We were in contact with Amanda who had flown into Tampa earlier in the morning. We agreed to meet up for lunch around 1pm at The Independent, a pub near our rental house. The food was awesome!! I was so excited to see they had Beef on Weck! This was the perfect start to our trip.
After lunch, we headed to the grocery store for goodies for the rest of the week and headed to our rental house. We met the owner, Mike, who was awesome!! The house was amazing! We instantly felt at home and the view from the backyard was spectacular! We were in FLORIDA! 🙂 We had the rest of the day to hang out and to get settled. We headed to Ybor City for dinner at the Tampa Brewing Company. We had a delicious meal and made our plans for the next day. Carole was flying in mid-afternoon and we’d be hitting the Expo.
Friday morning, we got up and headed out for a little run. It was a nice day, though a bit cool for Florida. We got dressed and realized that we were within a short drive to see manatees. So we made the trek to the Manatee Viewing Center in Big Bend. It was so cool!! The manatees were just hanging out in the warm water. They have an elevated viewing deck so you could see so many of them! After the manatees, we headed towards the International Mall for lunch and to check out a running shop. We had a great lunch at The Pub Tampa Bay. We scooped Carole up at the airport and headed to the Expo and caught up with Marty and David. This was probably one of the biggest Expos I’ve ever been to! It had a lot of vendors, music, free samples, etc. We made our way to grab our bibs and swag. There was a snag with the tees and Cara ended up not getting all of her shirts. They ran out of her size! They are correcting this by sending her shirts once they are made and printed. The Expo was well organized, though a bit hectic. We headed over the Gasparilla official merchandise area (made by Under Armour). I grabbed a badass skull tank and a hat. I was disappointed that they didn’t have other race themed merchandise. A lot of us were looking for blankets, every day tees, etc. but they didn’t offer it. A huge miss in my opinion! For a race this size, I was surprised they didn’t have that type of merchandise.
One of the cool parts of the Expo was the huge banner which looked like the race logo, but when you looked at it closer, it contained all the names of all the participants. We searched the banner for our names and snapped a quick picture in front of it.
Before leaving, we made our plans on where we would all meet up in the morning. I researched places to park near the start. That’s always the one thing that stresses me out! Luckily David was really familiar with the area and he was great at pointing us into the right direction for parking. We said our good-byes and headed back to the house. Carole got settled into her room and we headed to dinner at a nearby Mexican place for dinner.
We were all in bed early! We had a 4:30am wake-up call. The 15K starts at 6:45 and we wanted to be there by 5:45-6am to hit the potties and meet the guys at 6:25am. We laid out all of our race gear and turned the lights out by 8:30-9pm for me. Tomorrow was the day!!
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