We went to Florida for two reasons. 1 – I wanted to visit my sister Annie. She moved in January and I haven’t been down to see her! 2 – I wanted run the Zooma run in Florida. It happened that the run was about 45 minutes from my sister’s house and it was on a day we had off school. It was an added bonus that the weather was turning chilly in Maryland and it was still warm and sunny in Florida!
After doing the Fort Miles Challenge (5k Saturday, 1/2 marathon Sunday) at the Coastal Delaware Running Festival in April, these two day challenges are pretty appealing.
I signed up to do the inaugural Seaside Challenge. This challenge involved a 5k on Friday evening and a 12k or 1/2 marathon on Saturday morning. I elected to do the 12k because I didn’t really want to train for a half marathon and I signed up too late to really train for a half.
On Friday afternoon/evening, I headed over to Main Beach Park on Amelia Island to pick up my packet and run the 5k. This is the first run that I’ve done in a long time by myself. It was nice to be able to run my race and cheer on other runners, but it was a little lonely waiting around to run. It took a while to get my packet but I still had a little time to walk out on the beach.
Then I headed over to the Fellow Flowers booth. This was the first time I have run a race where any representatives from Fellow Flowers were there in person. I totally geeked out when Mel waved me over and totally recognized me!! I am not super super active on the Fellow Flowers facebook page or the FF Crew page, but I guess I was active enough. After about 34 seconds, I felt like Mel and I were real life friends, not just internet friends.
The Lighthouse Loop 5k started a few minutes late, so we were off a little after 5. I was expecting the weather to be hot and humid and I was right. It felt like I was running at 5:00 on a summer evening. I was expecting it to be FLAT FLAT FLAT! This time I was not right. It wasn’t super hilly but there were definitely hills.
The run was pretty shady and through neighborhoods from Main Beach Park on the coast to the lighthouse and back. I love that Zooma is an organization that is built on women running (or walking) and supporting each other. There was so many “way to go” and “you’ve got this” and “keep it up” type cheers throughout the race course!
I ran into Mel and her daughter on the course and, of course, she was cheering everyone on while encouraging her daughter too! They finished just before me and this is the only picture I have from the finish so far. That’s my arm, raised high, while I am smiling crossing that finish line.
I got my beautiful medal and headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with my mom, sister, and kids.
On Saturday morning, I got up early and Annie drove me over to Main Beach Park for the start of the 12k run. The sun was starting to rise and it was beautiful! Coastal sunrises are always so beautiful!
There were quite a few members of the FF crew running so we took a group picture.
And then we took another with the sunrise behind us. ☀️
Waiting to run this time was nice because the crew ladies hung out together. It was so nice to put real faces and personalities with my internet friends. Then they lined us up and sounded the horn. Time to run!
We started out running through the neighborhoods. It was a little hilly, but there were some people out there cheering us on. We ran up a bridge over a marsh and it was gorgeous.
Then we headed into the Fort Clinch State Park. From here, the crowd support dropped off but the run was LOVELY!! Sure it was humid, but it was shaded and so peaceful. This is what the roads looked like. Tons of trees draped with Spanish moss.
I felt great and stayed hydrated throughout the run. The hills were there on the 12k, but they weren’t Maryland hills!
As I turned the corner to head to the finish line, just about 12k later, I saw these two cuties holding their signs.
Mom captured a picture of me finishing and I actually look like I am running!! Woohoo!
My mom and sister helped the boys make signs after I left for my run that morning. It was pretty great to see those four familiar faces cheering me on to finish. These are the signs they were holding:
After I finished, I got my 12k medal and my Seaside Challenge medal. They were both beautiful and HUGE!!
I celebrated with my cheering squad and marched around and said goodbye to my new in-person friends.
Then we headed over to the nearest gas station to get a fountain soda, judge as needed, and head back to the hotel.
I loved this race! There aren’t many races I would repeat but I would definitely do this again! The courses were beautiful and these medals. Seriously, they are amazing!!
It was fun with my family and it would make a great girls weekend run. I’ve got my eye on another Zooma run and I am not sure if it will be Cape Cod or Austin, Texas. Both look amazing!
That wraps up our Florida trip. We were only in the state for 55 hours, but we had a TON of fun! When I go somewhere I like to make the most of my time. If can run two races instead of one, I will. If there are places to tour, I will. If there are beaches to visit, I will. There are so many amazing things to see and I am going to do my best to see everything!
Have a great day full of sunshine and books! I’ll be back tomorrow with “A Day in the Life” post.
☀️ 📚 😎