After running all night with Andy at his Rocky Roads 100, I was inspired and thought I could do my first 50 miler. On the way home, I called and told Mike, and soon we had plane tickets and it was on. I was excited for not only the race, but also the chance to visit Florida, and meet my long-time Trifueler (online tri/ultra website) friend Andrea, along with her husband, as well as seeing Trifueler Charles and his wife Mindy, both of whom I met a few years ago but hadn’t seen since.
Fast forward about a month and it was time. Like I did for my first Ironman back in 2005, I painted my toenails rainbow. Heidi was going to stay with the pups, and Mike and I were ready to go. It would be a short but fun trip: arriving on Friday and heading home Sunday afternoon.
After a happily uneventful flight we met Armando at the airport. He and Andrea welcomed us to their home and were pretty much awesome and took great care of us. Including setting up a dinner with Charles and his wife. The adventure started as the restaurant we planned on had a fire and closed for the night right as we arrived. But no worries, we just picked a nearby place. And the chatter (yes, even about all the bugs and snakes and creatures you find on trails in Florida) was great.
And suddenly it was race day. I packed up my gear and food (and way more than I’d need) and Andrea drove us to the start. It felt a bit early since California time had me thinking it was about 1am. But my excitement kept me awake for the drive! Once there, I checked in and got my number – 1817 – and said hi to Andy (aka A1, who I feel I’ve known for so long… and there is little quiet when we are around).
Then it was time to set up my area at the start/finish. It was a loop course: one 5 mile loop and then 3 loops of 15 miles each. So Mike was going to be my crew and see me each time I passed the start/finish. We found a great spot right along the route by the fence and got set up. Having had a bit of shin pain leading up to the race, Mike taped it for me, using green to match my Aroyo Trail Blazers shirt, and cow to make me smile. And I loved seeing the paws on my new gaiters as they made me think of my awesome training partner pups.
Shoes on, it was time to get to the start line! There I got to meet some of the other runners. A couple were speedypantz that I would not see for long, like “the other Andy”, aka A2. Others I would see on and off over the course of the day. Having shared my story of pacing Andy, many knew my name, which was fun. And moments later the cheers sent us down the road and onto the trails for the 5 mile loop.