Before I start my race recap, I need to make known the fact that my little bug had hernia surgery today. They had just given her another shot of morphine before letting us go on our merry little way:
Let me just say I had never seen a fresh invasive surgery incision/wound stitch/whatever you want to call it, and looking at Ava’s was…shocking, to say the least. It was swollen and red, with some residual blood, and it just looked like something out of a slasher movie where someone gets his guts pulled out of him or what have you.
I don’t have the strongest stomach when it comes to blood/gore/surgery; in fact, I got woozy and almost passed out while reading a particularly graphic portion of Cujo on my lunch break at work. So it came as no surprise when, shortly after pulling out of the vet’s parking lot and getting my first really good glimpse of Ava’s incision, I started to feel light-headed and clammy. I white-knuckled the steering wheel and breathed like I was in a hot yoga class, because I’d be damned if I had to pull into a parking lot just so I could pass out with my morphine-high dog in tow. It was a, “Jesus take the wheel” moment.
Fortunately, it passed. Now we’re home, where Ava is just standing around awkwardly because her stitches are tender. If anybody has some surefire tips on how to force-feed her pain meds with relatively little trauma to both her and myself, I’m all ears. Ava keeps spitting out the pill and looking at me like, “What now, bitch?”
UPDATE: Sticking the pill in peanut butter did the trick.
Okay, now on to the Viva La Margarita recap:
I was super excited for this race, just because it was margarita-themed, and you got a free margarita afterwards. Yes, please! I also wanted to run it because it was scheduled for January 4th, so I figured it would keep me running and active through the holidays, which was a big fat fail. Because, Christmas cookies.
Packet pick-up was either day of or the Friday or Saturday before at St. Pete Running Company, so I opted to make the trip across the bridge after yoga on Saturday. St. Pete Running Company also sponsored the event, and in a genius business move, included a $10 gift card in all the packets to encourage people to stay and shop. I bought a pair of bright pink running socks, which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise, so, good move, St. Pete Running Company. Well done.
I have to briefly stop here and give a shout-out to that store. It was my first visit, and I am going to try to make it across the bridge for another. The staff was super friendly, and they weren’t salesman-pushy. They let me browse, and made recommendations only when it was relevant to what I was looking at. I highly recommend stopping in for a visit if you have not yet done so.
So the race? The race was…meh. The website touts that the race tends to sell out quickly, and that the, “Celebration begins way before the race and the fiesta continues way after the course is completed. Therefore, runners start the course hyped, try not to get distracted with our little surprises on the course, and finish up with a refreshing margarita.” So I went into it thinking it would be a huge block-party type of thing with thousands of runners and live music and sombreros and chips and salsa and general Mexican goodness, so when Kristina and I got to Clearwater Beach at around ten that morning for the 11:30 a.m. race and easily found parking, I was surprised. And when we got to the meet-up point, I was disappointed. There was no live music. There were no chips and salsa. There weren’t even that many sombreros. Just the packet pick-up table and an Ameriprise Financial tent. And all those runners? I’d say only a couple hundred by the time the race started.
The course itself was actually on the beach, which I knew about because I’d looked at the course map. (Some people were unaware.) Because of said Christmas cookie addiction, and because beach running is hella hard even if you’re in shape, I went into this race with no performance expectations whatsoever, which was good. Although it was crystal clear and sunny, it was windy with very little packed sand. I’d say about a quarter- to a half-mile in the packed sand died away leaving only wet sand or soft, dry sand in which to run. At the half-way point after grabbing some Gatorade, I was tired of slugging through it and pretty much said, “Fuck shoes!” and took off my shoes and socks. I thought it might make the running easier. It didn’t. But the waves felt good as they washed over my feet.
As far as the, “little surprises on the course” go…there were none. It was a straight out-and-back course, and the only people who were surprised were the beach-goers who didn’t know there was a race scheduled for that day. The free margarita was also kind of a letdown, as it was little more than the size of a tasting glass:
Overall, I thought this race was over-hyped, and it under-delivered. I feel like the organizers could have given the runners more for their entry fees other than just a tech tee and a measly margarita. We didn’t even receive finisher’s medals, although other races in the series had them. There were still some pros, though: event volunteers were friendly; the race was well-organized and executed, logistic-wise; the weather was beautiful and the beach is always a great race location; and I was introduced to St. Pete Running Company. Not a totally bad way to kick off 2015.