Monday, February 22, 2010

Ren-fest and Running

Ahh, February. Sunny, warm and beautiful. Just another South Florida winter weekend!

The Florida Renaissance Festival is currently in full swing at Quiet Waters Park. It's an absolute must-do in my book, so the boys and I headed up there Saturday for a day of Celtic music, sword fighting, and renaissance fare. Yes, I am one of those dress-up geeks. Sean and Nathan elected not to go "in garb" this year, but at least they didn't pretend not to know me. Jeff was out of town, attending a homeowners association meeting for our cabin in Gatlinburg, so it was just the 3 of us.

Running around all day in the heat in heavy garb and eating street food probably isn't the best taper strategy, but it IS fun.

After a lovely day in the 16th century, I was rudely awakened by my alarm Sunday at 3 am for the Ft Lauderdale A1A marathon / half. It's a scenic run, starting downtown Ft. Lauderdale, to the beach, through a park, and finishing up and down A1A. The weather promised to be cool, clear and calm - perfect!

Ever have one of those days where you're just not feelin' it? I dragged myself slowly and a bit reluctantly through my pre-race routine and headed downtown. The A1A a nice middle-size race, with a field of around 5000. Enough to be exciting, but not overwhelming. As we assembled in the corrals, I booted up my new Garmin 305 GPS watch and figured this would be a good test run for the device. I wasn't expecting too much from myself, though; feeling sluggish and a little acid stomach-y from yesterday's faire fare.

The field started off slowly, and I did too, figuring I'd just take the race as it came. But as the race went on, I started feeling better. As the sun came up, and we hit the beach with its cheering crowds and rock bands, I perked up and started hitting my stride. How great is this - running along the beach, seeing the sunshine and beautiful ocean, everyone happy and smiling around me. It's a "great to be alive" moment. There's nothing like going out for a long run to pep you right up! Since I ran most of the race not paying attention to any possible finishing time (not caring really), I was surprised and pleased to finish at 2:04, quite a respectable time for me!

Maybe tapering in the 16th century isn't so bad after all.

My new toy performed beautifully (except for pairing up properly with the heart rate monitor, I should have done that before I left home, too many interfering signals!). It was nice to be able to check my pace and the distance as I went along. The REALLY cool thing was hooking it up to my computer afterward and downloading all of the data. I can see the course on the map, look at cool graphs, ooohhh, ahhhh. I'm such a geek.

Another weekend of fun in the South Florida winter sun ....

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