So, to pick up where I left off way back in 2012, before the world was due to end....(pour yourself a boat drink, because I have a lot to cover)...
The Brak Pak collected up a LOT of excess running gear for Street 2 Feet - the running club at the Haven for Hope shelter. On December 22, 2012, we joined the folks from S2F for their training run, brought breakfast, and distributed the gear. We all had fun - even when the S2F guy who is trying to cut his half marathon pace to a sub-6:00 minute mile pushed the pace on me for the last lap.
A side anecdote from that day - I PACKED the Yaris podcar with the gear donated by the Brak Pak - to include driving with a box on my lap to the park. I pulled into the park early and waited for everyone to arrive for the run. After the run and breakfast, one of the S2F runners told me that he had seen me drive in and felt very bad that I was homeless (with everything I owned in my cheap car) - he was going to approach me to tell me that there was a shelter nearby, but did not want to scare me in the dark. It just goes to show that humanity abounds.
On New Year's Day, I hit the Cobweb Chaser 5k to knock off the cobwebs that accumulated the night (or year) before.
Unfortunately, I could not knock off the crazy running chicken look -
Then, it was off to Florida for the Ragnar Florida Relay. Those of you who have read my drivel over the years may recall the time I ran the Ragnar South Texas Relay and said "never again." Yeah, well, I forget. Or lie. Or both. But I really had a blast this time.
This relay is is a 12 runner/2 van x 197 miles from Miami to Key West (but our team was 10 runners). I flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday and met up with my college buddy, Tara (whom I ran behind at the Hartford Marathon in October). We drove to Miami and met up with our team for dinner - including a 'stranger' we picked up from the internet - John. (Who turned out to be our van MVP, since he was familiar with Southern Florida and an all-around great guy.)
So, we had a zombie team dinner at a lovely Italian place in Miami.
That leg was on a single-track Jeep trail - a little rocky and swampy and stinky and buggy.
Our van finished our second legs around 2200ish, grabbed a big meal, and headed to the team room in Marathon Key - where we showered even faster than I did in the Army, shared beds, and crashed for a couple of hours. But, first we posed with Sam Adams (we're only trying to hide reflective vests, nothing more nefarious)
Then, it was up again around 0400 for our final legs. Mine was a 10 mile-ish stretch, including the Seven Mile Bridge - yep, 7 miles over the ocean, running along the shoulder of a 2-lane bridge road.
It was tough. While my legs/knee screamed and my head told me to just take a nap on the shoulder, I tried to look around at the sunrise - because it really was THAT beautiful. I ran into a multi-colored sky and tried not to shut down or get pushed off the bridge by big trucks (and get eaten by sharks).
After we arrived in Key West, we all finished as a team - in a finish time of just over 34 hours.
After the race, we hung out in fabulous Key West - eating, drinking, swimming, and dancing. And checking out multi-toed Hemmingway cats :x)
This was my first time visiting the Everglades and Key West, and this was a wonderful way to experience those places. And - it was a great group to run with - even stinky, tired, aching, confined to a van, sharing beds, and all - team Don't Tell Deb rocked it with amazing spirit. And I didn't get beaten by a hooker or eaten by an alligator, boa, or shark - which I count as a win.
Thanks to Dulce, Elizabeth, Tom/SARR, Victor, ScottyDog, Tara, Mike, John, and Alyssa for the pics! Next up - Big Bend 25K - I will try not to get eaten by mountain lions, javelinas, rattlers....