Thursday, February 19, 2009

Florida Today 5k

We ventured out of the state to run the Melbourne and Beaches race in Florida, February 8. My partner ran the Masters Championship Half Marathon (13th in his age group and 67 over all out of 738). There was also a 5k, so I ran that. The big news is that it was the first race I completed without walking. Boy, it was a long time coming! I came in 9th in my age group and 167 out of 300. Race time 33:20.

We were in Orlando for a couple of days and stayed at the Amerisuites near the airpor
t. Airport Park was adjacent to the hotel. With a .75 mile gravel path through woods and 2 soccer fields, it provided a place to run, sprint and walk several times during our visit. There was a lovely lake that couldn't be seen from the beginning of the path so it was quite a surprise to follow a wooden walkway and find ourselves on a platform offshore. Armadillos were running around everywhere along the way!

The race was in Melbourne, on the Atlantic coast so we headed there via 192. The 1.75 hour drive was rural and scenic. We checked into our room at the Hilton and headed for the expo at the Crowne Plaza on Indialantic Island. We took the causeway over the
Indian River Lagoon (IRL) to get there. I have never been to this part of Florida before; the scenery was a treat!

We got our bibs and goodie bags and went back to the hotel. After some laps around the parking lot, we went for a quick dinner and called it a night. The next day, we visited the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, about an hour drive south on the coast. It was small but so interesting. I took several pictures; this little guy with the spots, who I call Fimo, was the best looking specimen. The diversity of marine life in the IRL is astounding. I had never heard of it before but would like to come back for another visit.

After the race, we crossed the causeway to go to a beach on Indialtantic Island for a soak in the cold Atlantic Ocean. Then we headed back to Orlando and finished the trip with a dinner at Woodlands, a vegetarian Indian restaurant I found online. It was delish!

While we didn't see any wild alligators, there were signs posted along the pond next to the hotel parking lot stating "Enticing or feeding alligators is against the law", we did see a plethora of shore birds, cute 'dillos, some stellar shoreline and ran a race along roads with unique and inspiring scenery. Hope you enjoy the pics!

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