Tuesday, February 20, 2018

5 POINTS OF LIFE HALF MARATHON - February 18, 2018

“The second part of the “Reunion Tour” brings me back to my happy place.

It had been two years since I’ve participated in this race, since scheduling issues put it up against Gasparilla.  Lindsey had Jacqui’s wedding, so I would be making the drive up to Gainesville by myself. I booked a room at the Hilton University of Florida, which is literally right across the street from the start of the race.  I obviously could have stayed with Jen (or Paula and Bill), but I’ve never had a good enough excuse to stay at this hotel.  I drove up Saturday morning, and met Jen and Mary at the Hilton.  They were not running in the race, but they were kind enough to meet me for lunch.  The expo was right next door, so I picked up my race packet before we stuffed our faces.  I will say one thing about this event…the design for the shirts and the medals are always very creative.  Unfortunately, the quality is always lacking just a bit; it is understandable.  With 653 participants (77 for the marathon, and 653 for the half marathon), they would probably be financially hard-pressed to do something on a more grandiose scale; I am certainly not complaining.  We met Mary’s son and daughter-in-law at the restaurant (both very nice), and then did a bit of shopping at the UF Bookstore.  I picked up a sub at Publix for supper, and stayed in for a night of college basketball.  Not having to get up super early was certainly a benefit of staying so close.

Making my way to the starting line, I spotted Terri, Tara, and Debbie.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, even though we would not be running together (they are all faster than me).  The temperature was around 67°, which was about 8° warmer than originally predicted.  Once we started, I knew it was going to be a great event.  As I’ve mentioned countless times before in this blog, I LOVE THIS RACE!  Being in Gainesville really gets my adrenaline going, and the knee could not have felt better.  I was originally going to do intervals, but scrapped the mission way before the gun even sounded.  I really took the time to soak in each and every mile, which made those enormous hills more bearable.  I met some really nice folks along the way, and the crowd support was not bad at all.

It was all smiles crossing the finish line, and I’m always impressed with the post-race food assortment.  After a brief walk back to the hotel, I was on the road.  This is a first-class event (Ocala should take notes).

This was my eighth time participating in this race; I hope there are at least eight more opportunities.

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