Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taking the Good With the Bad...

I have lost track of how many times I've ridden across I-10 between TX and FL. Dozens of times, probably. This time it was to participate in the annual Florida Coast2Coast ride to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and then to spend a week at Marriott Grande Vista in Lake Buena Vista, and capped off with running a half-marathon in St. Petersburg FL.

The trip over to the Tampa area was easy and blessed with good weather. I made it to Marianna FL for the night (675 miles), first day on the road, and then rode the remaining 350 or so miles to Seffner (near Tampa) where the Florida Coast2Coast Ride would begin. It was a pleasant evening in Seffner meeting and greeting familiar faces and meeting new ones. I worked the registration table Friday evening and again Saturday morning, and then our little group - the last to leave - departed for the Atlantic Coast side of the state. Four of us set out on the designated route - Ray, Steve, me, and Joe.

When Al puts this event on every year, there's no telling what route he'll send us on to get to Daytona. One thing is certain: it will not be the most direct route. No, far from it! This year's route measured out to 203 miles. By comparison, the most direct route - straight up I-4 - is about 123 miles. In true "Al fashion," the route immediately had us making frequent turns as we worked our way north of I-4 and then west of I-75. This is where the roads get small and interesting.

Within an hour, our little group got separated when I peeled off in search of a gas station bathroom. Ray and Steve stayed together, though, and took a Ray-inspired detour to have lunch at Gator Joe's on Lake Weir. I stuck with the route until I got to the middle of the state, north of Orlando, and chose to short-circuit directly to Daytona for a late lunch at the Ale House next door to the hotel.

I think everyone who rode the route had fun. We had a fun time at the after-ride get-together, although attendance was very low that evening. Too bad, because the grand door prize was two tickets to Disneyworld.


Throughout this first weekend in Florida I was still trying to shake off this cold or flu or whatever it was. My head continued to be congested, my ears full, and it had moved into my chest, causing a persistent cough.

I checked out of the Daytona Hotel late Sunday morning and headed south toward Orlando, where I'll stay the week in a nice two-bedroom, two-bathroom resort timeshare in Lake Buena Vista. I was looking forward to it and to doing not too much, to give this cold the boot.

On the way, I stopped at a running store - Fleet Feet - in Altamonte Springs - to buy a running hat. I'd forgotten to pack mine. There was a Starbucks next door so I spent some time just "chilling" and having a Vente Latte and a small pastry.

I could delay no longer, and headed to the resort hoping they'd take pity on this sick gal and let me check in early. Thankfully they did, and I got the bike unloaded, grabbed a personal pizza at the Pizza Hut on the resort property and then got back on the bike and rode over to a Publix grocery store to buy some food to stock the kitchen at the resort unit. I also bought a bottle of cough medicine. I was more than anxious to get everything unloaded, get changed into comfortable clothes and then just coddle myself and my head/chest cold for the rest of the day.

I was getting worried about the upcoming half-marathon the following weekend. This cold, which started October 31, had really kicked my butt. Add to this the fact that I have not gone for a single run since October 28. Not good. I'd hoped to get a long run in on Tuesday morning at the resort and then maybe a couple of short ones.

This just did not happen. Every morning I was very congested. It took a long steamy shower and several hours each day to get my head and chest cleared out enough to even breathe, never mind breathe under exertion. This is not looking good for the "home team!"

Friend Ray came over from Jacksonville Tuesday morning and stayed until Friday morning. We joined a couple of other riders for lunch at a neat place called Black Hammock Fish Camp in Oviedo, not too far north of Orlando. It was an easy ride into a pretty area called black hammock (see definition of a Florida "hammock").  I had just about the best blackened catfish I've ever had, and polished it off with a great slice of key lime pie. 

We checked out the giant live alligator that lives in a pen next to the camp, before heading back to the resort.  I was fairly well burned out by the time we got back. 

Thursday Ray took me on a more ambitious ride for lunch to Inverness FL.  We went the most direct route to get there, but Ray had plotted a very fine round-about route to get back to the Marriott. 

Another winner of a riding day and I got to see Larry and Karen, a couple I've not seen for at least two years.  We had a nice lunch at Stumpknocker's, right on the little main street of town.  Larry grew up in this town, and told us that the building that houses Stumpknocker's used to be the Five & Dime store.  A beautiful old courthouse sits on a square just at the end of this little main street.  It is now an historic museum, but it's lovingly restored. 

So five days at the resort and I've not gone for a run one single day while there.  I need to make a decision about this upcoming half-marathon this weekend.  I've been sick for 4 weeks.  I've not run for 4 weeks.  I've paid for the race, not that big a deal but the hotel for two nights in St Petersburg is going to cost well over $300 and then there will be three meals a day to pay for.  It wasn't too hard to make the decision Thursday afternoon to cancel the hotel in St. Pete, save the money, and make plans to ride home to Houston this weekend, rather than running in that race. 

I'm a little sad that I worked so hard up to the end of October to stay in half-marathon condition; I'm a little sad that I won't earn that really cool Women's Half Marathon finisher's medal.  I'm also a little disappointed that I won't be adding the state of Florida to my little burgeoning list of out-of-state races.  I'm already looking for a replacement Florida race.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to read about your dropping out of the FL marathon. While I don't understand running I still enjoy reading about your preparations for the runs. I do understand not being able to check off Florida as a state that you ran in. It's just like the NPT. Hope you get over this cold, flu thing soon.