In January, I participated in the 2nd annual ZOOMA Florida event held on one of my favorite places in the state, Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island just outside of Jacksonville. I spent quite a few hours out there growing up and it was always a favorite spot to find sharks teeth and beautiful shells, but you always had to get out there early since everyone else was looking for the teeth too!
This was my third half marathon, and my 2nd ZOOMA race [what can I say, I loved the first one and needed to attempt to beat my time]! So, off to Florida went Nick, Sizzle and myself. On our way, we were sidelined by traffic and then Sizz wanted to experience the beach, so after we left the expo [it was small, but I knew to expect that after last year’s], we headed out to the beach to let Sizz smell the ocean air. Who am I kidding – she wanted to chase the seagulls! My little huntress…she likes things that fly.
Saturday morning we were up
bright dark and early to head out to Fernandina Beach. The winds were blowing, but I knew shorts were the way to go with long miles ahead out in the sun as our route runs down A1A towards the Ritz-Carlton. Then, before I knew it, we were off and running down the main drag of Fernandina Beach.
The first miles went by smoothly and I started to pick up my pace a bit; I wasn’t running as fast as my Thunder Road times, but I kept at it. We went up and over a bridge before heading into the park and I was able to catch a gorgeous picture once again.
The miles ticked away until I felt the last few really dragging me down; I teamed up with a fellow runner (who was doing a run-walk sequence) and we pushed through until we hit the dreadful sand. Last year, we ran onto the beach which as firm packed for us; this year it wasn’t so easy, we had to run through the soft sand that runs close to the dunes. This is not what you want to see when the finish line is in sight! But I pushed through and was able to complete my third half marathon.
After I cooled down and stocked up on Hint waters, we hit up Moon River Pizza to indulge in pizza and a local beer post race. It tasted just as fantastic as I remembered. No pictures as I promptly inhaled it all!
Once again, this was a great race coordinated by ZOOMA – my only wish was for firm packed sand at the finish, not the super soft, sinkable stuff that glued your feet down!