This quote pretty much wraps up my November jaunt through the Tampa trails.
This race was my first 30K. I’d planned to run a marathon in 2016, but my 18 mile plus run through the woods would be my longest race of the year. And I won’t complain, because it was a great one.
Coach arrived the day prior to the race. (No, we weren’t consuming red wine at 4 AM on route to the trails!) She wore the shirt I found for her online, since she IS at most of my finish lines!
The race takes place on the east side of Tampa, about an hour from my house. After the interstate you get onto some sweet looking back roads before arriving at Alafia State Park. Pretty scenery, and I only got lost once!
I’d originally considered this to be my 2016 marathon, but training got the best of me and I decided to downgrade to the 30K. The race director was fine making that change before my arrival – I let them know a week or so prior – and when we got to race packet pick up I had no problem getting my bib and goodies. Another reason I love these Run Tampa and back roads trail races: everyone’s friendly, and you avoid all the hustle and bustle of the big road races. Want to talk to a race director? Trail races make that pretty easy!
Coach walked me to the start line and waved me on; off we went. I felt fairly rested, and it was a nice, cool Florida day (which is why I love running races from November to February!) with the sun beginning to peak out. The course itself was a mixture of trail, open wide road and sand (yes, sand!). Luckily for me, the sand part of the trail did not last long. Any amount of trail during a race is long enough, in my opinion!
At the beginning of the race we passed a small horse facility.
And while I don’t like sand, this sandy pit held a bit of sweetness for me that really hit the spot!
I finished up the 18 miles in around 3.5 hours. The day turned out to be fairly warm – I could have done without long sleeves – and this trail is not as shaded as some of the other trail races I’ve run in the area, such as those that take place in Hillsborough River State Park or Brooksville. But the scenery was nice and the terrain varied enough to keep me on my toes. It wasn’t a hilly course, and water stops were plentiful enough (though I carry my own liquids, it’s nice to stop for cold water from time to time!).
Oh, and this medal? The coolest!
I loved the post-race refreshments, including tamales! Below, mom, AKA World’s Most Amazing Coach, enjoys her first tamale ever!
I’d definitely recommend this race to trail runners hitting the Sunshine State trails. You can find more information about the race series here. My plan: make this my marathon for 2017. We’ll see how this goes!
Enjoy your sole filled journeys!