“A goal sets your life on a path, gives it direction, and energizes you.” -Andrew Wheating (Olympic runner)
So we did this! Yes, Andrew and I went to Gulf Shores and ran the Sea Turtle Half Marathon! This was my 78th half marathon and we had a great time! After all, doesn’t everyone go on their honeymoon to the beach and run a half?
I am super proud of Andrew for winning the half marathon. He ran a 1:15 and I know he felt great and I am looking forward to his continued success. I am happy with my time as well! I ran 1:49! I wish I had pushed it and ran under 1:49, but it was definitely windy on the way back! I was glad I wore my Oiselle portman shorts along with my new verra bra. I also wore the Buffalo XC jersey for good luck! Here is my race data:
I finished in 1:49:23
Andrew and I took some fun pictures before, during and after the race…I wasn’t very happy with the during pictures but you know Andrew!
I forgot to mention that I was in fifth place, but I let a girl pass me at about mile 12.5..so I was sixth female and second in my age group. I was excited to win a sea turtle coffee mug…though I am sad to report I did not see any sea turtles on our honeymoon! We ate at the hangout and went back to our hotel to shower. We stayed at the Beachside Resort. There was an outdoor pool, but it wasn’t warm enough for us! https://www.hotels.com/hotel/details.html?q-check-out=2017-02-26&q-check-in=2017-02-25&WOE=7&WOD=6&q-room-0-children=0&pa=10&tab=description&hotel-id=255960&q-room-0-adults=1&YGF=1&MGT=1&ZSX=0&SYE=3
After the race, we went to Rico’s for some gelato. I liked the mango gelato. We watched the pelicans and relaxed after our hard run. The day seemed to fly by. It was already midway through Saturday and I was happy to soak up the sun!
I don’t really remember what else we did besides go to the store and stock up on powerade. Oh yeah, I remember going to the information center. We found out there was a car show and seafood festival going on at the Wharf! We decided to go check it out!
I know that we went to the Oyster House and had some really good food. Andrew got the all you can eat shrimp and I had fried green tomatoes.
I tried these Louisiana meat pies called “nachitoches.” They reminded me of empanadas. Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/140907/natchitoches-meat-pies/
We had a great “first day” in Gulf Shores!
We checked out the Gulf Shores State Park on Sunday. We came by there on Saturday and picked up a map. You can rent bikes there and there are plenty of trails! http://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park
We decided to rent bikes and go on the trails. We ended up biking about 16 miles. We saw a lot of alligators, cranes, and even a tortoise! It was fun to see the alligators but I was glad they were on the other side of the fence. I did not want to get eaten!
I thought it was funny to run into the sign about not aggravating the alligators and to not feed them…that wasn’t the funny part. It was the sign below that said “swim at your own risk.” I don’t think that swimming with alligators is a great idea, but maybe we are technically trying to feed them if we swim with them? I don’t know just a thought!
We did end up seeing a baby alligator, a small alligator, a mama alligator, and another little alligator. The mama gator is known as “Lefty.” She is kind of a regular at the park. She is called “Lefty” because she got into a fight at some point and lost part of her right back leg. She is a celebrity. https://www.flickr.com/photos/8675762@N07/5551086560
I found this on a website: http://backcountrytrail.com/alligator-harassment/
Please don’t throw rocks at the alligators!!! Sounds like such a mean thing to do! She is a mama!!!!!
We continued on our bike ride and I saw a big tortoise. She was right off the trail hanging out. She was pretty friendly. I didn’t pet her, but we took some pictures and left her alone.
We continued on our bike ride and I confessed to Andrew along the way that I had never had a DQ blizzard. So we stopped and had some for lunch. I had the chocolate cake blizzard. It was really good. I have been missing out!
We rode back to the park and decided to be beach bums. We wanted to relax before going out to dinner. We ran 6 miles in the morning and biked 16! We earned it!
While at the beach, we did see a crane. They are so funny looking. I wanted to collect some shells, but they were not very big :(….oh well!
Okay! Dinner!….We decided it was time for Mexican! We looked through a bunch of the brochures and decided to go to: The Cactus Cantina. Here is the information if you want to go: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g30582-d3949414-Reviews-Cactus_Cantina_Mexican_Grill-Gulf_Shores_Alabama.html
Andrew got a giant margarita and I got a yuengling. I wasn’t feeling warm enough for a frozen drink! We had the queso fundito (which I think they called cheese dip). It is so good. It is a cheese sauce with chorizo meat. I think I had a burrito but I don’t really remember. The service was good and I would eat there again. I wasn’t feeling 100% so I didn’t eat all of my meal and the waiter joked around about me being on a liquid diet. I didn’t like that. It was really hot that day and I was feeling a little dehydrated. I tend to eat less when I am hot. I am not on a liquid diet!!!!
Sigh, it was our last full day in Alabama! What were we going to do? The weather called for 75 degree weather and humidity. We got up and went for a run on our usual loop. I did 6.2 miles and so did Andrew. We wanted to go on a dolphin watch but it was off season and most places were either closed or booked. I was feeling discouraged so I thought we should go for a run then decide what to do. I suggested renting a scooter or going on the go carts. Andrew and I looked at the brochures and he made a quick call before we left. He didn’t leave a message. So off we went at about 7 in the morning for our run.
When we got back to the hotel, Andrew had a voicemail from the place he tried calling. The price was $18 each for a dolphin tour for about 2 hours. I was excited that they called back. I thought it was interesting they called Andrew when he did not leave a message. So we ended up on the “Blue Dolphin Cruises.” This is located in Orange Beach. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30753-d2694208-Reviews-Blue_Dolphin_Cruises-Orange_Beach_Alabama.html
I cannot say enough good things about this tour!!!! We got to sit outside and look at all of the beach front houses. We saw a ton of dolphins and took some amazing pictures. I could have put a lot of pictures on here, but I have already shared a lot! We took some really neat videos too! I loved when the dolphins were swimming beside the boat…they were soooooo adorable! I would love to have a pet dolphin!
After our dolphin tour, we went for another run at The Gulf Shores State Park. I ran for about 4.6 miles with a cotton shirt on because I was a fried lobster. Our sun screen had expired and we bought new sun screen. On a side note, I hate the stick sun screen. It is like putting lip gloss on…and when you are already sunburnt, it is no Bueno!
Dinner! It was our last dinner in Alabama so we wanted barbeque!!! I let Andrew pick the restaurant and he picked a good place! We went to the “Hog Wild BBQ” place in Gulf Shores. http://www.hogwildgulfshores.com/
It was really good and I could have had about four rib sandwiches. The beer was really good too! I tried the Naked Pig IPA and Andrew had Truck Stop. These are both good Alabama beers. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and watched Love it or List It? I forgot to mention we did eat breakfast at a Waffle House and we went to a place called “BuzzCatz Coffee And Sweets.” They have a lot of goodies but I was just in it for the coffee!!!!! http://www.buzzcatzcoffeeandsweets.com/
So our last day…I got up early and we went to the beach to look for shells. I got him the hat he is wearing at the surf shop. We do something fun when we travel. We go to the gift store and give ourselves a budget of $10 and we have to buy each other a souvenir. He got me some sea turtle wind chimes and an alligator ornament. I was jealous I didn’t see the ornaments because I would have bought some for my family! I think this is a cute gift idea.
After coming back to the hotel and packing, we went to Gulf Shores State Park. I ran 7 miles while Andrew ran 7.5…crazy…when we got back to the car it started to downpour. I was glad we got in our sweaty run before the long day of being at the airport. We stopped at Starbucks for some fuel and breakfast sandwiches. Our flight to Chicago was on time. The rest of our trip was pretty uneventful. I did feel bad for the security guard. Note: If you win a trophy, do not put the trophy in the dirty laundry. We had to wait for the security guard to go through his bag, which was filled with all of our running clothes from the trip!
This was a great vacation but we both decided it was too short. We would love to go back and the race was awesome. It was inexpensive and we got a medal and a long sleeve t-shirt. The bibs were super cute and we both took home prizes. There was gu on the course, along with water and Gatorade. The race director had a good sense of humor and the course was definitely a “b–p” on the way back…but you could plan your timing right and it didn’t matter. I loved the post race food at the Hangout. I had a chicken Caesar wrap, but they also had veggie and roast beef wraps. There was plenty to drink and some alcoholic beverages for hydration. We liked the gu chomps and there was run gum. I also saw a variety of snacks, which included peanut butter pretzels and candy! What more could a girl want?