Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Halpatiokee Park - Stuart, FL CC #6 (Feb 26th)

The moment we arrived at the park this amazing feeling of tranquility overwhelmed me.
It was so quiet, peaceful, almost serine.  You hardly could see any people around and were surrounded by vast of greenery, so pure, so untouched, like almost no human took a step on this land.

My husband Pax and our friend Wally and I were very lucky to meet up with some local bikers and were able to experience the course together. First impression was, wow, this is different, it is very flat here and twisty and the path is so small that your legs are being constantly brushed by the shrubbery. Those were wild Florida berries! Who would even know we have them! Later on those berries were ones to thank for my green socks during the race… :)

We followed the leaders and had a lovely time, weather was so perfect with a cool front coming through and a nice strong breeze which did put grasses to play and make a beautiful sound. I didn’t know the trails nor where to go, but what I knew and remembered were the turns and forks with the most amazing wildflowers waiting for me on the trail. I wanted to stop and photograph them so much, but I couldn’t as I had riders with me and the task on hand which was to pre-ride the course and get as familiar with it as possible. There was no time to spare…

The race morning was cool again and the whole sky was covered by thick layer of grey clouds. There was not one sun ray that was going to come out that day.  I think I might like that; well fine I would love it. Perfect race conditions for me. I wish that my start that day was perfect too, but this didn’t happen.

We are all in line and the race director announces 10 seconds to the start. I started timer on my bike computer and was making quick final adjustments when… Oh no the gun went off. I raised my head and the other girls started pedaling. I jumped as quickly as I could to find my right foot dangling in the air; it unclipped on me or was never properly clipped in the first place. I clipped in and jetted as fast as I could. I did catch up on the big u turn with some girls and was making the turn when my foot unclipped again! I pushed my foot in once again and started gaining speed. I was 5th while I supposed to be in the top 3 from the gate. I had a girl in front of me that I was approaching fast and needed to pass badly. I just mentioned her name with a strong voice making her aware of my presence. The pass went smoothly and I started to pedal even harder to catch up with Melissa right in front of me going into the right turn. We were still on the grass and everyone was in agony, it was 0.3 miles long with a tall grass start with a bunch of turns that was just really hard and miserable. I pushed hard and got even more momentum, we were about to go through the gate when Melissa went through a little path right next to it. I had to go the same way but I had to squeeze my brakes so I didn’t hit her while going through this tight section. This gave her a little gap and I had to catch up again. I was trying once more to get in to the sticks before her and she got in just milliseconds before me since I had no space to squeeze in. I settled behind her and all was going good, but she kept going faster and faster and gaining some distance on me.

With time I noticed Melissa catching up with Evelyn, which was currently in second position.  Very shortly, she was sitting on her wheel and I was very closely observing the situation. We all were approaching the fun section of the park that is mostly flat with a few nice climbs and descents. I heard Melissa telling Evelyn to speed up so she can make the hill and don’t affect everyone’s ride. Then they started communicating about the pass. I figured if Evelyn will let her pass now I need to be there too for it, since on the end of the race I cannot be separated from Melissa by anyone. This would be the worst case scenario for me to finish 4th with Evelin 3rd and Melissa 2nd. That would mean with this one race I would give away my chance for 1st overall in the whole series. At this point Melissa was still 3rd in overall standings. Bunch of things went through my head and after quick math I sped up as fast as I could.

After first big hill we went into the berm and approached another longer climb where you bike on the ridge with one single path with drops on both sides. This is definitely a no passing zone here and Evelyn still didn’t let Melissa pass. So it was the trio of us on the ridge one by one in same order while we approached a final super-fast decent. We all flew, Evelyn right, Melissa, right, well I’m going to the left than since there was an optional path. I took it and allowed my momentum to carry me as far as I could, than I stood up and added some fire to my pedals, I was getting closer, I stood up one more time and could see and hear helmets on the right of me in the sticks, they were right next to me. I pushed even harder and flew back to the path for the next climb right in front of Melissa and Evelyn! Oh yeah. I heard Melissa yelling from the back “Beata, such a clever pass!” with a complement in her tone. I was so energized that I just flew next sets of hills, flew like the wind and I was gone. I managed to get away very far that I could not see or hear both girls and felt quite safe with my position. But after a while on the part of the trail near all the lakes I could hear fast wheels approaching. I sped up but they got closer, I sped up again but they got even closer. I looked back to confirm and yes It was Melissa, finally she passed the other girl and caught up with me and I said “Hi Melissa” she said “Hi”. LOL. All this trouble and we were both together again. Nothing comes easy in life. I did slow down and we both relaxed for a little, we took it easy for a minute or so and exchanged some thoughts. But it was a race and we had to compete so I started gaining speed and there we went through the twisty single track battling each other once more. When we did come out on the grassy stretch in between the trails I had to stand up and push, since I could just hear Melissa switching the gears and trying to go faster. So she goes faster and I go faster, I go faster and she goes faster and we go back to the trails again. And we repeated it again and again until the last straight to the finish of the first lap when I heard once again on my right, click, click, and click. Oh she is again on me…

2nd Place CC#6
We gave each other no rest. We crossed finish and the big loop and were starting the second lap when I decided to grab nutrition. Melissa just zoomed by me, she looked just one more time to confirm what I was doing and took off. I told myself I had to do what I had to do even if it causes me to sacrifice some time. So I was playing around with my Clif Gel and trying to don’t allow a gap to widen too much. I think I managed to be some 10 seconds behind when I finally finished the gel. It was time to go again, and I started to play the catch up game once more, to find Melissa on the side of the dark rooty trail working on her bike. I asked what happened and she said that she dropped her chain. I knew she would be back on the bike in the matter of seconds and I biked away. I biked and biked and biked as hard as I could. I think I saw her at one point behind me and told myself I didn’t want to repeat scenario from the first lap when she was back on my wheel after my awesome escape. So I pushed and pushed some more. It was not an easy ride. I did not know anymore the gap nor from Melissa nor from girl in front of me. It was just me against myself at that time and it took a lot of self-talk and reasoning. I knew I wanted to win the series not by points but by deserving it, by winning the race and being faster than my rivals. At some point I heard someone yelling that I was some 30 seconds from the leading Duffy in front.
But at this time for me it was not about that since I was going as hard as I could and still was trying to get back to the finish safe. This place was not to be taken lightly with Saw Palmetto trunks crossing the path or hiding under the big sharp leaves on the corners that you could hit anytime while not paying attention. One racer crossed the finish line running with his bike in his arms and whole derailleur was hanging off the bike completely torn off. I didn't want to share this faith. I noticed the harder I went the more mistakes I was making and it stopped to feel right, so there had to be a balance implemented.
I calmed myself down and rode strong and steady and when I finally got to the last stretch before finish I was still pushing. I didn’t give myself second to spare, I gave it my all. I heard my husband yelling to me “Good Job Bebes” while I was approaching the finish, still speeding and even passing a guy from the different class before entering the gate. It was battle to the end. I was second, one minute after Duffy that took the win and a minute ahead of Melissa. The rest of the girls were some 10 minutes behind. Oh it felt so good, so good to be done, so good to ride my best.

I congratulated Duffy who was waiting for us on the finish line and Melissa when she crossed.

We all did great today and pushed each other to the limits. We battled like tigers while on the course but are great friends while off the trail and this is awesome that we better each other in such a competitive and friendly way.

Now everyone had little time to spare and relax while waiting for the whole South Florida Series presentation. I managed to bike away for a while and just explore the park in the slower pace. I found a friendly turtle (very friendly with my husband :-)) and a lonely wildflower, one of many.

One day I would love to return there when I have time to just enjoy the scenery and stop and just absorb this beautiful place. Bring my camera gear and take some nice pictures of this amazing park.

With all being said I got the 1st in overall standings. This was great reward for all the hard work that I did put in the recent months. If felt good to stand there.  Even for this short moment.

1st Place Coconut Cup Series

Monday, February 20, 2012

12 Hours of Amelia (January 7, 2012)

Oh what a race…

Before I showed up on the starting line I had my doubts. I never did an endurance race before and I didn’t really know what to expect. How will my body handle it, how I “my mind” will handle it. I had a simple plan in my mind but mostly knew I will need to play it by ear.

First of all after sorting out all the options I had for this type of race, like going with a team for the whole 12 hours, having a team of 3 or 4 riders and how much work I will have to put in, it looked like the best and most challenging choice for me at this time would be riding 6 hours solo and trying to learn what I am made of.

Looking back I think it was an excellent choice and I enjoyed this long, lonely, brutal but how rewarding ride very much.

We started with one big mass start, our bikes some 200 meters away lying on the ground. The gun went off and running in the clipless shoes is an art in itself but somehow I managed. It was good we had some nice soft grass to run on. We got to the turn and were heading closer to the bikes and I was already winded. Really, I’m so tired already and I have to go bike now for 6 hours!  I grabbed my bike and mounted as quickly as I could, but in an instance I had to practice a track stand since everyone was doing the same thing at the same time and the way to the trail was all clogged up. Amazing bottle neck in the trail entrance made all of us stand and wait in like we were waiting for some baked goods. We looked at each other thinking, this is going to be an interesting day. The train started to move slowly and we managed to pick up some speed little by little. I knew that sorting of the fast riders from slow riders will take a while. There was a lot of passing and slower people on the trail were blocking some major climbs on the first lap and even experts were doomed from making them since riders were walking their bikes up. But the pace was quite easy and when the sections were done the path started to clear up and the biking begun.

I settled into the nice pace and just enjoyed the ride. It felt so good, my heart rate was nice and low and I felt strong and steady and was getting more confidence and enjoyment with each lap. I was planning to take a little break after 2 laps but when the time came I had no need, everything was great.  I had time to have my nutrition and kept on going. Only moment that I didn’t like was when I was riding through the new section in the park that was just freshly cut and there were four elevated above the muddy ground long logs that I was not very familiar with. I made one, didn’t make another and when I fell off the 3rd one again I had girl pass me there and she is the one that took 1st on this race.  With time I started managing them better but on the 4th lap I fell off again and there was where another girl from higher class passed me. I was able however later on to catch up with her and when we were head to head on the loop around the lake we spoke few words and I jetted away. I noticed a lot of girls taking breaks and resting, getting nutrition etc. With each lap end you had to dismount the bike and run/walk small section before biking again. That was not easy, not only with each lap I was more and more covered with dirt but also the longer I rode the less my legs remembered how to walk and this little transition would throw you off a little walking your bike on those noddle like legs. I kept telling myself one more lap and one more lap and the laps kept adding up. I never rode that much before, not on the road, not on a dirt path and definitely not on off road mountain biking terrain. I figured I can maybe do 30 plus miles in this environment, but laps were 10 miles long and I already completed 4! Don’t know how it was possible but I kept on rolling and felt great until my body started telling me otherwise. This is when the knee pain started to kick in and some stomach cramps. But I kept on biking and all I did was to take a few seconds to grab a new camelback and on another occasion I was able to stop for 30 seconds and wrap up my hurting knee with some adhesive tape. Oh did I tape the knee tight, to tight. I biked away and didn’t have time to undo all the wrapping; I started feeling the pressure and the rubbing of the tape behind my knee tearing into my skin pretty instantly. But I didn’t stop I knew I will just have to deal with it no matter how unpleasant. My arms started to get tired and the bathroom break seemed like a good idea when I got second set of stomach cramps. I told myself not yet, after this lap and kept on going. When the lap ended I said ok this is definitely the time for a nice break, but… but it’s the last lap most likely. Pax said to me “keep going Bebes, you are almost done”. Can I still try to be strong for a little longer and keep on biking I wondered? Not sure how well would that work I decided to keep on spinning those cranks and to complete the 6th lap again without break. This is when I realized that I will be on the time crunch and with my lap times it will be very close and I will need to really rush not to miss the cutoff time. I biked as fast as I could considering my state, where all my limbs were really fatigued now and it is hard to even hold the handlebar without my hand cramping. My world was made up of pain and I met a group of great people on this journey who shared this time with me.

My husband was there this long day with me always by my side, handing out drinks, nutrition and telling me to be strong when I needed it the most. We made a great team that day and I accomplished more than I expected. The quote from my friend “amaze yourself with your own strength” might summarize my experience for today. I did amaze myself and now I know that I can bike for a long, long time and that I have a very strong mind and determination to finish the task on hand no matter how difficult circumstances are.

I rushed all the way around the lake and on the last stretch to the finish I was pushing as much as I could to find out that I missed the cut off time by just seconds. Did I really want to go another lap however? I just biked 60 miles! I think I did a lot already and when I crossed the finish line I went straight to the sticks and collapsed there. My body thanked me for not making the cut off … :) It was good to be done and just rest now.

After some time to regroup and clean myself from all this dirt that accumulated all over my body there was time for the presentation. No one could see it but having my name called out and walking up this podium stand brought little tears into my eyes, there were tears of happiness and accomplishment nicely camouflaged behind ultra-fast and mean green Cavendish glasses that I was wearing that day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Amelia Earhart CC #5 (Feb 5th)

So the Time Trail is over, I survived it and got happily home. Very shortly I found out how really bad my condition was. I was barely able to stand up and I still had to eat dinner. I got dizzy a few times and had to hold myself up. The challenge now was how I will make it through the evening, not even thinking of main race in the early morning hours.

I took a nice bath and collapsed. Than night however I didn't sleep at all and trust me I am a sleeping champ. If they were giving away medals for sleep I would have one by now. It is almost 4 am and I’m still lying there and this is when the cough comes in. Miserable night and I possibly fell asleep for a little bit toward the morning. My husband woke me up and I was about to tell him I am not going. I was so terribly sick with all the unpleasant symptoms of the flu one can have. Last thing on my mind was racing! And some racing it was.

All top girls in the series showed up, some of them who exclusively race only on this course. Just great, but I kind of expected that. And for this type of racing with this crowd I knew I had to be a hundred percent and nothing less. But it was less, less than anyone would wish for on race day. I was falling asleep on the way to the race site and was too tired to even move my arms around, what about riding my bike. 

Either way with everything being off beat that day I somehow made it on the starting line at the last second. Boys went off and we were next to go. And here we go. Nice flat fast start for some moving rocks made it to be a power train. I think I was 4th out of the gate and then right before turn into the grass and trail system I was passed by Michaela from Austria. My legs already felt like noodles and I wondered what I’m doing here and how far I can go. So in first place, always fast on this course, Evelyn just disappeared in the woods with Duffy staying right behind her. Next was Alyssa our FSC Champ and Michaela, after them me and then Melissa right on my tail. First two girls were gone and four of us where going one by one pushing so hard on the grueling course which led us instantly into the razorback with all the climbs that take a huge toll on everyone. Alyssa kept on slowing down and eventually that gave me an opportunity to pass in the corner Michaela on top of one of the hills. Fast ride down to the nice open area and I begun to pass Alyssa. I asked her if she was fine and she just shook her head. All of it was on a nice long stretch and the moment I passed Alyssa I got passed back by Michaela. So almost back to square one. Later on I found out that Alyssa just finished first lap and stopped the race. I still had Melissa however on my tail and she would not let me out of her sight. She is strong and at the moment I made my first mistake she was there to make good use out of it. I was still sitting on the Michaela’s wheel when my front tire washed out at first and than just locked sideways on me and almost stopped me still. This is where Melissa passed me. The conditions on those trails where very tough for the longest time now and today it was probably the worst of the worst. There were sections where you just hold on and let the bike fly around the sand like a crazy serpent and you just hold on and hope for the best. 


From now it was me and my pain and I was on a goose chase. I was able to maintain some 10 second gap for most of the time when we got to the technical rooty section in front part of the park; this is when I caught up with Wally again and knew I will need to pass quickly. He looked back and instead of letting me go accelerated to don’t be in my way and probably got out of his comfort zone. I was afraid of that. Just seconds later there is sharp right left turn with loose sand and a log right behind it. In the matter of half of the second Wally was on the ground, all the way flat with bike laying across the path! Nice, I had nowhere to go and had to wait for him to pick himself up and let me continue my ride. I was not happy and lost there an additional 10 seconds off of the girl in front. I think that was it, it ruined my spirit and allowed me to realize how terrible I felt. But I kept on pushing and kept on going. We all were riding extremely hard that day; no one had an easy day on those trails. Almost toward the end of first lap there was this huge open area that leads you to the bike park entrance and I still could see Melissa in front pedaling away. I stood up and was trying to give it all and catch up despite my condition. Each time I stood up however I would collapse into my saddle just seconds later. I tried again and again with the same results. There was nothing left in me, only my spirit that also was vanishing away. This was where I realized that most likely I would not be able to catch up and just dazed away in my nothingness zone.

I stayed there for whole second lap and just wanted to finish. I rode good, lowered my heart rate and actually started to feel comfortable again, but it was little too late, there was no way I could catch anyone in front. My second lap ended up being a whole minute slower than the first one and that might be just fine for most of the riders, but for me the lap time is much closer than that normally. So I knew it was me, it was sickness and there was nothing that I could have possibly done to change any of the above. But I’m happy, I woke up, I battled tough girls and still finished in top 5. I guess this is what makes any sport interesting; there are so many variables that you can’t just pick the horse and bet on it. You just never know, anyone can have race site preference or have a bad day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time Trial Amelia CC #5 (Feb 4th)

Thursday comes, I wake up and there is no energy in me, same thing with the following day. I was not sure what was going on but I know it was not right. I had a time trail on Saturday and I didn’t touch my bike for a week now. It was so unlike me, I love my bike and day without biking is never complete. It never happened to me before, I biked even when I had bruised ribs from the fall when using first time clipless pedals in Oleta. I biked than 2mph and tiny gaps in concrete would send shooting pain throughout my body. I barley could breathe and it took me some 15 minutes to put my biking shoes on and mount the bike, but I biked. But now when I’m all good and didn’t even bother why?

I was about to find that out when I woke up for the Time Trial. That morning my throat was swollen and I felt very weak. We went to the race site. The TT course was set up but there was no indication of what the course will be like for the main event on Sunday.

We pre-rode it once and found out that some new section was in it that was just carved in the trees. Also the course entered the famous section with logs, but hitting only the final one out of 4. Few girls were there on the starting line but we had to wait so long for almost everyone to go by before us. And we did wait and wait and talked and waited. I decided to go for additional warm up and when I got back most of the girls were gone. OK, looks like they were in a hurry. I didn’t mind, after all this is an individual ride and we are left all alone on the course.  I got my starting number 63 and waited to be sent away. My husband had his starting number 69 and was about to complete his first cross country race. No stress and I was actually looking forward to it and see how I would do. It was first ever for me time trail and didn’t completely know what to expect, besides most likely pain and misery…

The gun went off and I was going strong, I was flying on the course and enjoying it, to be honest I don’t remember much because everything happened so fast and my world was made of pain. I just remember when some half way through my legs started to feel like noodles and I wondered if I would need to stop, I was very tired! But me stopping? This is something that never takes place and I kept on going and pushing as hard as I could.

Most of the big climbs were omitted in this short track to make the course of the 3.5 miles even faster. One climb however that was not really all that tall I had a problem with, I saw it from a distance and It crossed my mind that possibly I’m too tired and in to high of a gear to make it up it but on the other side I was going faster than usual. Got to the hill, kept cranking up, climbing and climbing and I pretty much reached the top, I lost my momentum and my speed went to a stall. I’m there on the top with no movement forward, I am trying to crank it again and again but bike is not going anywhere. I tried to drop to a lower gear but there was to much pressure on the chain for it to happen. So I’m stopped now with my foot down. Trying to get back and push off and still not go, I yelled to myself “I don’t believe that!”, I had to push the bike some two feet forward to attempt riding again. I wasted some serious seconds there in this unfortunate fumble.

In this race frenzy my front tire, also to add to the attraction of the race, washed out some 5 times in the short distance like that. Some of them I was able to save quite easily, with one being pretty bad and my bike going sideways like some razor and I caught it with the twist of the handlebar in the last second. I already had in those split second moments vision of me laying sideways on the ground. But it did not happened thankfully. There was however one more 90 degree sharp sandy corner and I approached it with high speed, my tire was gone again, this time for good, there was a bunch of trimmed sticks right in front of my face that were getting closer and closer. I was about to face plant on them when my right food unclipped and I was able to plant my toe in the sand for safety. It worked and I regained my balance and sped off. Oh and the log section, it popped out on you out of nowhere and there it was, the fear of not making it and landing in the mud and loosing even more time. I got on the log and made it almost through and when I had some 3 feel left I yelled to myself with happiness “oh yeah!”. I made it and this culminated the race. My final time was 16 minutes and 13 seconds. Later on I found out I placed second with first place Duffy Danish having time of 16 minutes and 6 seconds. I thought at first that there was more time separating us since I started my timer few seconds before the start but reality was there was only 7 seconds dividing me from the first place. Now looking back if I could take away all those little episodes that took place in the trail I could have been first. Oh well, either way I did good for my first try of this type of racing. 

Now back to my husband, he was stressed but he did it, he had a great ride and I knew he would do good since he is a great biker, just he is not the racing type. He is more daring than me and this was the only concern I had for him in this race. I was afraid he would push to hard and do something he could regret later. Also he has no experience with pacing. After I finished I went quickly so see how Pax is progressing, I spotted him in the forest and he was almost about to be done. He yelled to me about some crash but there was no time to talk. When he jetted to the finish like I followed him and was so proud that finally he did it. We stopped and I looked at him and he appeared as he went through a war. All dirty, sandy and scratched up. He gained to much speed on the razor back section that had two small jumps, first he cleared nicely but second happened to shoot him up into the air unexpectedly and he was set for the total endo. He went over the bars landed on his head and rolled to his back. He told me later the fall made him dizzy and when he tried to continue biking but his front wheel was twisted two times around. He straightened the wheel and went. Pax finished only 10 seconds off from our friend Wally Pilat which is our riding partner, which is a great result. So my Pax is all scratched up and slightly beat up after this little adventure like you can see on the picture. Bike however needed some serious work done on it because of the crash and the whole wheel needs a new rim and will be rebuild.

Xterra Training (Jan 28th - Feb 1st)

I had a great week prior to racing. I did a lot of good quality work. Week before the race on Saturday, I was able to go to the park and do two nice laps on the race course, after that we changed to the running shoes and ran one hilly at times Amelia bike path for 6.5 miles. 

I had a great mountain biking ride and on the second lap I decided to ride really fast, it was exhausting but so rewarding. It felt even better knowing that my two riding partners (guys) had a really tough time keeping up. At some point one of them said “You are killing me!” with a smile in his voice, but at the same time he would not give up and stayed on my wheel. That made me ride even faster, which meant more torture for him… :)

When we went to the new section in the park filled with 4 long boards which are elevated and surrounded by mud, I told myself I can overcome the fear of falling and battle the skinny wood. And seven out of eight tries it worked and I started to feel pretty confident on this section. Sad part was that later on I did find out that this part was not going to be in the main race, but only one of the boards will be on the Individual time trail prior to the main event. I went home totally drained this day and disappeared for 3.5 days at work.

Finally Wednesday come about and instead of heading home which I missed so much already we aimed for international hall of fame swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale with a car full of gear. The pool is gorgeous with a beautiful setting right across the street from the beach. There was a small 25 meter pool and an Olympic one 50 meter long that I was interested in. We got in and it didn’t look all that big bad and mighty until I did submerge in it. Oh wow, I started swimming and my line kept on going forever and dividing lines on the sides just kept disappearing in front of me somewhere very far away. OK now I have respect for this place. I did few warm up laps and our friend and teammate Jennifer Moos (The famous Mooser) showed up. With our competitive nature almost instantly we went to the 1k timed swim head to head to find out a raw estimate for the future Xterra Miami.
It was a very long swim on those very long laps, I think I went to hard and started suffering in the mid of the swim. My chest got tight and I got little concerned and slowed down a little and tried to relax. The Mooser kept on going and she was some 35-40 meters ahead of me. When we finished we both admitted that the swim was not easy on either of us. There is much more work that needs to be done in the swimming department. We did some additional laps that added up for me to 2k for that day. Not bad and I’m looking forward coming back to challenge myself again. I love to swim, always did since I was a kid and feel like a little fish in the water, I just need to become a little faster fish that I am now… :)
After the swim was done we wasted no time and changed to the running clothes. When I was dressed just like I’m going to the beach, Jen had her adventure racing outfit on, carried a back pack and a pair of hiking sticks. I even shoveled my water bottle and camera to her bag and we went for the run. She is a very tough girl. The lines we picked were the most gruesome and ran through the most soft sugary sand that was out there. I didn’t expect much mileage to happen in such an environment, but we kept on going. We went a mile and a half one way, took a tiny break and took few pictures and than started running again. It started getting late and the sun was slowly going away, wind and sound from the ocean made the whole experience more pleasant. Small steps and moving forward, small steps and moving forward, we logged in mile after mile. Tons of people were sitting around the beach and walking famous A1A while we were the only ones that were not there just for the fun of it. We got few weird looks and few whistles here and there and finally we were done. We ran 5 miles in this moving cruel sand and I could feel every single muscle in my legs. It was a good day filled with some good exercise. We ended a day with some Spanish meal with our biking team and some very long quality talk.