Sunday, February 15, 2015

Race Recap: Mardi Gras Beach 5K (or How to Get Bead Necklaces the Non-Traditional Way)

Yesterday, my Valentine's Day began bright and early at my first race of the year - the Mardi Gras Beach 5K. Part of a special series of themed races on New Smyrna and Daytona Beaches throughout 2015, the Mardi Gras 5K kicked off my running events this year and will be my baseline for all my races over upcoming months.

It was a morning race, so I woke at 5:00am, got dressed in my usual running gear, and made my favorite pre-run treat. These little PB&B (peanut butter and banana) "sandwiches" always give me just the boost of nutrition I need. Sometimes I freeze the banana slices before adding the peanut butter as a healthy dessert too.

Beach runs are experiences like no other. It's hard to train sometimes since part of the sand is hard-packed and some of it is soft.  Practicing on flat ground is not always the best preparation, so a few trial runs on the beach beforehand is usually a good idea.  It's also often breezy and cold in the morning, especially during the winter and early spring.  Yesterday was no exception. The wind was biting when I first arrived beachside, and a quick glance at my phone showed that it was a chilly 39 degrees. Brrr! (I'm sure all of you from up North are laughing at my thin blood right now.)  Luckily I had bundled up well, and the sight of a beach sunrise is always breathtaking and very worth it.

The Mardi Gras theme was awesome!  Cajun-style music was playing, and every runner received some great "gear" to wear and help get into the New Orleans spirit.

The race itself was nice and easy. It had warmed up beautifully by the start time, and the beach was relatively flat and smooth.  Along the course, volunteers handed out bead necklaces (at least 2 or 3 strands each time) - I love having something cool and special like that to look forward to as I run.  By the end, I had gathered over 20 necklaces. Now I know how to get Mardi Gras beads without ever showing any skin - just run for them, hahaha!

This wasn't a PR race for me, but it was fun, easy, and a good start to my year of running.

Afterwards, Mike and I took the girls to Disney World for a "Kitchen Sink" ice cream treat. It was a perfect Valentine's Day!

Do you have any themed races on your schedule this year?
What was your first race of 2015?


  1. This race sounds like so much fun! I love that they handed out masks and beads. I wish we had a race like this near me, but I guess Daytona isn't TOO far away! I may just need to check this race out in person next year!

    Congrats on running a race that you feel really good about. That's the best way to kick off the year!

    My first race this year was the Miami Half Marathon and it was a perfect day. I think it really set the tone for the year!

    1. I love little takeaways at races! There are 9 more races this year in the same series as the Mardi Gras 5K that have on-course goodies for the runners. I can't wait to check them all out!

      I'd like to give the Miami Half a try some day. It looks like a great race! I just found out about a 7-miler in Key West coming up soon - there are so many beautiful running events in Florida!