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Gasparilla Distance Classic 2014 – Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini-Challenge

Disclosure: I received a Gasparilla Distance Classic Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini-Challenge in exchange for my honest review and to assist with the marketing of the event.

As long as I can run, I will always participate in the Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend, our beloved pirate-themed race.  In its 36th year with over 30,000 participants, I’m not the only who hearts the Gasparilla Distance Classic.

Last year, I ran the half marathon; the year before I ran the 15K. This year, I wanted to challenge myself, but since Gasparilla race weekend followed only one week after A1A marathon, I didn’t want to push myself too much. Rather than trying to beat my previous Gasparilla half marathon time, I decided to not only try to beat my previous 15K time, but to take it one step farther by going for the Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini-Challenge. Running 9.2 miles on Saturday and 5 miles on Sunday seemed pretty manageable.

But I didn’t account for my daughter wanting to run the 5K on Saturday as well.  Being that it was her first Gasparilla Distance Classic experience, I wanted to run the 5K with her. Sadly, there’s no challenge for all the running I would endure that weekend but I was o.k. with that.

Friday, my mom, my dad and Little Lion Man visited the 8 On You Side Fitness and Health Expo with me. We arrived later than I wanted and the lines were so long, however, my parents and I divided and conquered to save time.  Thanks to the happy runners around me, my challenge line felt like the express lane.  As we chatted about past races, races on our bucket list and shared tips with one another, the wait seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, I had my bib, my fancy new Lime green jacket and shirts and on my way to samples and shopping.

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The Gasparilla Expo is almost as fun as the race.  I always find the best running gear there and tasty samples too. During this year’s visit, I purchased some brand-spanking new magnets which I think are so me.  The sticker man said when I finish marathon number seven, it’s free. I’m totally holding you to that at Space Coast, Sticker Man!

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I also bought some Brooks “run happy shorts” that are also so me and a new Sugar Skull tank from Ink n Burn.  I certainly could have spent more money at the expo . I especially would have loved to meet Burt Yasso and have him sign my race bib, but I was on borrowed preschooler time and time was up!

On Saturday, Allana arrived at the Ft. Brooke parking garage around 6:00, but I didn’t realize it was cash only.  I begged the attendant to let me park and find an ATM and I promised to return with the money.  Allana and I walked to the Hilton around the block with an ATM in its lobby. A few minutes later, we were back at the garage and I paid the Adrianne the attendant.  I even tipped her for allowing me to “break the rules”.

We were still early for the 15K, but we were behind schedule to meet the Suncoast Striders for the annual group photo.  As we walked upstairs to the second level outside the expo, we found the Striders huddled together taking multiple photos.  Allana and I jumped in just in time.

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I also realized that Chrissy and I were all matchy-matchy in our Black Pearl sparkle skirts running skirts.

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Since the 5K start was two hours after the 15K, Allana joined the Strider cheerleading squad to kill the time while she waited for me to finish my race.  The cheering squad would position themselves around mile one as the rest of the gang headed to the 15K start.

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While we waited at the start, we took the usual start line photos and stretched. It was then that I realized I forgot my headphones.  Thankfully, the band of misfit pirates would keep me entertained during the race. Pirates Mike and Bob handed me some booty to share with the scallywags in the way of a few coins to toss at unsuspecting spectators along the course.

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This year, the start line was set back further down Brorein Street, which I liked and it has nothing to do with USF (my alma mater) being in the background.  Like in other years, the Saturday race day was humid and the temps hovered around 70 degrees.  A thick fog blanketed the buildings and didn’t offer much to cool us off.

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Once the 15K was under way, I tried to maintain an easy pace at the start. The Gasparilla starts are always a bit congested in the beginning with bottlenecks until the first mile.  About a half mile into the race we crossed a drawbridge and the metal grooves always mess with my footing. The thick humidity and saturated air made the bridge wet and even more slippery as we ran across it.

Like always, the crowd cleared around mile one as several runners stopped for water at the aid station. I felt good so I kept moving on.  Lately, I seem to be able to run three miles without a need for water, so I tried to keep habit in place for this race.

With music provided by several DJs on the course and the Rough Riders and their trolley car parked at mile 3, I never missed my music. Not having music also allowed me to eaves drop and chat with random strangers to take my mind off the course.

Near the turnaround, I found my fellow NYC marathoner, Jen G, who confessed about her and husband’s 15K competition. Since she had fallen behind, Luke was winning their little martial rivalry.

Speaking on rivalry, I had a bone to pick with the 10:00 mm pace group. They were running ahead of pace.  See, this is why pace groups stress me out.  I even told him I didn’t like seeing him ahead of me and sarcastically advised him to walk more water stations to slow down.  I don’t think he followed my instructions.

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Around mile five, we happened upon the Krispy Kreme volunteers, but it was too hot and humid to enjoy their little doughnut delights, although I did stop to savor the moment with a click.

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Since I stopped for a brief second, it seemed like a good opportunity to grab some water and cool off under the sprinklers.  With only four miles left, I pushed it to the finish.

Around mile 7, I passed Running for Brews and their funny signs and spotted my friend, Brian.  With less than a mile left, I passed Allana and the Striders cheering squad.

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I had only a quarter mile left to go when I ran under a Gasparilla banner festooned to a bridge promising “The end is in sight!”

15K
Gun Time 1:32:39
Chip Time 1:29:46
Garmin 1:29:51
Ave Pace 9:37
Div 115/451
Gender Place 731/2832
Overall 1855/5143

Incidentally, I finished ahead of the 10:00, in case you missed my average pace. I also shaved nearly 15 minutes off my previous Gasparilla 15K time, a PB-PB (personal best – post baby) but still not a PR.  Regardless, I celebrated my achievement with another photo with the Striders and Nanci.

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IMAG4389 Gasparilla Distance Classic 2014   Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini Challenge

Once I crossed the finish line, I took a photo of my new medal and bumped the cheering squad on the bridge.  After I used the restroom, Allana and I headed to the 5K start line, which was in the same place as the 15K start.

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Four years since my last Gasparilla 5K experience, I had forgotten how crowded the 5K start was.  Allana and I couldn’t even enter the corral and had to wait for the race to begin before moving into the corral.

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A thick crowd prevented us to pace and we started off with a much slower than normal pace.  As we weaved through walkers, we picked up the pace to about 13:00 mm, but Allana felt it was too fast.

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Eventually, we caught up with Chrissy and her dad, who was running his first Gasparilla 5K.  We played cat-and-mouse with them for the next few miles.  Once again, we passed the Rough Riders and their groovy music blasting from the trolley car.

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Then, in the distance we heard the cavalry coming up from behind us. Soldiers running in formation passed us chanting army calls. I remembered than from my last Gasparilla 5K and how I loved running beside them and pacing with them.  Allana didn’t share my enthusiasm, though.

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The humidity was really getting to Allana and she started to feel dizzy.  We walked a little more than usual to help combat the heat.  Between the heat, dizziness and the touch of some kind of bug, Allana didn’t PR and that’s o.k.  I’m proud of her for getting out there and running!

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Allana’s 5K
Finish time 44:59
Ave Pace 14:27

Once we crossed the finish line, Allana earned her first Gasparilla medal and some much needed bottled water.

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IMAG4382 Gasparilla Distance Classic 2014   Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini Challenge

After the race, Allana wanted to explore the expo, especially the Gasparilla wall of fame.  The names on the wall are always a highlight for everyone and Allana was no exception.  She loved seeing her name listed as the first Taylor.

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The names are typically listed in alphabetical order, but I found a few strategically placed names by the skull.  These are the names of the race directors and the board.

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On Sunday, I returned to run the 8K in my new Sugar Skull Ink n Burn tank and my black sparkle skirt. I loved my outfit so much, I asked a random stranger to take my photo.

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Thankfully, the weather was much cooler with a slight breeze. On my way to the convention center bathroom, I bumped into so many friends and of course, we had to capture the moment. Meghan had just finished the half marathon and earned a new PR.

Nancy, Nanci, Tara and a new friend, Kelly set on our course for the 8K start.

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For Sunday’s races, the start line returned to Platt and Bayshore.  Honestly, I had not goal set in mind for this race. I had ran several 5 milers before, so anything under 50 minutes would be fine by me.  With that in mind, I strategically moved ahead of the crowd closer to the 10:30 pace group. I have to confess, I was a bit nervous racing two days in a row a week after finishing a marathon.

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IMAG0977 Gasparilla Distance Classic 2014   Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini Challenge

Once the race was underway, I noticed a lot of walkers in this particular race, much like the 5K.  I suppose, an 8K is the next step for an avid 5K runner/walker, but for a runner, it’s really frustrating to have to weave between runners.  I reminded myself that forcing myself to move slightly slower was a positive thing. Embrace the slower pace.

Like clockwork, a ton of people stopped at first mile aid station.  With the crowd dispersing, I was able to push through and gain some speed.  Before I knew it, I passed the Rough Riders in their favorite three mile spot and then the four mile turn came quickly after that.

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Thankfully, I had my music for this race. I found my groove as I pushed through the miles, not worrying about my pace.  Then, my friend, Jarrett, spotted me on the course and we ran for a bit until the next aid station. We parted ways when I stopped for a quick swig of water.

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As I got my head back into the race, this little girl came out of nowhere. I called her “Little Oympian” because she had this amazing stride.

Before I knew it, I passed the Running for Brews gang again.  With less than mile left to go and no Gasparilla banner hanging on a bridge to remind that today, I pushed it to the finish.

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As I started to sprint, I passed the Little Olympian. “C’mon now. You can’t let me beat you!” I shouted at her and then she sprinted ahead of me. I never saw that little gold winner again.

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8K (5 miles)
Clock Time 50:10
Chip Time 47:39
Garimn Time 47:38
Ave Pace 9:35
Div 58/358
Gender 402/2187
Overall 976/3560

When I crossed the finish line, I noticed I passed the 10:00mm pace group and I had a moment.  I felt like I came full circle.

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As I gleamed in my Gasparilla moment, I decided to wait for Nancy to cross the finish line.  While I stood at the side line, I saw so many friends: Kris and Run Jodi, best known for her famous 600 mile run to meet Nevaeh, her lovely “I run for…” match.  Nevaeh may be her angel match, but I was all matchy-matchy with Run Jodi.

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When Nancy crossed the finish line, she had a moment too and I was so glad I waited for her because she needed a hug!  Once we claimed our Lime Cactus medals, I passed another familiar face, Miranda, a.k.a Rainbow Brite from the Best Damn Race.  It was so great to see her volunteering at yet another race.

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Of course, we had to take the obligatory Gasparilla pirate photo. I told my pirate he looked like Tim Curry of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He liked the obscure reference, but then what would you expect from me?

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As we moved along the bridge to the post-race party, we found some Girl Scouts having their own post-race party. What clever mom to sell cookies to hungry runners!

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But I was more excited for the Columbia restaurant food!  Yum!

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The food almost tasted as sweet as the three medals I earned.  I honestly loved the Mic Ultra Lime Cactus Mini-Challenge.  It was nice little stepping stone in the realm of the Gasparilla challenge races and I would totally run it again.

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Or maybe I’ll decide to go for the Mic Ultra Amber Challenge next year instead.

Music Monday: It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me

Yesterday, I ran in the Gasparilla Half Marathon yesterday.  I love Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend, but yesterday was not my best race.  Not only was the weather super hot and humid for February, but I woke up with a crazy pounding headache that morning.  Neither element makes for ideal race conditions, but I pushed along and made it through the pirate theme-raced for the ultimate racing treasure!  The medal The bling The booty!  Argggggh!

IMAG0335%5B1%5D Music Monday: Its a Pirates Life for Me

Yep, I shook off that headache like a pirate and grabbed that booty.

**Warning: Video contains mature content and not appropriate for young audiences, but it is DANG funny.**

I’ll have a full race report a little later this week, but for now, I’m focusing on a pirate themed Music Monday to celebrate Gasparilla.  Not only is Gasparilla one of my favorite races, this pirate themed festival is my favorite time of year.  So since Tampa is under siege for a two month long pirate festival,  only pirate themed music would only do, me hearties.  After all, I be pirate at forty over forty at forty two.

I love pirates.  After all, my former vehicle vessel was The Black Pearl and now I navigate The Jolly Blogger through Tampa.

JollyBlogger Music Monday: Its a Pirates Life for Me

Like a good captian, I’ve passed along my pirate obsession to my children sprogs.  Little Lion Man and I are huge fans of the Never Land Pirate Band featuring Sharkey and Bones that sing on the Disney Junior’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Did you know that Sharkey and Bones once performed in a band called Captain Bogg and Salty?

I know. I know way too much about children’s music and I need a life, but you know what?  It be a pirate life for me!  Arggggggh!

Yo ho! Yo ho!  It’s a pirate’s life for me!

What music has you moving this week?

For Music Mondays, I’m teaming up with my good friend and fellow Marathon Mama,Chrissy.

 Music Monday: Its a Pirates Life for MeMusicMonday Music Monday: Its a Pirates Life for Me



Visit Xmas Dolly and Jade Louise Designs for more Music Monday.

Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

The pirate races are pillaging through Tampa this week!  Last Saturday, we attended the kid’s race and I’ll run the half marathon this Sunday.  Aye, it be me favorite time of year, me hearties!  Argggg!

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

As for last Saturday’s race, we loaded the kids complete in pirate apparel into The Jolly Blogger and set sail for the Junior Gasparilla Distance Classic at the Pepin Stadium at the University of Tampa.  Although Allana is too old to join in the Junior Gasparilla, she happily cheered for little brother and sister.  Plus, she had more time to enjoy the vendor booths between her siblings’ races.

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

Liam was a little nervous for his first race but with his mother runner at this side, he took off with a flash for his dash all while clinging tightly to his treasure, a small red ball he discovered at one of the vendor booths.

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

All that after school running club training paid off for Emmalynn, which was evident in her strong half mile run around the track.  Since she typically runs about ten laps (about two miles) at running club, two laps around the track was nothing for our runner rock star!  She took on that track and her half mile without stopping.  She held a nice easy pace and finished strong with a smile (just like her mama)!

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

Liam and Emmalynn did great at the Junior Gasparilla!  Their glowing confidence and beaming grins were the real treasure at this pirate-theme kid’s race, but these small swashbuckling runners loved their loot medals.

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

With the help of our after school running club, Junior Gasparilla and a few other races, I’ve trained my kids to be life-long runners.  Now, we just need to work on smiling for the camera.

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

 Junior Gasparilla (Raising Runners, Part 4)

Gasparilla 15K Recap

Besides having just finished two half marathons within two weeks of each other, I chose the 15K race because I had never run this distance before at Gasparilla Race Weekend.  Plus, it seems to be a popular distance with my running friends. So, yes, if you must know, I resorted to peer-pressure and did what all my friends were doing.  Even Maribel succumbed to the running friend peer pressure when she chose to run the 15K as her first running race ever.

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Basically, the 15K course stretches along Bayshore Blvd and back again, which is simply the most breathtaking view at sunrise and what I love most about Gasparilla next to the awesome medals booty.

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2012 03 03 07 34 02 268 Gasparilla 15K Recap

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At the start of the race, the temps were already beginning to rise.  I found the 9:30 pace group and decided to tag along with them.  However, with the heat, I would soon learn that finishing under an hour and a half would not be happening today.

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When I studied the course map the night before, I misread the map and thought there would be only two water stations on the course at miles 4 and 7.  Imagine my jubilation when I realized the EIGHT water stations were available every couple of miles!  Thank you to the Zephyrhills water gods and Gasparilla volunteers, but mostly thank you for volunteers wearing rubber gloves and handing us clean water!  The Rock ‘n Roll marathon series needs to take note of that.

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And also a big “THANK YOU” to the residents of Bayshore and the City of Tampa for running sprinklers along the course.  Those sprinklers were such a welcomed sight!

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2012 03 03 08 42 32 415 Gasparilla 15K Recap

As for the actual running portion of the program, it was hot and I struggled with my 1:30 goal.  Since I had been training in cool mornings, I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically for an unexpected heat wave.  So, on race days like this one, sometimes you have to forget the PR and just run or walk it, like I was forced to do many times.

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2012 03 03 07 14 39 675 Gasparilla 15K Recap

The heat was so unbearable that I started getting cramps in my side.  I needed to walk quite a bit of the course as did many others.  Between miles 4-5, we found reprieve under some large oak trees.

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2012 03 03 07 49 42 360 Gasparilla 15K Recap

Then, around mile 5, we turned the corner and the sun beamed down on Bayshore Blvd again.  I felt like I would puke.

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And to make it worse all better, someone offered us Krispy Kreme doughnutsReally?  And people actually ate them while running!  I don’t remember any donuts in the half marathon or even the marathon! WTH?!  Who knew?! As far as Gasparilla races go, this must mean that the 15K is the sweet pick.  As long as there’s no heat, I suppose.

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The last few miles are a blur, even according to my cell phone camera as it kept getting wet from me dumping water on myself at every water station and the sprinklers.  I just remembered wanting to finish and be done with it all.  Once I spotted the finish line, my spirits picked up but I didn’t have the energy to sprint across the finish line.  That heat did me in!

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Due to all my walking, Maribel eventually caught up with me and we finished within seconds of each other.

Clock Time 1:47:06

Chip Time 1:45:31

Pace 11:19

Overall Place 3446/4956

Gender Place 1563/2569

Division Place 227/350

Maribel had all the emotions of finish her first race.  I was so proud of her as well as thrilled and honored to share that special runner’s high moment with her.

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After the race, we waited for our friends (Chrissy, Faith, Patti, and Angie) to finish the 5K, but due to an unexpected delay, they didn’t start their race until 20 minutes after the official start. I felt so bad for all the 5K people who experienced an even hotter race than the 15K runners.

Once reunited with all our friends, we had chowed down on Columbia restaurant black beans (my favorite) and a free celebratory beer, which was another first for me.  Usually, I’m too tired or can’t be bothered to wait in line, but today the wait was worth it.

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With our beer, we toasted to friends, Maribel’s first race and surviving the heat.

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Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Bring on the Beads!

Last Saturday, our scurvy crew loaded into The Black Pearl for a voyage to beautiful Bayshore Blvd, Tampa for the Gasparilla Children’s Parade.  For Grandma Elizabeth, Papa Rusch, Uncle Erich and Cousin Meghan, this would be their maiden voyage as they had never experienced a Gasparilla Parade before.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

The parade forecast was freezing by Florida standards, therefore, warm winter coats covered all our pirate apparel, but Meghan’s hook and dress were still visible.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

Our new pirate recruits quickly caught on that the Gasparilla Parade is all about the beads.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

Grandpa Rusch and Allana tucked in close to the railing, however, Emmalynn and Meghan had an unfair advantage sitting on their Daddy’s shoulders.  Even Grandma and Liam tried their hand at catching a few beads.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 

Although the girls decided they’d collected enough treasure, the Dads and Grandpa decided they need just a few more beads.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

At the end, the girls proudly posed with their new found treasures.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

Even Liam licked liked his booty.

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

Argggg!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

 

 Bring on the Beads!

BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

Blidget4 BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay Greetings from Land O’Lakes, FL!

taylor21 web BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

This week, BlogTrotting requested me to share my small slice of the Sunshine State.  Although I live in Land O’Lakes, my little suburb is only 15 minutes north of Tampa, which is the home of the Buccaneers (Super Bowl XXXVII Champions 2002),

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the Rays (American League Champions 2008 ),

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the Lightning (Stanley Cup Champions 2004) and the spring training home of the Yankees.

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Not to mention, Tampa is also the home of two great universities: University of South Florida (my alma mater – GO BULLS!)

usf3 BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

and University of Tampa (my DH’s alma mater).

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According to Dr. Beach, the Tampa Bay has some of the best beaches, including Fort Desoto, Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island.

1allana with floatie BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

Although Tampa may lack the metropolitan and ethnic flare typically found in larger cosmopolitan cities, our beautiful city still offers its own flavor of culture.

trolley ride BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

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Ybor City, a section of Tampa settled by Cuban immigrants in the late 1800s, produced more cigars than Havana and became known as the Cigar Capital of the World.  Today, Ybor City is our own little Spanish New Orleans and serves up some of the best Cuban food outside of Miami.  In late October, Ybor City celebrates Guavaween, which can be compared a Halloween Mardi Gras.  Fifteen years ago, I met my husband one cold drunken Guavaween night.

YborTour BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

the green iguana BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

Tampa residents love to spin pirate tales about a mythological pirate, José Gaspar, who invaded our streets during the late 1800s.  From late January to early March, we celebrate Gasparilla with a variety of pirate parades, festivals and races.

allana parade BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

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As for tourist spots, I highly recommend the Florida Aquarium, which offers a gorgeous glimpse of our wetlands and coral reef and a fun splash area for the kids.

stingray BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

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Busch Gardens is another favorite tourist hot spot.  The roller-coasters and up-close animal exhibits are simply breathtaking in more ways than one.

tiger BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

Lowry Park Zoo is another great place to visit when the natives are restless.

the cluprit BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

If you visit Tampa in the winter months, you will want to stop by the Teco Manatee Viewing Center.  During the cooler months, manatees seek refuge in the warm waters discharged from the power plant.  On a good, cool day, you can view close to a hundred manatees free of charge.

manatee face BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay

If you crave outdoor adventures, Tampa Bay has beautiful waterways for boating, fabulous flatwood trails to hike, bike or run…

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…and several rivers to canoe such as Hillsborough River, Weedon Island or Weeki Wachee Springs, which is the home of our world famous mermaids.  Rumor has it even Elvis stopped there.

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If hiking trails and primitive camping is your pleasure, Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park was featured last spring in the St. Pete Times as one of the best camping spots in Florida, but I prefer the “luxury amenities” at Hillsborough River State Park.

I love living in Tampa Bay and can’t imagine living anywhere else.  I enjoy spending almost every day outdoors and wearing flip flops all year round.  I’ve even got the tan lines to prove it.

us at hooters BlogTrotting through Tampa Bay


My Girls at Gasparilla

gasparship My Girls at GasparillaSince the early 1900’s, Tampa residents have been invaded by the mythical pirate Jose Gaspar and his krewe.  The invasion, now known as Gasparilla, has grown since its beginning days into a variety of parades, numerous festivals and several races.

 

Growing up in the Tampa Bay area, it is understood that residents should participate in the Gasparilla festivities at least once in their lifetime.   I’ve attended my share of parades during my college days, but the memories are a little fuzzy.

 

This year, my family and I attended the Gasparilla Children’s Parade for our first time.  The girls are I dressed in our best pirate outfits, although we were undressed compared to the many Captain Jacks, buccaneers, wenches and other pirates swashbuckling through the streets. I was just happy that my booty could still fit into my Nilla Shields Gasparilla shorts.

 

gasparilla2010 My Girls at Gasparilla

 

Other than watching the Macy’s Day parade every Thanksgiving on TV, my girls have never seen a parade up-close prior to last weekend.  Seeing the pirate ships and all the fantastic floats was quite a thrill for my girls.

 

We never told Allana and Emmalynn what to expect or about the bountiful of beads that would be thrown into the crowds.  Soon enough, Allana and Emmalynn were blown away by the pirate ships’ cannons firing beads and the people on the floats who pitched beads at all the bystanders.  It was a child’s paradise and my pretty little pirates quickly learned the best ways to catch their treasure.

 

Emmalynn had the best spot to score a lot of beads sitting on Daddy’s shoulders.

 

emmaonshoulders My Girls at Gasparilla

 

emma parade My Girls at Gasparilla

 

Allana preferred a spot pressed up against the parade barricade.

 

allana parade My Girls at Gasparilla

 

At the end of the evening, both my pretty pirates had quite the booty.

 

emma beads My Girls at Gasparilla

 

allana beads My Girls at Gasparilla

 

girlsatgasparilla1 My Girls at Gasparilla

 

And despite not feeling well and the absence of rum, even Allan really enjoyed himself too.

 

2gasparilla2010 My Girls at Gasparilla

 

4235120634 71d9399b5f o My Girls at Gasparilla
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