St. Pete Run Fest 2021

I recently ran in the The Rollin’ Oats 10k in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida.   As temperatures started to cool at home, it was especially nice to travel to sunny, warm Florida to participate in the St. Pete Run Fest.  

Morning view from the start line on Bayshore Drive

The Bayshore Drive area of St. Petersburg is absolutely stunning and seeing the sun rise over the marina was just breathtaking. My only disappointment with this trip is I didn’t give myself more time to visit; but have no fear, I will be back again very soon.

I flew to Florida the day before the race and after checking in at my hotel, I walked the 2 miles to the Duke Energy Center for the Arts for packet pickup.  It was very lively with a stage setup and live bands playing music, lots of merchants selling running goods and services, and a 40 yard sprint competition.  I even came across a human bloomin onion and of course you know I couldn’t resist the urge to get the moment captured with a photo lol…. I saw him throughout the weekend and each time it put a smile on my face.

The human bloomin onion

On my walk back to the hotel for the night, I stopped by the cutest vegan ice cream shop named Plant Love Ice Cream.  I’m not vegan, but wanted to try some local ice cream and was very curious to try a coconut milk based ice cream.  I tried two flavors, pistachio and cookie butter.  The flavors were amazing and I highly recommend this shop to everyone who plans to visit the area.

Race morning started off well with a shower and my caffeine of choice, a Monster Energy Ultra Fiesta Mango.  I used the 2  mile distance from my hotel to the race as a warm-up by doing a walk/jog.  In my excitement to get to the race start area, I forgot to eat my breakfast.  I wasn’t too concerned since I was only running a 10k.  The weather was perfect, especially during the wait for the race to start.  My race started off well as I paced myself to run a 10:30 mile.  However, by the time I finished mile 2, the humidity was starting to affect me and I started taking some walk breaks.  I really wanted to enjoy the race and felt like short walk breaks would still get me to the finish in my 1:05 goal.  At mile 4 I was starting to get more tired than expected and I was thinking that my lack of fueling (breakfast) may be the culprit.  This was definitely the most difficult mile of the race for me; I kept telling myself to keep moving.  From mile 5 to the finish there seemed to be more people lingering around to cheer and I even passed by a school band!  This gave me a little more pep in my step and that last mile seemed to go by in the blink of an eye.  At the finish line we received our medals, an apple, and a can of Liquid Death.

All of the post race feels with this beautiful medal

I wasn’t in a big hurry to get back to the hotel and since I was flying back home that evening, I wanted to enjoy some of the gorgeous weather and post race festivities.  I bought a new visor from St Pete Running Company and then enjoyed a walk along the waterfront.  It was time to make my trek back to the hotel so I could shower, pack, and grab some lunch before heading to the airport.

The waterfront along Bayshore Drive

My favorite post race meal is definitely pizza, so it was inevitable that I would find a great pizza spot for lunch.  I stopped by Pizza Box and enjoyed a fantastic wood fire pizza.  My toppings today were pepperoni, mushroom, and green pepper.  I arrived basically right when they opened so it wasn’t crazy busy yet with indoor dining.  This allowed me to chat with the owners and made the experience very personal and memorable. I will make this my post race spot after future races in St. Petersburg! 

The wood fire oven at Pizza Box

I usually don’t repeat races, but may make an exception for this one!  Next time I will give myself a little more time to stay and enjoy more of what the area has to offer.

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.”  George Sheehan