With the first marathon of 2005 just a couple of week's away, i was very happy to be heading to Daytona Beach for 10 days of intense ultra training. Leaving the mid-Atlantic was very easy to do as we had experienced a couple of months of cold, wet, and dreary weather. In fact, we'd enjoyed 10 inches of Snow in the past two weeks. My running has been good...but this short vacation would be the push i needed to get ready for the Spring racing season.
We headed South and enjoyed feeling the temperature rise. The first evening in Savannah was perfect with a Hooters visit to carboload on Hot Wings. On down I-95 through JAX, we cut over to A1A. The drive south through St.Augustine and the beaches was magnificent. By 10 A.M. i had the window down and shirt off. Arriving in Daytona we were pleasantly surprised to find that the cental Florida area was enjoying above-average warmth, with highs just above 80 degrees the entire time we were there. Naturally, anything above 80 is Warm for a Slug. Combined with the Warm Salt Air off the Atlantic, and the Gritty White Warm, Absolutely AWESOME SAND, it's a miracle i could coax this old, fat body off the beach at all.
BUT, you Slugs know me, with determination and lots of Bud Light, i managed to get several leisurely strolls in. During one sojourn at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Mary and I attended the Beer Masters school and received our degrees in the art of Brew. We learned the difference between Fresh and Old Beer, and why it's important to keep Bud (beer) between 40-70 degrees at all times. It'll make for a great story on the Canal at JFK this year. We enjoyed the incredible wildlife; did you know hippos can't swim, or that zebras really have Brown Stipes; not Slug Stripes. Mary even let one of the Clydesdales lick her again. Easy folks :) All this Sun and Fun also had another purpose. We were there to see Dale, Jr. defend his 2004 Daytona 500 crown. So, the week rolled by. The struggling DEI team finally pulled it together for the first qualifying race finishing 1-2 with Mikey and Jr respectively. Then in the final practice Jr was FASTEST. The stage was set. Early on Sunday, Jr seemed to lay back with his tight car, and the highly partisan JR crowd stayed eerily quiet as they continued to partake in fresh brew. With 20 laps left, jr made his move on the outside, restarting 17th, then up to 12th, then 6th, then right behind Jeffy. With 4 to go he took the lead, but couldn't hold it. Still a Third Place, to go with his Third on Saturday at the Busch race, made for an awesome weekend for Jr Fans like us.
All in all, We spent lots of time outside, a little bit of it running, and a lot of it Soaking Sun. Once again this year my lofty training plans fell a bit short of goal. No doubt i return to DE undertrained for the upcoming marathon season, YET rejuvinated, and excited to get MY RACING SEASON underway. I will finish at B & A in True Slug Form. It won't be pretty, but you can bet your sweet A** i'll be smiling the whole way.
Team Slug would like to thank all the Wonderful new folks we met in Daytona these past 10 days. I've included the link to the "Official Team Slug Band" and a photo of Shannon (top pic), the Lead Singer of the "Pretty Ugly Band". Please take a moment to visit their site. They are talented and NICE people, and Honorary Slugs.
"They say fatigue makes cowards of us all. I disagree. Fatigue makes cowards of those who rely on themselves. Those who believe in, trust in and rely on the Almighty will always have strength and courage. The body may fail because it is mortal, but the spirit... the spirit is eternal."