Eric Van De Vens Blog

Not just another Word Press blog!

A1A Half Marathon Wrap-up!

This was one of the best races and times we have had in a long time!

I will start with a trip down memory lane. But first……….

I decided to start Saturday morning with a soak in the hot tub!

The hot tub

The hot tub


Now, on to memory lane…..

This is the 11th Avenue Bridge. It is one of the few bridges here in South Florida, that turns instead of going up like a draw bridge. To the immediate left of this bridge, was a home owned by one of my fathers friends. He used to let me come over and crab off of his dock. Good times for sure!


The 11th Avenue bridge.


This is the Evergreen cemetery. It is the one of the oldest cemeteries in Broward County. Back when I was in high school, we used to jump the fence, which was lower than it is now, and have parties til all hours of the morning. The phrase was, we are having a party Saturday night…and everyone was dying to get in!


Evergreen Historic Cemetery


After driving around Broward County for a while, it was time to visit the Expo. As always, this Expo has just about everything you could want for running and fitness. We got our race packet, shirt, poster, sport beans, all in 40 minutes!











Lexus isle at the Expo.


Next, we took Marshall to his Aunt Rose Maries where he got to spend the weekend! After that, time to check into the hotel. When I went to get a hotel for this race, everything was booked, at least what was in our price range. So, we had to “settle” for the Ritz Carlton! The standard rate for this room was $599.00 per night……………unless……you have Marriott Rewards points! Since we use our Marriot credit card for everything, we have an abundance of points, so, 50,000 points deducted, and the room was free!! And what a room!

This has to be the best hotel room we have ever stayed at. Click on the link Ritz Carlton, just to look at the place. Below are a few pictures of our room and the view. As an aside, the service is unbelievable! Everything you want is a fingertip away!

The Bed

The Bed

Bathroom vanity

Bathroom vanity

The bathtub

The bathtub

The toilet room..with a phone and a TV in the bathroom!

The toilet room..with a phone………… and a TV in the bathroom!


The view from our balcony.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

After we settled in, we decided to have a few drinks on the patio overlooking the Intracoastal waterway. The Miami boat show was going on the same weekend, but we had our own private boat show!

Bridge opening.....

Bridge opening…..



A nice boat....

A nice boat….

A real nice boat......

A real nice boat……

A really, really, really nice boat!!

A really, really, really nice boat!!

After viewing our own private boat show, it was time for dinner. We decided to walk around to burn off a few drinks and ended up at the Quarterdeck Lounge. This is a place that as youngsters, we used to frequent. Maybe when you get older, you notice more, but this place was a dump. After waiting 20 minutes for service, and none ever came, and being subjected to a smoker who appeared to be in the final stages of some sort of death disease, we decided to eat elsewhere!

We walked around some more and ended up back at the hotel to see about getting dinner reservations. All booked up. We walked back down “the strip”, and ended up at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Looking at the menu, there wasn’t much that appealed to me, so we moved on. Eventually, we arrived at the H20 Cafe.

The wife used her phone to look up the reviews and most were positive, so, we decided to eat here for our Valentines dinner.

We were seated immediately and our waiter asked for our drink order. My current training drink is Jose Cuervo tequila and diet Sierra Mist. It is a zero carbohydrate drink and not as fattening as my normal Tequila Sunrise. Since they had no Diet drinks of any kind, we had to improvise. Tequila, Seltzer water, lemon, lime, and Splenda!

With the drinks out of the way, time to order food.

First was the appetizer, Cozze Posilipo….which is “Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.”

Cozze Posilipo  Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

Cozze Posilipo
Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

This was absolutely fantastic! I was tempted to get another order, but seeing the portion size, figured the dinner would be plenty!

Speaking of which, I had the NY Strip Steak and the wife had the Risotto Champagne. Both were outstanding! I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in the area.

New York Strip Steak

New York Strip Steak

Risotto Champagne Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

Risotto Champagne
Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

Time to head back to the room to watch the sunset and go to bed around 8:30 pm.





Nite nite……..

What is that sound? Ah, the alarm… is 3:00 am!!!

Remember that hotel service I mentioned earlier?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Although it was 20 dollars, it was worth it!!!!! And, it arrived 10 minutes after the call and was fresh and hot!!

Now it was time to bathe, get dressed, and do everything else that you have to do before you head out to a race. We made a phone call to the valet, yes, it is mandatory valet parking, and when we got downstairs, our car was waiting for us! We even picked up a girl runner who was waiting for a cab, and we offered her a ride to the race.

Five minutes later, with a little “creative” driving, all routes to and from the hotel were blocked off and I had to navigate several cones, we were at the VIP parking lot, which is at the finish line. So far, so good.

Next we got on the bus and headed to the starting line, which is normally a 15 minute ride. Unfortunately, due to construction, several of the “usual” roads were blocked off and our driver seemed to have a hard time understanding what some of us locals were trying to tell her! Eventually, we ended up near the starting line, the driver pulled off to the side of the road, and we all got off and made our way to the start.


The Starting Line!

We only had to wait 20 minutes until the Star Spangled Banner was played on a saxophone. Then the wheeled racers were off. At 6:00 am, the race started. This race, unlike the Disney races or any other race we have run, is a mass start race. Everyone gets into position by markers for their projected pace. The only issue with this is that some of the slower runners, jump to the front of the line, which, later in the race, causes some runners, to have to weave around these other runners after you catch up to them.

In any event, I preferred this start as I only had to wait 6 minutes to get to the Starting line as opposed to the half hour or more at Disney.

As I started to run, I realized that I felt really good. I had no pain and also, no tightening up of my calves. I was running effortlessly, but still trying to keep a 13:30 pace.  For the first nine miles, I never was slower than a 13:29 pace. The first 4 miles were run in an average pace of 12:55!

5K time:38:48, which is  a personal best! The view of the 5K marker, which is now a castle instead of the previous sailboat.

5K castle.

5K castle.

Running along, at miles four and five, the sunrise….



Now it was time to focus on running. I was running at a consistent pace, 13:04 or so for a majority of the race. At mile 10, I finally had to urinate as I had been holding it for six miles! Miles 10,11,and 12, were my slowest miles. I was fighting a toe cramp in my left foot, as well as pain in my left hip. Luckily, those pains went away and to my surprise, and I didn’t know this until I looked at the tracker later, my fastest mile was my last! Mile 13 was at a 12:51 pace!

Here are the official and unofficial results:


Distance: 13.27 miles

Duration: 2:57:09

Average Pace: 13:20



Official time:

First Name Last Name Age 10k Gun Time Net-Time Pace
Eric Van De Ven 54 1:18:46 3:03:50 02:56:38 13:29

Not a personal best, but considering I was 15 pounds heavier than last year, I was only 2 minutes slower. And, no pain except for a little soreness.

Also, using the run/walk interval method and the low carbohydrate diet, I felt fresh after the race.

While waiting for the wife to finish, I took a few pictures of the beach and surrounding areas.

Fort Lauderdale beach!

Fort Lauderdale beach!

More beach....

More beach….

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright the sun!

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright object…like the sun!

The Bahia Mar hotel..

The Bahia Mar hotel..

A cargo ship...that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

A cargo ship…that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

Wishful thinking!

Wishful thinking!

Almost there!

Almost there!


The finish line! I took this picture while running with the wife to the finish!

The best thing at the cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!

The best thing at the finish…ice cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!



Now that the race was over, what to do? We got an extended checkout, so, went up to the room, rehydrated, and packed. We called the bellman and they took our luggage downstairs and held it for us. Meanwhile, we went to the pool patio deck and had lunch. But first, drinks!! Now that the race was over, carbohydrate fever! A Mojito for me and a Bahama Mamma for the wife!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

A quick burger and Mahi Mahi sandwich..time to enjoy the view!

Bacon cheeseburger.

Bacon cheeseburger.

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Bye bye Lauderdale...... :(

Bye bye Lauderdale…… 😦

This was a fantastic trip. No injuries and no drama..except for nearly missing the race! 😉

We are already planning for the race next year and it may be a 2-night stay this time!

Next race up….Disney Wine and Dine 2015!





February 16, 2015 - Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I’m down in your neck of the woods till tomorrow – there was an 80 degree difference between here (Boynton Beach) and my hometown the other day… It’s been awesome!

    Comment by bgddyjim | February 17, 2015 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: