This past weekend, Hubby and I competed in the Wounded Warrior 8K in downtown Jacksonville. The race benefited the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports and serves wounded service members and their families as they heal and reintegrate to life post-injury. To all those who contributed to my fundraising goal of $99, a big thank you! We made it, and for a great cause too!
When Hubby and I registered for the race a little over a month ago, we considered the facts – 1) that the race started at 8am Saturday morning, and 2) that Jacksonville was several hours’ drive – and quickly decided to book a hotel for two nights and turn it into a fun weekend getaway. We’d been to Jacksonville together once or twice before – namely to celebrate our 1st anniversary two years ago – and were excited to explore the city a bit more and indulge in some truly fresh seafood. Having married a Maryland man who grew up on copious amounts of freshly-caught seafood, I’ve admittedly become somewhat of a seafood snob in the last few years!
Case in point…my first of many Old Bay steamed crabs on my first trip to meet Hubby’s family 3 summers ago:
But I’ll get back to the seafood discussion in a bit…
The Wounded Warrior Run was perhaps one of the most eventful races I’ve participated in in quite some time. First of all, I’m sad to say that despite my oft-spoken goal of training to prepare for the 8K, I didn’t run more than twice during the entire month leading up to the race. Thankfully, having been a competitive runner in college a few years back, enough of that muscle memory kicks in that I can make it through a race in one piece without any training…but it does require my wonderful husband’s constant encouragement along the way and results in a bit more pain and soreness than it otherwise should.
Secondly was the rain. And when I say rain, I mean downpour! Ten minutes before the race was set to start, the announcer informed everyone that there was some bad weather rolling in and that they were going to start the race early to try to get everyone finished before the worst of the storm hit. He added, “If you see lightning, don’t try to finish the race, just seek cover.” As if 800+ people were going to be able to find cover in the midst of all the skyscrapers downtown! No sooner had the race volunteers haphazardly assembled us at the start line, then the rain let loose. First in a steady sprinkle, it soon turned to sheets of rain just as the starting gun went off. The first 2 miles of the 5 mile race was like running repeatedly through the little kids’ water playground at your favorite water park. We were positively drenched from head to foot. There was no point in trying to avoid puddles because there wasn’t a dry spot to be seen, and our shoes felt five-pounds heavier having become so water logged. We simply kept our heads down and kept our bodies moving as best we could as water streamed off of our faces.
Here’s us before the race. Suffice it to say, we were in much wetter shape by the end!
Thankfully, the rain let up after about mile 2 and we really enjoyed the race overall.
For lunch on Saturday, Hubby and I consulted Yelp and uncovered a gem of a restaurant called Thai Spice Kitchen. The restaurant received a great review in the Florida Times last August, so we decided to try it out ourselves and we were not let down! Both the red chicken curry and the chicken pad thai were fantastic. Be sure to try it out if you’re in the area!
For dinner, we headed out to Jax Beach following another Yelp lead and enjoyed a fresh seafood spread at Marlin Moon Grille. Little did we know, the eatery is based out of Ocean City, Maryland where Hubby’s family vacations. The crab dip was good, which Hubby and I assume is a good indicator for the quality of their Maryland-style crab cakes.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to enjoy said crab cakes because they were $28 for two, which seemed a tad overpriced to us. Instead, we opted for the blackened shrimp and grilled Mahi tacos, which were very tasty for a more budget-friendly price. Overall, I’d definitely recommend the restaurant but caution that it’s a bit pricey for what you get.
The rain waylaid our plains for an afternoon at the beach but, Jacksonville, you were a blast!