Gulf Shores, Alabama

State #14

Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Half: Big Beach Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, January 28th 
Finish Time: 1:36
Pace/Mile: 7:23

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

So, this journey definitely has its share of benefits…like using it as an excuse to go to the beach in January. This year, for my mom’s birthday, we decided to celebrate with a trip to the Gulf Shores in Alabama – state #14. 

The weather wasn’t necessarily what one might have in mind when they try to “escape the winter” however – pretty much rainy and 50 degrees the entire time. But despite the cool (still better than bitterly cold Ohio) temperatures; we still managed, as always, to make it a weekend we would always remember. 

Alabama’s highlights included: sandy-toed walks along the beach, a beach-side hotel with pizza delivery to the hot-tub (HELL YES), a rainy-day massage (ALSO HELL YES), meeting a [very] friendly local runner, a birthday bushwhacker celebration, and an epic “typical- Amy” pre-run morning disaster.


Notoriously unprepared for everything – it should come as no surprise to anyone that my phone would be dead an hour before a race. Of course. She handed me the keys to the rental car (which was already pulled up to the side of the hotel) and I dashed down the elevator to retrieve the charger and give my phone at least a partial fighting chance of lasting through the race. Once I got back up the the room, I frantically tried to get it plugged in as fast as possible; but it just wouldn’t fit into my phone. Confused, obviously the first thought that came to my mind was that my mom must have gotten a new phone. 

“YOUR PHONE CHARGER WONT FIT IN MY PHONE ANYMORE!” I screamed; despite the fact that we both clearly still had iPhones. 

“Amy. Yes it will. We both have iPhones.” She’s always confirming the obvious for me. 

“MOM. IT WON’T FIT. WHAT DO I DO?! I NEED TO CHARGE MY PHONE. NOW!” Becoming more aggravated, I tried harder to fit this (clearly wrong) charger into my phone. 

“Amy. That’s not an iPhone charger. Where did you get that?” 

“From our car.”

“What color was ‘our car‘?”


As we both ran downstairs to figure out this mystery, it became very clear, that I had mistook a black Cadillac for our silver Camry. Now, you might be wondering; wasn’t it obvious when it wasn’t the right color? Or the right make/model? Nope. You also might be wondering, didn’t you notice that the inside interior was leather? No. Or perhaps you’re wondering if I chose to question the fact that there were unfamiliar children’s pictures on the dashboard and an absence of wrappers and clothes in this car? The answer is still no. I literally stole a charger from some random car after mistaking it for our own, despite every single clue provided. 

Honestly, sometimes I wonder how I function in society on my own. As we pulled up to the race, my phone was still stumbling around 20 percent. Oh well. I jumped out of the car, found a spot in the mass of runners, and willed myself some speed. 

The race was beautiful – unique and memorable. We ran through the streets of Gulf Shores, and into the paths of the surrounding parks. We crossed the pedestrian bridges of the Gulf State Park; running long stretches of bridges over the swampy marsh. We finished alongside the Gulf Shores shoreline – as the rain started to come down, we finished the race with a beach party of bushwhackers, live music, and leis for everybody. Plus, with a time of 1:35 and a 7:18 pace per mile, I finished as the 3rd place female overall! 

We finished the trip with a night out to celebrate my mom’s birthday. My wonderful, amazing, supportive, selfless, mom. We heard from some of the local runners that we HAD to check out Flora-bama. That night we played pool, darts, shuffleboard, and enjoyed countless bushwhackers with some [very flirty] locals that we never would have met if it weren’t for this amazing adventure. 


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