Back to Sarasota

I don’t even feel like talking about this race. But you know I’m going to anyway. So let’s just get the good stuff out of the way first and then I can bitch and moan about my race later.

Saturday afternoon, Michelle and I made the 2+ hour drive from Orlando to Sarasota individually (since we had separate plans the next day). I lived in Bradenton for 20 years and Sarasota is the neighboring city, so it was nice to finally drive somewhere where I wasn’t reliant on GPS or inadvertently getting lost in the hood. So, while Michelle was picking up our race bibs at the expo, I checked into the Best Western Midtown.

This Best Western is the hotel I worked at for almost 5 years when I lived in Bradenton. And the hotel with the thinnest walls ever.

When I arrived, I noticed the Waffle House across the street had turned into a Jeff’s.

There is only one thing you need to know about Jeff.

I’ve been looking for a place to do that. (If you don’t know what that means, I suggest not googling it at work.)

Michelle arrived shortly after I checked in, got pretty, and we headed out to dinner.

Side note: I always have to have the bed near the wall and furthest from the window. Luckily Michelle is used to how crazy I am. She will even let me have the left side of the bed if we’re sharing one (she’s a left-sider too). Since I sleep on my stomach, I like my left leg to hang off the bed. I’m telling you too much, aren’t I?

During the drive to dinner, I was pretty much blown away by how cute downtown Sarasota has become. There are so many fun places that have opened since I’ve been there! I want to go to all of them. But for now, we started with Café Epicure.

We had dinner plans with one of Michelle’s blog friends, Theresa, and her husband Ryan. Theresa and Ryan live in Bradenton and also ran the half marathon. I’ve never met them before, but now they are basically my best friends ever.

Seriously. Some of the coolest people I’ve met.

While we were at dinner, my friend Tiffany was posting all these pictures of her and her friend on Facebook. (Tiffany ran the race with us last year and also worked with me at the hotel.) Michelle and I noticed she was right across the street from the pictures, so I texted her that we were nearby but never got a response. That is, until someone creepily stood at the edge of our table and didn’t say anything until we noticed her. Oh hey there Tiffany!

Once I saw her, I mauled her with my crazy bear arms.

Tiff and I chatted for a little bit and then she went back to her friend and I got back to dinner.

Speaking of dinner, I had the grilled chicken topped with Fontana cheese and eggplant. (The menu called it something fancy, so I had to point at it. Always a classy move.)

That picture looks like a big turd, but it was seriously delicious. I don’t know why I don’t eat eggplant all the time, because I love it. The meal was small though and I was still hungry afterwards. Or maybe it was just the right size and my spoiled, American ass is used to gigantic portions for $20.

The restaurant also had a bunch of gelato flavors. So of course, we all had to get some of that.

I had the overexposed Oreo flavor. Winking smile

That’s the first gelato I’ve had that tasted like frozen yogurt. Crazy delicious.

We all had fun chatting and just like that it was over.

Michelle and I went back to the hotel and as we were walking back into our room, the lady from the room next door was leaving. I’m pretty sure she told us that she wasn’t locking her door and she didn’t want us to try to steal her man who was inside. Then, we tried to go to sleep but instead listened to the sweet sounds of that couple next door yelling at each other all night while their TV was on full blast. And to think that door was unlocked and we could have stolen that winner all for ourselves.

Next up is the race review!


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21 responses to “Back to Sarasota

  1. 2 Things.

    1. I’m sad I never got a picture with my box of tampons.
    2. Mmm gelato.

    And I totes look high in that picture of the 3 of us. Guess it’s better than drooly.

  2. We used to stay in Bradenton while my husband trained for tennis. Breakfast was a choice of The Nook or Cracker Barrel…both clear winners. So many strip malls to choose from.

    A couple times a week we would venture into Sarasota for Whole Foods and a non-chain restaurant. We often had lunch outside at Epicure and of course, gelato…

    Small world…

    • Paula

      Yes! Bradenton and Sarasota have so many good, non-chain breakfast places. I had been to Epicure once before but didn’t remember it well. And definitely didn’t remember that gelato. Very small world! 🙂

  3. Good thing to know about Jeff’s! It’s rare to find a good salad tosser.
    That must have been fun for you to visit your old stomping grounds. I love going back to my hometown and seeing everything that’s changed. And I love instant best friends!

  4. Sounds like the couple next door needed to head over to Jeff’s the next day to have their salads tossed. 🙂

  5. We were in Sarasota for the Florida Age Group Swim Championships for and drove right by the course – was wondering what race it was! We loved Sarasota – fist time there. Too cute of a city! 🙂

  6. Wish you’d mentioned that–I could’ve tossed your salad.

    You know? Even though the race wasn’t awesome, at least you got to have a delicious dinner and gelato the night before. Food counts for so much in my book.

  7. Looks like you had a great start to your race weekend! I’ve never been to Bradenton/Sarasota that I can recall, maybe we drove through? But, I’ve heard of it plenty, being a SW FL girl.

  8. I stopped reading after salad toss. Ha.

    That portion doesn’t look very big to me either. Thank goodness for gelato.

  9. That seriously doesn’t look like much food! How dare they not fill up the whole plate? Seriously. And the #1 lesson I have FINALLY learned about hotels is eat plugs. Seriously. They’ll save your life.

    • Paula

      I’ve never had a problem before in a hotel. It was craziness. Usually the A/C drowns out everything.
      I have tried the ear plug thing before, but I couldn’t really handle having something in my ears. Maybe I wasn’t using the right kind?

      • I got this wax kind where you kind of fill your whole ear with wax (sounds weird) instead of the little plugs and it’s way less weird and obtrusive. Though your hair gets stuck in it while you sleep and that’s a little weird….

  10. Amber K

    I sleep on my stomach too, which is why I have to sleep on the right side of the bed. My right leg needs to be able to touch the edge of the bed. Nighttime rituals are just funny to me because everyone is so different.

  11. FYI:

    You look Fantastic in all of these pictures! Whatever you’re doing is working girl!!


  12. Seriously, why do my eyes make it look like I drank a case of beer during dinner? So squinty!

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