Benjamin and I first met at the Gasparilla street parade (http://www.gasparillapiratefest.com) February of 2009. And if you haven't been to this crazy Tampa pirate celebration, you must experience it at least once. Ben was wearing a "Draft Day Dash" race t-shirt and we started talking up about running and that particular race. (Obviously I HAD to tell him that I was one of the top 100 females and medaled - Duh!).
So after talking for a little bit and exchanging telephone numbers we set up a first date for Friday, February 13th 2009 (scary!) at Tampa's finest Irish bar, Four Green Fields (http://fourgreenfields.com/tampa). (Also, 4GF has an AWESOME running club on Tuesday nights - http://www.fourgreenfields.com/run/runningclub.htm).
Long story short, the Friday the 13th date didn't freak us out and we had two years of the most amazing adventures. My honey is an architect who worked and lived in South Tampa and I was living and working in New Port Richey. Over two year, Ben ALWAYS told me that he would never (ever) consider marrying someone until he at least lived with them first.
So this year, I didn't think anything of it when Ben told me that he was going to run the Gasparilla Half Marathon, and I was signed up for the Gasparilla 15K the day before. I really wanted to be there to cheer him and other friends on anyway. As I got ready in the AM Ben told me exactly what spots he would be frequenting so I can easily see him. He also deliberately showed me his bright red Richard's Run for Life shirt that he would (allegedly) be wearing.
The race started and everyone was off (including Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers!) and when I arrived at the first location Ben and my family was not where they said they would be. Just a little bit down Bayshore I spotted everyone and waved and kept on trucking. Soon after the turnaround, the race started getting really hot and my wheels fell off...
I was really, really looking forward to seeing everyone and was secretly hoping that someone would have some cold water. Well as I approached Howard and Bayshore (which is the spot where Ben and I first met) I didn't see Ben's red shirt, but I did see a HUGE sign that said Laura Kelly, STOP, Look Here! (see below)...
Want the whole photo story done by the very talented Rebecca Dodson? Visit: http://rebeccadodsonphotography.com/blog/a-gasparilla-proposal/