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Because I Wanted That Bottle Opener! Gulf Coast Half Marathon 2011

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Because I Wanted That Bottle Opener! Gulf Coast Half Marathon 2011

My Double Bridge Run success back in February inspired me to sign up for this half-marathon.

I forced myself to do a deliberate training program. Starting right after the early February Double Bridge Run, I ran 2-3 x "short runs" of 3-5 miles each per week, plus 1 x "long run" approximately every week. Sometimes our family's schedules make things a bit crazy, so that long run was about every 8-10 days instead of once a week, but it worked out well. My longest "long" training run was just under 13 miles and after dealing with that one, in mid-70s sunshine on the beach, I felt I was ready!

We were doing some Cub Scout camping in the town of Defuniak Springs, about 70 miles northeast of here, this past weekend. I left Dave and the kids at the campsite Saturday night, drove home and got a very good night's sleep beforehand.

As is the case in most Florida warm-season races, the start time was 7am so I had to leave the house before 6am for the 30 minute drive to Pensacola Beach.

The sun was just rising as I was coming across the Pensacola Beach causeway, and you can see the low stratus clouds pouring onshore from the gulf. This is what it was like for the whole run! The clouds were great, but the 100% humidity still made it uncomfortable.


I want to show off this runner's bib. I didn't really pay much mind to the part of the registration about what I wanted my bib to say for a name. I never had a custom bib before. I wish I had put "Major Mom".



I asked a random guy to take this picture of me about 15 minutes before start time. I'm all geared up here -- bandana tucked into my waistband, headphones at the ready, Nike+ sensor on my shoe, and an 800 mg Motrin pill & Clif Gel in my back pocket (the Motrin sorta dissolved in my pocket during the run, UGH!).


What's funny about these kinds of races is that I spend so much time weaving my way through people who run rather slowly, yet are at the front of the pack when the gun goes off. It took about 3 miles before I didn't have to worry about passing people. And then I had to go to the bathroom -- rrrr! With the incredible humidity I had chugged a LOT of water just before the start, and it was catching up with me. So I took a 2 minute potty break at the 3-mile point. There was a race photographer right by that porta-john so I'll have to see if there are pics of me waiting, ha ha!

Other random thoughts while I was racing:
  • We were running on roads that were alongside the beaches. There were so many dead crabs on the roads...and people were just crunching away at those crabs!
  • Even though the roads were closed for the race, there were still cars on our route, driving just as fast as we were running. That exhaust didn't help one bit!
  • I got to see the race leader pass me when I was at about 5 1/2 miles heading east. The westbound route in the opposite direction was just past the 9 mile point. Whoa....
  • Even though the course was flat flat flat (yay!), the cant in the road on the curves was tough on my ankles.
  • At the end of the Air Force marathon there's a loopy type of thing at the end...you're coming a little down a hill and the finish is right in your face, but then you turn AWAY from the finish line and do another 1/2 mile or so weaving through the Air Force Museum outdoor displays before you get to the finish. In this race, the weaving and looping around is done in other parts of the course, so when you are heading in the last mile towards the finish, it's a straight shot! Thanks for that!
  • The last mile or so was pretty tough. By then, you're among a group of runners with similar experience and training, we're all going at the same pace, and we were all stopping to walk for little spurts here and there. We saw someone get hit with a pretty bad cramp and an ambulance had to rescue her. I felt rather insensitive passing her with the EMTs and not saying anything, but what do you say to someone about get put on a stretcher? She was probably feeling crappy enough...
I had set a goal for a 2 hour race, but I don't know what I was thinking. In my training runs I never ran that fast, and perhaps a more realistic goal would have been 130 minutes. I finished in 127 minutes and I'm thrilled at that!

This is my soaked-in-sweat picture about 10 minutes after finishing. That humidity took a toll!


My info is just above the halfway point of this list.  These are the preliminary results, before all the runners had some in (or not come in, in the case of some of them).  Once the results were official, I somehow went from placing 440 to 380.  Official results are here.

The finisher's medal...and my inspiration for this race -- we needed a good strong bottle opener!


What's next? I don't know. There's a Pensacola Fiesta 10K on the 30th that I'm interested in, but I think the kids' sports might impact that. We'll see. Folks say it's a very beautiful point-to-point course that ends in the historic Seville Square part of the city. That's actually a hilly race (yes, hills in Florida!) and it'd be a good challenge. Other than that, there are no more long-distance races in the area until the fall.

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2 Comments:

At Monday, April 11, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM CDT , Blogger Maryann Goldman said...

Funny title for a neat write-up on your experience. Now I've heard what it's like from you and Don. Congrats on your time and training efforts.

 
At Monday, April 11, 2011 at 12:15:00 PM CDT , Blogger Major Mom said...

I wasn't kidding about that bottle opener! The one other medal I have, from the USAF Marathon in 2000, sits useless in a folder somewhere (Dave also finished and has the medal too). It was always on my mind to get it framed up nice with our bib numbers and a professional photo taken of the two of us, but alas, it hasn't happened in 10 years.

But that medal will live in our kitchen! Will probably hang it from the fridge or something, so it's always near the beer!

 

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