The race began at 7:00am on a windy Sunday morning. I felt good during the first 2 miles and was able to hold a steady pace. Although the wind was strong, I blocked it out of my mind and enjoyed the sights of white sand and picturesque seaside views. During mile 3 we were running along the beach and there was no denying the force of the wind. It was a struggle to push against it. Mile 4 had us running on the road near the Santa Rosa Sound surrounded by charming beach houses. This seemed to help block some of the wind.
Miles 5 and 6 led us back closer to the Gulf with no protection from the wind. My pace slowed considerably during these 2 miles. At 7.1 we had a turnaround point with a groovy support team cheering on all of the runners at this water stop. They were all dressed in 70s attire including all of the girls in white Go-Go boots.
After the turn I felt refreshed and picked up the pace and ran relaxed until somewhere between 10.5 and 11. At that point I began to slow again and had to chant, pray, and say my mantras to continue to the end.
At mile 13 (according to my Garmin) there was no finish line in sight. At 13.1, I could hear cheering but still no finish line. I finally crossed the finish at 13.27 miles.
Official Time: 1:42:48
Division Place: 3 / 144
Gender Place: 13 /903
Right after crossing the finish line, I went to the post party in search of an orange. All I could find were bananas on every table. I asked one girl if there were any oranges and she had some in her ice chest and was kind enough to give me one. When she saw I was shaky and couldn’t peel it, she peeled it for me. How considerate! I thanked her and checked my watch. I took off at a slow jog to our hotel to retrieve our cameras to get a picture of Terri coming in for the finish. I made it back and tried to snap her picture but I only caught a portion of her in the fluorescent yellow hat and shirt behind 2 other runners. (I’m not a very good photographer.)
I also got the back of her after she ran past me. (Look at those flags whipping in the wind.) If you ask Terri what condition she dislikes running in the most, her answer will be “wind.” Despite this, she finished with an impressive time: 2:14:51.
We were able to get someone to snap our picture after Terri crossed the finish.
We went to the post party and checked out the food…red beans and rice, bananas, cookies, and granola bars. We opted for the cookie. Someone snapped this photo of us and when I looked at my pictures after getting home, I realized that it looks like the shark is biting Terri’s head. Watch out!!
We mingled with the runners and everyone had a finish of over 13.1 miles. Terri’s watch showed 13.29, another runner we met said her Garmin showed 13.3 miles. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but when you are approaching the finish every tenth of a mile seems like a lonnnnggggg distance.
After partaking in the festivities we went back to our hotel to shower and pack. Terri snapped this photo of me on the balcony with my 2nd place age group mug. I’m listed as 3rd in my division, but the first place finisher moved up to the Masters winner and that moved me up to 2nd place.
We put on our compression socks and Gulf Coast Half shirts and hit the road. About an hour down the road we found a “Mellow Mushroom.” This is one of my favorite post race restaurants. We pulled in and ordered this:
Pizza with steak, mushrooms, and artichokes. Delish!
Quick summary of the day: Run 13.1 miles, shower, eat, drive 6 hours, and arrive home. Awesome day!!!