So, I'm going to be honest and say that I forgot that I had to go to packet pickup on Friday and ended up going about 30 minutes before I was supposed to be at my strength class. I wasn't planning on really purchasing anything unless it jumped out at me (Thanks, Eurotrip ;) ), so I was hoping to be in and out. The expo was very small, but I don't think I was happy with the way it was laid out. It was a good thing that people were there to direct you, because the way the expo was laid out was very confusing. When you walked in the door, the first thing you saw were the vendors, but they didn't want you to go in there until you got your packet. I followed the lady's directions and headed to pick up my packet, but the queue was weird for this. If you were running the half marathon, you had to wait in line, but if you were running any other race, they just let you walk up. That caused some chaos because it was hard to see when someone was available to help you pick up your packet if you were running the half. After I got my bib, chip, and hat, I was directed to the t-shirt section. The t-shirts were located with the vendors, but there were only maybe 10 or so vendors and nothing really jumped out at me. I was in and out of the entire expo in 15 minutes.
I woke up at 5 am (before my alarm) and laid in bed for a while before I finally got up, got dressed, and ate a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter. I tried to go to the bathroom, but that just didn't happen for me before I left. I left home around 6:15 am and got to the race area around 6:30. There was an officer who was directing people to a paid parking garage or directing people to find free parking. I opted for free parking, but I should have written down the cross streets because I forgot where I parked after the race...oops! I got to the starting line around 6:45 and tried to potty. The port-a-potty I went in had NO toilet paper... and the race hadn't even started yet. Then, while I was in the bathroom, I realized that I forgot my fuel in the car. I was hoping that wasn't a sign for the race.
I lined up between the 2:10 and 2:20 pacers and waited for the starting gun. It was really hard to hear what the announcers were saying, but they did fire a gun to signal the start, so that was fun :) There were no corrals in this race, so it was really congested for the first tenth of a mile. Everything was labeled really well and blocked off for the safety of the runners. The fun thing about this race was that every mile or so, there was a band playing. I saw rock bands, salsa bands, gospel groups, DJs, and a man with a grand piano!
I felt great from miles 1-4, with most of those miles under ten minutes (oops). We ran through some neighborhoods and there were lots of families out handing out water or gatorade to runners as they passed by. We reached the first hill around mile 5 or so, and boy, that hill was tougher than I expected. I usually run the Melbourne Causeway, which is VERY tall, but I think this shorter hill was steeper because it was TOUGH. I was thankful for the downhill. Between miles 7-9, I was having some tummy troubles and had to stop for the bathroom twice. Between these miles volunteers were handing out oranges, pickle juice, halved bananas, and gummy bears! I don't eat gelatin, but I thought the gummy bears were fun!
Recycled photo w/ the last bridge in the background
I began to slow down around miles 9-11 because my stomach was still uneasy and because we came onto another large hill, the Melbourne Causeway. I am so thankful that I always train for my long runs by running the Causeway with fresh-ish legs and when I'm ending my run because it helped my quads power me through the tough part. Jay-z "Brush Your Shoulders Off" really helped me as well ;) Miles 12-13 were difficult for me... I was having trouble breathing (thanks, remnant bronchitis), and I was just plain tired. However, as soon as I rounded the corner and saw the finish line, I dug deep and started picking people off. I finished in 2:14:48, which is an 18 minute PR from my Princess Half time a year ago :)
Overall, I really liked this race and would run it again. Thankfully, it was foggy, so the sun didn't really start breaking through until around 8 am or so. The hills were tough, but the bands were really fun and the race itself was very well marked and laid out. There were lots of spectators and enough port-a-potties. I am so proud of all of the progress that I have made in the last year. I'm so excited for Princess now!
Who else raced this weekend? What is your biggest PR?