But we all know about plans, right? And how even after training well for a race, it all comes down to one day, right?
I always have a backup goal of having fun and if you read my precap to this recap, you know that I crushed that goal! My finish time goal? Not so much...
After a restless night, I got up early with the ladies to get ready for the race. Ladies? What ladies? Did you read about my blogger weekend?
Holly acted as barista and made coffee for anyone who wanted it. I perused the breakfast offerings and decided to go with a lemon Luna bar. All of us were wearing the Momentum bracelets that I brought to Florida. We loaded into the cars and headed to the starting line.
After our photo shoot, we walked back to the start line. I lined up in the front, just ahead of the 2:00 pacer. The rest of the ladies headed towards the back. I started my Garmin and my music, and we were off! The group I lined up with flew down the course. I tried to reel my pace back in but it was tough, as people were passing me like crazy. Note to self: don't be so ambitious next time. I hit mile 1 at 8:23 m/m. Oops.
|Yes, I screen shotted this one--don't judge. Just see how I'm flying out of the start and realize that I was way too ambitious.|
My playlist was more annoying than helpful, and so I entertained myself with the beachy storefronts along the route. Panama City Beach is a typical Florida coastal town, very "spring breaky" with t-shirt shops and souvenir shops. I also saw tattoo parlors and a condom shop. There was also a mini-golf course with large dinosaurs and other assorted statues.
After the turnaround, I came up behind a guy who I had passed at mile 5. I had the realization that he must have cut the course. There were no timing pads or volunteers on the course except for the water/Gatorade stops. I wondered how many people actually did that. Actually, at mile 5 I considered the possibility of cutting it short and heading back. I didn't, but the thought crossed my mind. I was also hopeful that with the change of direction, we'd have the wind at our backs.
Instead, I looked down at my bracelet. Never give up.
So I forged on. I stopped to walk a few times. I was not feeling well. I kept waiting for the Tailwind to work its magic. The wind was at my back, but I still felt the cold breeze. As I headed back, I saw Holly, then Tricia and Mary Beth running together. Next was Darlene, then Karen. They all looked great. I missed Judy. She told me that when she saw me, my head was down and I was in "the zone". When I came upon the mini-golf course, I decided to stop for a few pictures. I mean, what the heck? That sub-2 goal was gone, so I may as well have some fun, right?
While I was snapping this picture with the monkey, Holly came running by. I started running again and caught up with her. She started laughing at me and I told her how bad I was feeling. We ran together for a little bit, but I had to stop again. I watched her run ahead. I kept sipping my Tailwind. And kept running and walking.
|It felt as though he was on my back for most of the race.|
Or would I have? That mini-golf photo stop gave me a chance to catch my breath, reset my head, and regroup. Maybe I needed that. As I waited for my friends to come in, I pondered the race and what went wrong for me. Should I have skipped breakfast and fueled with Tailwind? Was there something in the air that made it tough for me to breathe? I had been struggling with headaches all weekend. Who knows? It just wasn't my day.
|Finish line photo. Because spotting a photog means you need to look happy. Even if you don't meet your goal.|
There was also gumbo for the runners. The line was really long and we were content with our drinks so we waited. When we did go for the gumbo, instead I got a bowl of chili. Apparently, the gumbo ran out. But the chili was good. We found a bench and waited for Darlene to get her AG award. I enjoyed another post race beer, this one an IPA, at The Back Porch, which was right next to Margaritaville. We also had lunch there and I completely enjoyed my grouper sandwich. From our table, we were lucky to be able to cheer all the marathoners coming in!
After lunch, it was back to the beach cottage for some recovery and post-race beach photos.
Would I do this race again? Reflecting on the race itself, the Panama City Beach Half Marathon was a well-organized race. Packet pickup was a breeze. The shirt was a disappointment--they were unisex, which is always a thumbs down for me. I swam in my size men's small. The race itself is a bargain--I paid $50 for my entry fee. The course is an out and back along the coast. The road is graded, and my calves let me know how much they didn't enjoy running on an angle. I tried to run on the flat part of the road when I could but the race course is not closed and the drivers of the cars that passed me were not happy about that. There are very few volunteers along the course and I only saw one portapotty for the entire route. Fortunately for me, that was not an issue. Aid stations were plentiful--there was water and Gatorade at almost every mile marker. The race is chip timed and there are pacers available. The post-race party at Margaritaville was great. Unlimited free beer? Yes, please.
For my part, I think I would have been better off skipping breakfast and just fueling with Tailwind. I don't know if I would have avoided that side stitch but it's worth considering. I went out way too fast at the start. I wasn't overconfident. I lined up where I was supposed to but the pacers also went out fast. I will not make that mistake again. Finally, there was something in the air that bothered me. I had a headache most of the weekend. Interestingly, as soon as I got home, I felt fine. All things to consider for future races. On the plus side, my tummy behaved itself. Since I ran so slow, my legs and feet were fine for the rest of the day (and for the evening dancing and karaoke!).
In spite of my troubles on the course, I'd love to come back to do this race again. Panama City Beach is touristy, yes, but in December is a really fun destination. I enjoy coming to this part of Florida. It's more deep south than Florida, the sugar sand beaches are amazing, and it's a lot of fun. What a great place for a girls' weekend!
I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word, which is organized. I'm also linking up with Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches Corner.