December 01, 2013
My oh my, 2:45AM came very quickly. I didn’t sleep well, which isn’t THAT surprising the night before a race but mostly because I couldn’t get my body temperature correct. Too hot. Too cold. Some hotels are like that for me.
The first bus was to leave at 4:15AM and I wanted to be downstairs with plenty of time. So I kissed my husband goodbye and walked out of the room at 4:00AM. I was happy to see that there were several buses there waiting and they were the large buses (think Greyhound) so there was plenty of room. I sat up front and the lady that sat next to me was from Newburgh, IN. Such a small world! She was doing the full marathon and it would be her first ever. We chatted the whole way there.
Although the weather forecast continued to say that there was a 30% chance of rain, it had been saying that all weekend so my hope was that it would hold off until I was done or mostly done. I don’t know if this is an average forecast for this time of year in Florida or not. The race officials were concerned that it was going to get warm quickly. The half marathon was scheduled to start at 6:00AM and the full marathon was to start at 6:30AM.
First thing to do off the bus, go to the Porta Potty. Since it was early, there was no line and they were pretty fresh. The bad thing was that it was dark and you could NOT see in there. After peeing, I walked around to see if I could find some Half Fanatics. On Facebook no one could really pinpoint where we were going to do this picture. Finally found some girls and at first it was determined that we would do it near the stage but then we found some other people and it was decided that we would have it taken by the flag poles. This was probably a better option from a lighting standpoint. This picture below represents many different groups; Half Fanatics, Bling Whores, etc. A lot of people are in multiple groups.
I decided I’d better try and pee one more time so I got in line. By this time the lines were LONG! But while waiting my husband called and luckily he was near where I was and he was able to quickly find me.
We walked over to the start line area and we both got in my corral. As we were standing there it was time for the National Anthem. They had been experiencing problems with the microphone cutting in and out and that continued while the singer was trying to do her thing. But it made for a great opportunity as all the runners began singing together. I think that made for an even better start. My husband stayed with me for a little bit but then walked up to the front. Unfortunately I was far enough back that I couldn’t see the video being played on the big screen and there was a tree blocking some of the view as well. I’m assuming that it was of a shuttle or rocket being launched but I could tell that they were also making “smoke” appear as though it was coming from the boosters. Pretty cool…if only I could have really seen it all. You could tell that the countdown was an actual launch countdown.
And then we were off. If I remember correctly it was about 5-8 minutes before I crossed the timing mat. Luckily I saw my husband standing on the left side of the road and he was able to get this fun shot of me.
Since this race started at 6:00AM, it was dark. There weren’t many street lights so I just tried to focus on the people in front of me and to watch the road for any random potholes or dangers.
Funny…I know that Florida can be humid. I’m from Indiana so I know about humidity but obviously we don’t have humidity in the winter so I mostly forgot that even though its winter in Florida, it isn't cold there so they would still have humidity! Needless to say, I was sweating! This course is basically and out and back down Rockledge Drive and the Indian River is on your left on the way out. There were some beautiful homes on the right and also some that just seemed out of place.
I’m always very impressed with people that can run with “stuff” on that they normally wouldn’t be wearing and especially if it is a tribute to someone else.This was one of the aid stations (mile 2, I think) – Star Wars themed. You can barely tell but this is Darth Vader & R2D2.Clever idea by these girls to take 2L bottles and turn them into rockets on their backs.
I was keeping a steady pace although I had no “time” goal in mind for this half. I just wanted to run it and have fun. I was hoping that it would be a good and fun visual race. Many people were dressed in costumes; Star Wars people, Star Trek people and lady dressed as Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie…which I had forgotten even had a “space theme” to it!
Running back was a little more pleasant because we now had a breeze. However, this also meant that we were running into the wind. Near the 8 mile marker I saw the Endurance Sports Connection’s Three Little Pigs Challenge stop. As I ran by going south, I yelled to the pig that I would be back. I was thankful that they didn’t make us stay there and actually eat the bacon (or gummy bacon, in my case). The guy just checked off my name, cut open the package, gave me a small bottle of water and I was on my way. I tucked the bacon in my race belt and kept going.
Having just passed the 8 mile maker, I was surprised how many people I was still seeing going south. This is obviously a very walker friendly course. And it wasn’t until the 10(?) mile marker that I saw the first marathon runner coming toward me. And he was flying! There was no one near him for a good 5 minutes or so. The marathon runners are routed north initially.
The sun never really came out and it was mostly overcast but since it was lighter I could see the sights better. My running and taking pictures with my phone skills have seemed to decline. Probably because I rarely STOP to take a photo now. Maybe if & when I upgrade my phone, pictures will be better. These course photos are better than the ones above because I actually “paused” to take them since I was on my way back to town.
Looking back now at the Finish area, I really don’t remember running around the circle in Riverfront Park. It was nice that we were given beach towels at the finish instead of those crazy Mylar blankets that you can never keep on. And surprisingly, I used the towel because as I started to cool down I became chilly.
I saw my husband right before the finish line and afterward as well. He got some not so flattering shots of me coming in to the finish line but took some other/better photos as well.
We grabbed some pizza but I only ate about half of a slice and then I saw a chocolate covered donut. While it wasn’t the best donut I’ve ever had, it was tasty at the time. I really wanted some water but I couldn’t find any anywhere. There was soda and Vitamin Water but no plain ol’ water. You could also get a pancake breakfast but I just wasn’t in the mood for that.
We hung around for a little bit, looked for the 50 States tent but there wasn’t anything going on there and I got to see a friend from Half Fanatics. But we didn’t stay long. Since my husband drove, it was nice to just get in the car and drive back to the hotel.
After showering, I tried a bite of the “bacon” and I was even MORE thankful that they didn’t make me stay there and eat it. It was gross and tasted like the plastic it was in. Plus there were four pieces and they were pretty thick.
I don’t know if I’ll do this TLP challenge again…depends on what the medal will look like!
Since I didn’t plan on pushing myself, I feel like I finished with a respectable time and of course THIS is why I participated!
Florida became state #16 in my quest to run a Half Marathon in every state.
After a short rest, we headed back toward Orlando to visit with my husband's niece and to meet her son for the very first time.
Later in the evening I was craving a salad bar so I did a quick local search and found a place called Cocoa Beach Lobster Shanty. Guess what it didn’t have? A salad bar! I guess the review from March 2013 should be updated. The food was okay but you know how it is when you are craving something and that’s not what you get?!?! Back to the hotel and early to bed. Needless to say, it had been a long day. Thankfully we don’t have an early flight Monday morning.