I got up about 5:45 am to get ready. I got dressed and got all my things together. I put 2 bagels in the toaster and then woke up my sister, Kassady. She got ready really fast. We were out the door by 6:20 am. Since it was so early, there was no traffic at the race. We ate our bagels on the way. I missed the first exit off 277 that I wanted to take. I ended up backtracking to 7th street. It was closed just passed Kings. I knew the parking was right there in a deck, so I turned right on Kings and made a U-turn at the first light. We pulled in and everyone was using the surface lot next to the band area of the finish. We followed their example. We got out and headed over to the bib pick up area. The first thing I noticed was that random people, I don’t even think they were runners, were taking the bananas, granola bars, and bottled water that were meant for the finish. The line for the bibs was rather long. Once they got through one man that they had run out of his shirt size, it moved fairly quickly. Then, we went to the ship pick up. They did not have zip ties. We took our shirts and things back to the car. We attached our bibs, Kassady pulled back her hair, and we both unlaced our shoes to put on the chip. Then we headed back to find the start area.
We were there plenty early but many people were already milling around waiting for the start. The sky was overcast and it was extremely humid. After getting someone to take our picture, Kassady and I decided to walk around the block to warm up and kill some time. I noticed at this point the cars were all going to the parking deck that was beyond the surface lot we had used. Neither of us needed the port-a-potties so we just kept walking. When we were getting close, we realized we were in the starting area. So we just waited. I drank my Gatorade Prime which has become my pre-race staple. They had a countdown going on the timing clock. They had a singing of the National Anthem and then we all said the Pledge of Allegience. I thought that was a nice touch for July 4th. They had at least one early start before the main one.
We all started running. The course was very shady. I had looked at the elevation chart, so I knew it would be mostly uphill in the first couple miles. It’s just long uphills. I knew I was trying to stick to my 2:1 intervals and my sister wasn’t used to them so I told her to go on ahead and I would meet her at the finish. Well, before we got to the first mile, I passed her. She had a cramp in her side. I told her to drink the bottled water she was holding (glad I brought it for her which you’ll see later) and just keep walking. The important part was to finish. I was also drinking from my handheld water bottle at every walk break. I got to mile 1 at around 12 minutes. That was 30 seconds slower than my 4 miler in March. I knew at that point I would not PR. The humidity was affecting my breathing. I ended up with a really bad cold the next day which I think might have been starting during the race. That also could have hurt my breathing. I stuck to my 2:1 intervals most of the way through Mile 2. When we got to the water station, there was no more water to hand out. I heard 2 ladies in front of me get very mad. I understand where they were coming from but also felt bad for the volunteers since it wasn’t their fault. I was glad my sister had her bottle since she would have really been hurting. I’m amazed no one had issues with as humid as it was.
Sometime during Mile 3 I caught up to the lady form the SkirtChaser who finished just in front of me. She asked if I was going to get my 12 minute miles and I told her not with the humidity. Shortly after that, I started modifying my intervals. I made sure to walk until I was getting deep breaths. I also tried to run all the downhills. After Mile 3, I could see the park. It was nice to run by something other than houses and office buildings. During Mile 4, I started seeing some of the finishers returning. One on a bicycle told us we could see the finish way up ahead (he was a little off). I caught up to a lady that was also having a problem with the humidity. We chatted and found out we had both run the Princess. We stuck together until the end. She motivated me to run longer to the finish line than I would have alone. The clock when I finished said something around 53 minutes. I knew I didn’t cross the start immediately, so I was pretty confident my finish was 52 minutes and change.
I had to walk in circles a few times before I could bend over to unlace my shoe and get the timing chip off. After standing up, I was a little dizzy. I went and grabbed a banana and granola bar. They had run out of bottled water, probably due to all the non-racing people grabbing them pre-race. They did have cups filled with water, though. The lady from the SkirtChaser found me. She had finished just behind me this time. After talking to her, I headed back to the finish to cheer my sister in. She looked much better than I thought she would. She only came in 5 minutes after me. She pushed herself so hard that after taking off the timing chip and grabbing a squeezable, she had to run in a port-a-potty. Luckily she was fine after and was able to eat the squeezable.
One of the vendors (Toast Café) was handing out fruit skewers. That is the best post-race snack I have had yet. The band was playing great music so we waited around to see our official time. It started sprinkling, but that felt pretty good. While waiting, I met a lady named Nicki. It turns out she was also doing the race series, Space Coast, Tink and Glass Slipper Challenge. I guess I’ll be seeing her a lot. She also has a similar pace to me. She was one of the 2 women that were so upset about the lack of water on coarse. We talked about our races for a while hoping to see our times. They came to the stage and did the awards presentation. At that point, I knew they wouldn’t bring out any more papers, so we headed home. I think the race has the potential to be a great race. However, there was a lot of organization lacking. They ran out of a lot of shirt sizes, water on coarse, and bottled water at the finished. Most of the runners were pre-registered so that shouldn’t happen. Also, looking the next day, neither mine nor my sister’s times are on the official results. I can’t believe we are the only 2 missing. I would do this one again if I was in town hoping for improvements.