Friday afternoon I picked up my personal cheerleader, Tracy, and we headed up to Amelia Island. Amelia Island is about 3 hours from Orlando. We left around 3 and managed to avoid most of the Jacksonville rush hour traffic. The Google Maps App TRIED it’s hardest to get us lost (it kept telling us to go South on I-95 and then would randomly shout out direction to us like “Go right!” and “Go East!”), but the hotel (Ritz Carlton Amelia Island) was very easy to find.
After checking in and picking up my bib, I did a quick change and met up with a few of my fellow ZOOMA Ambassadors at the Mocktail hour. They had fruits, veggies, and deli meat as well as wine and beverages from Honest Tea (I tried a Mocktail from Honest Tea that was really good!).
It was really nice to finally meet Tricia (who has been in charge of wrangling the Ambassadors/social media aspect of ZOOMA), Lorraine, Renee, Presley, and Caitlin – as well as see Rachel and Julie again.
We chatted about blogging, running, baby names, and books for a while before calling it a night. Tracy and I headed back to the hotel room (which was REALLY nice – I felt incredibly adult staying at the Ritz!) for a room service dinner (pizza!).
I waaaay too much food, but in retrospect I think that’s what got me through – so it wasn’t a bad thing!
I was up the next morning at 6, which is possibly the latest I’ve ever gotten up for a race! I was originally worried about the 8am start (considering it was 85 degrees last weekend during the Disney Half) – but thankfully we Florida got a little bit of a cold snap this week and the high for the day was 62. At 7, when we got on our buses to the race start, it was 52 degrees. That’s cold for this Florida girl.
We got to the race start by 7:15 and then hung around for 45 minutes. I used the porta potties and then found Rachel, Julie, Caitlin, and Mary (<-also an ambassador) trying to keep warm by one of the buildings. It wasn’t so much the cold that got to us – but the wind. It was coming at us from all sides.
Finally around 7:55 everyone starting lining up and after a few pictures we were off!
The race started in the Fernandina Beach area. We ran through their adorable downtown…
Past a cemetery…
Over a small bridge…
Then into Fort Clinch State Park.
I ran the first 1.5-2 miles without stopping and they just flew by. I hung with Rachel, who just finished the Disney Marathon last Sunday and was not running for time either.
Around Mile 3 I made my first of MANY porta potty stops and she waited for me. We kept a pattern of running and then walking through water stops. This worked until about Mile 6 when I just felt like my thighs were going to give out. Good thing it was so pretty.
Around Mile 7-8 we came out of the State Park and onto A1A.
Rachel told me she wanted to run and I told her to go on without me. There was no way I could bring myself to run. In fact, I was really questioning my sanity at that point.
WHY was I running a half marathon at 24 weeks pregnant?? I know people do it all the time – I actually saw two pregnant woman doing the Disney Marathon the week before who looked like they were in awesome shape at Mile 11 – but what exactly was I trying to prove? And then the damn song came on. The same damn song that came on during my marathon that made me snap back together and finish the race strong. Yes, it was Coldplay’s Fix You. Why do I keep putting that song on my playlist?? I guess it’s probably for this very reason. (I thought it was SO creepy that this song came on AGAIN though. Is that fate or what?)
So, I started running.
It wasn’t fast (I don’t even want to know my pace), but running was faster than walking. My pelvic bone and my thighs were KILLING me – but it pretty much hurt regardless of what I was doing at that point, so I figured I might as well get to the finish line faster.
A selfie, just for you Julie.
After running for two songs, I walked for two songs — and then repeat. This is pretty much what I did (in between bathroom stops) until I hit the beach.
Oh, did I mention that the finish was on the beach?
It was awesome, in theory. It was a gorgeous day and there really is nothing better than running on the beach, but it was a challenging finish. I watched 5 women ahead of me slow down to the point that I knew if I (insanely) kept running that I could beat them. I may be pregnant, but damn if I’m not still competitive. So that’s what I did. Booyah!
And somehow, someway I managed to come in BEFORE the time limit (which was 3:30) and I was just so, so happy to be done. I even celebrated with a little champagne (you don’t know how bad I wanted the whole bottle).
I also found Rachel, who I’m SO proud of — because I know she was hurting too. I don’t think I was even working out 6 days after my marathon, let alone running a half marathon!
And of course, I’m so thankful for Tracy – who hung out by the finish line in the wind and ran in with me on the side as I crossed the finish cheering for me!
I have to say – the whole ZOOMA race experience was awesome. The course was SO well planned (by runners, you can just tell), there were plenty of water/Cytomax/porta potty stops. This is a PR course for sure. Oh, and the after party was fun! Wine, food, yoga, foam rollers, massages, and a band? How can you go wrong? I kinda wish I had gotten there sooner :/ Plus the location was gorgeous.
After slowllllly getting ready and checking out, we headed into Jacksonville…
And I celebrated with lemonade and a fantastic burger salad from Ted’s Montana Grill (seriously – why don’t we have one of these in Orlando yet?).
I finally got back to Orlando around 6, where my family was patiently waiting to give me hugs, snuggles, and kisses. Finishing a race, personal besting (or even worsting) and race medals and bling are all fine and dandy. However, I don’t care what anyone says – the best part of EVERY race is coming home to hear that my family is proud me and my kids saying they are going to race just like me some day. I just hope I can run it with them!
And with that my race season comes to a close. It was a short one for sure! The next time I run a race I will be a mother of THREE…and possibly even more insane. I have to say, running while pregnant has given me big goals. The search for fall races has begun. Better start on that race savings account now, Paula.