Alternate Title: So Many Pictures.
I unofficially ran my first back-to-back half marathon weekend in December, just to test out the waters. I ran a virtual 13.1 for the Cape Coral Best Damn Race and the Mount Dora Half Marathon (that I apparently did not write about). I ran both races at relative similar paces (despite Mount Dora kicking my ass with its hills). I was sore, but I think more so from the hills than the back-to-back running.
There must be some kind of crazy drugs in my water, because I decided to try back-to-back races AGAIN. This time though, I was trying to PR in the first race (which definitely makes the second race more interesting). The reason? This medal:
The flamingo is wearing sneakers — and even though I’ve never been a big medal person, I needed to have it.
The good news is that I survived. However, even weeks later my liver is still questioning that statement.
Best Damn Race – Orlando
BDR started on Friday when I went to pick up my bib and ran into about a million people I knew. I also spent more money than I should have on workout clothes I probably didn’t need, but…
(Pic Cred: Stolen from this lady because I apparently did not take any pictures that morning!)
Around 7 we headed to line up and I managed to find my crew.
The race started on time and wasn’t too crowded. I don’t really remember doing a lot of bobbing and weaving, which is always a bonus for a race start. The first 2-3 miles are cobblestone, which it my LEAST favorite part of any race in downtown in Orlando. It’s hard to avoid though, there is just a lot of cobblestone. It’s awesome to drive on too.
As far as I can tell, BDR does the best they can to put the cobblestone in the beginning and not at the end like other Orlando races (there is another half mile of cobblestone around mile 8-9, fyi). Around mile 3, the crew I started with broke into groups. Some sprinted ahead and others fell slightly behind. Jaime (my fellow tall girl and “palm tree” as we have been dubbed) and I ended up sticking together, because it’s just what we do.
Here’ s the part of the recap where I admit I like to start half marathons fast. Well, fast for me. It’s my thing. It’s probably NOT the best racing strategy, but I just have a lot more mojo at the end of the race, if I start faster. Around Mile 3, Jaime started to pull back because she saw 8:30-8:40 on her Garmin and told me she thought, “I can’t do this!” and I had to shout back to her “You ARE doing this!” And spoiler: She did it. She kicked ass.
Around Mile 6, I saw my co-worker, Leah, up ahead. Two weeks prior, Leah and I spent the week together in Mississippi and managed to get some running in together.
Mississippi — where running dreams come true (actually, the day this picture was taken it was really pretty!) Also — that’s Brian with us who happened to score a KILLER PR at BDR Orlando!
So, when I saw her, I told Jaime “We’re catching up with her.” Have I mentioned I’m slightly competitive? Well, I haven’t mentioned that Jaime is even MORE competitive and was like “GAME ON” when I mentioned it. Seriously, she started sprinting. So, by mile 8, we caught up with Leah — and we continued to run together until the finish.
Speaking of the finish… it was rough. Mile 10-11 is a steady incline, and it started to get WARM. I almost COMPLETELY lost my shit, but I managed to pull my it together in time for the downhill run into downtown (Mile 11-12) and then turn back towards Lake Eola (12-Finish).
“Hello! I do awkward things with my hands while running!”
At one point Leah said to me, “If you want to sprint – go ahead.” and I’m pretty sure the only words that I could form were “No way, I’m going to die.” I did manage to muster up a minor “Tom Cruise” sprint at the end.
Funny story — the guy in the orange behind me is the same person I beat 2 years ago in this same race.
And…I finished in 1:56:40. Not a PR, but I have to say I felt really good about the time. Especially considering I finished last year about 6-7 minutes slower! (Bonus: Sub-2!)
For the third year in a row, I had the best DAMN time at Best Damn Race. I don’t JUST say that because I’m an ambassador (BTWs — I’m in for 2016-2017 too!), I really just enjoy them. It helps that almost every runner I FREAKING KNOW was running it in some form or fashion. Ok, and the after party is sweet, judging from the cider, Best Damn Root Beer, and Mich Ultra (umm – is that REALLY beer) that I drank. We all definitely had A LOT of fun!
A lot of my friends ended up PRing — including Jaime who KICKED ASS and finished a minute before me (when I was bonking, she got some kind of crazy ass second wind).
The rest of the day I spent mostly in the car – driving two and from Tampa for my nephew’s 2nd birthday party. It was worth it, but after almost 6 hours of sitting, my legs were like…
Onto the 2nd half!
Swamphouse Half Marathon
I really did not want to get up at 4:15am on a Sunday, but alas, I did because I am idiot who paid to run two half marathons in one weekend. I picked up one of my fellow mamas at 5 and we met up with the party crew at 5:15.
Did I mention that we dubbed this race #mimosarace2016?
We arrived in DeBary around 6 (race start was 7:15), but waited a millennium to park. I’m glad we arrived early because if we didn’t I would have been stressing out – even though this was considered a “fun” race.
After we (quickly) picked up our bibs, we head back to the car and mixed up a few cocktails, because… why not? I’ve never drank BEFORE a race before, but it made me very, very confident. Very.
God, I look like an idiot.
The race started on time, and while it was a pretty good sized crowd, it wasn’t a crazy start. And then I looked down at my watch and was like, “Holy Shit, I’ve only run a half a mile. THIS RACE IS GOING TO TAKE FOREVER.” Yeah.
Look! I actually ran!
The race continued to go well as you can imagine. At the 1 Mile Mark, we decided to walk for a few minutes at each mile marker and then run in between. This was a pretty good plan until my friend’s knee started to give her problems (she probably shouldn’t have been running) and we couldn’t find any Biofreeze. Then the race turned into run as fast as we could between water stops asking people if they had BioFreeze. It was a different kind of race than I imagined. At Mile 9 we finally found medical (maybeeee there should have been a medical stop sooner?) and then we proceeded to walk… a lot. Like the most of the rest of the race.
And take selfies.
At Mile 12 we hit the beer mile. It was amazing. I personally think every race should offer craft beer at mile 12.
At mile 12.5 we saw the photographer, so we decided to run for like 30 seconds… And then again at the finish.
Photo cred: Dave Mari, Race Photography Ninja
Our finish time was 2:45 (confession, I haven’t looked up the exact time, but my Garmin says 2:45:53) and it surprisingly was not a personal worst (running a half marathon when you are 6 months pregnant pays off!).
After the race, we celebrated with more drinks — first ones we brought with us (Prosecco, Sangria, Cider, and more Bloody Marys) and then with the awesome craft beer offered post race (PS – I did not drive).
It was hilariously fun time. I have discovered that I while I prefer to run competitively (with myself) — it’s great to take a break and experience a FUN run. The key is to not get in anyone’s way and ruin THEIR fun. I’ve also discovered there there is only so much drinking and running I can handle — and I officially maxed out on it.
As far as the race itself went, it was Swamp House was more hilly than I thought it was going to be. It also wasn’t the most exciting course — a few of the latter miles are on this oddly paved trail – and then you hit this undeveloped neighborhood (aka Beer Mile) before running towards the finish. That said, I would definitely do it again. The after party was lacking in food, but definitely made up for it in beer and hijinks — and that was by far the best part!
When it comes to back-to-back half marathons — will I do it again? Heck yes! I think one of them will always be a “for fun” run, but I should really never say never.
Up next… More races! I am so behind.
Do you like running back-to-back races? What’s your favorite way to celebrate post-race? Did you realize I haven’t posted anything in almost 2 months??