I am so excited to be 1/5 of the way done with the Big Bang Challenge! I was always amazed with the course and the medal for the Space Coast Half Marathon. And the finish line party. But I’ll get to that later, I’ve got a race to tell you about.
I wasn’t able to make it out to the Kennedy Space Center for the race expo, but I was able to have Mel and her husband pick it up for me. Thanks to a last minute offer, I was able to head down to Cocoa and stay with Mel at her friend’s house after I got out of work Saturday night instead of getting up ridiculously early and heading straight to the race. It’s about an hour drive from work so I got there at 11 and was up around 4:30 to get ready for the race. Mel’s friend lives about 10 minutes away from the start line.
Mel and her husband were running the marathon, so I was on my own for the half. They dropped me off near the start line since the half marathon started 30 minutes before the marathon and I made my way to the drop off my bag before heading to the start line. There weren’t any corrals for the race, just pace groups. I kept heading back and the last group that I saw was the 2:45 group. I’m not there yet so I got behind them. As always, I struck up a conversation with a girl near me and we chatted for the remaining 15 minutes or so before the race started.
The start was exciting because the screen showed a countdown and a launch to send us off. The course is a nice an easy out an back course along the Indian River. I was nervous about going out to fast, but I was determined to stick to my 1:1 intervals. My first mile was good, but my second mile was a bit upsetting. After I got my grove though, I was able to keep my pace nice and consistent for the next 6 miles.
Around mile 3 or 4, a girl asked me if I was doing run-walk-run and asked if she could join me. I was happy for the company so we ran together for about the next 5 miles. I did notice some people out there with shots of Blue Moon at mile 4 and I made note of it to stop and get some on my way back. Turn around point had a misting machine. It wasn’t a hot day at all, but the day was incredibly humid so that mist felt great!
I was still feeling good until about mile 10 when my right hamstring started to tighten up. I was able to keep doing my intervals even though I was slowing down. By the time I was at mile 12 my hamstring was done and I was struggling to run. I ended up walking a good portion of that mile. Even though I hadn’t seen the 3:15 pace group, they were suddenly with me. I tried to run with them for a few intervals and I’m pretty sure that running with them was the only thing that kept my last mile reasonable.
Mile 1: 13:33
Mile 2: 14:13
Mile 3: 13:42
Mile 4: 13:33
Mile 5: 13:47
Mile 6: 13:38
Mile 7: 13:35
Mile 8: 13:59
Mile 9: 14:15
Mile 10: 13:56
Mile 11: 15:01
Mile 12: 14:28
Mile 13: 15:16
Despite my legs starting to give out on me, I was able to finish with a PR. It was such an improvement over my last PR which was almost 4 years ago. I know that I’ve struggled in the past few years with some injuries and lack of training so to get a PR on a race so early in the season just made my day.
My official time was 3:16:28. Not too shabby. And I did take that shot of Blue Moon at mile 9.
The finish line party was pretty good too. They gave you a cold and wet wash cloth at the finish line, along with a beach towel. As soon as I got through the finisher chutes, I saw that there was a place giving pizza to the runners. I headed over there and grabbed a slice and then made my was to the Publix booth that had pancakes and scrambled eggs. Of course I ate too quickly and started to get an upset stomach so I had to take a break and find a restroom.
I was waiting for Mel and her husband to finish their race so I spent time in a pizza place relaxing, trying to rest on a park bench (when it got really windy and chilly) and in a coffee cute little coffee shop. After I warmed up, I went to wait at mile 26 where I cheered on the finishers and then hopped up to run with Mel for a good portion of her last mile.
I was so excited to be with her at the finish line. I”m so proud of her and her husband. I know that they don’t want to ever do a marathon again, so for them to finish strong is a great way to go out.