Today was the day!! I was going to run a half marathon that I didn't pay for, and didn't train for until the end of September! That's right, it's time for the St Augustine Half Marathon!!!
We booked a room at Regency Inns and Suites for the night before - using BookIt.com, it cost about $65. It was a nice hotel (for the price) and I would certainly stay again. The fact that it had queen beds was a HUGE plus!
We did packet pickup the night before, and as I walking back through the Expo (yeah, it's tiny and sad), I saw that they had pint glasses. Something told me that I had to buy one. It was $5 plus tax.
|Our packet was in a reusable grocery bag|
|My first race pint glass! I'm going to put it on my desk at work to hold mints|
We got to the Visitor's Center parking garage around 5am and got a pretty good spot, then made our way over to the Castillo, where the race was to start. The only problem? When we got there, I didn't see any sort of start or finish line!! Oh, no, what if I was wrong?
Luckily, no hyperventilating was required - the starting line was just further down, towards the bridge. Whew!
Halfway through the parking lot of the Castillo, well, my body said POTTY!!!! YOU MUST POTTY NOW!!! I looked around but didn't see any anywhere, so I told the family that I was going to trek back to the Visitor's Center to potty there. After about 30 seconds, though, the Kiddo came running to me and told me that there were potties closer to the start line. Oh, thank goodness! I wasn't even sure if the Visitor's Center would be open this early!
So, I headed over to the potties - there were only 4! - and waited. Being the person I am, I took adavantage of the beautiful morning light to take photos.
|Blurry, artsy photo of the Porta-Pottie line|
|Sunrise on the bay, with runners|
|I love this one - Lamppost with Moon during Sunrise|
|I'm probably 30th in line at the potties|
|We're so early the Start Line hasn't been assembled!|
|My head looks like a thumb|
|My head was cold, so I pulled my Bondi down.|
Wow, I'm glad I pottied when I did! At 15 minutes to race time, this line is insane!
The family of course was there to see me go (the Kiddo wearing my jacket - it was chilly that morning!).
|I'm ready for my close-up!|
|Beautiful start to the race|
|Can I just sit here and watch the sunrise?|
|You Are Beating All the People Behind You|
|Go fast! Your Legs Will Forgive You!|
|Yay! First mile down!|
|St. Augustine Alligator Farm Sign|
|Mile 3! Only 10 miles to go!|
|This would be a confusing intersection with no signs|
|Still a fair amount of runners ahead of me|
|Her name is Cheryl, and she finished about 5 minutes after I did|
It's not the best photo, but I tried to get a shot of the thermometer - it was 56º at 9am. I love Florida winters!
|56º in Florida? Yes, please!|
|Hello, sweaty, half-naked men!|
|Crap, there's a bridge on this route?!?|
|What a nice, straight photo|
|The other side of the road had a shopping center... Can I just go to the mall?|
|Honey Stingers - made with actual HONEY!|
|Mile 6 - Almost halfway there!|
|Officially more than halfway there....|
|Thanks for the sign!|
|Hey, take me to St. George Street!|
|Mile 9 and Van of Oblivion|
|Raise your hands if you're tired of handing out water!|
|That tiny sign said "Wildlife Crossing" and had a photo of a turtle - seemed fitting|
While I could be running on the road, if I wanted to, the sidewalk was wide and fairly even (as even as asphalt was), so I stayed on the sidewalk. Still pacing my gal, too.
|Go Cheryl Go!|
|I wish there had been more of this view, instead of just scrubland|
|Mile 10!!! Only a 5k to go!|
|It was good this sign was here - I really thought we were going to finish the road|
|You're right, Random Stranger! I CAN do it!|
|One day, I'll climb that lighthouse|
|He was kind of creepy. If he was in front of me, he'd walk backwards and look at me.|
|Turn around, weirdo! But thanks for wearing shorts over those tights...|
Out of the neighborhoods, we are back on A1A, heading towards the Bridge of Lions. I'm so done. And I know I said that already. I'm really just so done.
|"Smile! Remember.... you PAID $$ to do this" - Um, actually?...|
|"You're Beating All the People Behind You" - What like all 5 of them?|
|Who puts a bridge at Mile 12 of a freakin' Half Marathon?|
|Hmm, is that the horses or the potties?|
And because my camera is a joke, I got THIS close to the finish line before the battery died, so I didn't get to take a photo of my approach to the finish line.
I love the approach to the finish line, because you kind of sneak up on it, then there is a long straightaway before turning in to the chute. And the chute itself is awesome - it's long and lined with lots of flags with a fun "castle" type covering on the actual finish line.
I entered the chute and found my family on the side. But then I saw the clock. I mouthed the words HOLY SHIT to them. I couldn't believe what I saw. I was totally crying - like fat-girl, ugly-crying - before I even crossed the finish line!
My official time was 3:36:55 - that is a PR of almost EIGHTEEN MINUTES!!!!
So much ass was kicked on this race, I can't even...
Anyway, once I stopped freaking out about my PR, I took my finish line photos and we headed out. I stopped at the Columbia booth for some paella and soda, though. Yum.
|Okay, so I changed into flops before my photo.|
We went to Harry's Seafood Bar and Grill (I had a coupon, of course). Our server was great, and when I told him that I'd just run the half-marathon, he made sure to keep me hydrated!
|So wet and icy and quenching!|
|Beautiful Bridge of Lions|
|Waffle Menu - I wish I got a waffle|
|Harry's bread and butter is the stuff dreams are made of!|
|I'm hungry right now and that burger looks awesome|
|Oh NOES! I need more WATER!|
|They serve their fudge in small plastic cups, like buckets|
|Who goes in for a minute?|
|Screw you - vanilla comes from orchids, which are anything BUT boring!|
|All that empty space, that could be filled with fluffy whipped cream.... sigh.|
|I have no idea where we are at this point, but we could buy swords and cigars, apparently|
Brace yourself - lots of photos of lots of sweets!
|Chocolate Covered Marshmallows ($3.50) or Specialty Marshmallows ($4.50)|
|Jumbo Marshmallow Pops ($1.95)|
|Chocolate Covered Oreos, Chocolate Covered Ritz, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Chocolate Candy Cups|
|Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods ($3.25) or Specialty Covered Pretzel Rods ($3.95)|
|Chocolate Lollipops or Chocolate Gator Lollipops|
|Fudge as far as the eye can see!|
|Chocolate Covered Pretzels or Specialty Covered Pretzels; Chocolate squares|
|Truffles (75¢ each)|
|Chocolate Nut Caramel Clusters|
|Wow! They still sell candy cigarettes... I thought those were basically illegal|
|Are you guys hearing angels sing too? Or is that just me? Just me? Okay.|
|Butter knife for scale - this is 1/2 pound.|
|Mini M&M Chocolate-Covered Oreo|
I've never had a Dole Whip.
I want to. But I don't want to wait in those atrocious lines at Aloha Isle at the Magic Kingdom.
But, just my luck, there was a small stand on St. George Street giving out samples!! I finally got to try a Dole Whip!
It was pretty good, I'll admit. If lines are short next time I go to Disney, I'd get one.
|I'm no longer a Dole Whip virgin!|
|Don't lean on this thing - it'll tip over.|
|Get out of my shot, random tourists|
Thank you so much to Miami Tri Events for putting on a GREAT race, and for picking me as your Slowest Runner Winner!!!
I would love to do this race again, but only if I can register early - they have pretty hefty (to me) race fees, but it's only around $60 if you get in early (or $40 if you are lucky enough to register at another race's expo!)