Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pensacola Half Marathon!!!

Be sure to read all about the Pensacola Half Marathon Expo!

This race was special to me because it was my first half marathon two years ago. I remember the course being super tough and hilly. But I was ready to give it another go!

Race morning started with an early wake up call of 4:15 AM! I got up, got dressed, rolled and stretched, and ate my waffle with peanut butter on it. Then I headed out to meet Holly, Larisa, Janet and her husband so we could make the drive to Pensacola together.

I want to give a very special thank you to Larisa from Zero to Twenty Six Point Two! She wasn't running the race but still got up early and went with us! I would love to say that she came for me but that wasn't the case. She and Janet have been friends for a long time. This was Janet's first half marathon and Larisa came so she could jump in at mile 9 and help run Janet to the finish line. What an awesome friend! It was so awesome to see them cross the finish line together! Head to Larisa's blog to read her recap!

The drive over went great. We made perfect time and parking was super easy. We had to walk about two blocks to the start line at Veterans Memorial Park which wasn't bad at all. We found Jessica and took our pre-race pictures.





And then it was start time! The race was super organized, used timing chips (which I think is a must in half marathons), and started right on time (it's a major pet peeve of mine when a race doesn't start on time). One final wave before we took off!


Larisa took a picture of us running the first mile! We were running so fast that the picture blurred...lol!


Larisa also shot a quick video of us! Thanks Larisa!!!


The first few miles went the way they usually go...they were tough because my legs weren't warmed up. But we were running in some of the most scenic parts of Pensacola so that helped me take my mind off it! 


The course is a tough course. The hills are pretty brutal. I was worried about my hip hurting from the hills AND I was worried about the fact that I hadn't trained on a single hill since the hilly half marathon I ran in September. But I felt GREAT!!! Once my legs warmed up I had that feeling of flying I get when I am having a great run! It was awesome! The only thing that was bothering me was a tiny side stitch that I can normally just run through. 

I could tell this race has gotten bigger and more popular since I ran it last. The water stops were well prepared! Most of them were handing out snacks...like gummy bears, pretzel sticks, and peppermints. At one stopped we even scored bags of M&M's! I grabbed the peanut butter M&M's...WOW! I'd never had that kind before and they were sooo yummy!


At mile 9 we saw Larisa and Janet's husband waiting for Janet to come through. They yelled and cheered for us as we passed by them!



Jessica broke off from us around mile 10. This is where it always gets tough for me. And I think Holly was struggling a bit too. We had another hill to conquer and at the bottom of the hill the drum line from Pace High School was playing and it was AWESOME! It was just what I needed to get over that hill....so thanks Pace High (my hubby graduated from there)! 

The road also turned from asphalt to concrete here too. And man could we feel the change in our feet. But we made it! We made our final turn and my side stitch came back in full force...it was killing me. I stopped to walk a few minutes but it wasn't helping so I started running again. We could hear the cheering before we saw it but finally we could see the finish line! I did it! I ran this super hard course (which I said I was never running again) and conquered those hills! And the best part...I shaved 7 minutes off my time from the first time I ran this course!!! My official time was 2:36:32!

Thanks to Janet's husband Steve for capturing these pictures of us crossing the finish line!



Proudly wearing my finisher's medal! The medal is awesome...it is shaped like a Blue Angel plane!



Right after finishing I heard my name and saw Regina from Life's Run! She ran a PR of 1:55!!! So amazing!!!


We found Jessica (who had finished a few minutes before us) and went to take a few pictures with our medals. The finish line was also in Veterans Memorial Park. The park is the home of Wall South...the nation's only permanent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was very fitting since this race is always run on Veterans Day. 


We watched Janet and Larisa finish (so awesome) and took a few more pictures! We also ran into Regina again!



I also saw someone with my Run Pink shirt on and knew it was a fellow Run Pink Ambassador! I ran over to say hello and officially met Kelly Nicholas! She was super sweet and she is a super fast runner! She won the Louisiana Half Marathon in January with a time of 1:29:52! WOW! I can't wait to hang with her more at the Woman's Half in December!


Another plus to this race is the after party and food! One of the sponsors every year is Subway so at the end of the race you get a sub sandwich and cookie! They also had bananas, oranges, and potato chips. There were also vendors and restaurants giving out samples. I ate black beans and rice from one restaurant and red beans and rice from another. Yum! 

This race also opened up some registration spots for runners who were supposed to run the New York City Marathon but couldn't due to the after effects of Hurricane Sandy causing the race to be canceled. I ran into this man who was supposed to run NYC and came here to run instead! He was super thankful to the race for opening up a spot for him so he could run what he had trained so hard for. 


And I also saw (a VERY TALL) Superman!


Overall the Pensacola Half Marathon was awesome! I would definitely recommend this race to anyone! And it's awesome to run in a place where I grew up!

Thanks so much Anderson Subaru for the opportunity to run this race!!!


After the race we headed to McGuires Irish Pub for some lunch. If you ever visit Pensacola this is one restaurant that you must go to! They are known for their atmosphere, awesome menu, and one million signed dollars bills that hang from the ceilings and walls of the restaurant! 

And when you're friend tells you to grab your phone so you can take pictures of the bathroom you know something is up.

Read the signs carefully!


And watch out for the trick mirrors in the bathroom!!!


The food is yummy! My favorite on the menu is the 18 cent bean soup!


And they have a ton of burgers to choose from!


I chose the Sharp Cheddar and Bacon Steak Burger...just the carbs needed after a race! But I could only eat a fourth of the burger...it was huge!


And yes...we DID hang a signed dollar bill from the ceiling!



Such a fun, fun race and fun, fun day!!! #12 is DONE!!! :-)

Just a reminder that you can run pink with me on December 9th at the Woman's Half Marathon (or 5K or 10K) in Baton Rouge, LA! And it was just announced yesterday that my code can now save you $30 off of registration! Use the code RPAMindy at check out!

QOTD: Do you enjoy the after party at a race? Or do you leave as soon as you are finished running?

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