Be sure to read my post about packet pick-up!
About 3AM I woke up to really loud thunder and lightning! Here was the thunderstorm that had been predicted. I wasn't sure how long it would last but I hoped it would be finished in time for the race. I was able to get back to sleep pretty quickly. Due to the one hour start time delay I was able to sleep in until 6AM! Yay!
I got dressed, ate some oatmeal, and drank some coffee. Then I hopped into the car with my friends Paige, Katrina, and Laura. I was happy to see that it was NOT raining!!! We headed to our meeting place to meet some of our other Sole2Soul Sisters that were running this race. While we waited for everyone to get there we took a few pictures (of course)!
Me and Paige ready to Rock 'n' Fly!
After some pics we loaded back into the cars for the 1 hour commute to the race. I was really excited about getting to run on the Naval Base! It's not something you are allowed to do everyday!
We made it on base fairly quickly and found parking a lot easier than I expected.
We got some great group pictures before the race! And as you can see...clear skies and SUN!!! :-)
After pictures we lined up at the porta potties. We had 30 minutes until start time....and we spent all 30 minutes in line for the porta potties. This race definitely did not have enough porta potties. When we all made it out we headed towards the start line. They said a prayer and a guy played the National Anthem on the electric guitar...it was awesome! They also said a few more words and played a video of the Blue Angels (who had an airshow and couldn't be there...sad face). They had a huge jumbo tron but in the crowd of the start line I couldn't see it. Right before the start they shot confetti and streamers into the sky! It was pretty cool...but really hard to see in my picture!
And then...we were off! I think it took us about 5 minutes to get to the start line though because it was so crowded. The 5K started at the same time as the half so that may be one reason why it was so congested. But the song Danger Zone from Top Gun was playing and it really helped pump us up!
Once we started running you could feel the excitement in the air! I loved seeing how everyone was dressed! There were several people dressed as rockers...mullets, long hair, plastic guitars...it was great! And I loved seeing this woman running with the flag!
We were barely at half a mile and we saw these rocker guys on the sidelines! A picture was a must!!! And they LOVED that we stopped for one!
I was really excited to run this course! We had many landmarks that we would be running by. The first one was the Barrancas National Cemetery. It was such a great reminder of all the amazing men and women who have served our country!
Next we passed by the Fort Barrancas Redoubt. You may remember me and my family visiting here last spring!
Shortly after that we came upon the Pensacola National Naval Aviation Museum! My family has visited here many times too! My boys love it!
Then started the long stretch down Blue Angel Parkway. And the slant of the road was awful! Luckily, this race was playing a song at each mile! That helped pass the time!
It was starting to get pretty hot. The course had no shade and we were running much later than I was used to running. We were prepared for cloudy skies (that's what the forecast had shown) but instead we had sun beating down on us.
Around mile 4 I broke away from my friends. They were slowing way down and taking walk breaks and I was feeling really good and wanted to keep going. I really tried to enjoy my surroundings as I ran! We turned around and started heading back around mile 5.5. We were running by the Gulf of Mexico and it was gorgeous! But the slant of the road was starting to get to me. My knee was starting to hurt a little and that scared me a bit. I tried my best to find the less slanted area to run on.
Around mile 7.5 we ran by the Pensacola Lighthouse again (I missed seeing it the first time we passed it). I remembered climbing to the top of the lighthouse (177 steps or 15 flights of stairs!!!) a few years ago with the family.
Right before mile 8 we made a right hand turn onto Radford Blvd. We passed Fort Barrancas and started heading back to where we started. I started seeing people on the side of the road cheering. And I had to take a picture of this Blue Angel plane for my boys!
This was the hard part. We were at mile 9 and passed by the start line....and we could SEE the finish line. There was a ton of people cheering on the sidelines here...but they kept saying we were almost done and that the finish was in sight. I wanted to yell at them...no we are not almost done! We still have 4 more miles to go! But I didn't. I was nice. I just smiled and waved.
The heat was really starting to get to me at this point. It was close to 11:30AM and the sun beating down was brutal. We made a left hand turn and passed by what looked like office buildings and the library.
The street was really pretty (still no shade) but I was getting to that point where I was so ready to be finished.
We made another right hand turn and then a left onto what looked like a pretty busy road. The volunteers were great at directing the traffic though. At this point you could see people on the other side of the road coming back. I saw a mile marker on their side and turned to look at it...it was mile 12! I was at mile 10! Ugh! I had a pretty good stretch to go to get to where they were at. We made another right turn and there was a water stop with some Marines running in cadence with a flag. It was awesome hearing them chant!
Finally after what seemed like forever I made it to mile 11! I only took this picture as an excuse to walk for a second lol! You can also see the white van with the huge speakers in it. These vans were at every mile playing a song! Awesome! The mile 11 song was I'm Sexy and I Know It! Lol! I sure didn't feel sexy at that point!
After a big loop, we finally got back on that main road...and there was mile 12!!! Yay!!! I looked on the other side of the road and saw my friend Donna! She was doing great but I could tell the heat was getting to her too.
Another sign of motivation lol!
We finally turned right and retraced our steps back to the street with the office buildings. I knew the finish line was not far away. We made one more right turn and I could see and hear the finish line! I saw the mile 13 sign and then I took a left turn to run through the finish line! Whew! I had done it! I had survived that heat!
My official time was 2:34:53! Not too bad for such a hot race!
This race had tons of food options which was awesome! They had bananas, apples, oranges, pizza, and Subway sandwiches. I wasn't really hungry though. I grabbed a water and a Subway sandwich but ended up not eating anything. I was just too hot.
The medal was pretty awesome! I worked hard for that thing!
My hubby and boys met me at the finish line! They didn't get there in time to see me finish (it took them 20 minutes to get on base) but I was so glad to see them there regardless!
After the race we headed with Paige and her family to get something to eat. We decided on Sonny's BBQ and Paige and I changed and cleaned up as much as we could in their bathroom! I didn't take a picture (blogger fail) but my lunch was so good! I got pulled pork, green beans, and a baked sweet potato. It came with 2 pieces of garlic bread but I only ate half a piece. And while I was changing mu hubby ordered me a coke (I just LOVE a coke after a long run) but I sent it back and got water instead since I have given up Coke for Lent. See? I made healthy choices and I was proud of myself!!!
After lunch we headed back to the base to the Naval Air Museum. But as I stated earlier this week, our trip got cut short because Hayden got sick.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Blue Angels Rock 'n' Fly Half Marathon! I think they have some improvements to make but I also think it went great for their first year! I will definitely consider running this one again!
But next time I will wear sunscreen! I was so sunburned after this race! :-(
This was my last half marathon of the season. This one proved that it is just getting way too hot to race here on the Gulf Coast!
QOTD: Have you ever gotten to run on a military base?