Thursday, October 29, 2015

Race Recap - Cocoa Beach Half Marathon

So, remember how I had a great race at the UCF 5 Miler?  The Cocoa Beach Half Marathon was pretty much the exact opposite of that. That is really all you need to know, but I will bore you with the details because a 3 sentence blog post doesn't work.

The Cocoa Beach Half Marathon sounded like a great idea when we registered back in March. Plenty of time to train, some cooler weather (hopefully), a fun medal and a friend with a condo in the area. The race sold out relatively quickly and then the course map got released. The course included almost 3 miles on the beach. Not really what I was looking for, but how bad could it be...famous last words.

Fast forward through a few months of rough, but consistent training, a great last longish run and I was actually getting excited about the race. Then the Thursday before the race I woke with pain in my left foot. Not crippling pain, but enough to know something was not right. That morning I started a regiment of ice, ibuprofen and good shoes. I skipped my last shake out run with the hope it would help. I wish I could say I stayed off of it, but with a 2-year-old that just isn't possible.

Saturday night after dinner I headed out to Cocoa Beach. A good friend of mine hosted us in her parents condo for the night. We hung out, watched some football and went to bed. It was so nice being close and not having to get up until 6 a.m. on Sunday. (Another huge thanks to our hostess for driving us to the start so we didn't have to take the 5:45 a.m. slow person bus.)

We got to the start with enough time to take a look at the beach and hit the port-a-potty. Then we were off.

Sunrise on the beach

Pre-race Selfie

No too far from the start we were routed into the first the multiple parking lots that we ran around during the race. There wasn't anything special to see, just in the parking lot, to the other end, around some cones and back out. I would think there would have been a better way to get to 13.1, but who am I to judge.

The first 4 miles or so took us through a pretty residential part of Cocoa beach. Unfortunately, buildings blocked most of the beach, so there wasn't a whole lot to see. The buildings also blocked the sea breeze at point, so I started to feel the heat and humidity of the day. That cooler weather I was hoping for never showed up.

About 5 miles in we met up with our race crew for the first time. It was great to have a familiar face on the course. 

She was amazing!! (I don't have a photo of the rest of the crew)

I held my 90 sec/30 sec intervals pretty well for the first half of the race and felt good with the exception of my foot.

Past the half and still feeling pretty good

A little after mile 7, my foot started hurting a little more. We stopped at Ron Jon to take some selfies and try to distract myself. 

Miles 8 and 9 were tough. I walked more in these miles than I wanted to, but it gave me a chance to have a little fun to. (Any hope of a good time was out the window at this point.) We passed the marker for mile 9 and hit the beach. 
On the Beach

The soft sand leading down to the beach was really hard on my foot and the hard sand wasn't much better. I tried running for a bit, but it was clear that my foot didn't enjoy running on the sand. So I walked....all 2.9 miles of it. Not what I wanted to do, but at least it was kind of pretty.

The never ending beach
I came off the beach with about a mile and a half to go. My legs were dead at that point and my foot was really sore. I ended up walking most of it, but did run the last tenth of a mile. (I just couldn't walk through the finish.) My official time was 3:17:28. I have never been fast, but this race was really bad.

I almost look like I am running
For a first time race, it was okay. The course had lots of water stops and plentiful port-a-potties...both good things. They also had both bananas and Cliff Shots at various stops on the course. I didn't see a medical tent or much in the way of medical staff on the course. I would have loved some biofreeze anytime after mile 7. The course itself wasn't much to look at and the sand running blew.

At least the medal is fun
To say that I have mixed feelings about this race would be an understatement. I am super proud of my friend who completed his first half marathon, extremely thankful for the friends who ran with me and supported me on the course, and overall satisfied with my training. (I am less sore after this half than ever before.) With all that said, this race was not my favorite and a huge personal worst. I guess you live and learn. Next time wait until the course map is released to register.