|USA Beach Running Championships|
In the weeks leading up to the event, I suffered from some serious allergies and a sinus infection. I thought I finally kicked the sinus issues until about 3 days before the race when I began to feel bad again. The night before the race I felt horrible and even considered not running. But I figured I could still go and just do the best I can. Cocoa Beach is about an hour and twenty minutes from Altamonte Springs, so I had to wake up around 4:30am and hit to hit the road by 5am. Other than several dollars in tolls, the ride was relatively easy and quick and I arrived with enough time to pick up my packet, use the ladies room and even see the sunrise! Fortunately, a member of MRTT had picked up my packet for me the Friday before, but from the looks of it, packet pick up seemed to be quick and easy. There were quite a few port-a-potties as well as indoor restroom facilities, so the typical insanely long pre-race bathroom lines were actually not too bad!
|Pre-Race Sunrise on Cocoa Beach|
On the run back, the sun was fully up and the temperature had significantly increased. The ocean breeze helped a little but the sun was really hot on our shoulders. Since the beach cannot be closed off, having to dodge a few beach combers and fishing polls was slightly annoying but not too terrible. The course was well marked, so even though it was difficult to see the finish line down the beach, the markers helped keep us aware how much distance we had left.
The finish line was lined with large, beautiful conch shells. Several spectators lined the finish line and were cheering very excitedly for us runners. As soon as I crossed the finish line at a little over 47 minutes (unfortunately not a PR but I didn't expect one that day) I received not only my big sand dollar medal but also a lay! There was, however, not water at the finish line which was a little disappointing. I had to walk about 20 yards up sugar soft sand to get a small cup of water. But where the water was located was also donuts, coffee, OJ and even mimosas.
|My girl Meagan and I right after the race|
|Some of my MRTT ladies and I enjoying the post-race mimosas|
|I placed 1st in my division|
|John, my MRTT mama's son, and I posing with our awards|
Running on the beach was harder as well as easier than I had anticipated. I wasn't sure how much if any of the course would be on the soft sand so I was preparing myself for some ultra challenging terrain. Fortunately, no part of the course went on that part of the beach. Though the area where we ran was hard packed sand, it was wet from the tide making it sponge-y and sunction-y. I'm aware neither of those two descriptions are actual words but that is the best way I can describe it and I did feel like it had a part in my slower pace. Also, even though it was straight and flat, the beach does decline towards the water so we were running on a bit of a slat on the way out. Luckily it was much flatter on the way back since we were much closer to the water. Since you're on the beach, there is absolutely NO shade whatsoever, so it did get hot quick, but like I said, the breeze did help some.
Pros: It's a well organized and put on event. The medals and awards are super. Beautiful scenery, who doesn't love the beach!?! Awesome post race party. Quick turn around from race to awards. Great event for Mother's Day!
Cons: Beach running is tough, lol. No shade made it a scorcher. Starts early, so it's a loooong day for those of us with a drive. Ugly race shirt (it's like mint chocolate or nursing home green). Needs to have water at finish line. No race photographer. As event grows, consider giving overall awards three deep as opposed to just first place.
All in all it was a great event and myself and several of my buddies want to do it again. Next year, I think I would prefer making a little vacay out of the event, staying at least the night before if not two nights, so I do not have to do the hour plus drive there and back that day. If anything though, I would definitely like to have my family there next year, I know my husband and kids would have enjoyed watching me cross the finish line for this one. And it would have been great to have my very own cheering section during awards, especially since it was Mother's Day!
|Mother's Day fun!|
|Let's hope this medicine and rest helps, I'm so over being sick because it's interfering my running!!!|
For more information on the USA Beach Running Championships, visit their website at http://www.runonthebeach.com. I highly recommend checking this event out next year, you won't regret it!!!