This was the inaugural Cocoa Women’s Half Marathon, Wild Women’s 5k and 1 mile Girl’s Fun Run. I was excited about running this race because of the course, the location of the race and last, but definitely not least, the fact that it was sponsored by chocolate! Leading up to my race I had a few training set-backs, including working a crazy holiday schedule and getting sick and not working out for a week. I was less than confidant that I was going to be able to perform well, let alone meet my goal of finishing in under two hours. I started the 24 hours before the race filled with adrenaline because I made my first wedding cake at work! That was so nerve-racking but exciting all at the same time. After I finished work on Saturday, I headed downtown to the Victoria house where the race expo was being held.
I followed the green arrows to the t-shirt table, where I was promptly told that I needed my number to get my shirt. I retraced my steps and found my number on a big list, walked through the house and grabbed my number from the table. Then, I could get my t-shirt and a look at the finisher medals.
The expo was probably the low-point of the race. There were only a few vendors, no free samples and not too much to look at. To be honest, it wasn’t that big of a deal, and for a small, inaugural race, I think it was perfectly appropriate. Due to another engagement, I could not attend the fajita dinner sponsored by the race. I am quite sad about this, but I did end up having fajitas for dinner anyway. I didn’t really mean to eat Mexican food as my pre-race meal, but it just turned out that way and it actually worked for me. I had one tortilla with rice, and chicken fajitas, a few chips with mild salsa and water. I had eggplant with marinara sauce and BBQ ribs and brisket earlier in the day and eggs with spinach for breakfast. All in all, it was a good pre-race eating day.
I woke up and made some coffee for myself and even though I wasn’t hungry, I had a banana with almond butter and an apple pie LARAbar. I realized about 45 minutes before my race that I did not have enough energy gels and I didn’t know if any would be provided on the course, so I had to run to the store and grab two more. Wow, that really got my adrenaline going because I was parking at 7:45 and my race started at 8! I jogged about two blocks to the start of the race and jumped in the porta-potty line, which was moving incredibly slow. So slow that I actually missed the start of the race and started after almost everyone had cleared out of the start gate! That was not good, but I really could not wait 13.1 miles to go to the bathroom. The first mile flew by me in about 8:25 as I ran through downtown San Antonio. My pace was too fast but definitely fueled by the fact that I started late. I told myself to slow down and settle in, but as I made my way through HemisFair park I crossed mile 2 at 17:00, right about 8:30/mile again. Mile 3 passed by at 25:34 on my watch and I settled into my pace as the route snaked through the Historic King William neighborhood for Mile 4.
I also started eating my LARAbar when I passed mile 3 and finished it a little after mile 4. Right after mile 5 (42 minutes) the route jumped on the Mission Reach portion of the River walk. I kept thinking I would see Ben during Miles 3-5 but I never did. Mile 6 was on the Riverwalk and that was my cue to start sucking on my Stinger Gel. I was really trying hard to get fuel before I felt like I needed it. It was at Mile 6 (54:00) that the first place runner met us running back toward the finish! She was running about 5:30 minute miles!!! Ben caught up to me again at Theo and Mission Rd, right after the halfway point which I crossed at 1 hour on the dot. The route took us past Riverside Golf Course and back onto the Riverwalk toward downtown. At this point, I knew there were a couple long, steady hills, and although I don’t like the saying, I was thinking of Tina and how she “makes hills her b*tch“! I knew I was going to have to push hard and ignore everything my body was telling me if I was going to be able to finish in under two hours.
Ben was able to ride along the opposite side of the Riverwalk and yell encouragement to me, which was very nice. I really love the fact that he will get up early and ride his bike around to cheer me on, give me water and take pictures. Unfortunately, all the pictures he took did not turn out. I’m not terribly surprised because I had forgotten my camera and he was taking pictures on his phone. I took another Stinger Gel at Mile 9 to keep my energy up for the last part of the race. I was very glad that I had run most of the race course before the actual race because I really knew what to expect, especially during the last miles which are usually the most challenging. Crossing Mile 10 (1:29) I started thinking, ”only a 5k left” but I was a little worried about my time. I tried to get pumped up by my music but Pandora was NOT helping at all. I switched my station 3 times because of bad songs, but at Mile 10, I gave up and just ran. I was ignoring everything except running and thinking about the finish line.
Mile 12 came along at 1:48 on my watch and I was ecstatic! Even if I ran a 10 minute last mile, I could finish in under 2 hours. I was definitely tired and hurting at this point, but the goal was so attainable I just had to keep going. The whole race is really a blur, but I do remember passing several people at the end (another goal – pass 3 people in the last mile). I came up the last hill and Ben was waiting for me, cheering me on, telling me the finish line was right around the corner. I almost ran over a little girl who was wandering in the street (come on parents, we cannot see anything but the finish line at this point!) as I took off as fast as I could run toward the finish. I told myself I would cross the line with victory arms, and I did. My watch said 1:56 and my official time was 1:56:00.15!!!
OH YEAH, PR FOR ME!!!! It felt so good, I couldn’t wipe the smile of my face for at least two days!
All in all, this was a great inaugural race and I would definitely run it again next year. Who could turn down chocolate at the finish line?? I loved running a race in my home-town because parking was easy, I knew the race course and I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants for my post race celebration.