Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon, and there were a lot of great things about it!
The organizers of this race provided a lot of information beforehand (parking info, start/finish, etc.), which made the race morning very easy. I got to the parking area just before 6am, and this is what I saw from my parking spot:
The starting area had plenty of porta-potties for the approximately 2,000 runners. There was also a bag check, which was very easy. Only downside: you had to provide your own bag, which they did inform us of beforehand. I came prepared :) I put my phone in the bag, so no pictures along the way.
The starting line itself was very high-energy. They had flashing lights and a DJ who got everyone ready to run!
One really cool thing about this race was that the water stops were manned by the 10 high schools in the area. The money raised for this race was divided evenly among the schools for their athletic programs. The schools had an opportunity for an additional $500 for being the most spirited water stop along the way. One high school had about 20-30 volunteers (the others had about 10) with a pre-made cheer for us as we ran by. They won the contest by a landslide!
The course was essentially out-and-back, running along A1A (the road by the beach) to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse (which I toured with my family during the summer), then back on Peninsula (the road by the causeway) on the way back. Other than the last mile, the elevation was flat and very easy to run. The last mile was the dreaded bridge, the most difficult part of the race.
My right knee started KILLING me when I would run but would feel better when I walked. Bobbie Jo got a cramp at about the same time, so we decided to walk mile 9 to get it together. Well, neither of us did. We pretty much walked the rest of the race. We'd run for a little bit, then my knee would hurt to bad and I'd have to stop.
We decided that we were both going to finish no matter what. We kept pulling along as best we could, and Bobbie Jo finished running once we got to the downhill part of the bridge. I tried, but running downhill hurt my knee even more. I did, however, run once the course flattened out, so I ran through the finish.
Obviously, not my best race BY ANY MEANS. But, I learned a lesson: I need to actually TRAIN FOR A HALF MARATHON! Meaning, more than just two runs between the half on Sept. 1st and today! I think I got a little cocky about my fitness level after PRing last time and thought my body was still in running shape. Obviously not.
However, the fact that I ran a terrible race didn't get in the way of enjoying it! The Lighthouse Loop is definitely a local race that I will be doing again and again because of the great organization, fun course, and the great cause that it supports!
Question for you: How do you bounce back after a bad race? Did anyone else race this morning? Tell me about it so I can celebrate with you!
I'm planning on getting in some walking, some yoga, and a lot of foam rolling to help my body recover.