After having an incredible time at the Best Damn Race 10K last year, I told the girls that I would love to have my bachelorette party at this year’s race weekend. I knew I wanted to do a race, and I knew I wanted to stay at least somewhat local. It just all worked out too perfectly.
The girls and I stayed at the Safety Harbor Resort for the weekend. The location is incredibly convenient as you walk out the front door and are at the start line.
Race morning started early as it always does. This one felt particularly early after staying up a bit too late chatting with everyone. Totally worth it!
A first floor suite meant our room was closer than gear check. We took full advantage of the extra time and convenient bathroom access it gave us.
Photo Credit: Meghann
Coach Steve had given me an race day strategy for my sub-2 goal. I’d studied it, and Meghan and Meg (who planned to run with me) had studied it. It had been cold all week and we were expecting perfect race day temperatures. I was anticipating perfect PR conditions. However, as we got closer to race day, the temperatures were creeping up and the humidity was sitting at 100%. You could see the moisture in the air race morning. I emailed Steve and asked him if I should stick to the plan. He said in those conditions it was best to back off :15-:30 per mile. He reminded me that we only can work with the conditions we are given on race day. At that time I decided to not let go of the goal, but to run the best race I felt comfortable with.
After the start Meghan and I almost immediately lost Meg. We were bobbing and weaving through the crowd and she’d gotten ahead of us. Meghan and I settled into the low 9 pace that we’d planned.
I noticed during the first few miles how much harder it felt in the humidity. I did everything I could to fight the negative thoughts about the rest of the race. This was my Best Damn Bachelorette and I was going to enjoy every second of it.
This mostly waterfront course really is awesome. It weaves through the charming little city of Safety Harbor. There were families out on their lawns to cheer on the runners. You really felt the sense of community as you ran through the neighborhoods.
Meghan said things along the way like “Do you know anyone getting married next month?” and “hey look a photog, LETS JUMP!”. I couldn’t help but smile.
I took a Gu at miles 5 and 10 as I’d planned. I was carrying a handheld and drank a lot more water than I normally do. It was humid and the last thing I wanted to do was get dehydrated. At some point Meghan started feeding me salt pills. I definitely noticed a difference using them. Thank you Meghan. I purchased a bottle to use throughout the rest of training.
Somewhere midway through I saw my future mother-in-law spectating with a big sign with my face and a veil that said “Best Damn Bride”. It was such a sweet surprise.
At mile 10 I decided to make a quick port-a-potty stop before giving all I had left for the last 3 miles. Meghan waited for me and filled my handheld… have I mentioned how awesome my running buddies are?!
The last three miles were tough, but almost bittersweet. I looked over at Meghan during mile 12 and said “it’s almost over” with a sad puppy face.
We crossed the finish line with our hands in the air and huge smiles on our faces at 2:03:27. My second fastest half marathon to date. I was very pleased with our time.
After crossing the finish line we found the other half marathoners and ran back around to watch the 5k girls to come across. We enjoyed a beer and food from the post race party, took way too many group photos, cheered on some of the final half marathon finishers, and recapped our experiences at the race.
I have to admit, I had a lot of favorite parts of the weekend, but perhaps my favorite was the excitement of all my friends coming across the finish line. I was so worried they’d think I was completely insane for wanting to do a race for my bachelorette party, but everyone really seemed to have a good time. Hearing them talk about how much fun they’d had at the race, and talks of doing another one, made me so damn happy. It really was the Best Damn Race.
And of course, we cleaned up and enjoyed a night out after
Great big huge thank you to Nick Zivolich and the Best Damn Race Team. You guys put on one hell of a race and I look forward to more Best Damn Races in the future!