previously posted on the soon to be discontinued mssoulpower.com
I didn’t sleep much last night because frankly I was excited. This is my first race of the year, The Pensacola Double Bridge Run. First race outside of GA. First race over water. A lot of firsts. I woke up with no alarm and wasn’t a bit tired.
Went outside to check the weather. Cool and windy, really cold because of he wind. However I’m pretty well prepped with my $5 windbreaker and high tech long sleeve shirt on top, thermals and yoga pants on the bottom, bandanna, baseball cap, hood and scarf on my head. I skipped gloves, knowing that at some point my hands would be sweaty and I would have to stuff them in my pockets later.
The race organizers provided bus transportation from the finish line to the start, which is GENIUS. As a bonus, the buses were a two minute walk from my hotel door so there were no parking hassles or trying to figure out how to get anywhere, which is a relief when you’re somewhere you haven’t been before and may already have the jitters because of the race. I boarded one of the buses and sat in front of two geared up Steelers fans. We talked football, running (all of us were in the 5K and would not DARE try the 15) and made it to the start at Gulf Breeze High School for the hour wait.
That was a COLD hour, however conversing with all my other frozen comrades made it fun. I spoke with a Marine brother (whose picture I didn’t take because the conversation was too funny to interrupt with photos). I told him they were a hearty bunch, there were only two who had on hats the rest of the men had low hair or no hair at all and they didn’t look cold at all. There were several female Marines as well, sans hats. I asked the brother whether the Marines do the race every year and he indicated that they do but this was his first one (he was in good shape too I noticed him sprinting to take photos when we we were climbing the bridge). I also asked him if race participation was voluntary he said they were ”voluntold” I cracked up. They represented well. About a half hour later the Navy showed up. They marched in and pretty much stuck to themselves.
Then there was the POD crew. A bunch of us huddled together inside of one of those PODS storage containers in order to keep warm. Younger, older but overwhelmingly female we had a good time. I met a group of ladies who were from all over Florida and Georgia. One of them explained to me that they all decided to come and run and walk with her niece and they were all in good spirits.
Now for the race.
The “Double Bridge” portion only applies to the 15K runners. They cross both the Pensacola Bay Bridge and the Bob Sikes Bridge to get to the finish. Us more fortunate, more whimpy or those with better sense 🙂 in the 5K cross only the Bob Sikes Bridge.
For the 5K we enjoyed a gun start and no mad dash, the runners and walkers were orderly and many of them were wearing EAR BUDS. We took a few turns, on the streets then headed for the Bob Sikes Bridge to cross Santa Rosa Sound. What looked like a monster by car was absolutely frightful on foot. What’s funny is that I don’t remember even breathing that hard climbing the hill, nor do I recall any pain. The cadence of the Marines and subsequently the Navy (who all passed me on the bridge) made me forget what I was doing. Next thing you know we’re all on the other side of the bridge heading to the finish line.
One big hill, otherwise this course was not difficult. Overcast, cool weather certainly was a blessing that made the trek across the bridge much more manageable.
Once I crossed the finish line I checked my time, a PR for a turtle like me so I was well pleased. I didn’t hang around for the post race party, which I hear is lively. I’d already had my party, right there on the race course, watching and listening and of course running.
See you on the road!
P.S. EAR BUDS is capitalized because I don’t understand how anyone could run or walk in a race with them on. I mean there’s so much to see and hear. Ear buds on a treadmill — sure, treadmills are a run to nowhere, but ear buds in a race, boggles my mind.