We started out on pavement for about 3/4 of a mile or so, then we headed onto the trail. I wore long pants mostly because I had read on their site to be prepared for sand burs and I definitely didn't want to "tangle" with those things; thinking long pants would protect me some, that's what I wore. The trail consisted of mostly deep, loose sand with some grades. Once on the trail, the fun began. Did I say, "fun"??? Come on, all of you that did this KNOW it was fun...from the beginning! Actually, it wasn't bad I thought to myself. Well, it wasn't long before we were introduced to a little deeper sand. Then the story goes without saying things only got "deeper"...no pun intended. I've run in sand one time before and it was on the beach up close to the water where it was more "padded". I thought THAT was hard. This doesn't compare! People began to spread out going their own pace as best they could. When deep sand appeared I tried to run as steady as I could but my calves literally SCREAMED making me walk a few steps until I was out of that area and my calves calmed down. That went back and forth throughout the race. Good running, then deep-sand-calf-yelling running. Marsha and I passed each other off and on until the last mile or so. We went through one area that appeared to be marsh-like. Boy, was it soft to run on and just about the moment you thought you could make some time you started hitting little pockets which made running more cautious so as to not turn an ankle or fall. You were blinded to them as the grass covered them up. Fortunately, there were some places that leveled off after this with a few grass runners here and there. It didn't take long to realize that that's where you could actually get traction and run a little harder. Don't get me wrong...the running harder did NOT mean longer!! Usually after getting through those easy parts, beautiful, white sand appeared again, sometimes deeper and looser accompanied by a steep grade. On pavement or hard ground you might not think much of the grade but when you're pushing as hard as you can to move forward UP a grade it doesn't take long to realize that you take one step up and slide back two. Boy, was I glad to hear spectators cheering those crossing the Finish Line ahead. I knew it was about over even if I couldn't see it yet. I looked at the clock and was totally amazed at my time. I had NO idea I would come in under an hour and a half but was much better than that. It made all the heavy breathing, struggling times worth it.
Not exactly the order of finish but it was Justin, Kim, Eric, me, Marsha, Becky, Irene and Diane. We were all whipped, exhausted and some vowed not to do the course again! Well......all I can say is I like a challenge. And because it was tough and I came 28 seconds from breaking an hour, all it did for me is to assure that I would be there next year and do better hoping to clear the hour. The girls all got together for a goofy picture [goofy? well, it's probably more like the way we REALLY felt at this moment, ha!]. I love these girls!!! There's never a dull moment.
We knew a couple would be getting awards. Hanging around was easy to do because everyone was really enjoying themselves. I was pleasantly surprised [actually shocked] to see that I had placed in my age group. Yep...I was beside myself for sure. Irene got 1st place, Becky got 1st and I got 3rd.
About half of us received medals. It was exciting.
Then we had to get a pic of all of us. So, Voila [that's for you Justin...and Diane...ha!]
Thanks, John, for taking the pic of us!
Here is the long sleeve tee we got as well as my medal. My time was 1:00:28.
We all left Pensacola and decided to go to The Gulf for lunch. I wasn't hungry but it was such a gorgeous day it was exciting to think we would be sitting outside enjoying the sun, soft breeze and beautiful water. Oh, my...what a great day it was!! I really didn't want it to end...except that Kent was with me. He was playing golf.
Last but not least, I want to share a couple of pics of the birthday girl. My friend, Jean, had a birthday on the 4th. Bless her heart, she has been on the injured list for a while now. A few of us got together to celebrate her birthday. My sweet friend, Mi, invited us to lunch at her restaurant. We had a great time reminiscing our running together. Here are a couple of pics. Get well quick, Jean, we miss you!
Jean and me
Susan, Mi, Jean
I am so thankful my running is getting better...most of all, that I am feeling better and stronger. So, for those in a slump, NEVER give up. I know I've said this a lot but there is so much truth in it. Keep going, do what you can and I'll see you at the next race.
Run 4 It