Best Damn Race Cape Coral Recap!

If you checked in with me this weekend on Instagram or read my blog post from yesterday then you already know I finished my seventh half marathon on Sunday at Best Damn Race Cape Coral! I can’t believe I’ve done seven of these things already!

After BDR Cape Coral  my friend and fellow blogger, Ali, graciously invited me back to her house so I could shower before we went to lunch. As I was in the shower I thought “I’m at the house of someone I met through the Internet and it doesn’t feel creepy at all!” Haha!

When I started blogging almost three years ago I never thought I would meet people who would become real life friends – but it’s really cool that it’s happened!

Before you meet someone for the first time, I think it’s normal to worry if there will be anything to talk about. In the case of Ali, Megan, Jenny and Jodi (who I met last year) that just has not been a problem – they have all been as funny, nice and smart as they are online. Now I want to meet more of the run blog community in person!

The highlight of my race weekend was definitely getting to hang out with Ali and Megan at a race. Despite each of us having different goals, dreams and expectations it was a great shared experience.

Photo Credit: Ali (and Matt)

The race itself was an interesting one for me. The first half of the race I felt really amazing. The weather was still a little bit cool (lower 70s I think) and there was adequate shade.

My goal for the race was to finish at a run/walk pace of about 14:30 minute per mile — and for that to feel really easy.  In other words it would be a decent training run.

My splits through the first eight miles were right on target. I wasn’t obsessing over my Garmin so when my watch told me I sped up in mile five it was just something that happened naturally. I consciously backed myself down reminding myself that I really wanted to finish feeling like I had something left to give. I know that’s a strange thing to want on a race day, but since this was a training run it’s what I really wanted.

During mile nine the shade went away and my skin just started baking in the sun. I mentally broke during this mile – and the mental break came hard and fast. I distinctly remember thinking, “if you change your run/walk pattern now you will slow down and you won’t get back up” but I decided I didn’t care. And then the rest of the race went down the toilet.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 8.56.34 PM

You can see there wasn’t a gradual drop in pace, I literally just fell off the wagon. The danger of running a race as a training run is that it’s really easy to tell yourself “this is just a training run.” Ugh.

My biggest takeaway is that I need to get back to doing my long runs in the morning so I will be exposed to sun light more often. I always do my weekly runs at night and that’s never going to change, but now that I’ve started doing my long runs at night too I’ve basically become a vampire runner. That’s just not a good way to prepare for race day conditions in Florida (or anywhere).

Finisher's chute (Photo Credit: Megan)

Finisher’s chute (Photo Credit: Megan)

I told Megan after I finished that next year instead of doing several half marathons in Florida I’m going to pick a couple of halves in cold weather states and just totally skip racing down here! By this time next year I’ll probably have forgotten about that, but I do want to pick at least one cold weather half marathon for 2016!

While Megan and I were spectating at mile 24 waiting to see Ali we saw some truly inspiring things. In particular there was a man who had such violent leg muscle cramps that he fell down and cried out in agony for a good 35 minutes. An ambulance came for him, but I guess the cramps must have subsided because we later saw him cross the finish line. As bad as his muscle cramps were (and they looked pretty bad) he said he couldn’t quit this close to the finish line. I just looked at him literally writhing on the ground and thought “yep, he’s a runner.”

We also saw a pacer come through, all by himself, stumble and almost fall. We asked if he was okay and he said he was experiencing cramps but would be fine. A good 90% of the athletes who came by were reduced to a walk thanks to the relentless sun. You know who wasn’t reduced to a walk though? The amazing Ali! She came through at a steady, controlled pace, stopped to chat for a quick second and then continued on her way like a total champ!

Getting to hang out with Megan and Ali in a race environment was super motivating. Megan is an amazing cheerleader and called out “great job” to every person who passed by. I’m truly impressed by her support and enthusiasm for all runners.

Overall, I want to count this race as a success despite falling off the wagon in the second half. Every race teaches us something and the lesson for me here is loud and clear: run in the sun more often to acclimate to it. (Either that or find night races to participate in! ;).

At the risk of sounding super cheesy, I just want to say that after every single race I’m still so grateful to have had the chance to be a part of it. Running is the gift that keeps on giving, even on the days when I curse it’s name under an unforgiving sun!

… And that’s my version of the story from BDR Cape Coral!

Congrats to Ali on her second marathon finish – read her story HERE!

Congrats to Megan on first place in her age group – read her story HERE!

Congrats to Maureen on her PR! One of these days we’ll run into each other ;).

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16 Comments

  1. December 15, 2015 / 5:28 am

    Congrats!! Glad you had a great weekend. You should definitely do a cooler weather race…I know that when I train in the late summer/early fall those cooler run in the late fall end up feeling much easier!

  2. December 15, 2015 / 7:20 am

    Congrats, Kristina! I am glad you had a fun race weekend with the girls! You should definitely try a cool weather race–just not too cold :). Ironically, it has been warm here too. It is supposed to be 60*!!!

  3. December 15, 2015 / 8:59 am

    7 half marathons!!! Good for you, that is awesome! I’ve done 3, and am hoping to get a 4th one in next month. The half is definitely my favorite distance. Congrats on the race!!!

  4. December 15, 2015 / 11:20 am

    How cool is it that you got to hang out with Ali and Megan?! The run blogging community is such a welcoming and supportive bunch. I would love to meet up with people in person sometime.

    The race experience just sounds brutal though. That poor guy with the cramps! Yikes!

  5. December 15, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    Great job. The weather can def be a run killer, the sun is no joke lol. Biggest inspiration is your positive take away and positive plan moving forward. Training run done, lessons learned, on to the next step 🙂

  6. December 15, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    You recapped this race better than I ever could! I am glad you were able to learn something from the race. I think that is why I want to race more often- to LEARN! I just randomly remembered us walking to mile 24 and me telling you about how now I have to tell people I didn’t reach my goal, and that cop screams, “DID YOU REACH YOUR GOAL??” lol. That was soooo random! I am going to do northern 1/2 marathon race research whenever I have a free moment!

  7. December 15, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    Great job!! You know i can not handle and humidity lol so I would have dropped ( and have in races) to run/walk too. FL running is tough stuff, I admire for you doing it!
    It is so cool you got to hang out with Megan and Ali! I was so excited to see Megan won her AG, crazy girl is so fast. I am kind of vampire runner myself, I am used to dark or dim lol Sun really throws me until it is really cool out. That is a great picture of you all under the finish line!

  8. December 15, 2015 / 2:30 pm

    Holy moly, it sounded like quite the race for everyone!! I found it interesting/funny that you said 70 was “cooler”. I would have called that “getting so hot early in the morning!”, but that’s just the difference of living in Ohio vs Florida. Hey, if you want to run a little race called the Glass City Marathon in April, we’ll be having some cooler weather here in Ohio! 🙂
    Congrats on getting this race done. Every time you cross a finish line it’s a success!!

  9. December 15, 2015 / 2:33 pm

    Congrats on finishing! I have to give props to runners like you in Florida or similar climates – I couldn’t handle that kind of heat for so much of the year! I don’t think I’d be a runner if I lived there. 🙂

  10. December 15, 2015 / 5:02 pm

    I love this post! I have met a few people IRL through my blog and it has been kind of awesome. I LOLed at your comment about showering at someone’s house because it’s so true!! I am really hoping to ease back into exercise and connecting with new bloggers in 2016. I think it would be so fun to travel somewhere and meet up with people that you ‘know’ online.

  11. December 15, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    The highlight of the race – and what truly kept me going and forced me to finish – was knowing you and Megan were there. I just couldn’t let you girls down!

    We all suffered on the struggle bus Sunday, but at least we were there together! I’d love to do a northern race with you ladies.

    Seeing people battle through injuries and cramps and still make it to the finish is so inspiring…it’s what I truly love most about races! It lets you see how OTHER people overcome. I mean, I love running, but you can’t get those kinds of awe-inspiring moments from a solo run!

  12. December 15, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    CONGRATS ON YOUR FINISH!!!!!!!!!!! What’s next on the race agenda?

  13. December 16, 2015 / 7:07 am

    Congrats on battling through under tough conditions! Running in the sun for that long can be really brutal. I know I just disintegrate in the sun, so I applaud you and everyone else who ran that race! Awesome that you came away from this race with a great takeaway that will help you in the future.

  14. December 16, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    Congrats my friend! You and all the other “southern” runners impress me by running in that heat practically year round! Kudos for toughing it out. The picture of you three with your bibs is adorable! Ok come up north for a race! You’ll be like the Jamaican bob sled team.. its cold up north 🙂

  15. December 16, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    It sounds like the heat got to everyone during this race. Congrats on finishing despite the tough conditions. It can only make you stronger for the next one!

  16. December 18, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    That is so awesome that you got to meet Megan and Ali and cheer each other on! I am finally getting caught up on blog posts and had fun reading all of your experiences over the weekend! You guys did a much better job of connecting compared to when you and I were in Portland. 😉 Someday, right?

    I am sorry to hear that you did not meet your goals – but you still finished despite the heat and tough racing conditions. Maybe you need to come run in my neck of the woods during this time of year. We have SNOW on the ground. 🙂

    P.S. I always love your positive attitude when it comes to running and races!