This past weekend was the inaugural Best Damn Race in Cape Coral, FL. Not only am I an ambassador for this race series, but I’ve also participated in every BDR in every location since they started. When it was announced that two more locations would be added (Cape Coral and Jacksonville), I knew I couldn’t miss out.
Saturday morning I drove down to Cape Coral with fellow ambassador Andrea and our runner pal Karen. Boy was that a long drive! But when we arrived at our beautiful Westin hotel on the water we realized it was totally worth it! After getting checked into our room (with quite the view) we headed over to the race expo to pick up our race packets. We stuck around just long enough to get our things and say hi to a few people. After the long drive and knowing that we had to be up early the next day we decided our time would be better spent close to the hotel and grabbing some dinner.
Our first stop was the Nauti Mermaid bar at the hotel. The bar is outside on the water by the marina and was the perfect place to enjoy the sunny, and slightly cool, Saturday afternoon. Karen and I both decided to try their Nauti Mermaid Ale which is actually made on site. It was quite tasty!
After looking around at the shops nearby we decided to have dinner at Pinchers. We all like seafood and the restaurant was within walking distance of the hotel, so it was the perfect choice. The restaurant is right on the water so it had beautiful views to go along with the yummy food. We all got different things and really enjoyed them. It was just the right thing to end our day.
We were all in bed by 8:30ish (I know, a bunch of old ladies) but we knew we had to be up early. That 5:00 am wake up call came entirely too quickly! We decided to arrive about an hour before the race in hopes of parking right near the start. This way we could sit in the car for awhile before the start (it was VERY cold that morning) and we’d be able to get out of there whenever we wanted after the race was over. We were able to get that close by parking spot and stayed in the car until about 15 minutes before the race. Man oh man it was a chilly start!
Karen and I decided to stick together and Andrea went off on her own (she’s a bit speedier than we are). I was feeling under the weather (ended up with a pretty nasty cold) and neither Karen or I felt particularly prepared for the race, so we decided that the goal for the day was to finish. Unfortunately, that goal was a lot harder to accomplish than I originally thought.
Before I get into the bad parts of the race (for me personally), let me tell you about all of the good things. The race course was beautiful! It was an out and back through the neighborhoods of Cape Coral. I loved how even though we covered 13.1 miles we barely had to run out on busy roads. There were plenty of aid stations with very energetic groups there to cheer you on. I wish I had been in a better place so that I could have enjoyed it all more.
About 2 miles into the race I was on the verge of tears and ready to give up. My throat was killing me and breathing in the cold air was just awful. But since my nose was all stuffed up I didn’t have a choice. The walk breaks started sooner than I would have liked and quickly became longer than I would have liked. Thankfully Karen was so great and didn’t make me feel bad at all about how slow I was going. Around mile 4 I got a second wind of sorts but it didn’t last very long. Around mile 9 we started walking and pretty much walked the rest of the way.
We picked it up and gave it all we had and ran to the finish line. We did it! I just completed my slowest half marathon EVER! But ya know what? I don’t care. I still completed my 8th half marathon and it didn’t matter how slow or ugly it was. Andrea was there in the finishers chute taking pictures and handing us our medals. It was such a great way to end the race! (Thanks Best Damn Race crew for letting her do that)
After the race we grabbed some snacks and headed over to the beer tent for a much desired adult beverage. Karen and I were stupidly excited when we realized that they had cider. Woo hoo! We grabbed our cider and then plopped down on the ground to catch up with our friend Hope and her husband. It was nice to just relax and hang out with them after the race. Finally it all caught up with me and I wanted nothing more than to take a shower and put on warmer clothes.
Thanks to a late check out time at the hotel we were all able to take our time showering, changing, and packing up our stuff. We grabbed brunch at a nearly Perkins before getting on the road home. I swear it took longer to get home than it did to get there! I’m sure it was just the cold, sore legs, and sleepiness – but it was still a long drive!
Even with not feeling well it was a fun weekend and a great race. The next Best Damn Race is a month away in Jacksonville and I intend to be healthy and WAY more prepared for that one. I’m only doing the 10k, but I’m hoping to finally get a new PR for that distance.
If you are interested in joining me at Best Damn Race in Jacksonville (or Safety Harbor or Orlando), you can use code MEGROTH for $5 of your registration.