Double Race Day: Stennis Space Center Half Marathon & Brew Ho Ho Beer Mile
At our last race together, the Quadburners Halloween Hustle, Misti, my running partner in crime, and I made an Abita Beer fueled decision to add a half marathon to our race calendar. We already had our Quadburners race series finale, the Brew Ho Ho beer mile, planned for November 26. The idea of adding the Stennis Space Center Half Marathon to that morning seemed like a wonderful idea……until race week.
Misti and I did our usual text message exchange of complaining and asking ourselves why we pay to torture ourselves in the days leading up to the half marathon. The truth was I was not that nervous. I had the Gulf Coast Half Marathon under my belt from October and felt somewhat prepared.
I was completely relaxed race morning and woke up to gorgeous, sunny Fall weather with temperatures in the 50s. We met up at the race site, which was at the Stennis Space Center in Pearlington, MS. While driving to the parking area we saw the 25 mile and 26 mile signs for the marathoners. We instantaneously agreed that would never be us.
All three races, the 5K, half marathon, and marathon, started together at 8:00am. The first mile was a complete cluster with several hundred runners and walkers with vastly different paces trying to start together. I tried to navigate my way through the crowd and finished the fist mile in 8:57.
The next four miles took us around the different buildings of the site. I was focused on finding a comfortable pace and not letting myself slip into 9 minute territory. It was a somewhat struggle but I finished mile 2 in 8:40, 3 in 8:43, 4 in 8:48, and 5 in 8:43.
During mile 6 I took a quick break for a GU gel pack and some water and completed the mile in 9:12.
Miles 7 and 8 took us to the turnaround point. It was a nice change of scenery to see all of the faster runners running on the opposite side of the road and counting runners to see what place I was in. I completed mile 7 in 8:47 and mile 8 in 8:48.
Mile 9 is where I usually hit the wall and start falling apart. Magically it never happened and my training finally paid off. This is the first half marathon that I did not hit the dreaded wall. I pushed myself and finished mile 9 in 8:47.
We finally turned back onto smooth pavement and started to make our way back to the finish line. Lucky for me a tyrannosaurus Rex was handing out beer and bacon on the side of the road and I was distracted from my fatigue……..no this was not a mirage or a figment of my imagination. I wish I had my cell phone with me to take a picture. I finished mile 10 in 8:46, mile 11 in 8:44, and mile 12 in 8:43.
The final full mile took us on a winding road with a few hills. I focused on keeping a steady pace while I enjoyed the beautiful fall colors. I finished mile 12 in 8:41.
.1 miles later I was finished! I completed the half marathon in 1:55:34, my fourth best time out of 13 half marathons. I was happy with my performance but I knew I ran too safe and could have probably done better.
I got my finishers medal and headed back out to the course to cheer on Misti.
We enjoyed the post race festivities which included Michelob Ultra beer, pastalaya, and fruit. We could not stay long because we had to prepare for our second race of the day, the Brew Ho Ho beer mile.
After an hour drive home, a shower and a hot pocket, and an hour drive back to Mississippi I was ready for my first full beer mile.
I had no idea what to expect from this race and had only one goal: do not puke. After seeing a few of the “root beer” milers puking I was not so confident.
Misti and I were in the first “real beer” heat. Speaking of heat I questioned the fact the cans of beer had been sitting out on tables in the sun for well over an hour. The race director said scientifically, warm beer would be much easier on our stomachs than cold beer. Well, OK then, warm beer it was.
We got right down to business and chugged a beer before the running began. I easily drank my warm beer and ran a quarter mile to the next table. A symphony of burps was coming from myself and the other runners, but I actually felt alright. The next beer was not as smooth. I lost my first place standing and seriously questioned if that beer would be making an encore. After a long manly burp I was good to go.
Beers three and four went down smoothly and I finished my first beer mile in 10:37.
We watched the other heats then headed to the after party. I was happy to see cold beer and savored in its iciness. Beer boots with the race logo were handed out to the top 10 finishers. I was second overall! Misti and my other running buddy, Janel, were also in the top 10 and received beer boots.
After the raffle we picked up our series shirts and our series race medal. The series race medal had spots for all of the individual race medals to fit inside of it. Definitely the largest and most unique medal I have ever seen.
I had an absolute blast completing the Quadburners race series and cannot wait to do it again in 2017. Next up for me is my final race of 2016, the St. Paul’s School Christmas 5K this Saturday. Until next time!