Valentine’s Day 8K

February 10, 2014 | Comment

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The Valentine’s Day 8K was held Saturday at the Fort Maurepas Historical Site in Ocean Springs, MS. The start and finish were on the beachfront. The out and back 5 mile course included running over the Biloxi Bay Bridge twice. The race was put on by the Gulf Coast Running Club.

I made the hour and a half drive to Ocean Springs around 7:ooam Saturday morning. The race was a last minute decision but in the end I decided to take the drive since I had not done a race in a month. The weather was in the 40s and the sun was shining. It was beautiful.

I had never done this race before so I was not sure what to expect. I was surprised to learn we were going to run over the Biloxi Bay bridge not once but twice. I was nervous because it looked challenging (see picture above). I immediately got the idea of any time goals out of my head.

This race had a special Valentine’s Day twist. There was a team division but the teams had to be one male and one female, like a couple. I could not talk my husband into coming so I put my name on the list as a single. Luckily another male needed a partner and we matched up. Our ages combined were 89 which qualified us for the Master’s Division. I was not sure how to feel about that because I figured I had another eight years before I called myself a “master.” Nevertheless I was happy to have a partner.

The race started out on the beachfront for almost a mile before we got on the bridge and started the ascent. We ascended about .5 miles before reaching the peak. It was rough being that I have not ran “up” anything since the bridge series last summer. It definitely took its toll on me: I went from a 7:15 pace to a 9:00 pace.

We then descended down the bridge and ran on the flat portion until the turnaround at the 2.5 mile mark. I was in 12th place which I stayed in until the end. I dropped down to an 8:05 pace but my legs were exhausted from the bridge. While running back the elevated portion of the bridge was staring at me and putting negative thoughts in my head. I dreaded running back up that monster again. My one goal was to not to stop running which unfortunately several people did. I slowly but surely made it up without stopping.

The final 1.25 miles took me down the bridge and back out to the beachfront. I picked up the pace to sub 8:00 and finished in 40:28 for 12th overall female. I was exhausted and drank about 5 cups of water. Even though it was cool I was dehydrated. I met up with my partner who finished about 4 minutes ahead of me.

The post race party and awards were held in Fort Maurepas Park. Refreshments were provided and the awards began. I won 2nd in the 30-34 age group. My partner and I won 3rd place in the Master’s Team division. The trophies for both were really nice, see above. ¬†The Gulf Coast Running Club always goes above and beyond with their awards.

There were two performances I wish to highlight from the race. The first was from a 71 year old male who got 15th overall and finished the race in 34:55, a sub 7:00 pace. The second was from a 7 year old girl, yes 7, who placed 10th overall for the females and finished in 39:36 for a sub 8:00 pace. These two individuals are truly inspirational. The next time you make an excuse for yourself think of these two, I know I will.

I’m not sure when my next race will be. Mardi Gras season is here which means lots of overtime at work for me. I am looking at March 8 for the possible next race. Until next time.

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