Valentine’s Day 8K
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.