For the 3 years we’ve lived here for this race, I’ve always had
a reason an excuse not to run it. So over Christmas, I didn’t want to wait and decide not to, so I went ahead and registered.
Race time was 7am. It starts in downtown Pensacola, and you run over 2 bridges, ending in Pensacola Beach. Being a point to point race, you park near the finish line, and take a shuttle to the start. Shuttles ran 5am-6am. So I had to leave the house by 4am to be safe. So I was up at 3:30am to eat my standard pre-race oatmeal and banana with peanut butter.
Thank goodness they have a bag check at the start because it was a cold morning (mid 30’s and windy). I went back and forth about what to race in, but ended up going with shorts, compression socks, and a long sleeve shirt. By mid race, I was really wishing for a short sleeve shirt!
I had a long shot goal of being under an hour, but between the wind and the hills of the bridge, new it was a LOOOOONG shot.
I (in my typically not always so smart tendency) went out hard. Apart from the 3 elites gunning for the price money, there was only 1 girl ahead of me. I caught her early on the 1st bridge (which is 3+ miles long). I had slowed a bit, but was running a strong pace.
Coming off bridge 1, I didn’t realize how much ground was covered before bridge 2. The only silver lining of that stretch was TONS of crowd support. That’s always a huge boost for me!
BUT … mid way across that stretch I hear a pack of people closing on me and dang it, a girl is with them. They pull away a bit. A guy comes up on my shoulder and starts (in a great way) encouraging me that she is mine, I can get her, use the hills, etc … I’d close on her a bit, and then she’d pull away a bit.
I never could get her. She ended up beating me by 21 seconds. But I will say, that guy encouraging me was huge. It kept me in the fight.
I finished in 1:01:37 – so I was very happy with the race! That’s a 6:37 pace. So only 8 seconds per mile slower than my 10K and under my goal half marathon pace for Seaside coming up a month later.
I was the 5th woman overall – and 2nd of the non “invited elites” – so in my book, that’s kind of like 2nd overall :)
And I must say, the Double Bridge run is a top-notch road race – they do things right and do things well. If we’re still living here next year, I definitely want to do it again!