Best Damn Post =)

Today I ran the Best Damn Race. 

I don't remember how or when I found out about the Best Damn Race. I remember reading that the first X amount of people that registered got to run a half marathon for $1. The registration price increased as the number of people registered. One dollar for a half marathon? I was going to try to be one of those first few people. 

I tried to sign on to register but so many people were thinking exactly what I was. I think I wound up paying $20 or $25 for the half. Still an amazing price! I paid the Best Damn Price for the Best Damn Race!

As I had mentioned before I had gotten sick on Monday. I thought it was just a cold. By Thursday I realized it wasn't a cold, headed to the doctor, and was told I had strep. I wondered if I'd be ok on race day. I hadn't run in 10 days and I was itching to get out and do something. I NEEDED to run. I was advised by many people that it could make me worse, and that I should skip the race. I figured I'd see how I felt Friday night and race morning. 

Either way I was going to wind up out at the race. I knew a bunch of people that would be there and my friend Mera was running her first 1/2 Marathon. I couldn't miss that! My aunt was also running her first 5k. How could I not be there? Friday after work I went home and relaxed. Instead of going out I made myself some pasta and went to bed early. 

Race morning came and I was feeling good. I still had a bit of a cough and stuffy nose, but my body felt ok. What the heck, I could try to run this. I thought about drinking a cup of coffee but I know that can upset my stomach so I didn't chance it. I usually have a shake on race morning, but I ran out and have yet to get more. I really need to. So out the door with nothing in the tummy, but plans to stop at a Starbucks. 

We stopped at the Starbucks and I decided on oatmeal. I've never had it before a race before but I decided to give it a try. I know you shouldn't start new things before a race, but I live on the edge! Plus I knew I was sick and I probably wouldn't PR or might even have to stop, so I figured this was an OK time to start something new. I got a tea as well. Some caffeine was much needed. 

We got to the start area around 6am and it was cold! We waited in the car for a bit and then headed into the Hotel to use the restrooms. Then we hung out in the warmth of the indoors for as long as possible. (Best Damn Idea) Right before the race I ran into April. Her and I chatted a little bit. Then runners started getting closer to the start. I said bye to everyone since I was going up a little further than them to start and off we went.

The course was pretty and as we started and ran along the water we got to view a pretty sunrise. Maybe the Best Damn Sunrise?

We ran up along the water for a little bit, turned around and headed in the other direction. I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and shorts, same as I had during space coast with no issue (and I believe the temps were around the same), and I was getting hot. 
Around Mile 2

Somewhere during mile 3 I couldn't deal with the "heat" anymore (apparently still in the upper 50s) and  I did a costume change. I had to stop on the side of the road and put my stuff down. I was holding my phone for music because I couldn't find my arm band. Also, last time I tried this shirt removal I lost my headband and shirt because I was trying to run and change. I was going to just stop this time. 

I started moving again and ran into Brandi and Connie. Great to get to run with those you know on the course! I barely get to do this so I was excited. Brandi made sure to reinforce the take it easy if you need to concept. And I was. I was slowing down when I needed, but I was still doing my normal pace at that point. 

At around mile 5.5 I started getting tired. This is a very early point for me to get tired, but I attributed it to being sick. I was coughing every so often and I felt a bit weak. I kept moving. I saw April at some point and we waved and checked up on each other. She looked strong! I kept looking for Mera and Arianna, but I never did see them. 

Then mile 9 happened. Up until this point I was ahead of the 2:30 pacer. Still not on point to PR, but pretty good, especially considering I was sick AND I hadn't run in 10 days. Then I started slowing down bad. I started feeling sick. Usually when I feel my heart rate getting high I'll slow a bit and take a deep breath. I couldn't do that. I'd breath in and cough violently. My body started trying to tell me I shouldn't be doing this. My head was saying I was almost done. I ran a marathon, I got this. 
Self portrait when I was feeling like death

I had to walk A LOT. By the time I got to mile 12 I was significantly slower than my normal pace. Every time I would try to run I would just hurt. And my body didn't want to go. I'd run a few steps and have to walk. At some point during this horrible mile I saw Cinthya. She gave me a hug and that was super encouraging. Thanks to her for that! I also started seeing the 5kers making their way to the turn-around. Kara saw me and shouted out, also encouraging. I was looking for my aunt, but didn't see her in the crowd. 
My super slow mile. 

Finally I saw the crowd around the finish. I was almost done, finally. I crossed the finish and stopped my watch. It said 2:37, but I had started it a bit late so I figured it was probably off a little. Official time 2:38:10.

I saw Ben and Beth at the finish. Ben was snapping pictures (best damn pictures) and Beth was handing out medals. Then I walked back towards some Run Tampa friends and waited for the others to finish. 

Finished! I made it!

I waited to see the other finishers. April finished next with PR. Congrats girl!
April and I

Then I saw Arianna and Mera at the finish. It was Mera's first 1/2 Marathon with no training and only having run about 5 miles as her longest run prior. Arianna ran the race with an injury. Both of them are amazing. And my aunt ran her first 5k. Congrats Doreen!
Me, Arianna, Mera, Doreen

Then we all hung out a bit, took pictures, and grabbed a sandwich.

Me, Mera, Arianna

Best Damn Picture #1 Brandi and I

Best Damn Picture #2 - Silly Pose

Best Damn Picture # 3 - Group Shot

After the race, on the ride home I started to feel really sick. My cough got worse and I felt feverish. Unfortunately I had to stay in the rest of the day and eat soup. The wind in my face was obviously not a good idea for my lungs. I wouldn't run sick again (well at least i say that now), and I'm going to take it easy for the next week. A few more rest days are in store for this girl, but I had the Best Damn Time 

P.S. - I was also very excited about the Best Damn Shirts. They actually fit! Awesome!!