If you read my last blog post you may have caught that I was heading to Alabama to finish out the series finally for Gulf Coast Half . Back in 2011 when I started running I ran the Mandeville Half and again in 2014. In 2013 I did Pensacola and FINALLY it was time for BAMA!
- 2011 Mandeville,LA Half time 2:06:01 (Great Flat Course held in October)
- 2014 Mandeville,LA Half time 2:07:41- Blog Race Recap
- 2013 Pensacola,FL Half time 2:10:08 – Blog Race Recap (held in April-Warm but great after party)
- 2015 Gulf Shores,AL Half time 2:14:36 ( Flat course minus the bridge at the Start & Finish)
I took my own advice and packed ahead of time for this roadtrip to Alabama. I was looking forward to it considering this was actually my FIRST time to Gulf Shores. Fortunately my buddy Francine knew her way around and it was very easy to get around. On the way we stopped at Lambert’s for lunch. We split a grilled chicken salad which ended up being ginormous and filled up on rolls and pass arounds. Well worth the stop. A fun, family oriented restaurant perfect for those road tripping.
After lunch we shopped at the nearby Tanger shopping outlet. We only went to a handful of stores but came out with bags at every one which says a lot because I am not much of a shopper. Today was a beautiful, sunny day with a high of 60 so we were definitely enjoying ourselves, even got some new sunglasses!
Time to head to packet pickup at LuLu’s which went very quickly to get our bib and shirt. We still had some time to spare so we went to their bar area and got a mudslide while scoping out the dinner menu before heading to the hotel for check in.
Around 6pm we headed back to Lulu’s for some pre-race dinner grub. Afterwards we went to The Hangout since I had never been there before. Great fun laid back atmosphere. A highlight of mine here was the “Wish Wall”. We each put in our request for a great race the next day before heading back to the hotel for the night.
We always lay out our race gear the night before to reduce anxiety on race morning. We set our alarms for a 4:45am wake up since we wanted to get to LuLu’s to park by 6am. The race would start at 7am and we could always stay in the car before heading to the Start of the race since it was close. This would give us plenty of prep time! (Not our first rodeo lol!)
Finally it was race morning. 54 degrees, 8mph winds and FOOOOOGGGGGGYYY.
There was a drizzly, wet mist in the air and I was wishing I had not forgot my visor in the room. Grrrrrrrrrr. Both Francine and I thought the fog would burn off but we would soon find out that this unfortunately would not be the case.
Nonetheless Pre-Race picture time!!!
There was 378 runners for this 10k/Half race. (328 for the Half & 50 for the 10k) The smallest of the three location series since most have to drive in for it per the race director Mike Wattigny. No matter the size there was ample water/Gatorade stations at nearly every mile and the course was very well marked. I had no hesitation moving past the 10k turnaround to the Half. I was ready to claim Half #18 today even though I was still cussing the Intracoastal bridge that I would have to go back over later at the Finish. The roads were very slick today and I could barely see out of my sunglasses the majority of the race. I just knew by how wet my hair was I was going to look like a drowned rat in my free race finisher picture. Getting close to the finish I had depleted all my GU and looked at my watch. I quickly did the math and knew it would not be a PR day but that’s ok I would still be Finishing Strong which is always Goal #1!
Crossing the finish with a sigh of relief I spotted Francine. She had finished a minute before me. I gave her the biggest hug and we headed to the car to freshen up before getting some post race food at LuLu’s and take our traditional “after” race pic with our bling. There was lots of food choices after the race including bagels, fruit, cookies, seafood rice, jambalaya plus complimentary beer, coke and water for the runners to wash it down with. We ate lightly since we knew we were wanting to grab a burger later after we got cleaned up at the hotel.
and they call this the “LITTLE CHEESEBURGER”?!!! Plenty for me!
Enjoyed every bite!
As as I said before the journey is part of the experience and once again this road trip did not disappoint 🙂
Until next time!