Let me start by saying that I did survive adding on the additional mileage, and I completed my longest run ever of 15 miles in conjunction with this race. Sorry I left all of you hanging. I know you were at the edge of your seat waiting to hear if I did it or not. 😉
I have to say that this race is close to the top on my list of favorite races so far. I was buying someone else’s bib, so I missed out on the communication from the race directly, but my friends seemed to be well informed of everything dealing with the race. I drove over to PTC on Friday evening to meet the lady I was buying the bib from, so I could have it transferred into my name. Yes, transferred people! That alone is a huge bonus since it seems that most races won’t transfer bibs these days. The process was actually really simple and quick as well. The lady picked up the bib, and I walked back up to the pick up area with her, filled out a waiver, and they wrote the bib # on my form. Done. That was all it took, and the entire thing took maybe 5 minutes. They don’t give you your shirt until you finish, so I’d get it the next day. On the way out, I had some questions about parking and the shuttle, so I stopped to ask the person who was standing at the entrance to direct people and answer questions. She was very helpful and showed me on the large map of the course where the Kmart was where the shuttle could pick us up if we arrived after 6AM. To park near the start, you had to arrive by 6AM, so since we were planning to arrive around 7:40, we’d need to take the shuttle or walk to the start. As I left, I drove from the start to the Kmart to clock the distance since I was planning on adding miles. It was a little over 1.5 miles, so taking the shuttle, walking, or running are all options to get to the start.
Saturday morning, I arrived at 7:40AM and met Gem, so we could run 3 miles before the run. She needed 12 miles for the day, and I needed 15. Her sister and our friend Michelle also rode with her, and they both took the shuttle to the start. I think they had to wait for the 3rd shuttle after they arrived, but the shuttles came fairly quickly. Gem and I headed out while they were waiting. There was probably a shorter path along the cart paths of PTC, but since Gem and I weren’t familiar with how to go, we stuck to the roads. Since rain seems to love me, rain was in the forecast and started as soon as we began our run. It was pretty light to begin with, but slowly got worse, and Gem and I were pretty well soaked by the time we got to the start area. It was a little chilly, so I continued to run until 5 minutes before the race started. I figured I might as well get in as many of my extra miles as possible before the race, so I’d have less to do after. I ended up with 4.2 miles before race start.
As I came to the start line, I quickly found Gem and Michelle just before the gun went off. The race started, and we were off. The first bit of the race was on a main road, but it soon turned into a neighborhood. As we ran past one house, there was an older lady (probably in her 80’s) standing behind her clear glass storm door in pants, and nothing on top except a purple bra. I’m not sure if she was confused by the race or maybe she just liked her purple bra and wanted to show it off, either way, several runners on the course were quite surprised, but it was entertaining. Towards the back of the subdivision, we headed onto the cart paths. The cart paths were covered with lots of shade, went through tunnels, through the woods, and around a lake. The course was marked well, and they had lots of volunteers. Someone was calling out the time at every mile marker as well. Towards the end of the course, you exit the cart path and are back on the road for just a short bit.
As we crossed the finish line, I kept running, but since the shirt pick up was after the race, I had to run into the amphitheater, down the steps, get my shirt, then head back up the steps to run some more. Walking up the steps around mile 14 for me kind of sucked, but it wasn’t that bad. I had told Gem and Michelle along the course that I would just run back to the car while they took the shuttle since it was about a mile & a half, so off I went towards my car. I hit 15 miles about 8/10ths of a mile from my car, so I walked the remaining part, and it seemed the further that I walked, the slower my legs got, but I made it to the car.
And off to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beer we went!