Usually bloggers italicize disclosures to kind of hide them, but I’m going to straight up bold this: Thank you to the Bahamas Tourist Office for hosting me for an amazing winter weekend in the islands!
In December, I got an email asking if I was running a half-marathon in The Bahamas.
UM YES!? IS THIS REAL?
It turns out the Bahamas Tourist Office hosts lots of press trips every year to expose writers (and in turns, their audiences) to all the cool initiatives they’re doing on the 16 main islands. For example, on the 16th, 16 brides got married on the 16 islands, all at 16:00, and the Bahamas covered a portion of their wedding costs. (But I’ll write more about other cool Bahamian things in another post this week — I’m going to focus on the race for this one.)
I’m currently training for the D.C. RNR Half, but I haven’t run more than 7 miles yet. The last time I ran more than 7 was probably when I ran the Heartbreak Hill Half in June. So I had zero goals for this, other than to finish and have fun and enjoy a scenic race in another country!
Per some really weird pre-race tradition, I woke up with my period on Saturday morning. I knew this would make for an awesome combination with the hot weather.
Saturday’s bib pickup went smoothly: we headed to the Melia Hotel and were in and out in maybe 15 minutes. The expo was a lot smaller than typical ones in the U.S. — so if you’re a person who tends to forget socks/Gu (uh, not me!), don’t plan on picking up any last-minute essentials there.
The race started at 6am to beat the heat, and our driver picked us up at 5:15am, so I woke up at 4:45 to get dressed, eat and chug a little Pre. We were at the start by about 5:30ish, with plenty of time to get situated and find Port-a-Potties.
Obligatory pre-race photo.
NYC TNT fielded a huge team (46 people), so I saw lots of my people all over the race course, which was lovely.
Ericka and I had planned on running together, since we’re roughly the same speed and neither of us were trying to PR anyway.
It was dark when we started, but I knew it’d warm up and the sun would come out and I’d soon be missing the dark.
The course was mostly flat, except for two huge bridges at mile 2ish. Most of the course runs through Nassau, except for the bridges, which take you to Paradise Island and back. The bridges were really freaking hard, and I was so happy to be done with them.
Though the scenery was gorgeous, miles 4-7 felt absolutely interminable, and my mind got into a bad place. Would I finish? Was it dumb for me to run a half in the heat having not really trained for it, or was I unnecessarily freaking out over what was just a run? You will finish, Theodora, I told myself. How many times have you done this before? It might not be pretty, but you’ll finish. We both ended up needing a bathroom break and stopped around here. We were doing 9:30ish miles before this, but definitely slowed down after the stop…
I took a Honey Stinger just before mile 7, and that and the ocean views put a little pep in my step. THANK GOD.
I mean, how can you really be unhappy with views like this? Miles 7ish-13 were an out-and-back, and that last mile or so before the turnaround…sucked. We started seeing people coming back in our direction, and we just wanted to be them. We hit the turnaround around mile 10, and I’m pretty sure I woot-ed, happy to only have a 5K left AND be turning around.
The last 3 miles really sucked though. Neither of us were feeling great, and we both had to stop to walk several times but were really good at waiting for each other.
More gratuitous palm trees.
FINALLY we crossed the finish line with a time of 2:13, a solid 23 minutes slower than my PR, but honestly right around where I expected for my lack of training, heat, lady issues.
Post-race, we posed with these fine folks in Junkanoo costumes and then I made a beeline for the Kalik tent, because free beer before 9am on the beach.
We had some time to kill waiting for Anita, our PR contact/favorite person, to finish, so we hung out at the beach for a bit and then got massages. There are far worse ways to spend post-race. We watched a little bit as the full marathoners came in and considered ourselves lucky to be done and not out there running in that heat.
Fun facts: There was a man called the Barefoot Bandit running, who’d run more than 160 marathons barefoot. Also, one of the women who’d won the 16 Islands, 16 Weddings contests was running the half. HERO.
And I got to get this post-race ocean photo I’ve been dying for since I started running.
Have you ever run any beach races? Any international races? What destination races are you dying to run?