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Bermuda Half Marathon (Race Recap)

29 Jan

Previous recaps from the Bermuda Triangle Challenge: 1 mile race, 10k race

On Sunday January 17th I ran the Bermuda Half Marathon, the final race in the Bermuda Triangle Challenge!

After resting most of the day Saturday after the 10k I felt very refreshed when I woke up around 5. I ate my typical pre-race cereal for breakfast. I debated a bit on whether to wear the running skirt I had packed or to wear capris. I was feeling a little… chafed… after the rainy 10k the day before but didn’t want to be too hot.  I opted to risk being warm and wear the capris, figuring it was the lesser of the two evils. 🙂

We caught the one way shuttle from our hotel at 6:30. It drove us to Hamilton and dropped us off close to the start line for the half marathon around 7. The half marathon starts and ends on Front Street in Hamilton like the 1 mile does.  There is a marathon that also starts with the half marathon. The half circles the island once, the full twice.

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I was really looking forward to seeing (almost) the entire coast of Bermuda during this race!!

As we were waiting around before the race started we caught a gorgeous sunrise over the water.

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We had plenty of time to use the public restrooms (nice change from a port-a-potty and very clean!) and drop our stuff off at the baggage check tent.

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When it was time to line up there were no corrals or waves – just lining up based on eastimated placement like the 10k.

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I lined up with my parents, though I knew they were going to take this race very easy. I had no goals for this race, especially since I had PRed the day before. I wanted to take in every moment of the race, enjoy the views and crowd support, and not feel guilty about slowing down to take it all in or grab a photo.

They did beginning annoucements and instructed us to run on the left side of the road since the right side would be partially open. Then right at 8am we were off! I ran through the first mile before going into my 1:30/0:30 run/walk intervals.

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We ran up front street before coming out on a road right along the coast.

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The course was gorgeous from the very beginning.

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Around mile 5 we were treated to some gorgeous views of the ocean.  I took the opportunity to ask a spectator to snap a photo for me.

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I seriously loved the views and took it all in as much as possible.

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The crowd support was awesome. Though it was a smaller race, and Bermuda is not the most populated area, we never went more than a quarter mile without passing spectators cheering us on. The volunteers at the water stops were awesome and full of energy. The weather was perfect – it was in the high 60s. It was sunny but not hot. Any time I started to feel slightly warm there was an amazing breeze or shade to run through. It was perfection and I really didn’t want it to end. I hardly looked at my watch at all, and just kept up with my intervals every time my watch beeped.

A few locals were walking the course handing out oranges around mile 9 and they tasted so good!

There was a woman who had been running pretty consistently right in front of me for much of the race. At one point I caught up to her because she was walking and she seemed to be struggling a bit so I waved for her to run with me and she did. Later on she did the same thing for me. I don’t even know her name but it was great to run with her for those last few miles. We really cheered each other on.

Around mile 12 I got a bit thirsty and was so thankful there were some locals out giving out water. I thanked them so many times, haha.

Shortly after mile 12 I recognized we were on Front Street again and knew we were close to the finish so I decided to cheese it up with a little selfie…

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And then we ran in front of Bacardi’s headquarters so I had to grab a photo there too.

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Shortly after the Bacardi photo a runner was walking along the course and told me there was a quick turn up a side road for a quick out and back to get the full distance. I joked with her that it was “cruel” but really, I didn’t mind. More of Hamilton to see and enjoy. I also saw the woman who I had been running with for a bit earlier during the out and back and we high fived each other as we passed each other.

From there it was just a left turn and there was the finish.

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The crowds waiting along the finish chute were awesome and cheered everyone on as we ran to the finish.  I finished in 2:40:33 which I was fine with. This race was not about the finishing time at all. I had a great time on that course and am so glad I took the pressure of a good finishing time off of myself before I ran a step. I got my half marathon medal and triangle challenge medal before getting an awesome photo.

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Then I grabbed some chips, water and gatorade (they had a lot of awesome post-race treats like soup, chips, soda, gatorade, bagels, oranges, bananas…one of the best spreads I’ve seen) and went to the finish chute to watch for my parents.

While waiting for them I saw the marathon winner come in – it was a woman which was SUPER exciting. I think she finished around 3:05.  Watching my parents come in was awesome as well. After they finished we got a photo with the town crier.

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Running the Bermuda Triangle Challenge was a truely amazing experience and after running at night on day 1, through rain and wind on day 2, and through the most perfect weather on day 3 I feel like I really experienced everything this race series has to offer. I can only hope that one day I will be lucky enough to experience it again.

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Bermuda 10k (Race Recap)

28 Jan

Other recaps from the Bermuda Triangle Challenge: 1 mile racehalf marathon

On Saturday January 16th I ran the Bermuda 10k.  The 10k starts and ends at the Bermuda National Sports Center. For this race we opted to pay $8 to take the one-way hotel shuttle to the start, since there was no super convenient bus stops that we knew of, and we had to be there for an 9am start.  Unfortunately when we woke up on Saturday it was pouring rain and super windy. According to the weather reports it wasn’t going to let up until the afternoon, when we were done running.  Fortunately it was in the low 70s, which ment despite the rain we would be able to stay warm!

The bus left the hotel at 7:30 and got to the National Sports Center a little before 8. We were able to wait inside under cover until shortly before the race started. I had a running jacket that I debated on wearing but it isn’t a rain jacket and would have just absorbed water, so I opted to leave it in my bag to wear after the race.  I was so glad I had the foresight to throw a running hat in my luggage to keep potential rain out of my face too!

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There were plenty of (real) bathrooms at the stadium which was a nice perk.  I ate a honey stinger waffle around 8:30.  They had a bag check tent outside on the field in the sports center but due to the wind gusts they instructed us to leave our bags on the seats of the stadium under the area that was covered.  We had no issues with anyone mistaking their bags for ours and everything was there after the race.

Shortly before 9 we walked outside of the stadium to line up to start. It was still raining, maybe even harder, and the wind gusts sent a chill down my back. I wanted to get running to get warmed up. I had been hoping to get a shot at PRing this race, because I have been consistently PRing the 10k distance on training runs. But I knew the race was pretty hilly, and with the weather conditions I was feeling a bit uncertain. There were no corrals for this start so I tried to line up in a place that was a further ahead than my parents so I’d have minimal weaving to do.

The race started right on time and I started running. My placement in the corral was PERFECT, I barely had to weave at all. My plan was to run the first 2 miles and after that settle into 1:30/0:30 run/walk intervals. Even though I wanted to PR I also didn’t want to completely destroy my legs since we had 13.1 miles to go in under 24 hours.

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The race was tough.  The hills were much steeper than I expected and the rain and wind made it difficult to stay positive. I tried to focus my thoughts on how lucky I was to be running in Bermuda, which is a gorgeous country, even when it was raining. The race really felt longer than 6.2 miles because of the tough conditions but I just kept going and around mile 3 I knew I had a PR in sight. The last hill of the course was rough, but I walked a good portion of it because I knew I was going to PR regardless.

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I finished in 1:12:48, 1 minute and 59 seconds faster than my Hershey 10k PR in April! I am convinced I could do 10k in closer to 1:10 but given this tough course I was thrilled by the PR!

After I finished I hung out by the finish line cheering for other runners and for my parents when they came in.

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You can’t really tell but we were SOAKED in the above photo.

I was SO glad I had packed a spare tech shirt in my luggage and in my bag check, because I did a quick shirt change before we walked to the closest bus stop. By then the rain was stopping (figures). I only wish I had a pair of shorts to change into also.

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We took the bus back to the hotel with no issues and hung out and relaxed for most of the day. We grabbed lunch at the hotel and took it back to our room and put our feet up. For dinner we walked to the Swizzle Inn which was a super short walk from the hotel and it was nice to stretch out our legs a bit and get some pasta before the half marathon the next morning. My mom and I also stuffed our running shoes with newspaper to dry them out before the race the next morning. Thankfully this worked!!

 

Bermuda 1 Mile (Race Recap)

27 Jan

Other recaps from the Bermuda Triangle Challenge: 10k race, half marathon

On Friday January 15th I ran the Bermuda 1 Mile, the first race in the Bermuda Triangle Challenge.  This was my first international race and a great kick off to a fun weekend of running in Bermuda!

First some background on logistics, in case this is helpful for anyone trying to make this happen.  On Thursday the 14th my parents and I drove to JFK international airport in NYC to take a direct flight to Bermuda. We got into Bermuda around 8pm Bermuda time (it is EST + 1 hour there).  We stayed at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort which is super close to the airport and a smaller more private resort on the water. We loved our stay there.  They have two restaurants on property, a pool, hot tub, and even a cave that you can swim in.

On Friday, the race was offering a one-way shuttle to go to Hamilton for packet pickup at 3:30pm. The 1 mile race did not start until 7pm though, so we opted instead to get a bus pass that would cover us for the next week in Bermuda, and take the bus into Hamilton to get large lunch and walk around before packet pickup. We knew we would not be eating again before the race at 7pm.

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We were able to easily walk to packet pickup around 3 from downtown Hamilton.  The bus system in Bermuda is very convenient (there was a stop out front of our hotel) and easy to understand. The bus drivers are also very nice and friendly and more than willing to help you find your way to where you need to go.

We got to packet pickup right when it opened at 3 and easily picked up our bibs (you get 1 for all three races) and 4(!) tech shirts for the Triangle Challenge – 1 for the 1 mile, 1 for the 10k, 1 for the half marathon and 1 for the challenge.

I also purchased some official merchandise because who knows if I’ll have the opportunity to run this again! I bought a bright pink tech shirt that says “Run Bermuda” and a nice full zippered jacket, all for $70 which I thought was a steal. I will say, if you are interested in the official merchandise, get to packet pickup as early as possible. The jackets were selling quickly, as were the hats and tech shirts they had. I was glad I got there when I did to have time to try on sizes and pick out what I wanted from all of the options.

After packet pickup we walked to the bus stop and took the bus from Hamilton to our hotel. The trip from the hotel to/from Hamilton took about 20 minutes.  Around that time a lot of people were getting off of school/work so the buses were crowded but we had no issues being able to sit down on the bus. It was pretty cool to see all the local kiddos getting off of school to go home!  Once we got to the hotel we did a quick change and headed back to the bus to go back to Hamilton.  It may seem like a lot of traveling back and forth but we had plenty of time. We didn’t want to take the race shuttle at 3:30 and have to kill time in Hamilton and figure out where to store all of our goodies from the packet pickup during the race. There was an “honor system” bag check for all three races but honestly being able to change and leave everything at the hotel just worked well for us.

We got back into Hamilton around 5:30/6 and had plenty of time to mill around, and stretch before the 1 mile race. I ate a honey stinger waffle around 6:30 for a little sugar and energy.

Before the race started the Bermuda Regiment Band marched down Front Street and played music for us. It was awesome.

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There was a ton of energy and plenty of spectators watching the race activities from restaurant patios. Bermuda_1Mile (2)

The 1 mile race is held only for Triangle Challenge participants. You cannot register only for this race. Following the Triangle Challenge Mile there is another set of races called the Invitational Mile where high school kids and elites get invited and compete on the course.

Triangle Challenge participants are assigned a wave (indicated on our bibs) for the 1 mile only. I’m not sure how they assigned them, because my parents were in an earlier wave than I was and I know we put the same estimated times.  I’m guessing it might have just been alphabetical.  After lining up by waves they release waves every 5 minutes, so I started around 7:15. The course starts mid-way down Front Street, the main road along the water in Hamilton. You run one way for a short distance, turn back and run up Front street, turn back again and end close to where you begin.  Because the race course is a couple of out and backs, and has a rolling wave start, it created this really cool affect of runners running in all directions and those waiting in the corral to go were able to see everyone ahead of them run by and cheer them on, and then be cheered on by those behind them. The energy was really awesome.

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I really had no idea how I would do in this race. I’ve never run a 1 mile race before and really had no clue how (if) to pace myself. I decided to go as fast as I could and just push push push.  It ended up feeling a little tougher than I expected, maybe because it was in the evening after a day of walking around Hamilton.  I finished in 9:21 which I was okay with. I feel like I could have done better since my fastest mile in a race has been 9:15 but really I had no complaints.

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I crossed the finish and got my first of four medals before finding my parents (they had started in wave 3) and getting a quick photo.

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We hung around to watch the first high school race (those girls were FAST) before heading to the bus stop to go home. We had race number 2 (the 10k) in under 12 hours!

We grabbed a quick dinner to-go from the hotel restaurant to eat after showers and I rolled my legs that evening to help them feel loose for the next day of running!