Hi! Happy Sunday. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
I ran the Battleship 12K (7.5 miles) this morning. The Battleship 12K is a patriotic run (the weekend after Veterans Day) to honor those who have served our country. It starts on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and finishes at the USS Alabama.
You can tell from my Strava map that we ran right across the bay!
Going into this race, we weren’t really sure where my fitness would be. I had to take a little more time off than I hoped after falling, so this race was going to be a good gauge of where I am and how to proceed. The plan was this:
- Mile 1: Ease into it, get my race legs back under me and slowly ramp it up. Goal pace was somewhere in the mid 6 range (6:30 ish).
- Miles 2 to 5: Stay conservative, find a good sustainable rhythm without pushing too hard. Goal pace was somewhere around 6:20-6:25.
- Miles 6 to 7.5: Race it to the finish line, based on how much gas was left in the tank. If feeling good, drop the pace down some.
I was really excited about this race for several reasons: 1) simply being injury-free and able to race, 2) taking part in such a patriotic event to support our troops and our nation in general after a season where, let’s face it, some of us had lost faith in our country (or humanity as a whole), 3) I love this route (it’s part of our special occasion route in reverse), 4) I had some new racing flats to test out and 5) the weather was supposed to be amazing (mid 50s + low humidity + slight breeze = super ideal conditions).
The race was put on by the same company as the half marathon that Rebecca and I did a few weeks ago in Mandeville, LA. The race today was just as well executed as the half. These folks have it down. The Battleship 12K has partnered with the Boot Campaign, Mission 22, & Team RWB to further their missions and the raise awareness for the men and women who bravely serve our country. It is a great race that supports a great cause!
The race started at 8 a.m. in Spanish Fort. I was able to get my packet day-of, which I think is always a nice option. We got to the race at 7:15 and I got my bib, shirt, etc. and did a 2 mile warm up with a few strides. I felt super relaxed at the start line. Having never run a 12K before, I went into the race without any preconceived notions of what sort of time and pace would be “good.” It would automatically be a PR! I knew what my plan was and I was prepared to execute it. No pressure.
After The Star Spangled Banner and bag-pipe renditions of America the Beautiful and Amazing Grace (Braveheart style (according to Daniel)), we were off. I loved that Amazing Grace was the last thing played before we took off, because it was in my head the entire run.
The first mile had a nice little downhill start. I knew that it would be tough to not bust out of the gate super fast. I definitely had to reign myself in a couple of times during the first mile. The pace felt effortless, but I knew I had 6.5 more miles to go!
I settled in next to Aaron Freesmeier during the first mile mark and we ran the first 5 miles together. We stayed super consistent with our splits. My watch shows 6:27, 6:27, 6:27, 6:19, 6:19. We had to go over a few small bridges with only a very slight incline, but we also got to go back down the other side of each incline. The course couldn’t be much better!
Once we passed mile 5, I picked the pace up a little bit (per the plan). I ran mile 6 in 6:07 and mile 7 in 6:14. At mile 7 we turned into Battleship Park and there were volunteers at the last water stop handing out American flags for us to run in with. I wasn’t planning to get water and I almost missed getting a flag because I wasn’t going to stop at all (I typically run straight through aid stations in shorter races). Thankfully I realized that they were handing out flags and not just water, so I paused briefly to get my flag.
I finished with a time of 47:07 (exactly 6:20 average) for 1st female and 2nd overall. The first place guy was at least a minute ahead of us (if not more) for pretty much the entire race. Here is a short video of the finish:
I also found this picture from the finisher’s photos on the event’s Facebook page. Breaking a finish line tape is one of the coolest experiences! This one kind of looks like it’s about to choke me, but it’s just the angle of the picture. Ha!
I had to talk myself into doing a short cool down after the race. I wasn’t really wanting to, but I know that it is so important to go ahead and start the recovery process by flushing some of the built up lactic acid from the legs. I will thank myself tomorrow!
I absolutely loved this race and I would highly recommend it to anyone (near or far). There are so many men and women that sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom. Participating in a patriotic event on Veterans Day weekend is a wonderful reminder of just how much we have to be thankful for.
An added bonus to an already wonderful morning was getting some quality friend time in post-race at Coffee Loft. Rebecca, Lizzie and Jessica hung out at Coffee Loft for a little while after their run and Daniel and I were able to meet them after the race. The barista asked us this morning if we were all related and she said that we all look alike! I love it. These friendships are precious and I’ll definitely claim these gals as sisters!
P.S. After a week off of running and two weeks off from hard workouts, the race predictor on my Garmin is off the charts! It is largely based on your VO2 max and I know that it is overly optimistic, but still … I’m thinking the time off did me good. These are basically my ultimate running goals!
I hope you guys have a wonderful week! Have you ever run an odd race distance?