Race Recap: Battleship 12K

Hi! Happy Monday.

I ran the Battleship 12K (7.45 miles) yesterday morning. I ran this race last year, really enjoyed it and knew that I wanted to run again this year. The Battleship 12K is a patriotic run on Veterans Day weekend to honor those who have served our country. It starts on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and finishes at the USS Alabama. The Battleship 12K partners 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!

Before the Race

The race started at 8 a.m. in Spanish Fort. They offer race day packet pickup, which I think is always a nice option. An 8 o’clock race start about 10 minutes away from home is quite nice! I could’ve [theoretically] slept in until close to 7, but of course, I was up before 5. The weather was supposed to be really nice for the race (upper 50s and low humidity), but instead I woke up to temperatures in the 60s, rain (just a light drizzle) and 95% humidity. Sigh. The light rain pretty much continued all morning and throughout the race. I didn’t really mind it, but I definitely would’ve taken lower humidity and sunshine if given the choice.

I got to the start area around 7:15 to pick up my bib, shirt, etc. and to do a 2 mile warm up with a few strides. The packet pick up was in a different location from last year, so that threw me for a bit of a loop (they had this posted online, I just failed to check because I assumed I knew what I was doing (but we know what happens when we assume)). I had plenty of time, so it really wasn’t a big deal at all. When I gave her my name and ID (you must have your ID to get your bib (just FYI)), she said that they had given me the #2 bib since I was the 2nd overall finisher last year. I’ve never had that happen before and I loved it!

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The race plan was this:

  • Mile 1: Ease into it and find the race rhythm. Goal pace was somewhere in the mid 6 range (6:25 – 6:35 ish).
  • Miles 2 to 5: Settle into a strong, sustainable rhythm without pushing too hard. Goal pace was somewhere around 6:15 – 6:25.
  • Miles 6 to 7.5: Race it to the finish line, depending on how much gas was left in the tank. If I felt good, I would try to drop the pace down some.

The Star Spangled Banner was sung, the cannon was fired twice (the first time was unintentional and quite startling) and we were off.

The Race

I knew from last year that the first mile had a nice little downhill start. I  had to hold myself back during the first mile. The pace felt effortless, but we were running downhill and we had 6.5 more miles to go! My first mile split was 6:22, which was pretty much right where I wanted to settle in. Unfortunately, I didn’t ever settle in next to anyone (I am the queen of getting stuck in no man’s land during races). I turned my watch over on my wrist so that I wouldn’t look at it, except for the mile splits. I really wanted to just focus on running by feel and get more in tune with what that felt like. My go to mantra for this race was “run the plan.” I repeated it to myself several times and tried to really stay focused on what I was doing.

Miles 2 through 5 are fairly uneventful. There aren’t a lot of spectators along the course, but you are running across the bay, so there is plenty of water and scenery to take in. 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, which made it nice. My watch shows 6:25, 6:26, 6:25, and 6:23 for those 4 miles.

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Map from Strava

Once we passed mile 5, I picked the pace up a little bit (per the plan). I was actually catching up to the third place runner at this point as well, so my goal became trying to steadily reel him in. I ran mile 6 in 6:12 and caught up to him! He stayed with me for perhaps a quarter of a mile and then I went on ahead. My 7th mile was 6:16. 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 almost missed getting a flag last year, just because I wasn’t expecting it, but this year I knew what to expect and I was more than ready to get my flag and run it in.

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I finished with a time of 47:17 (6:21 average) for 1st female and 3rd overall. The first place guy ran 5:17 pace (holy smokes) and B. Rouse was 2nd overall with a 6:10 average. He was within sight, but never quite catch-able.

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After the Race

I debated running back across the bay after the race to get a long-ish run in, but ultimately decided against that. I did manage to get in close to 4 miles of a cool down in (thanks to B. Rouse for joining me for that!), which gave me close to 13 miles for the day. I’ll take it! After we finished up our cool down, I promptly turned into a human popsicle. Yes. It was 60 degrees, but I was wet from both sweat and rain and once I stopped moving … I was frozen (what can I say … sometimes I defy the laws of science). I don’t know how you people who live in cold climates manage. I am a wimp.

My mom was sweet enough to come over and pick me after the race. They have shuttles that take you back across the bay, but she offered to come and I wasn’t sad about it. I turned the heat up to 85 on my side of the car and layered up with dry clothes. Thanks mom!

I loved the race again this year 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.

I hope you guys have a wonderful week! Have you ever run an odd race distance?

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2 thoughts on “Race Recap: Battleship 12K

  1. Congratulations on a great race Sam! Especially since you won and raced a not-so-common distance. I’ve run two 12Ks, sometimes I like to find weird distances and it’s basically an insta-PR because I don’t race them much. I also love that you eased into the pace and finished strong, that’s such a smart racing strategy but so hard!

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