Did I decide to go to the Bahamas to run a half marathon, or decide to run a half marathon to be able to go to the Bahamas?!
Mike and I looked to get out of Chicago in January, and decided to combine our vacation time with a race and run the Bahamas Half Marathon. This also helped me to keep training (or at least thinking about it) through the holidays! At least I was feeling a sense of shame when I skipped workouts for holiday parties 🙂
We arrived into Nassau on Friday afternoon (staying at the Melia Resort), and spent the afternoon and evening exploring the resort and relaxing. Saturday I got a short “heat acclimitzation” run in, and enjoyed the resort’s breakfast buffet. We logged some beach time, and then after lunch headed out to packet pickup for the race.
Race Day: Bahamas Half
Race morning, I was up at 4 AM to get some Honey Stinger waffles in me early and to start getting ready for the day. The race had a shuttle pick us up from the hotel (we paid a small amount for the shuttle), and we got to the race site pretty early. It was still very dark out, but fun to wander around the part of downtown Nassau where the race started from. Since I was feeling pretty good, I decided to see if I could break my 2:04 PR, which meant that I would need to run an average of 9:27 minutes per mile to break the PR.
I got a solid warmup in, partly because I knew I still needed to get my bathroom on. I felt pretty good, although in my pre-race port-a-potty preparations, I felt like I was only partially successful. Oh well, gotta start the race! I lined up, and was surprised to see how close to the front I was for targeting a 9:27-ish pace; the signs to help you find your right pace were all about 8 feet apart from each other, so I was maybe 30-40 feet from the starting line!
Miles 1 -3
The race started with a big sendoff, and we headed out into downtown Nassau in the dark! It was quiet, but I saw tons of volunteers and police officers standing at each corner to make sure we stayed on course. I mostly focused in my first mile on reining in my pace and not starting too quickly. We wove our way through toward Paradise Island, and then started over the bridge to P.I. My second mile pace slowed significantly with this hill, but I felt like I was running strong and passing other people who were stopping to walk up the hill. I loved bombing down the bridge on the downhill and we ran through the tollbooths! A quick turn, first aid station at mile 2, and then it was back up the next bridge to head back to the main Nassau island. The second bridge was much easier than the first. Splits: 9:22, 9:46, 9:24.
After we came back into Nassau the sun was beginning to peek out and it was nice to run around and see the island! These miles were pretty easy and didn’t feel too taxing. I was riding on cloud nine as I realized that I’m in a pretty good spot to potentially PR! I was taking water at each aid station every mile, and had my Honey Stinger chews every other mile. I had an idea that at mile 9 I’d drop my pace and see how fast I could go! Splits: 9:20, 9:16, 9:24, 9:15.
Around mile 7 I was starting to feel the need to use the bathroom. While the Bahamas Marathon offered aid stations every mile from 2 onward, they had posted that there were only two aid station with port-a-potties along the half marathon race course. I knew I needed to make it to mile 9 to get to the port-a-potty, and was keeping an eye out for a random port-o-let. There was one set that was locked next to a gas station, and another gas station whose bathrooms were “locked” despite the convenience store being open. When we hit mile 9 where I was expecting that port-a-potty, I was devastated to not see them there! That really hurt my motivation, and I was trying to hold back tears that this issue was potentially what might block me from the PR. I was also looking out for bushes or places to squat, but there wasn’t much that would have been out of sight of the many spectators & cheerleaders. I finally saw a port-a-potty around 10.5 and sprinted to it. Quick business (but quite necessary) and then I was out and on my way! I’m actually surprised that my splits from this section weren’t slower than they are. Splits: 10:07, 10:34, 10:40.
After my bathroom stop I was ready to roll! I had calculated that I might potentially still be able to squeak in a PR if I was able to hold around a 9 minute mile for the remainder of the race. So I tried! I did decently the first mile, and then hit the headwind facing us as we went into our final few miles. Mile 12 (the slower one) was even with me drafting behind this tall huge dude. A few times I left his draft to try and speed up, but couldn’t speed up beyond this guy. So back to the drafting. Then the final mile I worked to give it my all. I’m pretty proud of the pacing at the final stretch after mile 13! Splits: 8:55, 9:40, 9:19, 1:40/8:09 pace. Final Time: 2:06:42. PR? Not so much. Womp womp. I was 2 minutes off, which easily were lost during my “urgent” miles searching for the port-a-potties.
Once I crossed the finish line, I got my medal and water, and found Mike. You finish right by the beach, so we grabbed some snacks and headed over to the beach. What other race has beach chairs set up for finishers to enjoy the views?!
Mike had gotten an award, so we were hanging around for the awards ceremony. I decided to freshen up and change out of my race clothes. Thanks Showerpill for letting me be fresh on the go! This was one of those races where they post printed race results on a board for everyone to look at, so i decided I’d check on what my official time and place was. I hadn’t initally checked as I knew I did not PR. But I never expected to see that I got 3rd in my age group! WHAT?! 3rd out of 18 people in the Female 30-34 age group. The only other AG awards I’ve ever gotten were those situations where I was 2nd out of 2.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the Bahamas Half Marathon, both with my own race performance, but also with the race organization. For being a race of around one thousand participants, it was very well organized! Packet pick-up, pre-race and post-race was all well-organized. I would love to be able to do this race again next year, if finances and vacation time allow!
Thank you to Coach Keith @ Wellfit for getting me trained and ready for a January race, Honey Stinger for fueling me well both pre- and during the race, my fave Coeur Sports apparel that I wore during the race but changed out of once I was done sweating, and Showerpill for cleaning me up!Read the @MarathonBahamas race recap from a great race-cation! #runchat Click To Tweet
I’m linking up the Weekly Wrap, hosted by Holly and Tricia, the Sunday Food & Fitness Link-up by Ilka and Angela, with Tuesdays on the Run, hosted by Patty, Erika, and Marcia, and with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner! Join in on the fun!