Bill’s Beer Run is a local institution, and since we first moved here, I’ve enjoyed running it (recaps: 2013, 2014), assisting in training for it through Fleet Feet Sports, and following the fun themes each year.
Due to its crazy popularity, it always sells out in record time, and first dibs are given to Manasota Track Club members so I was glad to get a friendly reminder to get on it! Since registering back in June, however, I learned I was pregnant and so any goals for the race had changed many times over the past few months.
Since I’ve had really bad nausea and morning sickness, running has been put on the backburner, but I knew this race would be fun, no matter the pace I travelled. So, I did what I always love doing for fun races – I developed a fun costume for extra motivation! Since this year’s theme was all about royalty, I knew I had to conjure up something that was themed, but wanted to kick it up a notch to ensure it meshed with the race: so, voila: Princess Peach from Mario Kart!
Now, in the early stages of developing my costume, I considered building a type of cart, or race car as a large prop for the race, but I couldn’t decide exactly what. On top of that, I didn’t have a ton of free time (let’s be real – when Abby napped, I finally took that baby advice and napped too, and in the evenings, I was doing all the house chores I hadn’t gotten around to during the day). LONG STORY SHORT – I was low on time for that prop, but still wanted to find a way to illustrate my Mario Kart narrative.
Enter: a steering wheel! While wandering the aisles of the Dollar Tree this past week, I discovered two items that would be perfect: a wreath ring and steering wheel cover! $2 and I had an awesome visual prop that would be easy to wield during five miles of fun!
So..back to the costume!
I found a $6 wig (that I can use for some future races, for sure), bought a few sheets of foam to create the crown and pendant, and repurposed a tank and Sparkle Athletic skirt that I already owned. I had leftover tulle from my Care Bears tutu, which completed the bustled dress look – and I was ready!
When race morning arrived, I popped up 20 minutes before my 6 AM alarm and assembled the costume pieces and props. Since I was dressed for success, I knew that was half the battle! Although the race start was not til 8 AM, I wanted to arrive extra early (since the road you arrive on is part of the course). It was raining and chilly, but according to my weather app, it’d stop well before the race – though it would be windy (spoiler alert: it was super windy). I relaxed and listened to a podcast while deciding on a loose “race strategy.”
Since the race is five miles (an out and back), I figured I’d run the first stretch (to get out of the congestion that’s usually present at the start), followed by as much walking as I needed to do, depending on how I was feeling. Then, I’d do my best to run the stretch from Nokomis Beach to the North Jetty Park (about .6 mile) to finish strong.
Thankfully, my plan was loose enough that I was able to nail just about all of the goals! The first mile I was able to run for approximately 3/4 mile before the wind was starting to hold me back. The next mile, I did a lot more walking – there was a lot of puddling and the last thing I wanted to do was wipe out on course! Still, I felt pretty good, and the cool temperatures were keeping me from feeling too nauseous.
It was at the halfway point, however, that something happened that really was the only negative of the race – see, at the halfway, there was a GIANT puddle. On the approach, I tacked on a little extra distance since I didn’t see a clear area to walk through, so I headed up a driveway to go way around…but on the way back, the clearest path was a very narrow strip of dry-ish pavement. So, I walked, to make sure I didn’t tromp through the “who knows how deep” water – and an older guy came trouncing behind me, exclaiming, “HEY! PICK IT UP!”
No, no, I thought, but I took a deep breath, and turned around and said, “Okay, I am going to keep walking. I am 6 months pregnant, give me a break.”
He looked at me and didn’t answer, just splashed around me and kept going.
Now, I am very proud that is all I said, because believe me, I had a ton of other things on my mind! But, I’ll tell you what: I passed him like 2 minutes later and despite me sticking to my walk/run plan for the remainder of the race, he never passed me again. Hah!
The way back was a lot smoother, since the wind was at our backs. I felt lighter on my feet, and was able to nail down a pretty respectable last mile, finishing out the race right at 1 hr, 1 min, with an average pace of 12:01.
This race always throws a pretty great after party, and I had fun chatting with a few running pals, but missing out on the main attraction (BEER) made it a little less lively for me. No matter, I was able to slip out of the parking lot during the awards ceremony and get home without any traffic, so that was a win!
I’d always recommend this race – for racing, for costume running, for just having a good time – and this year was no different! Thanks Bill’s Beer Run!
Did you race this weekend? Did you reach your goals?