Panama City Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

The 2016 #HoLottaFun crew had most of us in the ‘runner’ blogging world green with FOMO from their steady stream of social media and blogging posts during last year’s Panama City Beach half marathon weekend. I was thrilled when the Ho in #HoLottaFun invited me to join the group this year and didn’t waste one moment hitting the registration button back in late July. Several were not able to make the trip this year and others had last minute scheduling issues causing them to have to cancel, leaving us with a quaint little group of four (Karen, Tricia, Holly and myself) for our girls beach racecation….. we may have been a small group, but we had big fun! (Read all about it here)Panama City Beach

We decided at the last minute to order matching tanks for race day and since we all live in the ‘South’ (yes, Richmond Virginia is considered the South …it was the capital of the Confederacy you know!), we decided to go with ‘Southern Sole Sisters’ and #HoLottaPCB as our 2017 official hashtag. I mean, if you’re going to make this an annual event, you’ve got to make each year unique, right? Continue reading

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Marathon Training Week 13: Southern Sole Sisters and #HoLottaPCB

After a wonderful, yet busy, Thanksgiving holiday with family, too much pecan pie and my first 15 mile run, I was more than ready for our long-awaited girls weekend in Panama City Beach. There had been talks of sunsets on the beach, spa treatments and trips to the quaint little donut shop nearby, and we could already taste the margaritas, mimosas and wine, oh my! Honestly, Thursday could not come quickly enough and I had to get a couple of workouts in to keep the ‘Coach‘ happy before leaving!26.2

Monday: Rest ….despite the fact that my entire body felt like trash on Saturday following my 15 miler, I actually felt pretty good by Monday. But hey, it’s always better to err on the side of caution, right?

Tuesday:  45 minutes on the Spin Bike and 10 minutes of Abs

Wednesday: 4 easy miles

Thursday: Beach bound!

Friday: Shenanigans

Saturday: 13.1 HOT miles

The fun stuff:

I hit the road a little before noon on Thursday headed to Meridian to meet up with Tricia. After loading entirely too many bags belonging to the LadyBird into her new super cool and super fast muscle car, we were beach bound and ready to see what that baby could do! After getting her up to 140 mph and a few burnouts (just kidding Major Hubs), we settled down and arrived safely in Panama City just in time for a lovely dinner with Holly.

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We seriously look ‘high speed’, right???

After dinner and staying up until 3 am chatting and catching up (middle age women know how to party) we decided a little bit of sleep was in order. Once the coffee was flowing through our veins the next morning, we walked over to beach for an early morning stroll before heading to the airport to pick up Karen. IMG_20171201_112305_998Once retrieving our fellow ‘southern sole sister’, a trip to the donut store was in order before our afternoon ‘shenanigans’. Holly suggested an air-boat tour for the afternoon adventure and we were all more than eager to go looking for ‘gators!

After a turn at holding a live, ‘friendly’ alligator and a few instructions, we boarded our vessel and were off  ….skimming the waters and taking corners at high speeds with the greatest of ease!

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Cute, isn’t he? Notice that he did not have his snout banded …yep, I volunteered to hold him while she closed the cage so that the others wouldn’t get out. Didn’t have a clue that they would band his mouth for everyone else to hold him!!! WTH???

While I have experienced an air-boat ride with my boys several years back, I must admit that this one, by far, exceeded my expectations. We saw a Bald Eagle, an Osprey feasting on a fish for lunch, Stumpy’s hang-out (an 11 ft alligator), some dolphins frolicking in the fresh water and a 3 ft alligator chilling by the bank …oh, and let’s not forget our bare-footed boat captain who was quite the character!

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We ventured out for pizza, packet pickup and Starbucks once we were done with the ‘gator hunt.

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Strolling through shops at Pier Park looking for Karen who was looking for shorts….

After a mad dash to catch the sunset and some relaxing conversation at the beach house, we got our race gear ready and turned in at a decent hour.FB_IMG_1512275112027

Since Holly’s beach house was only a short drive to the starting line, it didn’t require the usual ridiculous early morning pre-race wake up. We arrived at Pier Park with just enough time to snap a few pics before heading to the starting line.20171202_071441

I’ll save all the race details for my recap, but I will tell you that it was quite toasty when we left the beach house and even warmer when we lined up at the starting line. None of us had any grand expectations at this point and were just looking forward to the post-race celebration ….gotta have motivation, right?

Holly had arranged for us to have pedicures and leg massages at a local spa after the race and I must say, that may have been the highlight of the weekend for me. I’m thinking a leg massage is a must after every 13+ mile run from here out!

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Tricia and I toasting to a tough race while Holly and Karen get leg massages.

We ended our evening with a few drinks on the beach while taking in the beautiful sunset, dinner and lots of ‘girl talk’.

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Sunday morning we said goodbye to one another knowing that it wasn’t a matter of if we’d see each other again, but WHEN we’d see each other again. Our weekend spent at the quaint little 1940’s beach bungalow where Holly had spent her childhood summers, the hottest 13.1 miles any of us have ever run in December and all of the late night transparent conversations had forged a friendship that will be cherished forever.

…..and that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for the race recap coming soon.

WeeklyWrapI’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap where active women support, encourage, motivate and share with one another their fitness journey and all of the ups and downs that go along with it. It’s more than just a blogging community …it’s a friendship!

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one mile at a time!