Ok, I’m going to start by being totally honest. I’m not a fan of this race. I signed up for this race last year because I ABSOLUTELY loved the medieval theme and the opportunity to earn a CROWN and a CHALICE! However, the course itself leaves a lot to be desired. However, I CRUSHED it this year so they have me for at least 2 more years.
This was year 2 for the Game of Stones challenge. See the medals above. This was the Sapphire year. We will start at the beginning with packet pickup. It is quick and easy at The Running Zone in Viera/Melbourne. They posted earlier in the week the shirts and items they would have for sale. I was gunning for a pretty blue silipint (these things are awesome). I was happy to see that Tricia and I got the last 2 cups! I LOVED this year’s shirt. A really nice royal blue and even though the women’s sizes suck as usual at least this year’s shirt fits.
We stayed about 5 minutes from the start area so it was a pretty easy morning. The best decision I made was to get my own hotel room. I went with my friend Trisha, her twin boys and their exchange student (all 3 are 16).
One of the nice things last year was there were 2 sets of bathrooms open. This year it was just the one. Now, thankfully it moved kinda quickly but still! Why do races not understand the bathroom importance!!!
We then started the walk to the start area. I say area because they do a sword fight before the race. Now, double edge sword here (haha get it), I love the idea but to be honest we have to go stand in a field for the fight and then walk over to the start. This doesn’t really allow people to place themselves correctly for a mass start.
Ok, side note, when did I start caring about where I was at a start line? I’m not winning this thing! The downside to getting faster is that I’m running with more of a pack now. This course is VERY full! I did 10.6 miles which means I was weaving a good bit and I felt it! The first 2 miles are out on the road and the weather was GREAT! I know this course has no shade so I decided to push in the beginning with the anticipation of slowing down towards the end as it got hotter.
Then miles 3 & 4 are on this sandy back road. Please note this isn’t like a slightly sand covered paved road. This is straight up sand and dirt. Everyone was trying to find the areas that was more packed. Then at mile 5 you made the turn into the sun!
Miles 5, 6, 7 look just like the above picture. Except a lot of it they are building houses so it a SUUUUPPPEEERR scenic (please note the sarcasm). This is about where it started to get hot. No breeze, no shade, no fun, lol.
At mile 7.5 I started doing the math (for a half mile, I can’t run and do math well). When I ran Gasparilla I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:09:00 so I knew it was possible. My PR from 2011 was 2:10:00 and my average has always been 2:18:00. I REALLY wanted to hit 2:10:00 but would have been happy with 2:15:00. At mile 7.5 I started to realize that if I did 15 minute miles I would finish in the 2:15:00. I was also being generous with time cause 5’s are easier to add then 3:30’s.
Mile 8 I realize that my PR is possible. Then I make the turn where we get down to 1 lane, maybe 2 people wide with minimal traffic. When these folks walked they were not walking on the grass and weaving was much harder. This was SUPER annoying. It is a mile out and back with the small lane crap. I actually feel bad for the people slightly faster than me who probably had WAY more people to deal with.
I made the turn at mile 9 into the home stretch! A little math again and I knew I could get under 2:10:00. I had maintained my 1:30/1:00 run intervals and had averaged a 13 minute mile or less the whole time. This PR was mine! 5 years in the making and I was going to get this! I crossed that finish line in 2:08:36 and I started crying. Ok first I got this super awesome finish photo.
The BEST part about this race is the ice cold coke that they have at the finish line! I don’t drink much soda but it is my favorite post-race treat!
Is this the best race ever? No. Is it well organized? Yes. Is it the theme that makes it? ABSOLUTELY! They do put an attention to medieval detail into it that is very much appreciated. I just wish they could find a way to widen the course in a few areas!
So if you are in Viera, FL give it a shot. They also have a 2-miler, and a relay so it is fun for all! Hope to see you next year for the Ruby and my CROWN!!!