This weekend, Victor and I went to Bermuda for the long weekend to participate in the Bermuda Race Weekend. The "destination road race" was an effort to get Victor back "on the road". He has run over 25 marathons and since being married has had a difficult time with work, wife and whipper-snappers (our beautiful, wonderful boys) making time to exercise. To sign up for such a big trip sort-of puts the pressure on to get in shape and somehow make it happen. And he did!
We were blessed with gorgeous weather while we were there. Typically things can get a little raw this time of year with cold wet windy weather around 60 degrees. However, as you can see we had clear mid and high 60 degree days. (The day after the 1/2 and full marathon the weather included gale force winds and driving rain .... crisis avoided!)
The day before our race, in an effort to conserve our legs, we rented mopeds and cruised all over the western part of the island. In Bermuda (which is far off the coast of North Carolina) they drive on the left side of the road, so that was a bit tricky getting used to ... but what a gorgeous, quaint island. The islanders are wonderful, thoughtful and kind. Numerous times we had islanders go out of their way to ask we needed directions, even if we were just pulled over looking at the sites. One family actually drove us through a short cut back to our hotel.
During the Bermuda Race Weekend there are four different races. I was amazed at the percentage of people who participated in the "Bermuda Triangle Challenge". This was a combination of three of the races. A mile race Friday evening, a 10K race Saturday morning, and either the 1/2 or full marathon on Sunday morning. Can you say WOW? Victor and I opted for the 1/2 marathon and playing around the island the rest of our stay. But the whole event was a runners dream. One race after the next with runners scattered all over the island and running conversation seeping out of every restaurant, bar and coffee shop. A lot of running groups went, participating in all three events, and they seemed to be living it up in spite of all of the running! Can you say Rum Swizzle (fruit juices and rum)? Or Dark and Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer)?
Back to the race, the 1/2 marathon course (which is the same loop for the marathon, you just run it twice which has got to be a little demoralizing as you run past all of the 1/2 marathoners finishing, cheering, hugging and high-fiveing), is very hilly. Victor, whose marathons have generally been at "BOSTON", said that the course was more difficult than Boston. The first half of the course has several big hills with nice (you have to be positive) downhills afterwards. However, the back half has numerous, seemingly unrelenting smaller hills, with a short flat, then up again, and then a flat ... but not a whole lot of down for "a rest". It's tough, but thankfully we live in a very hilly area so I had done quite of bit of hill work simply because this is where I run. So, if you go, you just have to be prepared -- that's all. I really felt great the entire way and kept my pace at between 9:00 and 9:15 minute miles (monitored thanks to Victor's new Christmas Gift: a GPS watch) and ended up beating my previous 1/2 marathon time by almost five minutes. I was very proud of my accomplishment particularly because after seeing all of the volcanic hills around Bermuda, planned on just running the race, enjoying the scenery and doing my best. But, I did it! Whoo-Hoo!
During our run, it was bright and sunny and only clouded up afterwards. We stuck around a little bit to see the Elite Marathon Runners come through (shortly after we finished our HALF marathon!) and cheer folks on. We couldn't take our "after" picture until we got back to the hotel and retrieved my camera. Fun stuff. Thanks Bermuda! We had a wonderful time.