Went back to the corrals and headed up to the starting line. I was about 8 rows back, so not too much traffic to contend with in front of me. Got through the finish line with nary a bump.
First mile was steady and slightly uphill from the waterfront. Sights seen.....a high school cheerleading squad (surprising, but nice!), a small band (played quite well...great street sound), and then a nicely-equipped water station at the 1-mile marker. The next mile was flat and looped around mirror lake, and then met up with the next water station at around the 2-mile mark. The final mile ran slightly uphill again, and then was downhill most of the way back to the water. Strange, as one would think the downhill would be easy, but seriously was fighting major wind at this point! The final .2 miles was along the waterfront, and the finish line was right in front of the Dali museum. I managed to push it and really picked up the pace the final leg. Garmin isn't exactly 3.1, but definitely indicates what I experienced. Average cadence was 88spm, with a max cadence of 91spm. Pleased.
We did eventually find the other runner....waited by the food and she came in soon after the first one. They were 37 minutes and 38 minutes...quite well showing for first time runners. Both have less than 3 months of running, so I was quite pleased with seeing their pride!
So, we shared some bananas, granola bar,s frozen strawberries and water....then had a few cookies from Publix (soft batch kind...yummy). Check our my "official" stats...final time was 29:42. Overall, I was #136 out of 1063 finishers. I was also #17 out of 132 in my age group. Yes, I was quite pleased!
So, after hanging out for awhile and seeing the gazelles which are the top runners in the half come in, I head back to the parking garage....lo and behold, cars will not be able to exit for an estimated 2.5 hours! Yikes! Everyone was displeased about this, even the half marathoners that parked there. Apparently, there were signs in the stairwells and elevators which indicated this, but they were mostly torn down the day prior (per the security guard). That being said, it was soooo unclear from the womensrunning website where the parking garages were situated...and even if you knew where it was, the entrance to the parking lot wasn't clear on the map, so even if you did compare the garage to the closed roads, you would be wrong. All of the information from them was spot on...but this one map provided only online was so hard to read, that I basically gave up on even trying. Sure, they did provide all the detail on the anticipated road closings, so maybe its partially my fault here, but seriously, in the middle of darkness arriving here, one should expect that if you are directed to a parking garage that it would be somewhat accessible escaping after the fact.
So, we wait. Its a tad before 10am, and the police tell us that they will try to get us out in the next 10 minutes. So, we pile into cars and go down the winding exit ramp several floors below. Unfortunately, there were two parked cars blocking the way! I would presume that since they were told that they were blocked in for awhile, they went for a stroll. While I don't entirely blame them, they must also realize that it is simply unacceptable to leave your vehicle if its not in a "proper" parking space. The police said that they cannot tow since its private property and the security guard said he's not necessarily authorized to tow (thinking because he told everyone that they probably cannot escape for another 1+ hour?). So, the police finally give guidance...have the guard call a tow truck. But that will take some time.....in the meantime, they will open up the "entrance" so all the cars in this winding garage exit ramp had to back up and go down another winding garage entrance ramp to escape...but we get out, and I'm home before 11am :)
Both coming and going with this garage was insane. That being said, every other part of the race was fabulous. The layout of the race, the entertainment, the water stations, the directions, everything great. I hope next year they make the parking map much more legible and maybe even indicate suggestions were 5kers should park.
Will I run this race again next year? Oh yes...I'll be going for the half marathon :) So, even if the parking issue doesn't improve, it won't matter since I'll be finishing way later than this year!