Last Saturday (Easter Saturday to be exact), I participated in my very first beach run. I ran the Hooters Bunny 5K,put on by 727CANRACE.com. This is the second race I’ve run with this company; the first was the St. Patrick’s 5K back in March. Once again, I was impressed with everything my $35 race entry got me: a shirt, a beer glass, finisher’s beads, a beer, and a small Hooters wing sampler. Not bad for a smaller race; in fact, that was more than I’ve gotten at some of the bigger races in which I’ve participated. The one thing I was NOT impressed with? The bathroom situation.
Check-in started at 8a.m. with the race starting at 9, and by the time I got to Pier 60, I was ready to bust a gut. My breakfast smoothie and water did a number on my bladder on the drive over, so as soon as Kristina and I got to the check-in area, I made a bee-line to the bathrooms–only to find them locked.
It was a little past 8, so I decided to go ahead and check-in and get my swag before resuming my bathroom hunt. This was when I asked the volunteers when the bathrooms would be unlocked. One told me 10a.m. (!) The other told me 8:30a.m. Both suggested I could use the bathroom at Hooters across the street.
I thought it was poor planning to not lock the bathroom situation down, because a lot of runners fueled up on coffee, energy drinks, and/or water = lengthy bathroom lines before a race. After I checked-in, I had about five minutes to go until 8:30, so I figured I would take my chances and hop in line for the bathroom. I got in right at the nick of time–2nd in line–before more people started lining up behind me. Judging from the comments I heard, it sounded like everyone was on the verge of pissing their pants. We all kept checking the time, willing for 8:30 to hurry up and get there. And when it finally rolled around…
…Nothing. Nobody came by to unlock it. At this point, I had half an hour before the race, and I still had not stretched. I could either wait to see if someone would come by and unlock it (and take the chance of screwing myself over if nobody unlocked it in time), or just go to Hooters across the street. I chose Hooters, but when I came back a few minutes later, it looked like someone did eventually come by and unlock the bathroom.
The race itself was an out-and-back on Clearwater Beach. I didn’t go into this race with high expectations, as my running as of late has kind of sucked, and I had never run on a beach before. While it wasn’t excruciating, it was tough–I found out that sand that is either too soft or too wet can tire you out pretty quickly, and that it was best to run on sand that was damp and hard-packed. Added to that was the fact that it was SUPER windy and chilly. In addition to runners in our race, there were those who were just out on the beach, getting in their early morning run like it was NBD. Mad props to the runners out there who make running on the beach part of their regular workout routine. I bet y’all’s legs look ah-mazing.
Needless to say, I ran/walked this race like a bawse. But it was all good–it was peaceful to be out on the beach in the morning, and afterward I got free food, which is always a plus. My official time was 46:20.
Kristina and I topped things off with a brunch at Clearsky Beachside Cafe since the free Hooters wing sampler was only about four wings and we were still hella hungry. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was THE best brunch place I’ve ever been to. Prices were cheap and you got a lot of food (which is made fresh). Just look at Kristina’s coffee-flavored french toast!
Get thee to Clearsky post-haste. Seriously.