On Sunday, November 29, 2015, I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Village, Florida for the third time in as many years. This was my third of five years running this race for the Big Bang Series. The Big Bang Series, is a five year plan, in which they will offer a finisher medal of one of the space shuttles each year, with a three year Milky Way Challenge medal, and a five year Intergalactic Challenge medal if you complete all five years.
The previous two year medals were for Space Shuttles Columbia & Challenger.
This year, the medal recognized the Space Shuttle Discovery. Discovery was NASA’s third shuttle orbiter to launch in August 30, 1984. It flew 39 missions, and is best known for carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit on STS-31 in April 1990. Discovery made 5,830 Earth Orbits, 148 million miles, and spent a total of 365 days in space (1 year).
The morning started early. We stayed at the Courtyard Cocoa Beach, one of the host resorts. We woke up at 3:00 AM and were on the shuttle bus at 4:15 AM for our 6:00 AM race launch.
Friends Matt & Kira stayed at the Courtyard as well, so we rode the Shuttle to the race start together.
When we arrived at the race start we met up with many of our friends. However, in keeping with the tradition of the past three years, I met up with Michael & Tara for our annual pre-race photo.
The start yet again was awesome! They had a jumbo-tron screen at the starting line. When it was one minute to start, they put up an actual shuttle launch on the screen. It went through the normal logistics of a shuttle launch, and when it was 3,2,1 lift off they fired us off in smoke billowing like a launch.
There were no corrals, just estimated times that you arrange yourself accordingly. Of course, when it is done in this manner, you have those that get where they shouldn’t, and it clogged things up at the start.
Like previous year, the first few miles were really dark because the sun had yet risen and the street lights weren’t strong enough (one weakness that still needs to be addressed). We all activated our GPS watch & phone lights to get through this area. When the sun did rise, what a beautiful sight. We were running along the Indian River waterfront the entire race. It was an awesome 13 miles of scenery.
The race was through a neighborhood, so many came out into their driveways to cheer us on. Some had special treats to offer like Smores, eggs & grits, candy, and one home was a bartender making bloody Mary’s (I think Matt actually stopped and got one). There actually was a line of runners who actually took part!
The water stops for the run were awesome. Most all of them were in various space attire to greet us. It made it quite entertaining. At the halfway turn, was a Jimmy Buffet Parrothead club!
So as has been the cast for all Space Coast races, when you get to the 10k timing belt, there is an erry looking house, that actually has a creepy mannequin in the attic window. It is the hit of the course to get a photo.
So the run was an out and back. We ran about 6.6 miles and then turned around and came back. Not a big fan of these, but because of the view and support above, made it quite enjoyable. Since this was my 3rd time running this course, that also helped with comfort. The particular road that we run on it cantered from the center, so if you run this race, try to stay near the center line, otherwise, it feels quite awkward.
My finish was my worst of the three years at 2:02:10, compared to 1:58 in 2014 and 1:57:38 in 2013. The weather was the warmest of the three years as well. Even though my GPS data said 64 degrees, that was inaccurate as they called the starting temperature at 72 degrees.
The finish line party is probably the best ever. Disney needs to take some notes if they are going to continue to increase their prices. After we crossed the finish line and received our medals, they also gave us a huge beach towel with the race logo on it.
After the finish, they have an astronaut with the “2015 Finisher” sign that you can stand with for a finisher photo. Since I was alone, the MarathonFoto guy was a jerk and would not take a phone with my cell phone, so here is the image I took from their site.
As my time suggests this was not a great run for me in the grand scheme of things. Between the warmer temperatures, sore legs, and just a relatively burnt out state, I was glad to have completed the race. It is a great race, I just cannot seem to conquer this simple course route. Well I have 2 more years to try to best it.
The medals were awesome as always. Since this was the halfway point in the race we also go the three year Milky Way Challenge medal to go along with the Space Shuttle Discovery medal. Here are some various shots of the medals.
So, after three years of the Big Bang Series at the Space Coast Half Marathon, the collection is beginning to come together.
Saturday (Day Before Race)
On Saturday we left home in Charleston, SC about 6:30 AM to head to Florida. The expo was at the Radisson Resort at the Port. We arrived around 12:30 PM. Last year was such an expo debacle; however, this year they fixed it and it functioned much much better.
After the expo, we went and checked into the hotel and met up with Matt & Kira. We hung out together at the room and watch the Clemson v Carolina game. After the game, we went to Kelsey’s for dinner. We all ate there last year, so we ate there yet again, and it was really awesome.
Hope to see you at the race next year. Sunday, November 27, 2016 we will go for Space Shuttle Endeavour, the 45th anniversary of the Space Coast Marathon & Half Marathon!
Well, that is a wrap on the race season for 2015. Here is the completed medal rack for 2015.