Race Report – 2018 Pensacola Double Bridge Run
If you live in or around Pensacola, the Double Bridge 15K should be on your list of races to run. This happens to be my favorite (and actually one of the only) road races that I do each year. The scenery is beautiful, the crowd is awesome, and the post race party is on point.
Each year, Fixed on Fitness has a great group train for and run this race together. Over the years, we have had so many people that thought a 15K was never possible, not only complete the distance, but cross the finish line with a smile. We don't love to pound pavement, so we have created a plan for our clients that incorporates FOF boot camp workouts along with just 1-2 runs during the week. This plan has worked well for years, and this year was no different.
2018 Race Report
As usual, we had an awesome group of 15K runners this year. We had nearly 40 people from FOF run the 15K and quite a few others run the 5K! That's a pretty darn big group considering the fact that Fixed on Fitness is not a running program.
The weather was COLD. Let's be real...this race is always either cold or windy. The temps were in the low 40s at the start, so it was perfect running weather. We did have some wind this year. Again, no surprise. However, the wind was more of a cross wind than it has been in previous years. I'm pretty sure we were all hoping for a tail wind, but it didn't happen. Hey, I'll take anything other than a head wind!
The start line is always incredibly organized. The cannon at the start can definitely take you by surprise if you aren't expecting it! As you take off, you get a nice, flat, three miles through downtown Pensacola. Coming onto Bayfront Parkway, we found the first water stop as well as the wind.
Moving onto the 3-mile bridge....the water was pretty, the sun was shining, and runners were starting to thin out a bit. The DJ was playing Journey as we got to the top of the bridge, so that got me pumped up. Side note....I am a "Don't Stop Believing" fan....I can hear that song from a mile away, and I can't help but sing. As you exit the bridge, the second water stop is right there with plenty of cheerful volunteers.
Running through Gulf Breeze is probably my favorite part of this race. As you make your way along, you pass the a lot of people cheering on the side of the road as well as the 5K start where you can always expect hundreds and hundreds of people cheering for the 15K runners. This part is always motivating for me, especially since you see all of those happy faces at around the 7 mile mark. Passing the 5K folks, you get to my least favorite part of the course...the overpass. It's a hill that you always forget about, and it has this lovely slant all the way up. Thankfully, once you get finished with the overpass, you see the last water stop, which is at the foot of the Bob Sikes bridge.
The Bob Sikes bridge is a hill that is just tough. It's short, so you can hear the DJ easily as you start your climb. Once you get to the top of the bridge, the view of Pensacola Beach is spectacular. The downhill is also pretty nice. Coming off the bridge, you are close, but not close enough to pick up the pace....well, at least not for me. This is always the spot where my faithful running partner, Emily, and I try to encourage everyone that we see. A "warm up" lap to go, and we are at the finish line. The crowd support is always awesome as you get close to the finish, and the volunteers are super.
9.3 miles down, two bridges, and an overpass = The Double Bridge 15K
Fixed on Fitness had a pretty incredible year in 2018. FOF WON the womens' team event, and we had two ladies place 3rd and 4th in their age group. We had quite a few folks run personal bests and a handful that rocked their very first 15K. After the race, we hung out and cheered for our fellow Fixed on Fitness runners. It was slightly freezing at the finish line this year, so I didn't hang out too long. Instead of freezing at the beach, we opted for brunch at Ruby Slipper instead :).
As I said before, at Fixed on Fitness, we are not huge fans of pounding mile after mile on the pavement. I really enjoy running more for the social aspect (post run breakfast and coffee) than the actual running. Over the years, we have approached a variety of distances from 5Ks to 50Ks to Ironman 70.3 with a minimal training style. We work really, really hard four days a week at FOF Boot Camp. The workouts are an incredible mix of strength and cardio, so this allows us to do some great variation training and then mix in a few long runs.
For the 15K training, we use a nine week plan that calls for FOF workouts four days a week with a longer run on Saturday. We also include an optional weekday run for anyone that just really loves to run or feels that they must run more to complete the distance. We meet as a group on Saturday mornings, and run a route together. The pace is varied, but it is always nice to have a few other people out running the same route.
When we train for anything, we highly encourage everyone to take the training plan and use it as a template. We don't believe in extremely structured training. Instead, we prefer an approach that allows for some flexibility. It is so much more important to listen to your body and take care of it if you are dealing with a minor injury than to get out and do your scheduled 6 mile run just because your training plan says you need to do a 6 mile run that week.
We typically start training for the Double Bridge 15K at the beginning of December. Our training runs start at 4 miles. For someone that has been working out with us consistently for six months, this run can usually be done with no training. Due to the variety and the structure of our workouts at FOF, just about anyone in camp can go knock out a 4 mile run. It might not be pretty, but it can be done. For those just starting out, we do recommend working their way up to the first 4 mile run. This might mean starting 3-4 weeks earlier than the group to build a base. From the 4 miles, we work up to one 9 mile run that is done three weeks before race day. This timing gives everyone the flexibility to still get the 9 mile run in before race day, even if they had some training challenges and have fallen a little behind.
Go Ahead...Sign Up!
A 15K is a GREAT distance! It's short enough that you aren't overwhelmed with training, but it's long enough to know you've put some effort in. We don't have many 15K races around our area, but we have one GREAT one.... The Double Bridge Run! Put your fears aside, and sign up for the 2019 race. The course is awesome, and you know the weather won't be hot.
If you need some people to train with, come try out Fixed on Fitness. We would love to help guide you and encourage you! At FOF, you will get strength workouts as well as plenty of cardio so that a minimal training plan will work for you. Your first week at Fixed on Fitness is always FREE.
Click here to come try us out!