Destin, Florida – 30A Half Marathon & 5K

30A Half Marathon….need I say more? Who doesn’t want to run down the infamous 30A in Destin, Florida with a view like that?

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After finding out this would be the inaugural race on 30A, we didn’t hesitate to sign up. As we have over the past numbers of years, we try to tackle two half marathons during the year, one in the fall and another in the spring. So when this one popped up on our radar, we couldn’t pass it up. It fell right in the middle of October where the weather was, well, incredible to say the least.

N and I decided to make a fun sister weekend out of it. We rented a small condo right on the beach where we could hopefully get a little relaxation in before the race on Sunday. But, the truth was, we didn’t get any relaxation at all. Instead, we spent the first part of the day wandering around the outdoor race expo.

Our original plan was to hang out at the beach for a while after the expo, grab some dinner and enjoy the evening. Ha! That was before we realized we were missing some serious running gear. Full-fledged panic set in. N forgot her running watch charger and we only had one cell phone case holder. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, except that her watch was DEAD and neither of us could be without our phones. Come on, no judging here. Well, finding a replacement for her “old” Garmin watch was somewhat of a joke. However, after hitting Best Buy, Target and Walmart, we finally managed to come across a local running store in Ft. Walton Beach. Thank you Run With It!! We found exactly what we were looking for…. and maybe a couple of fun extra things.

So now that we were finally race ready, we ate a quick dinner and headed to the condo to begin our “relaxation” time. Since it was October and the weather was expected to be downright cold the next morning (yes, this is a Florida girl’s thin blood we’re talking about here) we realized we failed to get any mylar emergency blankets. So N had a great idea. Let’s use trash bags, she said. Here I am attempting to make a trash bag jacket…. clearly that is something not in my skill set.

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However, come race time the next morning, I was so thankful for her ridiculous idea. Clearly, it worked.

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Race Day

Driving to the race was much, much easier than I was anticipating. Quite honestly, I was imagining waiting in these huge lines to get into the elementary school – which was our designated parking spot – where we would take the shuttle to the race start. Other than the school being out in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and nearly crashing my car into the ditch trying to make a last-minute turn, we managed to make it to the parking lot unscathed.

The shuttle ride wasn’t very long. The small buses were heated and just as you warmed up, it was time to get off for the start. Once at the start, we wandered around for a bit, chatting with other runners, taking pictures and making last minute porta-potty stops before it was time to line up.

Since we were about temperature of popsicles by race time, we were more than excited to start running.

All in all, the course was amazing. I will warn you, there are hills. That was the one thing that surprised me most. I expected the course to be mostly flat, but there were definite hills. Okay, so they weren’t anything ridiculous, but they’re there.

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On the positive side, the weather was absolutely perfection. We even were cheered on by locals and guests that were semi “trapped” on their streets as the runners went by.

We did bring our normal gummies with us which we started popping about mile 6. I feel like maybe we waited a bit too long to start with the gummies, but it was just the push we needed to keep trudging toward the half-way mark.

By the end of the race, the sun was up completely, the temperature had warmed up significantly and I was so thankful we had agreed on tank-tops and running skirts.

Once we made it to the finish, I called my hubby right away, telling him about everything, immediately sending him pics of my super-cool medal.

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After the race and after a quick clean-up, we decided to head into Seaside for a quick bite to eat. If you want amazing pizza, you must try this place. We kind of randomly wandered into it:  Bud and Alley’s Pizza Bar. Talk about lunch with a view!

As always, we were sad to see another race weekend come to an end, but that’s okay. We needed to start planning for the Princess Half Marathon coming up in February anyway!

Race tips

Check the weather! October can be chilly in north Florida. If you need to bundle up before the race, a garbage bag does work wonders! Check out my pics above.

This is a down-and-back race. Some people (ahem, sis) aren’t crazy about these. Enjoy taking in this gorgeous scenery and try not to get too wrapped up in retracing your steps from the turnaround point at the Boathouse in WaterColor.

Take the shuttle offered to get to and from the race start. Parking is a breeze at the Van Butler Elementary School and the shuttle was there in a hurry when we were ready to go back. Parking in Gulf Place and around that area can be rather limited.

 

Note-worthy restaurants in the area

Bud and Alley’s Pizza Bar. Best. Pizza. Ever. The ingredients are all fresh and they even make their own crust.

Pickles. If you want to grab a burger post-race, this is a great place to find one.

Food trucks – again in Seaside. They have tons of options at their great line-up of food trucks. This is located directly across the street from both Pickles and Bud and Alley’s Pizza.

LuLu’s – a bit of a drive from the race site, but it’s worth checking out. This huge restaurant is right on the water with an outdoor place for kids to play while the grown-ups can sit and enjoy the scenery while sipping on a much deserved after-race cocktail.

 

Hotels near the race site

There are tons of rentals in the area. If you’re going with a big group, check out VRBO for any house or condo rentals. We are particularly fond of the Miramar Beach area. There are tons of shopping and great places to eat in this area. The prices – especially during this time of year – are very reasonable.

WaterColor Inn – the prices are definitely on the higher-end, but if you want to splurge, it’s a definite place you should check out.

Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse – prices range from $155 on. It’s a fantastic little B&B that might give you just the peace and quiet you need to rest up before the race.

 

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