Yes, this post is a little late. I couldn't get it to load for days!!! Nevertheless, here it is!
One of our favorite races of the year is the McGuire's Irish Pub 5K. It has the BEST after party around! Where else can you run with nearly 17,000 other runners in a 5K? This race is unique because you have to predict your finishing time, and you aren't supposed to use a watch/clock/Garmin to pace yourself. Whoever gets closest to their predicted time wins.
This year the race was held on March 8th, and we decided to do something a little different. Normally, if we are racing in Pensacola we just drive the 45 minutes the morning of the race. This year we decided to get a hotel room near the race start. One reason we did this was to have guaranteed parking near the start, it gets a little crazy with all those thousands of people looking for parking. Another reason was that we decided to let the boys participate this year, and having a room meant they could sleep in a little later and we would have a place to escape the crowds should they need it.
We drove over Friday night and waited just over an hour for a table at McGuires. Well...I waited. Ali, the boys, and our friend Simon checked us into the hotel and wandered around while I secured us a table. Ali and the boys set a meet-up place just in case they crossed the finish line before Ali could spot them. I was nervous about my little guys running among that many people who were all dressed in green!! It would be hard to set them apart. We picked a restaurant sign between our hotel and the race start to meet at if we became separated at any point.
Our dinner at McGuire's was amazing. I always get the Senate Bean Soup as a starter!! Where else can you get an appetizer for less than 50 cents?? The 3 adults ordered chili cheeseburgers, though we could have probably all split one. They are huge!
While we were eating a group called the Guiness Brothers started playing right next to our table. They were super funny and quite entertaining. We now know why "Kiss the Moose" is such a popular phrase around McGuires ;)
Here are some funny pictures of Tyler trying on some hats in the gift shop. He is such a nut!
After dinner we walked across the street to our room and got our gear ready. We got the boys settled down and called it a night.
Saturday morning we got up about 1 1/2 hours before race time. I looked out our window and saw that the party was already under way across the street! We had a spectacular view for people watching!! See the start line below?? The street began to fill up with a sea of green!
About 20 minutes to race time we wandered on down to the start...
We received an Irish blessing, the cannon fired, and we were off. We were so packed in that we had to walk a ways before it thinned out enough to get running.
There were soooooo many people dressed in entertaining costumes. This guy was dressed in a golf suit and carried his clubs around with him! I bet they got heavy after the first mile. Darby and I ran/walked this race together. It was hard to run in some parts where people got congested around turns. It was nice walking with my oldest boy, talking about all things Dr. Who, Minecraft, and Harry Potter. We had a great time discussing the outfits some runners were wearing too. Haha!
One of the charities the benefited from this race is the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund. It's only fitting then that the Marine Corps should run this race in formation. Here they are finishing the race. It never gets old listening to these soldiers running to cadence.
Marines finish on the left, civilian finishers on the right...
Ali, Simon, and Tyler finished ahead of us. Luckily they were waiting for us at the finish, and we didn't have to use our meet-up plan. We made our way to the refreshments.
Of course after running a 5K you get pretty thirsty. Many folks were looking for the Irish Wakes and McGuire's brewed beer. I was looking for the fresh brewed, ice-cold root beer!! I'm easy to please :)
Another highlight of my day was the Irish stew. It was so tasty! I actually had two bowls. The boys weren't too sure about it, but I loved it.
At the after party we got a closer look at some of the creative costumes of other runners. Check out this swamp monster! He must have been sweating like mad under that suit. It was very warm outside!
And Simon's friend (who looks a lot like a character from the movie Devil's Rejects). He was kinda creepy! Haha!
What a great party!!! Have you ever seen so much green in one place?
The Guiness Brothers were playing on stage after the costume contest. There were also some bag pipe players playing as well. We were all having a blast listening to the music and singing along. We hated to leave, but we had to check out of the hotel and make our way back to Mobile.
If we had stayed for the awards ceremony, we would have heard then that Tyler won his age group (0-9). He won the clock time, and he was closest to his predicted time!!
This year the street behind McGuires was closed to allow the crowd to spread out. This made such a huge difference from previous years. It was much easier to get around to the soft drinks and food. I didn't feel as claustrophobic as I have in the past. It was a great family day for sure! We can't wait to run this race again next year :) Who knows...maybe we will try out some costumes too!