Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Run for Pompey Half Marathon and received an amazing resort package as part of the BibRave Bahamas Getaway package and for being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.
Hello all! I’ve been having quite an adventure since the last time I blogged. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that 4ish weeks ago, I visited Taiwan for all of the food adventures. I then came back to the states for 5 days and then jetsetted to the Bahamas for 5 days for an amazing and relaxing adventure.
I swear I’ll get to my Taiwan adventures, but since the Bahamas are fresh in my memory, let’s start with that. 🙂 Disclaimer: This will be LONG and I am sorry, but there was just too much to talk about that it would not be genuine to leave things out. I broke it down by subject and included pictures to make it easier to read.
For those of you who may not remember, I was going to Exuma in the Bahamas as part of the Exuma Getaway package that BibRave helped host. That package is described in my earlier post.
Let’s start with the flight. It’s not an easy flight out of the West Coast. I caught a red eye and had a 4.5 hour flight out of LA to Ft. Lauderdale, a 5.5 hour layover, and a 1.5 hour flight finally to Georgetown in the Bahamas (Georgetown is a city on the island of Exuma). After landing in Ft. Lauderdale, I was delirious. I had some flight schedule changes and I pulled up the wrong itinerary and thought I was going to miss my connecting flight. Well, a panic attack and a sprint down two terminals later, I realized my flight was 4 hours later. Oops. LOL.
My first impression
That frown turned upside down the moment I started seeing glimpses of the Bahamas from the air. The water was gorgeous and I was beyond excited to finally land. LOL Once I landed, I quickly got through customs and the Grand Isle resort ambassador was there to help me arrange a taxi to get to the resort. Once at the resort, fellow BibRave Pro Chris and I checked in and was given the tour of our villa and oh my goodness, it was beautiful.
Grand Isle Resort and its many amenities
The Grand Isle resort consisted of villas, two pools, a spa, fitness center, and various restaurants (La Palapa Grill, 23 North, and one other location I cannot remember the name of). All villas are two stories and have a maximum of 3 bedrooms. The villas all come equipped with a kitchen, some kitchenware (pots, pans, eating utensils, fridge, freezer), a laundry machine, air conditioning, and amazing views from the 2nd floor patio. I could have honestly just stayed in the villa for the entire stay, but the beach and pools were calling my name. Also, I had to run a half marathon so there was that. 😛
The resort is right next to Emerald Bay and oh my goodness, I didn’t know salt water could be so beautiful. I had a blast swimming in the waters. Beware of sand fleas (aka noseeums) though. They will nip at you and you will be itching for weeks. I didn’t think to put on water proof insect repellant and am paying the price. I have about 15 bites and it is not pleasant. So if you go, make sure to wear insect repellant. That is an absolute must.
I stayed at the resort for most of my stay, with a trip to the convenience store to grab snacks. The receptionist at the resort can arrange either taxis or a day long car rental ($75/day). You could even arrange to swim with the pigs from the receptionist and I was even scheduled to, but due to unfortunate weather and my schedule, I couldn’t make it work. The tour groups will pick you up from the resort as part of the package, which is super nice. So instead, I took advantage of their spa services and got a super relaxing sports massage with my first ever manicure.
The Bibrave Perk of the Exuma Getaway
As part of the Exuma Getaway, BibRave gifted those who signed up with an awesome pair of Aftershokz Aeropex. (Note: If you haven’t tried them, I’d highly recommend them. They use bone conduction technology so even the hard of hearing can experience music/audiobooks with ease). As part of being a BibRave Pro, I was also gifted things that really helped me get through the Bahamian weather.
Nuun Rest – Nuun’s newest line of hydration specifically designed for resting after a hard day of work or running.
BUFF’s Running Cap – Super lightweight and easily packable. The brim is crushable and the upper panel has UPF protection. Really nice to run with.
KnockAround Sunglasses – I’m a San Diego girl and love this local sunglasses brand. It also really helped shield the sun when I ran.
Vooray’s Pulse Active Backpack – A lot of nice pockets and straps that you can clip things to. I clipped a small sunscreen bottle to it, some hand sanitizer, and chapstick. There are two spots for bottles on the sides and held all the things I needed for a day of sightseeing.
The Entire Race Experience
With the getaway package, there was a pre-race pasta dinner and boy was that a carb loading experience. I wish I had run the marathon so I could have eaten even more pasta. It was sooo good. It was a choose your own type of pasta ordeal. They had pesto, alfredo, and marinara sauce along with several different types of pasta and protein (Grouper or chicken). After eating my fill, speeches were made and the race directors let us know that the race was able to provide scholarships for students to attend college and due to the hurricane this year, they also donated to those affected. It was definitely a nice way to end the night.
Getting to the race was a breeze. We took the race day shuttle at 5:15 am and arrived shortly before the race at 6 am for the half marathon. The marathoners had already begun at 4 am. In its 5th year, there were 3 ultra marathoners (50k), 3 marathoners, 11 half marathoners, and a LOT of 10k, 5k, and 2kers. There were also cash prizes for the longer distances – $500 for the first female and male finishers. So if you were a marathoner or an ultra marathoner, you had a really good chance of winning. In fact, my fellow Pro Chris won the marathon and smashed the course record by an hour at 4 hours and 35 min.
I do not do so well in humid and warm weather so I ran a moderate 2:28:04, which actually put me in 10th place. The temperature when I finished? 83F. The course starts out around a lake and with the sunrise, it’s a beautiful sight. You’re running along the streets and it is not blocked off from traffic so staying to the sides is important. There were also some wildlife (ie stray dogs) that made the course a bit more interesting and definitely kept me on my toes. For the half marathon, there were 7 aid stations, which were greatly appreciated. I grabbed an ice cold water bottle at every station and kept it until I got to the next one. We had great cloud cover for the first half of the race, but on the second half, the sun came out and I more strategically did a run/walk to get me to the finish.
In all honesty, I didn’t think I could finish this half. I had done a 3 mile shake out run around the resort the day before and melted. Running 4x that amount in the weather was beyond what I thought I could do. But I did it. I ran it and I completed my 30th half marathon. At the finish line, they called random bib numbers for giveaways and their grand prize was actually a week long stay at the Grand Isle Resort. That’s a $7000 value. Sadly, I did not win, but I did get a really cute swimming pig medal from the race along with a cute pig plush pictured below.
Another perk of the package was a post-race celebration dinner and boy did I get my grub on at 23 North. Their tempura was amazing and I’ve never had tempura as good as I had it here. 23 North is an Asian fusion restaurant at their resort and their food is delicious. After dinner, I called it an early night. As my swimming pig tour was cancelled, I ended up treating myself to a nice sports massage the next day. The masseuse knew exactly how to get my knots out. I finished the massage feeling extremely relaxed and my hands looked real cute after the manicure. I spent the rest of the day swinging on the beach because why not have swings on a beach? LOL
After 4 amazing nights, I left Exuma with great memories (and some bug bites LOL). The resort staff was super top notch and very sweet and accommodating. The race was one I never thought I could finish, but mind over matter, right? It was a one in a lifetime trip and I’m glad I got to experience it.
The resort was amazing from its staff to its food and its accommodations. Bring bug repellent. Emerald Bay is BEAUTIFUL. The race was challenging, but definitely teaches you to run in hot weather. 10/10 would do again. 🙂