I hardly ever sleep the night before a big race, and it was no different this time. So after a sleepless night, I got up at 5am to have breakfast and get ready.
I was surprised to see Susan up making my coffee. So sweet! She wanted to cook me oatmeal but I declined…. I had brought my chocolate cream of wheat from home.
I left the condo at 6 am and walked across the street to the race start. It was very dark and quite chilly. I wore my knee sock arm warmers and a windbreaker. I walked around soaking up the excitement. I was just one of the almost 4000 eager runners.
I also looked for my friend Mary. Eventually I took a Gu, checked my jacket and got in line at the 11 min mile sign. Then I got a text from Mary that said that she and her sister were at 10 min. mile, but at that point, it was too crowded to move.
The gun went off and it took me almost 3 minutes to get to the start. Then I began to follow my plan: RUN slowly (between 11 and 12 min miles), walk through the water stops and walk only when I absolutely cannot run.
Secretly I hoped to finish under 2:45 but would happy with 3 hours.
And that’s exactly what I did.
The first half was tougher than the second since you had to run over the bridge twice but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. And the view was amazing. On my second time over the bridge, the sun was rising. I didn’t take any pictures because I knew there would be better ones posted. (Check out THIS BLOG for some great photos esp. the sunrise ones.)
I was ahead of the 2:30 pacer for the whole first half of the race but then I got tired. My ankle was fine but my right foot hurt on and off throughout the race. What else is new?
So during the second half, I followed the 2:30 pacer and the good news was that I never saw the 2:45 pacer. The second half was scenic also…beautiful houses and water views.
I’d be lying if I said that this race was easy. It was the hardest one I have done. (not the course, but my running pace, stamina, foot pain, etc…) I wasn’t sure that I would finish but I just willed myself to run and keep running. I couldn’t run fast but I ran through the finish line smiling. Ecstatic to be done and proud that I did it.
My friends Susan and Stanley were waiting at the finish line with a camera. I was so happy to see them there. The volunteers put the medal over my head (boy, is it heavy!). Then, I saw my friend Mary who was waiting for me as well.
I grabbed a water and waited on line for refreshments. While you were online, they handed out yogurt parfaits. The food was the usual muffins, fruit and bagels. There was also a beer tent.
I must say that this was the most beautiful course I have ever seen. The race was well organized. There were clocks at every mile, water at every 2 miles for the first half and at every mile the second half…even had Gu at mile 8. There lots of funny motivational signs, music and crowd support. They even handed out frozen grapes around mile 12. I highly recommend this race. I would do it again if I lived in Florida.
I really lucked out on the weather too. Just perfect…not too hot…. Not too cold….mostly cloudy until the race was over.
So my average pace was 11:45. I did better than I thought but I wished I had done better. It was slower than my first half marathon (2:26). Then again, I have been injured. I am happy but at the same time, can’t wait for another chance. I think I can do better!! Or can I?
We are our own worst critic! But if we are satisfied with our efforts then we won’t try harder next time.
Happy Running! Are you hard on yourself also?