I jumped up at 5 am. I microwaved the oatmeal that I bought the nite before & had a frappuccino. Then I took a long hot shower and got dressed.
The start of the half marathon was only a few blocks away so around 6 am I walked over to Fifth Avenue. It was still dark outside but around 50 degrees so I wore a jacket that I planned to ditch before the race. My hubby stayed in bed but planned to meet me at the finish line.
the starting line at around 6:30 am
I picked up my timing chip and still had a lot of time to kill. I hung out in Starbucks for a while, walked around the block, talked to lots of racers and waiting anxiously (or nervously.)
waiting outside Starbucks
About 6:45 am, music started playing and racers started lining up. The chip only records the finish time but I felt funny being at the front for my first half marathon so I chose a middle spot.
waiting to begin the race
I felt so emotional that I almost cried during the National anthem. I couldn’t believe that I was actually running a HALF MARATHON!!
The horn sounded and off we went. I pressed start on my Garmin when I crossed the starting line. I decided not to bring my iPod and to fully enjoy the race and the beautiful scenery. I also decided to bring my camera & my cellphone. I stuffed one in each side pocket of my running skirt as well as 3 packets of Gu. (Looking at the photos, I may reconsider next time or are my hips really that wide?!)
The race is said to be a very flat out-and-back course through the area known as the “Olde Naples” section of town. It takes you through the city streets, residential neighborhoods and waterfront districts.
and we're off!
From the starting line on Fifth Avenue, we began heading first west and then southward along Gordon Drive, which we followed for the next three and a half miles all the way down to the turnaround point at the lands’ end spot at the end of the road. There, we turned around and headed back along the course we just ran until we hit Kings Town Drive, where we turned and headed into the Champrey Bay and Galleons Cove neighborhoods.
It was breath-taking. On one side you could view the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the other, Naples bays. You wouldn’t believe the multi-million dollar homes we passed by. I was in awe.
I was tempted to stop and take photos (& I did a few times) but then again it was a race and I was supposed to be running!
running in Port Royal neighborhood
Because of the race’s multiple turnaround points, at the end of Gordon Drive and inside the neighborhoods, you got a chance to view the elite runners multiple times and to see any runners who are running behind you.
I couldn’t believe how fast the elites were running and I was relieved to see that there were runners slower than me!!
The runners were very friendly. Many of them started talking to you as you ran along side of them. I chatted with a couple from Pa, a young girl who runs hs track (who called me ma’am!) and another women who was complaining about her knees.
One of the race’s really interesting and unique traditions takes place along the stretch on Galleon Drive, where a clergyman at Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church blesses the runners passing by (all runners pass by the church twice during the race) with holy water.
As I felt the water, I yelled: “Thanks! I needed that!”
After the stretch of the race along Galleon Drive and the turnaround, we then head back out of the neighborhood and onto Gordon Drive once again for the reverse route back toward Cambier Park and the finish line festivities.
The race had water/Gatorade stops every 2 miles. My plan was to run the whole thing but walk at the water stops. That’s what I did!! I stuck to water since I’ve never drunk Gatorade. I also planned to have a Gu packet every 4 miles (every other water stop).
Luckily I didn’t need a porta potty – I only saw 2 and there were lines.
I frequently glanced at my Garmin. This was the first race that I used it. It really helped. Whenever I was going under 11 min/mi, I slowed down. I was paranoid about not finishing under 2:45 and hitting the wall.
It never happened. The wall never came because I was running slow and really enjoying the experience.
I called my hubby at mile 10. He was at the finish line. I told him I felt great would be there in about 30 minutes or so.
My legs felt great. My foot didn’t hurt where it usually did (Thank you Asics!!). Yes, the bottoms of my feet were screaming “Enough already!” but I ignored them.
Approaching the finish line, I saw some photographers. I gave them the thumbs up sign and ran as fast as I could through the finish line (I couldn’t believe that I was not tired!!)
The clock read 2:28:37 but when I pressed stop on my Garmin, it read: 2:26:49. Which do I use for my PR??
I quickly found my hubby and grabbed some water, a cookie, banana & a bagel but really was not hungry.
He parked close by (In case I couldn’t walk), I retrieved my jacket and we headed back to the hotel.
The hotel pool was not heated and I used it as an ice bath to soak my feet before we headed to beach.
All in all, I was really happy with my race!!! I’m pretty competitive so of course, I wish I had more confidence in myself & wasn’t so cautious so I could have had a better time!!
It was my first half marathon. I never thought I could do it! I accomplished all 3 of my goals!!! YAY!!!!!!!
- I finished under 2:45 and got a medal
- I had run more than walked
- I enjoyed the race!!!!
Now I want to do another!!
I really enjoyed running a half marathon because there was no pressure to run fast. So much different from running a 5k and obsessing about PRs. Who knew??