I was very excited to run this race. First of all, I left the frigid Northeast. Secondly, I was healthy all year and hoping for a good race.
After a sleepless night, I got up around 4:00 am, had my tea & oatmeal in my hotel room and then went down to the lobby around 5:00 am to wait for the shuttle to the race start.
It was chilly and dark. I arrived early and there was hardly anyone there yet. So I just walked around and shivered. I was freezing. I don’t know why since it was probably close to 60 degrees.
Eventually a lot of people arrived and many to register on site. Apparently, they offered a Groupon to get more people to run.
For a half marathon, it was small – only about 500 runners. There was also a 5k race (with about 300 runners) that would start 15 minutes after the half.
There was no bag check, just a locker than you had to pay for. I decided to just wing it and if I lost my jacket, it would be OK. So I hid it under a table. The restrooms by the amphitheatre were locked but there were many porta-potties. For some reason, I didn’t feel the need to go.
I met some nice people, as usual, to chat with while waiting. One lady was hoping to finish under 2:10. I said that I would love to do that someday too.
Soon it was time to line up. I wound up standing next 2 older women from DC who urged me to come to DC and race.
I was hoping that there would be chip times as well as gun times since I was some what in the middle of things. (It turned out that there were only gun times published.)
I should mention that this was the most beautiful course I have ever run. During almost the whole race, you were looking at the water.You can’t beat that!
It was still dark when we started since it was only 6:30 am. For the first mile, you ran around in the city and then looped around back to the start.
From then on for a few miles, you were running along the water and watching the sun come up …awesome.
I glanced at my Garmin every now and then to make sure I wasn’t running too fast (and at the end, too slow).
But as usual, the first half was a lot faster than the second.
There were abundant water stops…at least every 2 miles and I stopped and walked at every one except the first (and I regretted that immediately.)
Once the sun came up, it was warm but not oppressively so until maybe the last few miles. I felt perfectly dressed in a tank top & skirt.
What was nice about the course was that for the first 7 1/2 miles, every mile or so, the course took you inside a neighborhood. It was nice to have varied scenery and then the course was curvy so you could cut the tangents (and I made sure I did just that.)
I took a Gu before the race and then again at miles 4, 8 and 12. I really felt good and knew that I would PR if I didn’t fall and break something.
I remember being at 1:07 at mile 7 and 1:38 at mile 10. I was happy about that.
The main problem was my feet. AGAIN! I started to get blisters (in the same place) around mile 6 and the one on my right foot got more and more painful as the race went on.
The last 5 1/2 miles of the race were straight along the water. (No tangents to cut.)
This was the FIRST race that I just toughed it out. Sure I was tired but I refused to walk.
I only walked through the water stops and not as long as I normally do (I need to learn to open, eat Gu & drink water quicker.)
The scenery was so beautiful that I just focused on that and how lucky I was to be there.
Finally the end was near.
I had spotted that lady that wanted to finish under 2:10 as she passed me a little while ago. I tried to keep her in my sight but she eventually vanished.
I knew I had a good race and I was happy.
I was hoping to finish under 2:18.
I crossed at 2:09:40! I was shocked!!
The runner who wanted to finish under 2:10 killed it and we congratulated each other after the race.
There were pizza, bagels and all the usual refreshments at the finish. I wasn’t really hungry. I found those 2 ladies from DC and we hung out waiting for the results and awards.
With all the Groupon registrations, it took quite a while to calculate the winners. That was ok since my friend Georgette was late and I had re-scheduled my hotel check out for 1 pm.
But, yes, I won my Age Group!! (The lady from DC came in 3rd.)
mile 1 – 9:31
mile 2 – 9:27
mile 3 – 9:45
mile 4 – 9:58
mile 5 – 9:59
mile 6 – 10:09
mile 7 – 10:19
mile 8 – 10:27
mile 9 – 10:38
mile 10 – 10:22
mile 11 – 10:42
mile 12 – 10:59
mile 13 – 9:36
(short according to my Garmin but I did cut every tangent)
They are mostly positive, as always. At least there no 11 minute miles and I finished strong.
A. Age Group Award – YES!
B. Finish under 2:15 – YES!
C. PR (finish under 2:18:33) – YES!
D. Faster than my previous PR (finish under 2:22:35 ) – YES!
E. Finish under 2 1/2 hours – YES!
F. Finish happy & uninjured 🙂 and wearing this medal – YES (with blisters):
As you may guess, I was supper happy with how this race turned out. And then I was able to fully enjoy the rest of my time in Florida.
Happy Running! Anyone get blisters? Any advice?