EAU Palm Beach Half Marathon Race Recap


My 16th Half Marathon and I was still nervous.

The course was similar to the one I ran here last January but heading more North along the water instead of South.

race course

Here’s a overview of the race:

As you know, I was worried about the weather for this race.  Humidity is not my friend.  Rain is worse and wind is the worst.

The day before the race, we got an email explaining how to prepare for the predicted heavy rains (don’t wear cotton clothes, don’t wear loose clothes, cover up until race start, wear breathable socks, use lots of body glide, etc. etc.)

But I got up early (well, I’m not sure I really slept), made breakfast in my hotel room and crossed my fingers that the weathermen were wrong.

Well, it wasn’t raining and I was thrilled.  But it was warm.  75 degrees at 5:00 am. Forget about all those throw away clothes. It was also VERY windy.  And the humidity was incredible (At least, it felt so for this upstate NY gal).

I had a cab called for 5:15-5:30 but at 5:00 am, he was already waiting. Luckily I was ready and off we went.

When I got there, hardly anyone was there. Everything was located in the same area as the expo and very easy to find what you needed.

There were porta-potties but also REAL bathrooms.  Score!

There was also a bag check where I left a dry shirt, flip flops, a rain poncho and an umbrella.

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still dark & wet but no rain…

Then I just hung out until it was time to head to the corrals.

I was in Corral B…not sure how I got to start so close to the front.  There were about 3500 racers – half marathon, marathon, marathon relay runners. In my corral, there seemed to be a lot of marathoners.  I chatted with an older women who had run 35 marathons.  Her pace was 12-13 mm.  She didn’t realize, however, that there were corrals.

Finally, it was 6:30 am and time to rock n roll.

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You can see me at 0:15

Miles 1 -4:

9:33, 10:15, 10:17, 10:24

In order to PR, I would have to run at a pace of 9:50 for the whole 13.1 miles.  I knew from the start that that wasn’t going to happen.  I was hoping to keep my pace in the 10’s and have a decent finish time for the race.

The course started running north along the ocean.  The views were awesome but since it was overcast, you didn’t get to see the sunrise.

I got to see my running friend Judith when she ran by me. (She was training to BQ next weekend but her easy pace is faster than my fastest.)

The worst part of these miles was that you were running into the wind.  Huge wind gusts!! In fact, one blew my cap off and that doesn’t happen easily.

The wind and the humidity drained me right off the bat. But I tried to concentrate and run at an even pace and walk at every water stop (about every 1.5 miles) so not to get dehydrated.

Miles 5-9:

11:29, 11:09, 11:27, 11:43, 11:30

Eventually we turned and ran in town on streets parallel to the water with some zigzagging around different neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, I had already had it with the heat.  You didn’t feel the wind as much for these miles but the sun had come out through the clouds. (I was almost wishing for rain!)

I was dragging.  I couldn’t believe that several weeks ago, I ran 9.3 hilly miles at a 9:45 min pace.  I barely had enough energy to pick up my feet.

I walked at the water stops and ate a Gu and but vowed to keep going and not quit.

Miles 10 -13:

12:21, 12:24, 12:49, 12:35

These miles continued on the streets parallel to the water but passed the start and continued south.  (That dashed my hopes of having the wind at my back for the last few miles.)

I felt worse and as you can see, my pace slowed even more.

Nothing really hurt.  My feet hurt a little from time to time but no blisters.  My upper & lower back ached only slightly.  My legs weren’t tired. There was nothing to prevent me from running well.

I just felt drained…dizzy…nauseous.  So I walked more, ate another GU and walked some more.

But I was determined not to get sick and to finish upright.

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The last few miles were run along the water.  It was beautiful but we were running into the wind like at the beginning but now I was tired.  So it was hard to run with any speed at all. There were times where I felt like I was barely moving forward.

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such a fake smile

Of course, the last mile is when the photographers appeared. I am vain. I wanted to look good in those race photos. They are what spurred me on to pick up my pace.

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determined to run faster

And I wanted to beat that guy to my right.

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he’s gaining on me…

Mile 14:

8:49

I sprinted as fast as I could.  I didn’t beat that guy but there was no way that I was finishing this race in over 2 1/2 hours.

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My chip time was 2:29:14.

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Of course I was disappointed.  This is the slowest finish time that I’ve had in years and 20 minutes slower than in January on a similar course. And I wasn’t injured. I trained well enough to do better.  The course was flat..wah…wah..wah!

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sweaty & done

But I realized that I DID finish.  I did my best. It may have been the weather conditions. Maybe it just wasn’t my day.  Maybe I need to re-adjust my expectations. 2:09 or close may never happen again. I ran. I ran without pain.

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I ran 13.1 miles!! As they say: “If if were easy, everyone would do it!”

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So I got my champagne and stood in line for refreshments.

There was Chicken, rice & beans plus all the usual stuff – fruits, bagels, bars, snacks. I grabbed a bag took some for the road.

I got my checked bag and hung out for awhile soaking in the post-race atmosphere. Then I walked a little ways to call a cab to get back to my hotel. My friend G would be picking me up there soon.

More race reflections:

Positives:

  • No rain!!
  • Well-organized race
  • Timing clocks at every mile
  • Many Gatorade & water stops (8)
  • Real bathrooms
  • Lots of post race refreshments
  • Scenic course
  • Champagne!! (There was beer too)
  • Free photos
  • No injuries. Nothing hurt.
  • I finished.

Negatives:

  • Windy
  • Warm
  • Very humid
  • I wasn’t sure how much I could push myself & I didn’t want to risk DNFing (so I walked..too much)
  • My finish time
  • No AG award for me (If I ran well, I would have won 3rd)

So there are many more positives than negatives!!!

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Would I recommend this race?

Definitely.  If I lived in Florida, I would do it again.

I think I preferred the one in January (Sunshine State West Palm Beach Half) because it was smaller.  Also the weather was better (and I PRed and won 1st in my AG, of course.)

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nice hair!!

Final Stats:

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Goals:

A. Finish under 2:18 – NOPE.
B. Finish faster than Brooklyn (2:25:47) – NOPE!
C. Finish under 2:30 – YES, BARELY.
D. Finish upright and wanting to do another. YES, BARELY. Next one is in Florida again on Feb. 7.

After the race, I felt strong enough to climb 140 steps to top of the Jupiter Lighthouse.  More about the rest of my race-cation in another post.

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Happy Running! Tell me about your last disappointing race. How did you deal?

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16 thoughts on “EAU Palm Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. ZOOMA Annapolis. Similar conditions except hilly — very, very hilly.

    I think I made exactly the same mistake you did — not adjusting my pace in the beginning for the weather. So I crashed & burned big time.

    It’s always disappointing, but hey, the next half I ran was almost 25 minutes faster & a PR!

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  2. Running in heat and humidity is beastly. I have to do it for about 8-9 months out of the year, and it just plain wipes you out WAY earlier than you would be with better weather conditions. I know you’re disappointed in your performance, but dang woman – running a half marathon in those conditions is tough! You finished, you got some great (fake smile, love it) race pictures, and hey, you got to go to Florida. Mostly win-win, I’d say. 🙂

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  3. The humidity is an energy thief, plain and simple, which I get to enjoy about 6-8 months out of the year. I love running in FL but you never know what the weather will be like in Fall & Winter. Spring and Summer and guaranteed to be hot and humid. Have you ever tried using salt capsules? I won’t run long distances without them any more. You finished healthy and strong, which is always a win! Congrats!

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  4. Heat and humidity are tough and add in head winds and your time goals go through the window. Be proud that you finished and hopefully had a little fun along the way. At least there were beautiful views to enjoy! I’m running the Mickey Marathon in less than a month and I just pray we get unseasonably cold weather. Florida can be a really tough place to run/race!

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  5. Heat and humidity suck, if you are impacted by it like I am you just have to go into survival mode. I think you did very well, I know it is disappointing when you know you could have run faster, but it will happen. Feb. in FL should be a little kinder weather wise 🙂
    The second half I ever ran it was shade-less, hilly and 89 degrees, I tried to push the pace I thought I should run and ended up behind a bush heaving, I was so sick.I took a five minute break, but then I started run/walking and finished slowly…
    After that I learned if it is hot just adjust as needed and run/walk whatever I can manage.
    Your race photos look amazing 🙂 and free is awesome!
    2:09 will happen again!

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  6. The humidity was pretty bad, but I was glad for most of the winds because it kept me from being a complete sodden mess. I used hair clips to keep my visor on (It stinks having to stop and bend over to retrieve a wind-blown hat/visor). It wasn’t a great run for me because I’ve been feeling poorly and I just didn’t have any pep in my legs.

    You look great in your photos. Most of mine look like I’m grimacing 😦

    As always, it was great to spot you on the course! It’s fun having a running friend at so many races — even the not local ones!

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  7. Pingback: TOLT: Every Picture Tells a Story – My First 5K and More…

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