Another race-cation to visit friends and run a race. Unfortunately, this one was shorter than I would have liked but better than nothing.
I chose this race because of the friends that live nearby.
Oh yeah, there was an expo and a race squeezed into this long weekend.
Half Marathon Training
If you read my blog, you know that my training didn’t go as planned. It snowed a few times and I got the flu.
For the first time, I didn’t get all my long runs in and I even skipped some weekday training miles.
I was still excited to run the race but I was not expecting to have a fast time and was hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful.
I planned to enjoy the views and scenery and drag myself to the finish line. Walking a lot would probably happen. I was ok with it.
Check out the video from last year’s race and you’ll see why I wanted to run this race:
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations
Both Fran and I arrived on Friday (on separate flights). I rented a car and we drove to Delray Beach where we had a very busy day with our friend, Fonda- lunch, shopping and strolling, bird watching (at Green Cay) and walking, visiting art galleries, strolling and dinner before I dropped Fran off at a hotel and I proceeded to Fonda’s where I spent the night.
On Saturday before driving an hour up to Hutchinson Island to the race expo, I walked around the beautiful golf course where Fonda lives.
Then Fonda and I went to Wakodahatchee nature preserve. I’ve been there before but enjoyed it as much as the first time. We saw alligators, iguanas, and all sorts of birds. My favorite part was that the birds were nesting. We even got to see some baby birds who had just hatched.
Then I had got to have lunch with my college roommate and a friend with whom I used to teach. Everyone got along great so in addition to the water view, the food, we had an incredibly fun time.
The expo was held at the Mariott. There was no parking at the hotel but instead of the shuttle, I parked in a lot across the street. It wasn’t very impressive so I just picked up my shirt and bib and we left.
I didn’t know anyone who had run this race nor could I find any reviews.
But according to the website and folks at the expo, runners start the Treasure Coast Half Marathon at Memorial Park in downtown Stuart before running west, turning on to the Boardwalk Run, and continuing east toward Sewall’s Point. After making a loop around Sewall’s Point and traversing the bridge across St. Lucie River, the finish line is just a few miles away, passing several residential streets before crossing the finish line.
Here is the map:
Interactive Route Map – Half Marathon – bit.ly/TCMhalfRoute2015
Florida is supposed to be flat, right? Does this look flat to you?
After the expo on Hutchinson Island, we stopped by Fran’s hotel so she could check in and then drove to Georgette and her husband’s in Hobe Sound to have dinner. I would be staying with them for the next two nights.
The dinner was delicious but NOT was I would normally eat the night before a race We had salad, spicy chicken, rice and beans, cake and ice cream. I prefer pizza or pasta but what can you do when you friend wants to cook dinner for you. (Spoiler alert: maybe not the best choice for a meal the night before a race.)
We watched some TV before finally Georgette offered to drive Fran back to her hotel so I could get to bed.
And yes, if it seems like this vacation was already jam packed, it was. But that’s how I roll.
So 4 am came early on Sunday morning. I brought my breakfast from home (oatmeal and tea) so I was content.
I got dressed in my half marathon uniform (skirt, tank, cap, compression socks), grabbed some GU and my new Garmin.
Yes, my 205 died (or at least only lasts for a few miles) so I bought a cheap Garmin. Of course, it came the day before I left and I didn’t have time to try it or even figure out how to use it. (Spoiler alert: should have tried to use before the race.)
I left around 4:45 am and I had no problems finding the race location which was less than a half hour from where I was staying. I even found a parking spot on the street just a few blocks from the start.
It was pretty early so I just walked around the park. I met so many friendly runners who were eager to chat about racing. (I met some runners who told me Wineglass which I am running in October is their favorite all-time race!!)
There were bathrooms in addition to port-a-potties which is always a plus and the lines were not long yet.
Eventually I checked my bag with a jacket for later (that I didn’t need) and my car keys. It was starting to get warm – probably close to 70 by start time. But the wind was crazy bad. Everyone was worried about how hard it would to run in. But there was nothing we could do about it. The only good thing about the wind and that it kept you cool.
Soon it was time to head to the start to line up. There were about 1200 runners total for both the half and the full marathon. There were pacers for both distances so I lined up between 2:15 and 2:30.
The race is a blur as usual but here’s how I remember it:
9:26, 9:40, 10:06, 9:59
The race started through downtown, onto Ocean Blvd (a main street) and made a loop so that we passed through the start again around mile 2. I tried to run conservatively and keep my pace close to 10. It’s wasn’t hard since we were running into the wind at the the beginning (and most of the race.) Plus I started h aving stomach cramps. UGH! Around mile 2.5, there was the first water stop and I took advantage and did some walking. I considered stopping to use the port-a-potty but my stomach felt better though not great. I was getting thirsty too and was glad that the water stops got more frequent as the race went on. We ran through downtown again and turned onto the boardwalk where we ran along the water. (Gorgeous views except for the water blowing and making it slippery.)
10:20, 11:00, 11:07, 10:47
Another water stop and I decided to also take my first GU. My stomach was feeling better 🙂 but now my lower back started aching. It’s always something. It usually hurts by the end of a half marathon but never this early. It didn’t affect my running but it was annoying. Around mile 6, we separated from the marathoners and approached the bridge. Right as I was going to cross the street to run over the bridge, they stopped the runners to let the traffic pass. Seriously??? It seemed like we stood there for a long time but it probably wasn’t that long but certainly a nuisance. While I was waiting, I must have hit something on my (new) watch and it stopped displaying the time run and started at zero. I don’t run by pace. I like to know how much time has passed so I can gauge at what time I will cross the finish line. Rats!
I had lost the 2:15 pacer early on so I knew my time was slow and I never saw the 2:30 pacer. That’s all I could tell until I crossed the finish line.
So we started to run over the bridge which was UPHILL for what seemed like forever. The wind was the worst here. Everyone was struggling. Most runners were walking. It was hard to move forward but I managed to run, walk, run walk and finally get to the downhill portion. After the bridge, we entered a park and then Sewalle’s Point where there were some beautiful neighborhoods. There were water views at all times. My back continued to hurt and of course, as usual, my feet started to hurt. Both were painful but not as in an injury so I was able to easily run through it.
10:40, 11:24, 10:48, 11:02
We looped around Sewall’s Point and through the neighborhoods with water views. There were water stops very frequently now…more than one during each mile. I walked at each and every one and took another Gu during mile 9 right before we headed back over that huge bridge. Yes, it was still uphill but at least we were not running into the wind.
Miles 10-11 were the worst part of the race. We were running on a main road with no shade and of course, at this point, the sun came out. It was warm!!
Eventually we turned off that road and ran through another part of town. I remember running by a church and the priest was handing out small bottles of water.
Mile 13- 13.14:
We ended the race running through downtown again and crossing the finish line at the park, right where we began.
As I approached the finish line, I finally saw a clock…for the first time since mile 6. It said 1:18:xx. Of course I was initially disappointed but after a while, I realized that it wasn’t so bad considering the wind, the pain and my lackluster training. So I proudly put on my medal and wore it with a smile!
The atmosphere was so festive. There were free massages, lots of smoothie samples, a live band, etc. The refreshments were awesome. The Boy Scouts were serving pancakes, bacon & sausage as well as oatmeal with apples & raisins. There was also Starbucks. I was a happy camper.
There was also a food tent sponsored by the Olive Garden with pasta, meatballs & garlic bread, as well as, one by Moe’s which had burritos. chips, etc. There was free Heineken beer. What more could you ask for? (Maybe mimosas but that’s getting greedy!)
It was only 9 am so I settled for the breakfast items and strolled around waiting for the awards.
The Age Group awards were trophies and it would have been cool to win one. But I did not. I was 8th.
So I walked back to my car and headed to Fran’s hotel. I quickly took a shower and changed my clothes because we had a busy day planned.
I went to my first spring training game – NY Mets vs St Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately the Mets lost 14-10 but we had a great time.
After the game, I changed my clothes again and we went out to dinner with Georgette and her hubby in a cute restaurant on the water.
Additional race reflections:
- Organized packet pick-up.
- Easy to find parking at the start
- Real bathrooms before the race.
- Beautiful course with water views.
- Varied course – park, town, bridge, boardwalk, neighborhoods
- Lots of water stops (every mile after mile 5). One even had GU.
- No major injuries (just the usual foot & lower back issues)
- Decent crowd support along the course.
- Friendly atmosphere of this relatively small Florida race
- Great post race refreshments.
- Nice medal and great AG awards
- The Wind. The Wind. The Wind.
- Having to stop for traffic.
- Annoying stomach cramps then back ache and painful feet issues.
- My Garmin (totally my fault in not testing beforehand).
- This didn’t affect me but 159 runners (108 half marathoners) were not properly directed at a crucial point early in the race which caused them to miss a portion of the route totaling 8/10 of a mile. This was sad because some of the marathoners might have BQed.
- Again this didn’t affect me neither but I guess they ran out of food for the marathoners who finished after 3:30.
Would I recommend this race?
2:18:25 (2:18:10 – Garmin time)
303 out of 625 (female: 170 out of 412
AG 60-64 – 8 out 25
- Next Up:
April 30 – Shape Women’s Half Marathon.
So no break in my training, But again, though this one will be tough since it is two loops of hilly Central Park, I am looking forward to it. A nice warm (but not too warm) day would be welcomed.
Today’s topic is: St Patrick’s Day
I am NOT Irish but when I run in St. Patrick’s Day races, I love to dress up in GREEN:
Happy Running! Do you have a favorite Florida Half Marathon? Do you dress up to run St Patrick’s Day-themed races?