Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clearwater Halfathon 2010 Race Report

January 23, 2010
I got up race morning just before 4 a.m. I had trouble sleeping the night before. I was worried about my alarm not going off.
After having a cup of coffee and hitting the bathroom, I loaded up the car and hit the road. My stomach was feeling a little upset. I had made the mistake the night before, of eating something new. I got up to Clearwater and had to stop at a gas station for another bathroom break. I was getting a little worried that is was going to happen throughout the race!
The race start was set up next to a park with a large parking lot from the library right next door. I got a great spot, put on a toss away jacket over my tank, because with the wind, it felt pretty chilly. In the chip line, I met a woman who was wearing a Half Fantatics shirt too!  I got my bib, t-shirt and timing chip and then headed back to my car. It was a little after 6 a.m. and the race didn’t start until 7. I got my shoes on, pinned on my bib and looked through a magazine before hitting the porta potty line. Sigh. I was feeling a bit better, just really hoping that this was going to be my last pit stop. I kept the jacket on, because it was still chilly and we had about 15 minutes to stand around.
The race got started just after 7. We headed up a hill and then around the front side of the library. I decided to toss the jacket in the bushes next to the parking lot thinking it might still be there after the race. We turned to the right and then started running up the first big bridge. This thing is steep! I flew down the other side. I looked at my garmin and noticed a 7:30 pace! I was feeling great though, so I just went with it. Even when I got to the bottom and was running on flat ground I was going at about a 9 min mile and felt great. This is when it popped into my head that the wind was behind me and I was not going to be feeling great running IN to the wind and over UP the bridge on the last mile. Beautiful course the first 2 miles are next to the water. We then turn south and start running next to the beach. Just before mile 3 we get to the first water stop. I didn’t bring my waist pack with me, I just didn’t want it sitting on my stomach, so I needed the water break. The biggest bummer about this race is that the water stops are set up kinda wacky. I ate 2 luna moons, had some water and kept going.
Mile 1- 9:45
Mile 2- 9:00
Mile 3- 9:35
Just before mile 4 we start up the second steep bridge. Ugg. At the bottom of the bridge is another water stop, just outside a park. I drink a small amount of water here before turning in to run a big loop through the park. This section is kind of boring, but it just lasts a little over a mile. Just before leaving the park, we hit mile 6 and then a water station. I have 2 more luna moons and water.
Mile 4- 10:07
Mile 5- 9:30
Mile 6- 9:59
The next 3 miles we run on the road heading south through Condo Canyon. (This is what the DJ called it before the race and it fits!) We get to the turn around at about 7.5 and start heading North, into the wind. This was not pretty. I could feel myself slow down a bit. I kept my sights on the walker who I met earlier at the bib line and who was wearing her Half Fanatics shirt. I got up to her and yelled “go fanatics”” as I passed. The next water stop was just past mile 9 before we started back up that second bridge (3rd up hill) That was a long way to go before having a water break. I had the 2 last luna moons in the packet and then started chugging up the hill. It was slow going, but I made it without walking. The downside was great and then the next mile or so was nice because the buildings to the right blocked a lot of the wind. I had some more water at the next stop, at around mile 10.5.
Mile 7- 10:02
Mile 8- 9:52
Mile 9- 10:11
Mile 10- 10:41
We passed the beach again and then started running back toward the northeast. WIND! The last 2 miles were the toughest with the wind. Around mile 11.5 was the last water stop. I decided just to have a little water and not bother opening the other packet of Luna Moons. I was feeling pretty good actually. My breathing was going well. I had been working on taking nice slow deep breaths through the race. I tend to take short shallow ones, which adds to the bloated feeling that I get during races.
Just after mile 12 we started the last steep climb up that first bridge. I told myself to just get up half of it and then I could take a break. I ran up half and then walked for a bit, until I saw the race photographers at the top, same spot as last year. I started running again so that I could get a nice looking photo.  I zoomed past a few people as we ran down the other side. Just before we reached the bottom, we turned to the right and ran down this spiral walk way down to the road below. The last quarter mile is flat to the finish. I was going as fast as I could, but other people had more juice left in them. I was passed by about 6 people! Bummer. I finished the race strong and with a big smile on my face!
I was so happy to see that I had a 2:11 on my Garmin. Considering how my stomach felt, I was thinking I would be lucky to get the 2:15 of Decembers half. So with hills and the other issues, I was thrilled to see such a good finish time.
Mile 11- 10:18
Mile 12- 10:50
Mile 13- 10:30 (wow, and that’s with walking a bit of the first part of that mile up hill!)
Mile .1- 1:23 (think I slowed down a bit here)
I grabbed a banana, an orange slice and a piece of bread before heading up to my car. After getting my G2 (can’t drink the stuff they make at races) I walked over to where I had tossed my jacket. There it was! I’ll save it for the next colder race. I stretched a bit next to my car, before heading on out of there.
Treated myself to a grande peppermint mocha at Starbucks before getting onto the interstate and driving the hour home.
Official chip time is 2:12:18. What? This is the second race with this same company doing the time and I've had a chip time more than clock time. It will be interesting to see how the Gasparilla half time turns out.

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