Sunday, April 10, 2011

Clearwater Iron Girl Half Marathon

April 10, 2011

Race morning started off early. I got up at 3:45am, got some coffee and computer time in, then grabbed my race bag and purse and headed out the door to meet up with Gina and Charlotte. I picked them up near the interstate, then we headed to Clearwater. We got to the parking lot at 5:45 and saw Brenda heading to the super long line of women waiting to get on the trolley to take them to race start. I yelled "hello" out the window and then managed to snag one of the last few spots in the parking lot. We waited in line for almost an hour! Charlotte and I used the disgusting porta potties in the parking lot just in case we didn’t have time when we got to the race start. It’s a good thing I did, because we got off the bus to hear the National Anthem playing. Yikes! Gina and I speed walked toward to starting area. It was all blocked off on the sides, but Gina had the great idea to pull down one of the mesh like barriers so we could climb over and get in the starting area. 2 minutes to race start! I stretched a little and before we knew it, we were off.

I felt pretty good for the first couple of miles. I knew the big bridge was coming up quick, but was not afraid. I’ve run it at mile 12 of the Clearwater Halfathon twice. After the bridge, we ran south through a very nice neighborhood near the water. By mile 3 I was sweating like crazy and very happy that I decided to wear my belt with a couple of water bottles. I saw Gina a few times ahead of me for the next couple of miles, but then didn’t see her again until the end of the race. We had a short out and back on a side street around mile 4 that was just wrong. We ran down a small hill then had to turn around at the base and run right back up it. The next few miles consisted of beautiful big houses facing the bay and a few small rolling hills. I ate one cliff shot block at mile 4 and took 2 endurolytes at mile 6. Normally I eat 2 blocks, but with the heat, I didn't think it would sit well in my stomach.

Mile 1 – 9:12
Mile 2 – 9:34
Mile 3 – 9:13
Mile 4 – 9:41
Mile 5 – 9:53
Mile 6 – 10:03
Half way point: 1:03. I thought that even if I kept an 11 minute mile pace in the second half, I could make it in around 2:10. Nope.

By mile 7 my left periformis was showing its displeasure. I kept getting sharp pains that would strike my bum, then my leg would feel like it was about to give out. My left Psoas muscle was also acting up. I stopped around mile 8 to kneel down and stretch it out. I swallowed an advil in hopes it would help deal with the pain. When we turned the corner and headed west towards the next bridge I got a big surprise. I thought for sure that the bridge would be a drawbridge, which would have made it not much of a “hill.” Boy was I wrong! Another steep bridge greeted me. I made it up and almost to the bottom before I pulled off to the side again to stretch out my legs. While on the bridge I gazed off to the distance and noticed another bridge that I had forgotten about. I’ve run it a couple of times during the Clearwater Halfathon and knew I’d be running it again today. It was on the way to the finish! I tried to put it out of my mind, because I knew it was a steep one. At the bottom of the bridge I stopped once again to fill up my water bottles at the water station and ate one more (and last) shot block. From here on out, I started taking walking breaks often.

Mile 7 – 10:44
Mile 8 – 11:16
Mile 9 – 11:42

The last 3 miles were tough. I was feeling very hot. My feet were burning! My legs were cramping. I knew this was not going to be a finish time I would be happy about, so I decided to just finish and be proud of that fact. After each walking break, I would actually feel pretty good for a short time. I probably should have added regular walking breaks earlier. I swallowed 2 more endurolytes at mile 10(these help a lot!). Finally, just before mile 12, we came to the last bridge. I ran up about a third of it and then thought “screw it, I’ll walk it,” which is what I did. At the top I started running again. At the base of the bridge another Half Fanatic ran by saying “hi” as she passed. She motivated me to keep going. I stayed behind her for a bit, until her watch started beeping and she took a walk break. As I passed I introduced myself. She told me her name was Stephanie. Turns out she is Gina’s friend that we had tried to meet up with before the race started! The last mile went by quickly. I found some extra energy from somewhere and ran the rest of the race in strong.

Mile 10 – 10:46
Mile 11 – 11:42
Mile 12 – 12:16 (evil bridge)
Mile 13 – 9:58 (!!)
Mile .16- 1:25

I found Gina and Charlotte just past the finish line. A few minutes later, Stephanie came in. We all walked over to the food area, grabbed some grub, a table and dug in. Couldn’t eat the breakfast burrito or the muffin, but did enjoy a banana, yogurt and a bottle of Muscle Milk. We met a couple of other Half Fanatics and finally saw Brenda! The wait for the trolley was once again long. This time we were tired and standing in the sun.

Overall I am happy to have run my 28th Half Marathon. I wish my body would have held up better though. I think I could have managed the heat issues better if I didn’t also having to deal with the pain in my leg. I'll probably run this race next year. But I would either get there early or figure out a different way to get to the start. Maybe bring my bike and get a nice warm up by riding the 2.5 miles to the start. :)
Finish: 2:17:33 (official time is 2:17:30)
Age group 89/268. Overall 576/1640