Friday, March 23, 2012

Double race weekend March 17 and 18, 2012
St Patty's Day 8K and Florida Beach Halfathon

Saturday's race was an 8K St. Patty's day run down in Venice. We arrived in plenty of time, around 7am, to pick up our packets and use the bathroom a couple of times before the 8am start. I wasn't sure how I was going to run this race. I had the half marathon the next day. Once I got running though, I felt pretty good, so I decided to push it for this race.

The first mile was great. We ran north, from Sharky's restaurant, turned right, at the edge of the airport and headed towards the canal. At the end of that road, we get onto the Venice trail system that runs along the water front. It's a nice, wide, paved trail. We head south on that to the end then turn to the right. The course is basically a big circle. By mile 2 I am feeling a little slow down. I catch up to a young boy who has been running hard. He sees me to his left and then speeds up again. I guess he didn't want this old lady beating him! :)

I started slowing down a little by mile 3. I could feel the fatigue of racing the past few weeks and I think my bad eating habits over the past week didn't help either. The last mile was run near the beach, heading back towards Sharky's Restaurant. When I saw the turn off the main road that lead to the finish, I pushed it hard and passed this woman that had been ahead of me for a little while. :)

Finished with my best 8K time. 42:07! The 8K was just under 5 miles (4.96). I was off my best 5 mile race pace by over a minute. Need to get used to the humidity again.
Splits: 8:13/8:22/8:35/8:44/8:10

Sunday's race

This was my 39th half marathon. I'm happy I ran it, but not happy with my time. I knew by mile 2 that my legs were toast. Too many races over the past few weeks. I decided to treat it as a fun run and just take it easy. I ran walked using 4/1, then 3/1 and finally 2/1 intervals. It was just so hot! The best part of the run was getting a few photos of me were you can see air under both feet! I've been trying to get some photos like that for a while.

Finish: 2:15:24

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon
March 11, 2012

It's all about this bling!
Race morning, once again, started off early. Saturday night was the night to set our clocks forward, so we lost an hour of sleep. Brenda and I decided we were going to have a 4:30 wake up, which would feel like 3:30. I woke up on my own at 4:20 and decided to just get up. I reached over to turn off my alarm, only to discover that I had never set it to go off! Wow, I'm lucky! :) Brenda and I hit the road around 5:30, arriving at the Players Theater parking lot about 10 minutes later. We pulled in right next to Gina and Charlotte and when we got out of our car, we saw Dawn parked just a few spots away. This parking area was just across the street from the main parking area and the race start. Much easier to get in to and more importantly, would be much easier to get out of later! We met up with Jake, Summer, Brett and Jeff and just hung out for a while waiting for the half fanatic photo time. Eventually everyone showed up, we got our photo taken and then headed over to the corral. It was packed! We entered at the 10 min mile spot, but wanted to make our way up to the 8 min mile spot. We weaved our way through the crowd, finally getting as close as we could. They really need to change the way they do this! We only had to wait a few minutes before we were off!

Me and Brenda before the race.
Jake was going to try and lead us all to an under 2 hour race. We started off very fast and used 4/1 intervals right away. The first mile was great, then we hit the bridge. Normally, the bridge is no big deal for me, but today, trying to run it and an 8 min mile pace, I was struggling up that thing! I fell back a little from the group but caught up with them on the down side. There was a water stop at the bottom of the bridge, so I decided to take 2 endurolytes while I was there. I had forgotten to take them before the race and it was already pretty hot out.

Miles 1 through 3: 8:39/ 8:57/ 9:05

Best photo of the day!
I kept up with the group until we got to St Armand's Circle, but then fell back. The pace was just to much for me in the heat. The 2 hour pace group was there, so I decided to hang with them a bit even though they were not walking at all. The pace felt better. Dawn was running with them too. I held on to that pace until we hit the bridge, but once again, they all pulled ahead and I never caught them. I did see my group of runners ahead, so when I saw them walk, I would walk. My legs were feeling pretty good. I only had to stop a couple of times to stretch so far.

Miles 4 through 6: 9:14/ 9:39/ 9:37

I caught up to Jake and Gina around mile 8. Dawn was much further ahead and Brett and Summer were behind me. The heat was really getting to us all. This stretch of the race is on a major road. We were running north and had the far left side of the road for the runners. Unfortunately it was pretty slanted. I kept to the right as much as I could, but that was near the cars, who were driving south. I was so happy when we turned to the left and started our run through the nice neighborhood that is south of the Ringling Museum of Art. Just before the museum, volunteers were handing out cold, lemon scented washcloths. So wonderful! The best thing ever! :)

Miles 7 through 10: 10:00/ 9:07/ 10:04/ 9:58

Focused on the finish line! The
woman in blue is who I passed! :)
Around mile 11, Jake asked if it was OK for him to take off. Of course! We had really slowed him down. The last couple of miles were pretty slow for us. Gina told me to go ahead a couple of times, but there was no way I had the energy to push it any harder than I was. The only good thing was that my legs were feeling pretty good. I didn't need to stretch at all for the last few miles. Around mile 12, we caught up to Dawn. It was so wonderful to know that we were almost done! We took one last walking break around mile 12.5, then got down to finishing this thing. We ran past the relay exchange area, were runners were waiting for their partners so that they could run it in together. That gave me a nice little boost. We turned right just past the crowd and up ahead was the finish line banner. I was just behind this other woman, who had been running near us the past few miles. I pushed myself to the limit, running past her and finishing strong.

Miles 11 through 13.1: 9:47/ 10:03/ 9:26
Finish: 2:04:35

It wasn't the PR I had hoped for, but it is 1:15 faster than last week's half marathon and is now my second best half marathon time! I need to find a flat half marathon with cold temps so that I can get that PR! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2012
The Sarasota gang before the race.

Race morning started off early again. I got up at 3 am! I checked the weather to see if the cold front had moved through earlier. Nope. It was 70, humid and very windy. I picked up Renee at 3:45 and then we were on our way to the Tampa Convention Center. I missed our exit, so I had to try to remember how to get there from another direction. Only added a few minutes to our time. We had a very short wait in traffic to get into the parking garage. $10 later (ouch) we were parked and meeting Gina and Stephanie right on time at 5 am. We waited for a few other friends before checking our bags and heading out into the crazy wind. It started raining just before we got out side. We took a group photo, then started the walk over towards the start. We stopped by the Publix, to see if there were any Fanatics still hanging around. We were past the time of the group photo. They were all still there, so we got a couple more group photos and then headed over to the start. They had a line of porta potties down a side street, next to the corrals, so I decided to use them. Thankfully the lines were not long here. I found one with 4 guys in it. Score! They always go faster than the women. J I think I was there for only 5 minutes. Met up with Gina and Vicky and the we headed over to our corral. We got in at the back of the first corral (no one looked at bibs. We made our way up a little then hung out. There was a light rain. I was very happy to have my garbage bag rain coat on.  Just before 6am, We all tossed off our garbage bags to get ready for the start. After the national anthem, without any blast of an airhorn or fireworks, we were off! 

Half Fanatics before the race!

Gina and I decided to run the first 3 miles and then start 4/1 intervals.  The streets were pretty wide and it was easy to get around people until we hit the ramp going up to the bridge. We slowed down quite a bit running through that tight space. It didn’t last long and soon we were at our brisk pace again. Around mile 2, we got to the first water stop. I grabbed a cup, pinched it and then tried to sip it while still running. Some got in my mouth and some got in my nose! Yuck. I decided I would just slow down and take a few seconds to drink at the rest of the water stops. At about mile 2.75, we decided to go ahead with the intervals. We are occasionally blown to the side by a wind gust, but really the wind isn’t too bad so far.

Miles 1 through 3: 9:37, 8:45, 9:17

By now my left leg is hurting. The IT band and hamstrings are tight. I start stretching for a few seconds at every other walking break. The stretching does help, but the benefits don’t last long. Around mile 6, we run back over the bridge, off of Davis Island, and start our long run on Bayshore Blvd.  It is beautiful here. Great views of the water and of the fantastic houses facing the water. There are lots of race photographers just after the bridge. One right after the other. I pose and pose for each of them. Do they get any shots of me? No!! Geesh. We can really feel the wind now, but it still isn’t too bad. Gusts every once in a while that blow us to the side, but other than that, the wind wasn’t so bad. We catch up to Summer during the 8th mile. She ran both races the day before and is running both on this day. She decides to add intervals and run with us for a while.

Miles 4 through 9: 9:39, 9:46, 9:41, 9:34, 9:39, 10;02

This was the best photo of me on
on the course! 
Soon we are curving to the left and now running on the other side of BayShore Blvd. There is a grassy area with trees and bushes that break up the right and left sides of the road. We keep an eye out for friends that may be behind us.  Looking for friendly faces on the other side of the road helps to distract me from the IT band pain. By now I am stopping to stretch at every walk break!  After a couple of miles, Summer drops back and it is just me and Gina again, trying to keep up the pace. She has pulled ahead of me a little, but I am not far behind. With about a mile to go, we are side by side, looking forward to getting to the finish. We take one more walking break then decide to just run it in. I am pushing as hard as I can. Gina is very encouraging, which helps me to keep pushing. We finally see the finish line banner just ahead of us. I am at my max as I run it across the finish line!

Miles 10 through 13.18: 9:51, 9:56, 9:39, 8:56 (Wow!!), 1:23 (last little .18)

Finish: 2:05:50. 
This is my third fastest time and my best half marathon time in over 10 years! Very happy with it. J

Ken, Gina and me after the race!