Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Sarasota Half Marathon

Sarasota, Fl
March 17, 2013
As of yesterday, I was planning on running the Fl Beaches Halfathon today. I had signed up for the 4 race series in the spring of last year. If you ran all 4 races, you got an extra shirt, medal and there was a special category for competition. I've been wanting to run all 4 of the races for a few years and it was finally going to happen this time. Well, in January I got the flu. I missed race number 3. The race director was nice enough to let me use the registration to run the race next year, but I was now only going to run 3 races! As this race weekend got closer, I wasn't really feeling like running the race, but I had paid for it. There was a local half marathon going on the same day and most of my local running friends were running it. I kind of wanted to run with them! So, I asked my boss (I work at a local running store, who was a sponsor of the race) yesterday morning, if she had any extra comp entry forms. She had them in her hand and gave me one! We had race registration and packet pickup going on at the store, so right as we opened, I went over and got my bib and shirt and then worked the register for the next 5 hours. We were swamped!

It was great to sleep in my own bed the night before the race. I left home at around 5:30, stopping at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and then headed to the Players Theater to park. They are located right across the street from the race start/finish area. It's much easier to get in and out of there than the main parking lot next to the event. Carolyn, Gina and then Greg showed up by 6:15. We ran into Kristen and Amy and then all walked across the street and to the main waiting area (with a quick stop at the porta potties that had a short line!) :) We checked our bags and then waited a bit before they opened the corral. There was no strict system, so of course, there were going to be people lined up were they shouldn't be. Amy and Kristen moved closer to the start, while me, Greg and Gina hung out mid-way between the 2:00 and 2:15 pacers. We were packed in pretty tight since the corral was not very wide, but we didn't have to long to wait and soon we were crossing the starting line and off and running!

We head down the road for a short bit before turning right onto Tamiami Trial, heading south. We have just under a mile before we turn right again and head towards the Ringling Bridge. On the bridge, Gina pulls ahead. I let her go, knowing she is bound to have a great race today. Greg tells me his heart rate monitor is not working, which is not good. He falls behind me and I am now on my own, but with four thousand other runners around me! :) I pick up the pace on the down hill and then try to get into a good groove for the next few, flat miles. Just after mile 2, the first runner is passing me on his way back. There is a short out and back section here, which is great for seeing friends ahead and behind you. Soon I see Fernanda, who is kicking serious butt! At mile 3, we are running around St Armands Circle and heading back to the bridge. On the way back I see lots of local running friends. The next mile is spent looking for faces and waving and yelling out to them. Stacie, my Ragnar teammate from last year, taps me on the shoulder from behind and says hi. I loose track of her, but see in the results that she finished a couple of minutes before me! WTG Stacie! I slow down a bit on the second trip over the bridge, but gain a bit on the way down again. We make a left back onto Tamiami Trail and run back towards the race start, where the relay runners exchange is located. Miles 1 through 6 - 8:49, 8:43, 8:51, 8:56, 9:13, 9:11

The next 2 miles are pretty boring. We pass the Sarasota Storm water tent (my Tri team!), where I grab a quick drink and then a mile or so later, pass a water stop that Pat, my old boss, is working at. We are sharing the two lane road with traffic. We have the left side, next to the side walk, while south bound traffic is in the other lane. I am running on the outside of the road because it's the flattest on this slanted road (my left IT Band is a bit sore right now!). Many crazy people pass me on the right, dodging cars. Idiots. Thankfully, the 2 miles go quickly and we are soon turning right and running toward the Ringling Museum. I hear a big group of people behind me and see it is the 2 hour pace group. I keep them at bay for a couple of miles, but they end up passing me somewhere around mile 11. The course is still pretty crowded, almost "Disney" like. A lot of runners going for that sub 2! The next few miles are through the nice neighborhood that borders the waterfront. Lots of pretty houses and shady trees (even though we didn't really need them today since it was overcast). Just after mile 12, we turn right, back onto Tamiami Trail. We head past the Storm tent, I wave to Nicole and she yells out a "hi" as I pass. We run pass the park where I've run two loopy marathons, before we pass the relay exchange section. We turn right and I pick up the speed as I see the finish line ahead. I feel like I'm going to barf, but I want to run this in hard and finish strong. I cross the finish line, with my arms up in the air and a big smile on my face. :) Miles 7 through 13 - 9:20, 9:13, 9:14, 9:20, 9:19, 9:29, 8:56
Finish: 1:58:39

Total distance on Garmin: 13 miles! First time in a long time that I hit the mile marks on my Garmin AFTER getting to them on the course! I'll take it. :) I get my medal and then start looking for Gina. I find Amy and Kristen first, who tell me Gina finished at around 1:50! We find her moments later and she shows me her watch. 1:49! She crushed it! So proud of her. We go wait in line for food, which is a banana and yogurt for me, before finding a place to sit for a while. Gina texts Greg to see how he is doing. We finally get a reply and find him He had a great race too! We head to the water, to take a few photos and then meet up with Carolyn in the Beer area. I hang out for a while with them before heading on home. The bottom of my left foot is throbbing and my calves are tight!

Overall, I am very happy that I stayed in town to run this half. I've been traveling around to run races so often, it was nice to be home and run with friends. I am happy that the Fl Beaches race got my money though, as that is run by a "local" guy and the money goes to local organizations, while the Sarasota race, while held locally, is run by a larger "business" out of the Miami area.

Gina, Greg, Me and Carolyn

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