Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hillsborough River Half Marathon

December 14, 2013

Gina, Carolyn, Wendy and I left Sarasota just before 7am race day to drive up to the Hillsborough River Park. We got up there after about an hour, picked up our packets and then hung out for a while. Race start wasn't until 9 am. Very late for a half marathon. You would think the temps might have been cool, considering it's mid December, but no, we had a warm front on top of us. It was sunny, warm and humid. Just before 9, we wondered over to the race start area. After getting some course direction from Kip, the race organizer, we lined up and were off!

The first mile or so was all on the main road that runs through the park. We then turned right off the paved road onto a wide dirt road. This took us to a narrower section of trail that had a lot more hard sections to run on. I soon lost Gina behind me. I couldn't take my eyes off of the path in front of me in fear I would trip and fall! There were many sections that were muddy, which has us running single file along the edges, trying to stay out of the mud. We had a small creek crossing, which I managed pretty well, just getting the toes of my right foot wet, before we continued on, hitting a water stop and turning around for the trip back to the main, dirt road. On the way back, I managed to get all of my right foot wet in that creek! It felt nice and cool, but I didn't like the idea of possible blisters. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of loose dirt or sand on this trail, so I didn't have much clumping onto my wet shoe. My pace was pretty good still, a bit faster than I thought it would be. My quads had been hurting/tight all week. I could feel the tightness during the run, but it didn't hurt.
Miles 1 through 7 - 8:36, 9:12, 9:24, 9:12, 9:15, 9:36, 9:49

After we left this part of the trail, we were back on the wide dirt road. The 6 mile racers were on the other side of the road, heading back. This was my least favorite part of the course. For some reason that hard packed dirt road was hard on my legs. I slowed down a bit on this stretch. Not sure how long this stretch was, a mile or two, before we turned off the road onto a single track trail along the river. This spot was beautiful and I pretty much had it to myself. I was able to peek over at the river every so often, but I still had to keep my eyes on the trail in front of me. Lots of roots and uneven terrain. After a while, we left this trail, and entered another road that was pretty much all grass. By now, it was getting pretty hot and there was no shade here. I was still pretty much on my own. A couple of women passed me at one point and I passed a guy, before we left the grassy trail and ended up back on the hard packet dirt road. I got to the last water station, grabbed a cup and walked for about a minute or so before continuing on. I ended up running a bit with a guy who left the water stop at the same time. We talked for a while, which helped distract me from the heat. Soon, we were back on the paved road, and I knew it wasn't much further to the finish. Our pace picked back up while we ran on the pavement. I think it helped running with this guy. I might have finished slower if I hadn't had him there pushing the pace! We came up to the last little bit of trail section off of the main road. He pulled ahead of me here. The ground was very uneven, so I slowed down and watched where I was stepping. We ran along the river again for a short bit before we turned toward the right and through the finish.
Miles 8 through 13 - 9:42, 10:29, 10:35, 11:10, 11:06

Finish time: 2:05

Gina, me, Wendy and Carolyn

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