Saturday, February 13, 2016

Best Damn Race - Safety Harbor

February 6, 2016

Finally, half marathon #60! I was unable to run the Clearwater Half last month due to very bad weather. And, of course, my car not starting when I needed to leave, didn't help either!

This race happens to fall on the same weekend as the local Music half marathon. By the time I thought about signing up for the music half, the registration was over $125! This is a course I run (in part) at least once a week or more. I didn't really want to pay that kind of money for it. Looking around on the internet, I found the Best Damn Race, in Safety Harbor. The medal was awesome, the drive wasn't very far (an hour) and best of all, I got in for $69, just 2 months before the race, thanks to a discount I found on Facebook. Lynnette, a friend and member of the group I train at Fit2Run, decided to sign up too.

Running goal: My training has not been very good the last few weeks. Total miles were not so bad, just had a couple of days were I ran 2 times instead of getting the longer run in. No speed work and my right hip and hamstring has been very tight and painful while pushing the pace, for a week or so. I got a massage a few days before the race, but it wasn't a good one and didn't seem to do much for me. My main goal was to try and push it, to get under a 2:00 half, which I hadn't been able to do in the last two half marathons I'd run.

course map

Saturday morning, we left Sarasota at a very early 4:30 am. We got up there, found a spot to park in the Library parking lot, just a block from the start and 2 blocks from the finish. We picked up our bib, goodie bag and shirt, then headed back to the warm car to wait for the race to start. i took 2 advil, with the hopes it would help dull the pain in my hip during the race. It was a bit cold outside, so we figured out what kind of layers we wanted to wear and what we wanted to check in with our bag. I decided on keeping with what I had planned the night before. Half Fanatic tank top, arm sleeves and gloves for my upper body. Skirt and compression socks on my lower half, which is pretty normal for me. Temperature was in the upper 40s, but was predicted to get to low 50s within an hour. At about 6:50, we headed over to the porta-potties, I then found Leah and handed off the bags with the Music half bibs and shirts I had gotten for her and her friends, then we took off our outer layer, stuffed it in the checked bags and hustled over to the start area. We just had a few minutes to wait before the national anthem was performed and then we were off!

Miles 1 to 6: The first half mile or so was pretty congested, as we headed out to the main road, turned right and headed north. I had a vague idea of what the course looked like, from checking out the map, so I knew we would be running to a park and looping through there before heading back. My hip was a little of the sore side, so I decided to try and keep the pace around 8:30 to 8:40 min mile, for as long as I could. Surprisingly, by the time we got to the park, mile 3ish, the pace felt very comfortable, just the nagging hip issue. We had a nice out and back in the park, which was along the waterway. I got to see Lynnette on my way out. She was doing good, hanging near the 2 hour pacer, which she had planned on doing. There were a couple of little hills, which I was surprised to see. They slowed me down a little. I hoped there wouldn't be more. Well, I was wrong. I had a couple more, before we headed down the main road, past the finish area.

Miles 7 to 13.1: we continued past the finish area, heading south. Got to see a lot of the 10K runners, making their way towards the finish. About a mile down the road, we made a right turn, running a big loop through the neighborhood. There were a few out and backs, so I was able to see Lynnette again. Just before mile 8, I saw the 1:50 pacer, who had started just before me. I figured he had about 2 minutes on me. I was pretty happy about that. I saw him again on another out and back, about a mile later, and it still seemed like he had 2 minutes on me. We headed back to the main road, ran on that for about a mile, before turning right again at mile 10. I was not happy to see a substantial hill. The steepest one so far. It wasn't as steep as the bridge, but after all the little rollers we had had, this one at mile 10, was really tough! The next 3 quarters of mile were my least favorite. The road was pretty slanted. I wanted to run on the left side of the road, but I had to move towards the middle, to avoid the slant. Finally we made the right turn back to the main road. I knew we only had a little further of running south, before we would turn around and head straight to the finish along the water. I really felt my legs and hips tighten up during the last 2 miles, taking me out of the pace I had been holding steady at. Finally, I made the right turn towards the finish line and pushed it hard the last few yards.

Finish: 1:53:16. My 3rd fastest half marathon!

Me and Lynnette after the race!
Up next: Gasparilla race weekend, February 20-21. I'm signed up to run 3 of the 4 weekend races! The 15K and 5K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday. It will be fun weekend, running and celebrating my friend, Gina and Wendy's birthdays.

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