Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bradenton Area Half Marathon

October 15, 2016
Half #66

I signed up for this race a couple of months ago. Since it was only 3 weeks post Augusta, I had no idea how I would be feeling. I signed up to be out there with runners from my training group and to be with friends! I managed to get in a 11 mile long run last Saturday, and it was the first time since the race, that I felt like normal. It took me a lot longer to recover, than I thought it would. I guess 2 weeks isn't really a long time, but I felt that since I really only pushed the pace during the bike ride, of Augusta, that I wouldn't need much recover time. I was wrong! Anyway, I took it easy for 2 weeks, then added a bit more, this past week.

Race morning: I got to the race site about an hour before the start. Found a parking spot easily, then waited a few minutes for Gina to get there. When she showed up, we walked over to the main area, used the porta potties, found our friends, got a group photo, then got lined up for the race! We didn't have long to wait before we were off!

We headed east for a couple of blocks, turned right and then left, followed by another left, which took us over the Green bridge. It was a decent incline, but not as high as the Ringling bridge. We hit mile one just before reaching the other side. We ran a 1 mile loop in Palmetto, before heading back over the bridge. I was able to see some of the middle and back of the pack runners, on my way back over the bridge. By mile 3, we were running down one lane of Manatee ave. The other 2 lanes were still open to traffic. We had just under a mile on this main road, before turning right, then running along the water front. These next few miles were the prettiest of the course. Lots of river views and views of the stunning houses along the river. I had been worried about the lighting, since it was still pre sunrise, but there were plenty of volunteers out with flashlights and there were glow sticks on the ground. I had been feeling really good for these first few miles. Running a bit faster than I had planned. I kept having to slow myself down! Splits for miles 1 through 6 - 8:35, 8:28, 8:44, 8:29, 8:46, 9:05

Feeling awesome as I cross the finish.
Just after mile 7, we turned to the south, heading away from the water. I thought this loop was going to be a short one, and then we would rejoin the main part of the course, so we could see the other runners, but, we didn't. I would have liked more of an out and back. It's so fun to see the leaders heading back. And it's great to see your friends out on the course, at some point, too! By the time we got back on to the road, that was next to the water, it was just before mile 10. The other runners I saw still heading out, were at mile 6. Not that many people to cheer on! The last 2 miles were the toughest for me. While I really liked this course, there were a lot of slanted streets. I had been trying to stay in the middle/flat part of the road for most of the run, but I couldn't always do that. My right knee was starting to hurt a little. I pushed through the last 2, and even though my pace was slower for the last few miles, I had a strong finish. Much better than I thought I would do! Splits for miles 7 through 13.1 - 8:44, 9:01, 9:06, 9:20, 9:12, 9:15, 9:19, 0:49

Finish - 1:56:59

3rd in age group!
For a first year race, they organizers did a great job. Lots of water stops on the course, plenty of volunteers on the course to help with direction, decent food and drink at the finish. Nice finishers medal. Free beer, wine and race photos! I will be doing this one again next year.