Thursday, December 29, 2016

Double Half Marathon Weekend

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - Hillsborough River Half Marathon (Trail)

The SRQ  gang before the start.
For this race, I decided to take it easy. Run the race at my long run pace and enjoy the course. Stop and take photos. My first couple of miles were a little fast, mostly because they were on the road or on hard packed dirt trail/road. Once we hit the trail, that had taller grass and was a little harder, I slowed down. Just after mile 3, the runner just ahead of me pointed at the ground and yelled out something I couldn't hear. As I got closer to the spot, I saw that it was a big black snake! I couldn't tell if it was alive or not, and didn't want to get close to find out! I figured I would try taking a photo of it when I passed by again on the second loop, if it was still there.
The next mile and a halfish was on hard packed dirt road. I took off my long sleeved top, tied it around my waist, then picked up the pace a little. Once I got to Aide station C, I saw Karen, then we got to the technical trail section. This was along the Hillsborough River. My time was much slower through here, since I stopped to take photos and also wanted to watch my step. I still managed to roll my foot, but thankfully I didn't cause any damage! After this section, we are on a dirt/grass road again, which takes us back to the first water stop and the start of the second loop. Miles 1 through 6 splits - 9:04, 9:08, 9:59, 9:35, 11:13, 10:21

I still had my go pro in my hand, so I kept my eye out for the snake. He was still there! He was sure alive. He had moved a little. While I stopped to take photos, someone else commented that the snake had shifted a little. He was just enjoying the sun on this cold morning. I still kept pretty far from him! I picked up the pace again on the long dirt road, before stopping at aide station C for a photo and some M & Ms! More photos along the river, then I put the go pro back in my pouch and picked up the pace. Once I hit the paved road, I really picked it up. Finished strong with a small jump at the finish line! Miles 7 through 13.1 (13.2) - 10:07, 9:47, 9:35, 11:17, 10:32, 9:42, 9:15, 1:59

Finish 2:11:42

Sunday, December 11, 2016 - Best Damn Race Cape Coral

Sunday morning, I met Carolyn and Cindi at the Starbucks near the interstate. They loaded up into my Jeep, then we were on the road by 5:15am. So happy to have GPS navigation in my new car, it made finding this place in Cape Coral pretty easy. We made it down in good time, having just under an hour before the race start time, to pick up our packets, wander through the booths, and hit the porta potties a couple of times. The crowd wasn't very big (just over 400 running the half). I got near the 2 hour pacer, though my goal was to finish before that. I wasn't going to try and PR today, since this was more of a training run for my marathon in 3 weeks. I wore my long run shoes and not my "racing" shoes, just so I wouldn't push it!
Once we got going, I was surprised at how good my legs felt. No soreness at all! As we were heading out, the 5K runners where heading in. We made a few turns, before starting to see the 10K runners, heading back. Around mile 4, I caught up with a female runner, wearing a triathlon top. Since we continued to run the same pace, we started chatting. I learned she works for BDR! Her boyfriend is the one who puts on the races. We chatted about running and triathlon. We ended up running a few miles together. She pulled ahead of me during mile 9, when I started to slow down. Miles 1 through 9 - 8:35, 8:26, 8:40, 8:37, 8:45, 8:54, 8:49, 8:46, 8:55

The last 3 miles, my hips started to tighten up, and I slowed down. Since I wasn't "racing" I didn't worry about it much. I had a good buffer, so I knew I could still make it under 2 hours, unless something crazy happened. I walked through the last couple of water stops. It was starting to warm up! The last mile took forever! I was really happy to see the big condo building, where I knew the finish was. At this point, I feel someone on my shoulder, so I turn my head to see who is behind me. It's the 2 hour pacer! He was way ahead of schedule! We had to make a sharp right turn, then another, before a short stretch to the finish. Miles 10 through 13.1(13.18) - 9:10, 9:19, 9:21, 9:14, 1:26

Finish: 1:57:01

Crossing the finish line with a funny facial expression!
Note on the 2 hour pacer: He did a poor job and should NOT be hired back! He walked back and forth near the finish line until he could cross right at 2 hours. The guy was at least 2 minutes ahead of the time he was supposed to hit. No wonder he had no runners left with him at the end!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Space Coast Half Marathon

Half marathon #67

November 27, 2016

This was my 4th year of running the Space Coast races. The last 3 years, I've run the marathon. The second year, was my PR marathon time, that still stands. Last year was rough, so this year, I decided to run the Half Marathon.

This year, I went over to the Space Coast on Friday, with my husband and son. We went to the Kennedy Space Center and walked around all day. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. I didn't eat very healthy, either. Same for Saturday. So, come race morning, my stomach was having some issues. I spend a bit of time in the bathroom, before leaving for the race Sunday morning. I left the hotel at 4:30, my normal time. When I got to my usual parking lot, it was almost full! I had to park next to the curb, instead of in a parking spot. I normally would have been worried about getting towed, but I have seen cars park in the same spot every year, and no issues, so I went ahead and parked. I hung out in my car for a while, then headed over to the main staging area to meet my Sarasota friends. I made a longish stop to the porta potty, then went to find everyone. Met up with Lynnette, Kimmi, Toni and Ariana for a group photo, then went to use the porta potty one more time! It was 5:45 and my race started at 6am. The lines were long! I was waiting and waiting. Finally, I asked the people ahead of me, who were all running the marathon (which started a half hour after mine) if I could cut ahead. Thankfully they all said yes. I went in, did my business, then headed to the start, a block away. It was so jam packed. I couldn't even get from the side road into the main street. A woman came by, pushing her way through the crowd, with 4 other people following behind her. I jumped on that train and went with them. I was able to get pretty close to the 1:50 pacer, who I wanted to stick with for as long as I could. I didn't have long to wait before the big tv screen should the shuttle launch. With the blast off of the shuttle, we were off!

A couple of miles from the finish!
The roads were very congested for the first mile. Our pace leader kept us under pace, not sure why, maybe because it was hard to move faster through the crowd? The pace for each mile was supposed to be 8:23, So you can see from my first mile, we were 22 seconds off. After mile one, the pacer started running faster. Miles 2, 3 and 4 were under our goal pace! I guess he needed to make up the seconds lost in the first mile. For me, the 8:23 was going to be a challenge to keep, so when he kept up an even faster pace, I started to feel it during mile 5. At around mile 4.5, I started to slow down a little. For another mile or so, I could still see the group ahead of me, but they gradually pulled ahead by a lot. I decided just to do what I could do and carry on. It was great seeing this part of the course as the sun was coming up. There was cloud cover on the horizon, so I didn't get to see the sun come up over the water, but it was still beautiful. Miles 1 through 5- 8:45, 8:16, 8:19, 8:15, 8:22

At the half way point, we turn around and head back. I love out and backs. Seeing other runners and seeing friends on the course. It distracts from any discomfort I am feeling. I got to see a lot of friends as I headed back. Unfortunatly, my legs started to stiffen up. I just couldn't get them to move any faster. So, my pace got slower and slower. I knew I wasn't going to PR, my new goal was to get in under 1:55. As I made the sharp turn onto the side walk, just after mile 13, I knew I had my goal in reach. I ran the curve, by all the cheering people, to the finish. Very happy! Miles 6 through 13.1 - -8:27, 8:37, 8:35, 8:51, 8:56, 9:04, 9:13, 9:11, 0:43

Finish: 1:53:40
10th in age group out of 381