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!

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