My Dad (a former track coach) advised me to hang on the shoulder of the leader for the entire race. Well, I couldn't do that since the winner ran the half in 1:18, but I took Dad's advice to heart, and hung on the shoulder of the 2:30 pacer.
This blog is my race recap. Detailed review here --> St Pete Beach Classic
The race began on time. Less than a quarter mile in, the sky opened and drenched us for a soggy minute. There was a collective moan from the runners as everyone realized we were about to run 13 miles with wet feet.
I was one of twelve runners with the 2:30 pacer (Carolyn), for the first few miles. Carolyn was amazing. It turned out she's a running coach. She kept us on pace the entire time — hills and no hills, wind and no wind. I was very impressed as each mile ticked off and we were still on pace.
That's the first time I ran in the thick of a pace group. Usually, I'm further back and keep them in sight. Coach Carolyn kept us engaged. She asked us questions, and gave us tips as our group ran mile after mile.
At mile 5, we lost 3 people from our group. A couple more runners dropped back at mile 8 when we faced very strong head winds. I learned later that the wind gusts were 30-35 mph.
The 7 people remaining in our group literally ran in a straight line trying to break the wind as we made our way through mile 9.
I suddenly got a Charley Horse in my left calf as we reached mile 10. My muscle screamed at me, so I slowed to a walk. Coach Carolyn turned and encouraged me to wait and walk through the aid station. I nodded. I wished that I could.
I watched as my pace group move ahead without me. Soon they were farther and farther away. It was sad to say goodbye to them. They were fun.
I massaged my calf muscle; even tried to roll it out each time I saw an appropriate railing. I decided to walk to mile 11 and then if my calf felt better, I would run the last couple of miles. I knew my PR had slipped away, but I wasn't ready to give up.
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