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.
Questions? Feel free to comment or email me. #spbclassic
Race Recap: Hard to Tell It's November
It was 75º at 4:30 a.m. The forecast said it would be clear and sunny all morning. Sunrise was at 6:46 a.m. When the race started at 7:21 a.m. it felt like 88-90º.
This was the 2nd running of the Honeymoon Island Half Marathon in Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. The race was promoted as some paved trails and other trails. There was a half and a 10k. My plan was to run relaxed and steady; find and keep a pacer; listen to music; enjoy the view.
This is my race recap. Detailed race review —> Honeymoon Half
I arrived an hour early. Parking was easy. I walked around to see the set up. Base camp was a huge parking lot. I spotted 7 port-o-lets and a couple of permanent park buildings with restrooms. What I did not see anywhere was shade. There was a stage at the far end of the parking lot that looked like a semi-permanent fixture.
The race began in the huge parking lot (hot asphalt) ran on trails through the park, moved out of the park across the causeway bridge to Dunedin, turned around and came back. 10K runners ran the course once, half marathoners ran it twice.
I ran a 10 minute pace the first mile, then realized that was too fast. It was too darn hot. I fell into a 12 minute pace. I ran most of the race behind a woman with a very long brunette braid who maintained a perfect 12 minute pace. I was awed by her consistency, AND, the amount of sweat pouring off the back of her legs. No doubt the person behind me also had a sweaty view. It was 93º for most of the race. The skies were clear and the race course was in full sun most of the time.
I did enjoy running to and from Dunedin over the causeway. There were lovely views of the water, and lots of people walking, biking and fishing. Runners stayed on the sidewalk going over the bridge. It was tight on the bridge when there were people running in both directions. Otherwise, it felt good to be close to the water.
As I neared the 10K mark I decided to call it a day. I couldn’t imagine another hour out in the hot sun. During announcements we were told if we decided to run a 10k instead of the half, just let them know at the finish line and we'd still get our official times. (That never happened, but I had my own tracking app.)
I finished, received my medal and found a bottle of warm water. Volunteers at the finish line, and throughout the race seemed to be high school students getting their required volunteer hours done. They looked bored, hot, and uninterested in the race. I don’t blame them since the conditions were brutal.
I walked across the parking lot to see if there was anything cold to drink, or something to eat. Nope.
Post Race Festivities were in Full Sun.
More than an hour after the start, there was no food, no cold drinks, no shade.
Why the Race was Disappointing
I’m going to say this race was disappointing for a few reasons:
September 2016 Update:
This is where you'll find me writing instead of running. (But, you know I'll be writing about running, right?)
Jan. 19-20, 2019
Remember, I am not a running coach. I don't even play one on TV. Please ask your doctor or professional for advice specific to your body.
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