For the past six months, I have shared with you my training progress as I prepared to run my first half-marathon in almost three years. It wouldn’t be fair of me to have done all that without at least telling you how it went. So, here’s my Half-Marathon Race Recap.
The race, the Florida West Coast Half Marathon, was held in Sarasota, which is about an hour away from where I live. I didn’t want to have to get up at 4:00am to drive down there. So, the night before, the family and I trucked it down there and spent the night in a hotel.
It turns out I’d been better off getting up early and driving down the day of.
I don’t know why, but I was pretty anxious for the race. I slept very lightly, waking periodically thinking I overslept. By the time the morning came around, I was anything but rested. Ugh.
The race didn’t really have a big turn-out. There were less than 500 people in total registered, and maybe only about 400 of them showed up. So it was kind of a light crowd for a race event.
In Florida, December is a fairly dry month. Lots of clear, dry days. But not this day. While it wasn’t raining at start time, there were storms starting to roll in.
It was still pretty dark out as we all lined up for the race. Like a pro, I hit play on ACDC’s Thunderstruck to psych myself up, but only one of my wireless Bluetooth earbuds would pair. Race hadn’t even started yet, and I was already having equipment malfunctions.
Next thing I knew, the gun went off, and everybody was moving.
Since this was a smaller race, there were no corrals to line us up by pace. There were also no pace-setters either. Everyone was on their own for setting a pace.
With it being a smaller crowd, everyone spread out pretty quickly. It was nice not having to fight through congestion as people started to advance or move back. The first few miles went by fairly quickly.
At the stations along the way, in addition to water, they also had Powerade. But I didn’t want to try anything different than what I was used to from my training. So, I stuck to my normal course of water and GU gels.
For most of the course, I ran by myself at a steady pace. The course was all road and sidewalk, and your typical flat Florida path, with pretty much no elevation. But you’re never going to hear me complain about not having to run up any hills.
At mile 5, I started to slow down a little bit, and was already beginning to feel it in my legs. I had my first GU gel, and it definitely helped. My brain didn’t like that I wasn’t even half-way yet, but I kept up the pace.
I told myself I wouldn’t walk at all the entire race. If I was tired, I would run slower, but I would keep moving so my muscles wouldn’t tighten up. And that’s what I did, I kept plugging away.
There was a part of the race where we were running on a narrow sidewalk, so we all had to run single file. This was a different experience for me because all of my previous races were so big we always ran on blocked-off streets. This was my least favorite part of the route, and it lasted from about mile 5 through mile 7.
By this time, the weather was starting to deteriorate. The winds were picking up, and I could start to feel a light mist. A few more miles, and the mist turned into light rain.
Then I came to the last mile, and the portion of the course that the event organizers touted as the best part. It’s a one-mile concrete bridge that goes right down the middle of a canal.
On sunny days, it’s probably beautiful, and feels amazing to run on as you’re racing towards the finish line. But this wasn’t a sunny day.
By this time, the rain and wind had increased, and it started to feel like a hurricane. As I approached the structure, I noticed almost all of the runners in front of me were practically walking now. It wasn’t a good sign.
I realized why as soon as I made my first step on to the ramp that leads down to the bridge. It’s metal, and as slippery as ice when wet.
Somehow, I managed to keep my balance and made it down to the bridge without wiping out. But, for some reason, even the concrete of the bridge was very slippery.
I didn’t care. I was going to run all the way to the finish, and I did.
As I approached the finish line through the torrential rain, I saw my son standing there completely soaked waiting for me. But he had the biggest smile on his face, and was totally cheering me on.
That sight alone made It worth every step.
So, how did I do?
Before I share my times with you, I have a couple final thoughts. Out of my three half-marathons, this one was my slowest. But I don’t care. I didn’t go out there to set a new PR, I did it because I wanted to get back on the right track fitness-wise.
After running two half-marathons, and a hand full of 5k’s, in a span of two to three years, I let almost another three years go by without even a single race.
I ran, but I wasn’t tracking my times or trying to really improve myself. I was working out, but not to the same intensity I had done when I trained for my races. Six months ago, I was in no condition to go run a half-marathon.
Setting a goal for myself of running this half-marathon was an opportunity to challenge myself to get back into race shape. It’s been a lot of work these past six months, but I did it. And I’m proud of myself for it. And I plan on building on this for my next fitness goal.
So, how did I do?
Well, my total race time was 2 hours 49 minutes, with an average pace of 12:56 per mile.
This is a tad slower than my first half-marathon, but better than I had done in most of my training. As a matter of fact, probably due to the fact I wanted to get out of the storm as quickly as possible, I ran my fastest pace of 11:50 on my very last mile.
So there you have it, I set a goal of running my first half-marathon in almost three years before the end of 2018, and I did it.
See you around for my next goal.