Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Race Report: Sarasota Half

Warning: this report for some reason is a bit all over the place, much like my race was :) But it's still fun!

When I first registered for this race, I wasn't really that excited about it; I was mainly doing it because I'd already be in town for running coach training,  and I was trying to run 6 half marathons in 6 months. I kept hearing great things about it though, including the course and medal, so I finally started getting excited. After last week's hard effort though, I was thinking it was probably not the best idea. I had toyed with trying for the 2:15 goal with help from the pace groups, but I knew I was not recovered enough for that so I just focused on having fun. Instead of my iPhone, I ran with my camera because I can take photos with it one-handed while running.

It was warmer than I'd prefer, but there was a chill in the air when we got to the race start. I knew it wouldn't last, but I'd enjoy it while I could. I didn't bother with knee high socks this time because I knew I'd need all the help I could get staying cool. I didn't even wear a race belt so my singlet wouldn't be constricted. There was a line to park, but once we got into the lot there were volunteers directing traffic a la Disney and we scored a spot right next to the start line. At the last minute, I decided to wear my Garmin but set it to a screen that only showed the time of day.  I of course switched to the other screens from time to time to check my average pace during the race, but it kept me from checking my pace every few seconds because it required more effort :) We found the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs photo, and I recruited Jason to take a zillion photos with everyone's cameras, then we walked to the start. We were still toying with how to run this race, so we lined up behind the 12:00 min/mi pace marker together.

My pace and intervals were all over the place, because I was running by feel in every respect. I started easy with 1:1 intervals, walked up most of the first bridge, then ran down the other side and a bit of the flat to make up for it. It wasn't a particularly steep bridge, so I could have ran 1:1 up it, but it was long and I just didn't feel like taking any chances. I was a bit annoyed at myself for walking so much at the start, especially when I completely lost the 2:30 pace group, but I got over it quickly and focused on enjoying the gorgeous views. I kept my gym boss on 1:1 intervals, but I started doing 2:1 until I hit the bridge again after the turnaround. I once again walked up that bridge, then coasted down the other side and started looking for the 2:30 pace group. I knew I wasn't going to PR, but I at least wanted to finishing sub-2:30. They were quite elusive and I didn't spot them until at least mile 7 or 8. It took me until mile 9 to pass and stay ahead of them for good, but I still wasn't pushing the pace that much because I didn't want to get injured. I was walking 1 minute for every 2-3 minutes at this point because I didn't feel like pushing the speed, and I just wanted to coast along at a steady pace for a few minutes at a time. I adjusted as needed for water stops and the various little hills along the way.

As I mentioned, and you will see from the photos, the course was gorgeous with breath taking views of the ocean. We got to see the sunset over the bridge. The on-course support was great with plenty of aid stations offering water and gatorade. They even handed out some GU around the half way mark, but I wish I'd known when it was coming. I only brought with me 1 pack of shot blocks and I didn't fuel as well as I could have because I was afraid of running out. It worked out fine in the end though. The volunteers were great, though apparently not everyone thought so. As we approached the aid station near mile 8, the woman in front of me reached it as the volunteers had just turned around to reach for more cups to hand out. She began screaming "WATER!" and "COME ON!" in a very rude tone. Really? I couldn't believe her. Is not like she was setting any world records or wining any awards. We were in the middle of the pack at best. I slowed to a walk behind her and gladly waited the 2 seconds to get my cup of water and exclaimed to the volunteers, "Geez, there's no need to be rude." They appreciated my acknowledgement of her inappropriate behavior and I was sure to thank them extra since she didn't bother. I then started running quickly passing her and leaving her in my dust. Yeah, how did those extra seconds you save work out for you?

I was starting to push the pace a little here, but really it was more about pushing to keep a steady run for longer than running fast. It was really hot now and my legs were achy, but I felt pretty good; I wasn't dreading the beeps to run again. I again took the time to take in my surroundings, take photos of the views and funny signs along the course, and thank the volunteers and spectators. Somewhere along the last mile or 2 I ran into fellow Half Fanatic and soon to be fellow running coach and we chatted for a few minutes while on a walk break before we each began running again towards the finish line.

I took one last walk break, then ran the last 1/2 mile to the finish. The stretch along the 13th mile marker and the finishing shoot was lined with people cheering. I kicked it up one more gear and finished strong, passing this old guy that I almost felt bad about. I was thrilled that I had finished with my 3rd fastest time, specially considering the hills and warm weather. I love that a sub-2:30 half is something I can easily do now. When I crossed the finish line, I made a conscious choice to wait a few seconds to stop my watch and I'm so glad I did because I had an amazing finish line photo. I'll post them later this week because I think I'm going to buy them. I love how the pink skirt with the blue half fanatic singlet looked, except at the end when it had a weird sweat pattern, but it's all good. I felt great after I crossed, and had caught my breath in no time. I made my way to get my medal, found some water, and finally found Jason who had actually seen me finish but I totally missed him. I was really impressed with this race; it was well organized, the course was beautiful and the medal is absolutely gorgeous. We took some more photos, changed out of the smelly sweaty clothes in the car, then headed to Sweet Tomatoes for post-race brunch.

  • Chip Time: 2:26:47 (3rd fastest time)
  • Pace: 11:12
  • Clock: 2:29:17
  • Overall: 1333 / 2108 (63%)
  • Gender: 712 / 1301 (55%)
  • AG: 103 / 162 (64%)
  • Official Splits
    • 5K in 0:36:23 @ 11:43
    • 10K in 1:11:05 @ 11:26
  • Garmin: 13.11 in 2:26:52 @ 11:11
    • Mile Splits: 11:52 - 11:54 - 11:55 - 10:56 - 11:38 - 11:08 - 10:59 - 11:08 - 10:39 - 11:26 - 11:24 - 10:43 - 10:20 - 0:50 (7:24 pace)
    • Half Negative Splits (6.55 mi): 11:29 - 10:52
    • Quarter Negative Splits (3.28 mi): 11:43 - 11:16 - 11:01 - 10:43


mizunogirl said...

I'm jealous of your time.  that would have so been a HUGE PR for me...ah well...I have another half in july....

Kitzzy said...

You'll get there! It took me a long time to get under 2:30, but I am of the slow and steady approach. You just recovered from an injury, so I think you are doing amazing already! 

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