The Women’s Half Marathon never disappoints! The race just seems to sparkle. There is pink, sequins and tutus everywhere. I find it hard not to smile for the entire 13.1 miles. This was my fourth and very favorite year running it yet!
Friday night Caitlyn, Meghan and I met for the expo and dinner in Downtown St. Pete. We picked up our packets and shirts and browsed the expo hall for a while.
Thanks to RunDisney for our princess tiaras. No women’s race is complete without a tiara, right?
We made a plan to meet at my house on Sunday morning since I only live about 2 miles from the start line and ride over together.
On race morning, we drove over around 6am. We found parking close to the start for $5 in a garage. It was pretty cool and windy when we got out of the car. I’ve joked that this race always falls on the very last hot day of the year. With the 60 degree temperatures and the wind chill it seemed like we may have perfect race day weather. I was stoked.
We waited around the bag check area trying to find somewhere to block the wind but were unsuccessful. Just before 7am we met up with Meghan, took a quick -blurry- photo and made our way to the start corrals.
By the time we got to the start line it was impossible to actually get IN our corral. Instead, we waited on the side until the race start. When the crowd lightened up a bit we snuck in. With that we were off.
We had decided we’d stay together if we could but no pressure if we split up at any time. We’d come up with a meeting area near the finish line to find eachother. Meghan and Meghan and pretty speedy runners so I knew my chances of keeping up with them were slim. Sure enough, Meghan split off during the first mile. Meghan and I ran the first 2.5 together. We were next to the 2-hour pace crew and it was nearly impossible to pass anyone or stay together because of the size of the group. I waived goodbye to Meghan and she went on her way. Then I realized something, I was at mile 3 and still with the 2-hour pacer. I had no idea how long I could hold this pace but I hitched my wagon and was going to enjoy the ride as long as I could.
As long as I could turned out to be around mile 6. I didn’t stop, walk, or give up in any way after that, I just slowed my pace about 20 seconds per mile. Eventually the pace group was out of site. The pace felt fast for me but I felt great so I decided to keep it up.
Photo Credit: Caroline
My pace stayed pretty consistent between 9:30-9:50 for the rest of the race. I had only 2 miles during the whole race that we over a 10 minute mile. I’m really proud of that. Every time I found myself conserving energy I’d force myself to pick it up. I decided before the start of this race I was giving it my all and leaving everything I had out there. I didn’t want to get home and wonder if I could have done better. I’m also really proud of that.
Mile 10-11 were really hard for me. I think the deceivingly long loop around Mirror Lake and Tropicana Field got inside my head. Running through Tropicana Field is incredible. It’s such a unique part of this race. In previous years, its been a nice break from the sun beating down on you after crossing the black asphalt in the parking lot. However, this year, the weather was cool and windy outside and the field felt stuffy and warm. The turf also isn’t the easiest to switch to after 11 miles of pounding the pavement. Like I said, I think it all got inside my head.
After leaving the ball park I know I had only a little over a mile and a half left. My legs were heavy and I was tired but I was going to give everything I had left in me, which wasn’t much.
I saw Caroline just before the turn to the finish line. I’d seen her a couple of times throughout the race. You never realize how much spectator support means until your out there. Seeing her smiling face and flashing camera gave me just the boost I needed to power through to the finish. Thank you Caroline.
I went into this race hoping to get as close to 2:10 as I could. I thought my 2:08 PR from February would be incredibly hard for me to do again considering the pace I’ve been training at lately.
To my surprise, I crossed the finish line at 2:06:11. Thats a 2-minute PR for me. I was right about one thing, it was incredibly hard. I pushed myself as hard as I could and it felt amazing.
- 8:51 <—Last .26 mile. My Garmin read the course long
Just after the finish line I found our meeting place. Meghan and Meghan had both done awesome! We ran into Kat, Bekka and Genna from the TBLBs. Kat ran her first half marathon yesterday and beat her goal with a sub-2. Beka had a 10-minute PR coming off an injury. Genna also had a 10-minute PR. Caitlyn, who was running her 3rd half marathon in three weeks, also PR’d by a few minutes. There was so much excitement in our group. You girls rock!
Another great race with great friends. I’m so close to my sub-2 hour goal I can taste it.