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All Womens Half – St Pete Recap

My first half marathon outside of the state of NH happened this past Sunday! (I think I need more Destination Runs in my running future!)

A quick explanation of why I ran this race… I was training for the Manchester City Half Marathon (held on 11/4/12) and my husband was looking at Turkey Trots to run while on vacation Thanksgiving week. In his search he came across the All Womens Half Marathon presented by Lady Speed Stick in St Petersburg. When he asked me if I wanted to run it I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. I kind of said sure and next thing I knew he had signed me up AND asked my little brother who we’d be seeing in FL if he wanted to run it too! Daniel immediately agreed with an “I’m game” text even though the race was just 3 weeks away and he’d only been running a few days a week for ½ hour each time!! (Aah, to be 23 again!)

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Fast forward to the race… the Check in Process was SUPER easy and quick and the EXPO was AWESOME! So many great vendors, so many women (yes, there men – roughly 100 compared to the 4000(?) women!), so much good energy. Unfortunately I didn’t get to the Expo with much time to spare so I wasn’t able to shop as much as I wanted (which I’m sure made my husband happy! LOL).  I did quickly pick up some BRIGHT PINK Experia socks on sale (a fave of mine!).

My girls and I knew the Sweaty Bands booth would be there so we immediately went in search of it! It didn’t disappoint, of course, and we walked away with um… well… a lot of new Sweaty Bands! LOL

Just a few of the booths at the expo.

Lucas – this one’s for you!!

 

 

New Sweatybands!!! Even the boys give them a “thumbs up”!

Reusable Goodie Bag!

(I do feel the need to quickly point out that before I went to bed I pinned my race bib to the tank I’d be wearing the next day so I wouldn’t forget it. This will mean more when I get my Manchester City Half Marathon recap written and posted! LOL)

We woke up 2 hours before race time and immediately ate a full bagel with cream cheese and half a banana. This is one of the worst parts of racing for me – knowing I need to eat before the race but not being hungry at all at 5 am! But I got it down, took a quick shower to wake up, got dressed, and Daniel and I were off.

Parking was super easy and best of all, free! We parked really close to the start/finish line with zero problems. Impressive knowing how many participants there were. We headed to the start line (still in the dark I might add!) and hit the port-a-potties (there were a bunch of them). Immediately I was struck with the décor… look at these tables, outside, with table cloths, and pink ribbons! These tables were for anyone to use for whatever reason. Cute!

Tables, tablecloths, and pink ribbons make me happy!

Okay, back to the race… they did have corrals for the runners to line up by numbers but there definitely wasn’t enough room for all of us. Either that or the runners weren’t lining up by numbers! So Daniel and I amongst many, many other runners waited on the sidewalk for the race to start and slowly made our way into the masses and to the start. Took us about two minutes to get to the starting line after the gun went off and we were probably only 100 feet away from it! Crazy. So this is where I need some advice from any runner reading this post. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH MASSIVE CROWDS THE FIRST COUPLE MILES OF THE RACE? My first mile was so slow I got scared there would be no way I could run the race in the time I wanted (anything under 2 hours, even 1:59:59 would’ve been great!). So I picked up the pace, significantly and in hindsight, that’s where it all started to go downhill. I weaved in, out, around, and through countless numbers of runners those first few miles and ran too fast miles 2, 3, 4, and 5. And at mile 6 I began to feel the fatigue in my legs. I was excited to see my time was creeping closer to making the 2 hour mark a reality, but then lost track of my time versus the gun time seen on the clocks every few miles. And then the mind games kicked in. If you’re a runner, you know what I mean. Ugh. Needless to say the last three miles were a ginormous mental challenge:

“Just stop running, you’re not going to make the time you want anyway.”
“Just keep running, you’ve come this far.”
“Stop and wait for Daniel, might as well finish together.”
“Just keep running, you’re almost there. How could you run this flat course slower (overall) than the hilly one two weeks ago??”
“Oh look at that girl at the medic tent with ice on her ankle; maybe I should fake an injury.”

The list goes on and on. And then something happened that reminded me why I love the running community so much. A fellow runner saw me walking at mile marker 12. (I have a rule to NEVER walk during a race, EVER. And I broke that. That’s how bad these last few miles were mentally.) I had decided to just walk until Daniel caught up to me. I had taken about 5 steps when a woman came up to me and said “Keep running! It’s only one more mile!!” And ya know what? She was right. It was just one more mile. And I knew I could do it. Not in the time I wanted, but I could finish it. Running. And so I did. I finished it. It didn’t feel great at the time, but now with it a few days behind me it feels just fine. I ran a half marathon, two weeks after running a PR, and with my brother. What’s so bad about that?

They had a great chute for the runners and then we were greeted by US Army soldiers who placed our medals around our necks. I walked back to wait for Daniel, darn kid was only a little over 2 minutes behind me! Pretty amazing for three weeks of training!! We proceeded to the tents where there were bananas, Entemann’s mini muffins, pretzels, water, Gatorade, and best of all…. COOKIES!!! Here we are biting our “medals”! LOL

I think there should always be cookies at the finish line!

Biting our “Medals”! LOL

I bought a long sleeve hoody from the Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon Series and a necklace for $10. They had volunteers there taking the charms off our medals and placing them on the necklace! Way cool! First time I’ve ever gotten a charm. GREAT IDEA! I love it! Hopefully other races will pick up on this. You could easily put it on a charm bracelet as well. Guys, isn’t this a great idea?! Hahaha.

Left: Charm removed. RIght: Charm still there. Clever!

Charm went from finishers medal to necklace! Cool!

Anyway, I’m happy I ran this race. I would highly recommend it to anyone (male and female) and would definitely do this one again or any other in their series.

And on an ironic side note… I forgot to pack deodorant for this trip!  Luckily there  was a travel size Lady Speed Stick one in our goody bag.  I immediately put it to good use and have to say – it works great!!  And the Luna bars were yummy too. ;-)

I’m very appreciative to my husband for finding this race and for asking my brother to run it with me!  Daniel and I are looking forward to planning more half marathons together soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to All Womens Half – St Pete Recap

  • Paulette says:

    First – super cool tables and we seem to have the same expo shopping habits (bright pink Experia…sweaty bands…yes!) Now on the crowds. I swear they are worse at all women races, my worst being the Nike Women’s in SF. The crowds are insane, people walk/run multiple ladies across and really gum up the flow, people don’t start in the right estimated pace and make it worse. My tactic has been to attempt getting ahead of my normal pace knowing it’ll be so much slower. (meaning if I anticipate running a 9-10, try to start with 8-9.) In those races I just go in for fun, no PR goals or time goals.

    Anyway, great job getting through a mentally tough one!

  • AmyC says:

    I wish I knew how to avoid the jumble of people at the start of large races…

    So jealous of your latest running adventure and happy to hear you did not forget your bib this time ;)

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