Gasparilla Half Marathon
1:32:42, 4th Age Group (50-54)
(garmin distance 13.16, pretty close, not too many turns)
It was a pretty good race overall with ups and downs and a good ending. The weather was perfect and that turned out to be one of the motivating factors when my pace dropped - don't waste perfect running conditions on giving up!
Rode down to the race with Renee, got there in plenty of time and made our way to the start and warmed up a bit running just past the starting line. Got off to a pretty good start, holding the first three miles under 7:00 pace with each mile getting slightly faster by a few seconds. But mile 4 somehow missed being under 7:00 but still pretty close (7:04). I must have gotten too comfortable and slowed down more for mile 5 to 7:20 (which included picking up the last part of it heading down the bridge coming off of Davis Island).
It was around this time that a very fit guy covered with tattoos wearing nothing but running shoes and a red speedo came cruising past me. Not too much faster so I think that helped me pick it up a little bit following such an interesting target (talked to him a bit after the race, really nice guy). So, miles 6,7,8,9 I was feeling really good, enjoying the view on Bayshore and happy that mile 5 was the end of the race for me. Mile 6 was back to a 7:01, and miles 7-9 were all back under 7:00. At the beginning of Bayshore I caught up to the guy I saw earlier in the race that I ran with at the Holiday Half. I ran with him a bit then pulled ahead.
So, I was feeling like I could really turn this race around, until we got to the turn around and hit the wind. Mile 10 was not pretty - struggled to keep it under 8:00 and slowly brought pace down to7:37 (I was a little worried about slowing down too much and having the 1:35 pacer pass me - I was a little bit miffed at him because about a quarter mile into the race he kind of cut me off, weaving around and getting right in front of me even though I was going faster than 1:35 pace). A few guys passed me, and although I didn't run too close to them the did block the wind just enough. The road bended a little bit and the median had more trees so mile 11 was back to a reasonable pace (7:11), and mile 12 was back under 7:00 again. I thought back to BDR where I just stopped pushing once I passed the 12 mile sign. Managed a 7:01, then had a pretty decent kick for the last 0.1
I saw Anthony at the end. He'd had a really good race. Before the start he said that if everything went well was hoping for a 1:28 - he got 1:26:30, so really good day for him. Then I went back to the start and waited for Renee, she just missed the time she wanted but was pretty close. They had good post race food from the Columbia restaurant. Race bib had a free beer coupon but they can't serve until 11:00, so did not stay for that. We did pick up our top 10% finisher mug.
Meb also raced, came in third place with about a 1:03. Joan Benoit at 59 years old ran a pretty decent 1:29. Fun race today, about 5500 runners.
My splits: 6:59, 6:53, 6:52, 7:04, 7:20, 7:01, 6:55, 6:57, 6:53, 7:37, 7:10, 6:58, 7:01, 1:01 (0.16@6:32)