Florida Holiday Halfathon Race report
1:32:30, 26th overall , 3rd age group
Always like coming back here to the place of my first ever half marathon. Starting in Madiera Beach, running a few miles through a couple other beach communities before crossing the intra-coastal waterway and making our way to the Pineallas Trail as the second half heads into Taylor Park. And over the years, there are more and more familiar faces. This year, I drove down with Joe (who I had talked into running it about a week ago). Before the race I saw Terri R. as well as Christina (the woman I was chasing at the Brass Tap Half) and her husband Quint (who I ended up chasing and getting a tow for the last mile at the Turky Trot 10K even though I didn't realize it was her husband). Several Striders were also there (Mike, Tracy, Stan, Amber, Suzan, Run Jodi). I was feeling cold at the starting line (a good sign almost always), but not too cold.
30 minutes prior to the race start, the walkers and run/walkers got their start and then 5 minutes before the start, a row of Ainsely's Angels headed out next.
Sometimes when I start out a half marathon I run with the starting crowd and soon look at my pace and see I'm going way too fast and should slow down. That did not happen this morning. So, then I sped up to a 6:40ish pace. It felt hard but I figured I would give myself sometime to warm up some more (did a short 0.9 mile warm up before the race with a few strides). Second mile hanging on with 6:53. I came up to Angel Run Jodi pushing a stroller and said hi and wished her well. (It turns out they often have a running partner take turns pushing the stroller but Jodi was alone today. Tracy would catch up to Jodi and turn into an Angel for the morning and give Jodi (literally) a hand to help push).
Third mile was not feeling good and I couldn't seem to lock into the pace I wanted but was determined to make first mini-goal of at least the first three miles under 7:00, so 6:54.
Lost the sub-7:00 feeling and hit the Park Blvd bridge, part way up to the mile 4 sign, for a 7:12 mile. I wasn't upset but felt a strong attraction to wanting to just go for an easy run. A guy with no shirt passed me on the way down the bridge. I trailed behind him for a while. Was contemplating what pace to try and run. I didn't want to get passed by too many people, but this early on in the race I would need to run a little faster. Mile 5 was 7:16. Was playing tag team with shirtless guy. So, shortly after the 5 mile sign (and maybe an aid station), I went to catch up to someone who just passed me and then I was sub-7:00 again (6:56), but just for one mile.
We did the little loop around the park and onto the Pinellas Trail. This is usually my slowest mile of the race no matter how fast I run and today's time was 7:21 (and soon after that I felt like I was running slower). A new woman came up behind me and she passed me. I passed her back in a little bit but she seemed determined to get ahead of me. This finally ended my pace slide with mile 8 a little faster (7:15), and mile 9 I wanted to really make sure I lost her and got back below 7:00 again (6:50). So, I even caught back up to shirtless guy and was rigtht behind him. Mile 10 and 11 were both right at 7:11. I closed in on shirtless guy and passed him as we turned off of the trail to run through the first half of Taylor park and managed a 6:50. We also passed a couple other guys (an 18 year old and a 66 year old guy (who would win 1st place grand master, hope I can run 1:33 half when I'm 66)).
Just past the 12 mile sign I couldn't keep the drive to stay ahead of shirtless guy and figured I'd try following him. But, once that happened I couldn't stay close enough to have a chance to out kick him at the end. I didn't realize he was in my age group or maybe I might have tried a little harder to stay in the lead, but fortunately it was just the difference between 2nd and 3rd age group.
And just like that, the race was done. I did not get sub 1:30 (or even 1:30 "and change"), but also did not fall apart and also looked at it as PR marthon pace run. Terri wasnt too far ahead of me as well as Bill Cottrell (24th place). Shirtless guy was 25th place and also had a name (Anthony). Mike took 2nd place Masters with a 1:30:29 time (19th place). And Joe finished under 1:40.
Looking back, I kind of wished I'd started out faster, not so much pace wise but enough so that I could lock onto and try to run with a familiar face (or more likely a familiar back) - like Mike, Terri, Bill, or maybe even Christina again.
Summary, my splits: 6:47, 6:53, 6:54, 7:12, 7:15, 6:56, 7:21, 7:15, 6:50, 7:11, 7:11, 6:50, 6:58, 0:51 (0.14@6:18)
Hung around watching friends, acquaintances and other familiar faces finsh their races. Michael MacDonald (local FRBer) took second place overall, got to say hi to him and chat a little, good to see him again after Brass Tap half).
And now I'm ahead (slightly) of the 10 miles per running day that I need for the rest of the year to make 3,000 miles for 2016.