As a race ambassador I received a free bib for Iron Girl Clearwater in exchange for social media and community promotion.
I’ve come to the conclusion that during the first five miles of a race I’m the most negative person in the world.
Hello, happy Monday, by the way.
I might be kind of negative in general (I’m working on it) but that is amplified x 10 during miles 1-5. Why am I like this? Who knows, but it took me 10 half marathons and 2 fulls to fully grasp that the beginning of races are HARD for me. I spend too much energy doubting myself and questioning everything, including why the heck I signed up for this in the first place. But something clicks after about five miles. I find my groove, mentally and physically, and as cliché as it sounds, a light bulb goes off and reminds me that I freaking love running.
Yesterday, after mile 5, I was reminded how much I freaking love running.
The race started at 6:30 a.m., which meant a 4:45 wake up call. It was about a 25 minute drive from my house but I was warned about limited parking so I left right at 5. The weather was beyond perfect for running: cold enough that I needed to wear a throw-away shirt for the first two miles, but warm enough that I was comfortable for the rest of the race.
The slogan on the race shirts read “we run this bridge” because of the well-known, Clearwater span we run over. However, it should have read “we run these bridges,” plural. I (stupidly) didn’t look at the course map until the night before so I wasn’t mentally prepared to run over another bridge besides the span. It was an out-and-back course so we ran those two long, steep bridges twice, the first one starting at mile .25 (so pretty much immediately). I really don’t hate hills so it wasn’t too much of an issue, although I would have liked more time to warm-up before getting to the first one.
For everyone’s sanity I’m going to filter my thoughts from miles 1-5. Luckily I didn’t have an injury-thoughts like I did during the Princess Half, but I was more so doubting my abilities. I was cursing myself for not training and for only running once during the week. I was near the 2 hour pace group and struggling to keep up. I kept convincing myself I needed to go to the bathroom (I didn’t). Pretty much all pessimistic thoughts.
When I got to mile 5 and realized I wasn’t dying and, in fact, felt strong, I naturally picked up my pace. The incredible scenery around me didn’t hurt either.
I took some videos of the bridges, even though hills/bridges NEVER look as steep as they are. If anything, taking videos was a distraction for me.
One notable thing is that they do not have clocks at each mile marker, so I didn’t know my pace or time throughout the entire race. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it…ironically I saw it as a good thing. I ran by feel and effort, not for time. Maybe one of these days I’ll buy a Garmin and be a real runner so I’ll know my splits. (Note: I didn’t use my RunKeeper app to conserve battery…and because I thought there would be clocks)
There were water stations and cheerful volunteers throughout the course, along with many police officers blocking off the streets. It was really a peaceful morning along the beach.
Final time: 1:52:05. (8:33 min/mile)
I would guess I had a negative split (faster second half of the race) but I’m not positive.
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-Perfect size race, in my opinion. A total of 1,000 half marathon participants so it never felt too crowded or lonely.
-There was a 5k that started at 7 a.m., which would be nice for spectators or family members. That seemed to be the larger race.
-The post-race food was Carraba’s, Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill. Not my top choices in general, but especially not at 8:30 a.m. It was a hit with the crowd, though!
-The shirt and medal are awesome (always a plus).
-I would have preferred not running a hill right away.
-I am so grateful to be able to run happy, healthy and strong.
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I hope you all had a great weekend!
So glad you had such a great race Emily! I totally agree – miles 1-5 are rouuughhh but once you’re over that hump you feel like “oh hey, maybe I got this”
Exactly. Loved seeing you this weekend xo
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
ALL THE OMELET NOMS. Well, every weekend, but definitely after a race :D also I treat myself to a protein frappuccino. I’m so glad that you found your groove after mile 5. Guess I will just have to make sure every workout we do during training will start with a 5 mile warm up, eh? lol
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…My Nonchalant Birthday Weekend
Haha yeah if somehow we could just skip the first 5 miles that’d be great…. ;)
ACKTIVE LIFE says
YAY for a great race friend! I love how the weather cooperated and you are all smiles at the end…CONGRATS! Favorite post race meal is a good juicy big burger with fries…and a cold beer! :) Got to get those carbohydrates…LOL! Have a great day friend! XOXO
ACKTIVE LIFE recently posted…Inspiring Women Who Inspire ME: Elizabeth Inpyn
Thank you so much, Katie!
Margaret @ youngandrungry says
I’ve never seen such a beautiful race! That’s a very early start time, but I’m guessing that’s normal since it’s so hot there. Anyways congrats on such a great race and I’m glad you had fun!
Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…Guest Post: Beauty and Health
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
So glad it turned out to be a good race! I always think the first few miles of any run are rough. Unless I’m hurting or really haven’t run in a while, I usually need to crank out at least 4 miles to remember that I like it and want to do it again.
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…5 Reasons You Skip Yoga – And Why They’re Bad
Thanks, Ellen! It really takes my body and mind a good few miles to warm-up and remember that I like it.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
I am SO happy you had a good and healthy race! I bet you are so happy to be back at it :) On a good long run, it takes me about three miles to really get into a groove, on a bad long run it takes me longer and I go through those same thoughts. But, once I hit that groove I am reminded why I love running and I feel like I am just flying. It sucks to have to go through those emotions starting off, but it makes that groove feel so much better. And seriously, those views from your race route look BEAUTIFUL!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Toned Arms Upper Body Workout
Thanks, Brie! I’m still on a high (and taking advantage of the post-race resting I “need” to do).
Congrats on the race! I had a race on Sunday too and I took one of the first hills too ambitiously and suffered for a bit. I almost went down a negative path of thinking I was dumb for doing that. However, I focused on not doing it for the next series of hills and accomplishing that made me feel better.
My favorite post race food is bananas and peanut butter, it’s usually the only thing my stomach can handle
Ellie recently posted…Week In Review [Double Races]
You are one speedy lady! Congrats to YOU!
Bananas and peanut butter is my go-to re-fuel food as well.
Katrina @cardioandkilos says
First half struggles for sure! My mind is so much more into the race after I’ve gotten a few KM in and know I’m not severely under-trained or under-prepared!
Agreed! I feel so much stronger (mentally and physically) after a few miles.
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
Congrats on a great race! Honestly, at the NYC Half last month, the first 4-5 miles I had the same thoughts. I think it’s because in general, on long runs, I never really get into my groove until around that point, and it’s not until then that the miles fly rather than crawl by. I kept asking myself why I was doing this, or thinking, oh I’m 8% or 15% done…until I stopped and started to enjoy it :)
I don’t understand beer or steak after a race. Give me an apple, watermelon, some GF pretzels, MAYBE peanut butter if I’m really hungry and have lots of water and fruit…none of that other stuff!
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Weekly Workouts and Updates 4/4-4/11
Yes, yes, yes! After 5 miles I figure “might as well keep going because I’ve made it this far.” I’m with you on the food options…nothing too heavy (or dinner-like) post-race.
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings says
Congrats on an awesome race! That picture of the water.. so pretty. I think I’m actually the opposite- in all 4 half I’ve ran, I always become super negative towards the end. It’s like once I hit mile 10 then the race gets rough for me. I kind of wish it was the other way around haha. And my favorite food at the end of a race is watermelon! It’s usually one of the only things that sound good to me.
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings recently posted…Breweries & zoos: A trip to Milwaukee
So if we could somehow run together we would make a great team. You take the first half, I’ll take the second. And if I didn’t like you enough already, you answered correctly for the post-race food. Watermelon is my favorite!
I try to avoid hills in any race, so I can see why that was not a great thing to include one right in the beginning when you are getting warmed up, but sounds like you had a great race! And yea that food that early didn’t sound so nice! But I loved the race was so early so you have the rest of the day to enjoy!
Thanks, Hilary! I don’t mind early races, it means you get to relax and nap for the rest of the day :)
Sarah @pickyrunner says
Congrats on the race!!!! That’s so exciting. I always have the opposite problem at the beginning of the races where I go out way too fast and then blow up towards the end haha I need to work on that negative split thing (and changing my negative mindset at the end of races). I never understand why early morning races have lunchtime or dinner food. Like I don’t want pizza/sandwiches/etc. I want a bagel. Or nothing right away, usually.
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Currently…
Thank you :) I don’t get it either! Disney puts together a really good snack bag with a banana, mixed nuts, gummies and a bagel. And you take it to go, so you don’t have to eat it right then and there.
Yay congrats girl!! You look so cute and not gross when running, you deserve a metal just for that haha. Good job lovely!
Haha that is a huge compliment :) Thanks, Hayley!
Liv @ Healthy Liv says
Very interesting post-race food choices, especially for 8:30 in the morning! Quite a few of the morning races I’ve done have had pizza at the finish line, which people seem to enjoy, although it’s probably not what I’d ever crave first thing after a hot race. Usually, a smoothie or some Greek yogurt sounds awesome to me! And after a cold race, something warm like oatmeal or soup sounds really good.
I think the second half of the race is harder for me since I usually start out a little too fast and my legs are dying. I enjoyed reading your race recap, especially since we race in an opposite way! And that 6:30 am start- yeesh!
Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Weekend Things
Oh I WISH they offered smoothies post-race. I would sign up immediately. Yeah I took a nice long nap in the afternoon after the early wake-up call :)
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
You are a rockstar! Awesome job Emily! I’m so glad that you’re back to loving running, or able to run at all! Makes me so happy :)
Gretchen | Gretchruns recently posted…Top Five Friday #49
So sweet of you…thank you so much!
Ahh yay congrats on an awesome race!!! I usually can’t stomach anything immediately post-meal so I don’t really have a post-race tradition for food!
Thank you! I can do fruit right after but I normally wait a good hour or so for actual food.
Congratulations on a great race! It’s always runs like these that bring me so much clarity in certain aspects of my life. Bonefish at 8:45 in the morning? Like you, not my top choice. However, I would’ve taken some to go for lunch :)
Jessie recently posted…Sausage and Veggie Open-Faced Omelet
Thanks, Jessie! I should have waited in line to bring home food for lunch…even for my family! They would have liked that.
Awesome girl! I ran this race a few years ago, and that bridge really is killer!
sarah recently posted…Marvelous In My Monday #2
Did you run the 5k this year? I’m sorry we never coordinated a meet up!
No, I wasn’t able to this year :( We should def meet up in Tampa though some time!
sarah recently posted…Marvelous In My Monday #2
You are such a star. I’m curious so I’m gonna turn the tables on you haha, what’s your favourite post-race meal?
Megan recently posted…Monday must-reads!
Watermelon, for sure! Especially after a hot race. As for a meal, I normally wait an hour or so…and then I want something with a sweet potato :)
I’m so happy that you could run happy, healthy, and strong too Emily! That looks like a beautiful race. I’ve heard that Iron Girl races are really fun.
Emily recently posted…Why Beauty Looks SO DIFFERENT
They are fun because they are pressure-free and (mostly) all women! Thanks, Em :)
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
You’d never think you were having so many negative thoughts by the look of that mid-run selfie. Your smile lights up the world, Emily! I love how you’re constantly working on yourself, and this sounds like a great race.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me recently posted…Link Love: March 7th, 2016
That was at mile 11 so I was all smiles by that point! Thanks, Julia :)
can’t believe you took video along the course and you were able to talk. Way to go! That’s an awesome finish time too!
Haley recently posted…Workout Playlist: April 2016
Thanks, Haley! Yeah I’m surprised my voice sounded okay on the video. I was breathing heavy!
Kristy @ Southern In Law says
Way to go on such a great race, girl! Especially when starting with a HILL – that would totally throw me off!
Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Travel: The Ultimate Hobbit Day in New Zealand
Oh it threw me off BIG time! Thanks, Kristy!
congratulations ! so happy for you that you were injury free. im with you…i have buyers remorse when i first start a race thinking why did i do this !!! it usually goes away around the last mile or so :)
Thank you so much! I feel really happy to be injury free.