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!