Sometimes, it seems like just yesterday I ran my very first half marathon. And all of a sudden, I am getting up at 3:20am on a Sunday to drive 60 miles to run my 9th half marathon. How did that happen? I’m always pretty competitive with myself and have some sort of goal in mind, usually with the hope of a PR. But after celebrating PRs at my last two half marathons in just the last 6 weeks alone, and then not running for the last two weeks, I knew this one was going to be for fun. I love the course and the views for this one. I also had the memory of this one being the first race last year where I finally broke 3 hours for a half marathon. After picking up my shirt and bib on Thursday, I was very excited to run this one again. I love the shirt and the colors!!
I arrived early enough to find a free parking spot not far from the start / finish line, which is located at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, right on the water. You can see the John Ringling Causeway in the distance. I am partial to races along the water, so I just love this.
I had plenty of time to walk around and take care of business before the start. Thankfully there were plenty of port-o-potties. I also ran in to my friend Caitlyn before. We joked that we were both tired and not really ready for 13.1 miles, but we were going to do it. Just before it started, I also ran into Meghan and Nadine, who were running the relay. The race started just after 7 and we were off. Once again, I decided to not listen to music and enjoy the surroundings. The course heads south on Tamiami Trail and then over the John Ringling Causeway. This might be my favorite part of the course. I love running bridges, however hard it may be, and I looked forward to running around St. Armand’s Circle. After St. Armand’s Circle, as I was approaching the causeway, I caught up to Caitlyn. It was shortly after that I took my first walk break. I always try to run at least 4 miles before I walk because I feel like once I take a walk break, I want to take more. I was very happy to catch up to Caitlyn and we ended up running for about 4 miles together. It was fun to chit chat with her and the time passed quickly. Around mile 8, I ran ahead. The course took us past the Ringling Museum of Art and through a beautiful neighborhood along the water. I took several more walk breaks during this time. The sun was high and bright in the sky and it had warmed up quickly. I also had Gatorade at each hydration station, in addition to the water I had with me. Between Mile 11 and 12, I had this amazing view and I stopped to take a picture of it. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and I really don’t think I will ever get tired of such views.
Finally – FINALLY – I made it back out to Tamiami Trail. A very nice woman, who’s name I forgot (!!), was along side me as I was taking a quick walk break. She said we should run it in together. We did just that, talking for a little bit, and then when I turned around to thank her after we crossed the finish, she was gone. Runners are so friendly, I always enjoy that. I was ready – and happy – to be done. My time was far from my last half marathon 2 weeks ago, but it was still better than this same event last year. Regardless, I was very happy with how I did and my time. We can’t PR every time, and I enjoyed running with Caitlyn for several miles on this one.
After calling hubby to let him know how I did, I caught up with my fellow Best Damn Race Ambassadors so we could all go to breakfast.
Beth, Meghan, Katie, Me, Haley, and Nadine
Katie, Me, Nick, Haley, Meghan, and Nadine
We also took a Tampa Bay Bloggers photo since so many of us ran the race. Clearly, we love photos. I think we’re a fabulous bunch.
Beth, Meghan, Me, Caitlyn, Haley, Chrissy, Denise, Brad
Me and Caitlyn
I am very happy with how I ran and finished this race. It’s a great event, I love the shirt and medal, and the camaraderie is priceless. And here are my official results…
What is your favorite thing about running races and the running community?
**Disclaimer: As part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers network, I received a complimentary entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own