#beamazing, 2013, Best Damn Race, event, half-marathon, PR, race, race recap, St Pete, women's half-marathon

Race Recap ~ Women’s Running Series Half Marathon 2013 (PR!)

I wanted to badly to write this Sunday to post yesterday, but I am serious when I say I slept most of the day after I got home from the race and lunch. I. Was. Exhausted.

Sunday morning, I was up very early, 4am to be exact, to get ready for half marathon #6. I had a hard time falling asleep Saturday night, so I’m not sure I got more than 5 hours of sleep. I was tired, but excited and ready to go. After training for 14 weeks and realizing the last few weeks if training that a new PR was possible, I just wanted to get out there and run!

I ran this same race in 2012, it was my second half marathon and just weeks after sciatica and physical therapy, I walked / ran my worst race to date. I was just happy to up and moving and even completing it was a huge accomplishment. I was very close to my highest weight and felt every one of those extra pounds. My average pace last year was 16:34 with a finish time of 03:37:11. (Looking at these pictures, I wonder who this person even was!!)


womens half 2012 start        womens half 2012 finish


Back in March, I PR’d at the Sarasota Half with a time of 02:48:12, my first time finishing under 3 hours. Once I had that new PR, I started to dream of finishing in 02:30, but it really was just a dream. But running consistently this year, and following a 14-week training plan seemed like the best shot I had at getting there.


wrs 2014 1

wrs 2014 2    wrs 2014 4

wrs 2014 3


At 7:00am the race started, and I was in Corral 5. It was 7:08 when I crossed over the start line and started my Garmin (a miracle I remembered but thankful I did!). I started running right from the start and did my best to hold back. Something about running a race with so many other people, even when you aren’t competing, that makes you run a little faster. It must be the adrenaline!

I was excited to get to Mile 1 because I knew that the Best Damn Race Cheer Squad would be there. They were awesome. I passed them and kept on running. This is a beautiful course that goes along the water and through Coffee Pot Bayou and a beautiful neighborhood, brick roads and all. Just after Mile 3, I heard someone yell my name and it was my friend Val, and she even made me a sign. It was so nice and it really pushed me. I had been behind the 02:30 pace group for about a mile and decided I needed to be ahead of them. I felt that if I was going to reach that goal of 02:30, I needed to be ahead of the game while I felt good because I was sure that by Mile 9 or 10, I would slow down. I needed that buffer. I kept an eye over my shoulder to see if they were catching up to me and they did not. I didn’t see them again!

Mille 7 took me back past the Best Damn Race Cheer Squad. They were still screaming and cheering and being super awesome. Green guys, a wiener, great signs, and the UT guy’s swim team. Too much fun!


BDR cheer squad photo

(Photo credit: Best Damn Race)




When I passed by them at Mile 7, my friend Caroline who was part of the cheer squad, captured this photo of me. I’m glad to see I was so happy to be running still. I actually felt very good. And once again, having people scream your name and cheer you on really pushes you to keep going. Thanks guys!


me running womens half 2013

(photo credit: Caroline)


From this point, the course took us through down town, around Mirror Lake, and then a long stretch west. I was trying my hardest to hit Mile 10 well before the 2 hour mark – and I did – because I knew even at my slowest, I could do the last 3 miles and still finish in 02:30. It seemed like we ran forever before before the turn around just before mile 11. From here, it was almost all down hill. This was a great way to finish because it was 26 blocks of running towards the second to last turn before the finish line.

Once I hit Mile 12 and saw my time was 02:12ish, I knew I had it, and then some. And that’s when the tears started flowing. I was so excited and once again the adrenaline kicked in. This is obvious in my split times for the last mile which I picked up the pace on.

When I turned the last corner and headed the last little bit to the finish line, I was so happy. I knew I had it. I was still crying and I was trying to watch for my mom, who I knew was at the finish line. I screamed when I crossed the finish line. I did it. I met my goal!


wrs 2014 6


My watch time was 02:23:43, but I was curious to know what my chip time was. Thanks to live runner tracking, I found out that it was 02:31:28. I was disappointed when I saw this, because I thought for sure I beat my goal and I thought my watch was wrong. After looking over the split times, I realized they had my start time wrong, showing at 7:00 right when it started, but I crossed the start line at 7:08. So, I have requested a correction. This time was too important to me to let is slide… I calculate that my finish time should be 02:23:38.


wrs 2014 5


My split times were AMAZING. Better than I really ever could have imagined. I knew during the whole race that I had to stay below an 11:27 / mile pace to finish in 02:30. I kept it under that the entire time and my average pace was an incredible 10:49.


wrs half splits 112413 garmin



Such a great race and an awesome day. I had so much fun, ran with all my heart, and enjoyed every minute of it. Reaching a goal after 14 weeks of training is a huge accomplishment. Once again, I am reminded how strong running has made me and how much I want to continue to do it.

And here is it… the corrected times. I am so thankful that Women’s Running Series corrected these!


wrs half 2013 adjusted times crop


Remember that time I ran this race last year? 03:37:11? It’s crazy to think I did the same race 01:14 minutes faster. Crazy! And still 25 minutes faster than my previous PR.

After the race, hubby and my mom and I headed to Hooters for my favorite post-race meal – wings and beer! Boy, did I earn that! It was delicious and amazing. Our waitress was super impressed by the fact that I finished my 6th half marathon and made sure to let me know….

wrs 2014 7    wrs 2014 8

What a day! It’s definitely one I won’t soon forget. So what’s next? I have 4 half marathons planned for the spring to get me up to #10. I will keep running regularly between now and the next one, which is the Best Damn Race Safety Harbor on Feb. 1, 2014…. Is a new PR possible? We’ll have to wait and see!


what a diff a year makes WRS 2012 2013


  1. Congrats on your shiny new PR!!
    Stacey recently posted…Marathon Monday #3My Profile

    1. Thanks so much, Stacey!

  2. Kat

    SO PROUD of you Nanci and you look fabulous!!
    Kat recently posted…Motivational Monday – Hot Dog! + Featured Sneakers #47My Profile

    1. Thank you, Kat – that means a lot! :)

  3. HOLY CRAP YOU’RE AMAZING!!! So awesome Nanci!! I’ve really enjoyed watching your journey. You will only continue to get better and I know I told you this before, but you are a RUNNER! Congratulations. I think maybe it’s time for a marathon… 😉
    Beth recently posted…Weekend RecapMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Beth! And believe me, I have marathon on the brain. :)

  4. Congratulations! And wow – your year transformation is awesome!!
    Lydia recently posted…GIVEAWAY WINNER and DIRTY GIRLMy Profile

    1. Thank you Lydia! :)

  5. OMG – you are amazing! Congratulations all around. Happy for you!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run! recently posted…Mar’s Holiday Gift Guide!My Profile

  6. Ashley

    WTG!! Can you tell me where you found your traning plan?

    1. Hi Ashley,I modified a Hal Higdon training plan. I will email it to you!

  7. Woohoo! What an awesome PR and an inspiring recap! The sky is the limit Nanci!

    P.S. You look fantastic!
    Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter recently posted…I need a credit card and a paper bag to breath intoMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much, Tori! :) And you’re right, the sky is the limit! I can’t wait to see how much further – and faster – I can go.

  8. Amy

    Well done! Reading this is such an inspiration! I’m going to share this on my Facebook to show to everyone that it can be done, you just have to grit your teeth and it’s not easy but the rewards are amazing! <3

  9. Great job! It’s amazing how far you’ve come in the past year!
    Chrissy recently posted…Ranch PotatoesMy Profile

  10. Wow Nanci- you blew that PR right out of the water. AND, you look FANTASTIC. You are a rock star, baby!!!!
    Lisa recently posted…Reaping the RewardMy Profile

  11. Rock on! What a great transformation and a kick ass PR! Well done!
    Tiina recently posted…Running in the DarkMy Profile

  12. I must have been right behind you! I finished in 2:23:53! Great job and congrats on the PR.

  13. You are amazing!! Great job. I’m so proud of you. All your hard work paid off in spades!
    Jenny recently posted…Color Run is coming to Clearwater and a Discount Code!My Profile

  14. You could have run with Katie M! You had almost the same time within seconds. I wonder if we saw each other?i was cheering at mirror lake :)

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