Today I ran my 22nd Half Marathon. Amazing to think about as it’s been just over two years since my running adventures began.
Today’s race was the Florida Holiday Halfathon which was the 3rd race of 5 that I’m doing as a part of the Florida Halfathon Challenge, a race series spanning 5 months that began in October with a 15k and continues through March.
My first time running with Florida Road Races was back in March 2015 for my 4th Half Marathon. I loved the atmosphere of the low-key race and was very much impressed with the race director who truly cares about his runners and does everything to ensure and fun and safe race for all. I ran with him twice more before deciding to go all in this year for this Challenge Series.
I went into this morning’s race with a vengeance. I had run this race last year and struggled with it. I had been stacking races as part of my marathon training and was starting to feel it. Additionally the temperatures for the day skyrocketed after sunup and I finished the race dehydrated and miserable.
I was a tad nervous going into the race, however. I had gotten stuck at work the night before longer than my scheduled time out and as a result didn’t get to bed until 12:30am, just 3 hours before I needed to be awake to make the trek to Madeira Beach.
My brain was tired and my legs were exhausted.
But I still hopped out of bed excited for the adventure.
As I do with everything event ever, I arrived painfully early. I picked up my packet and bib and spent some time relaxing in the car.
The morning started off on an emotional note as our race director paid tribute to a fellow runner Blaise Gamba who passed away last month in a scuba diving accident. It struck a chord in everyone running and she was certainly on our minds as we tackled 13.1. This along with the 6 month anniversary of the shootings at Pulse, gave me a lot to reflect on as I ran today.
7:35 start came and off we went.
Now, my personal record for a half marathon is 2 hours and 1 minute. I do, one day, want to push that and make a sub two hour half but today was not that day.
Knowing that I struggled last year and knowing that I needed to work on pacing myself better, I went into today with a 2 hour 30 minute goal.
This race featured a bridge and two pedestrian overpasses to climb as well as a terrain change to dirt in the final mile. These are all factors I kept in mind and lead to me decided to run a slower race. I also tend to go out way too fast in marathons so running a slower half today was a big help in remembering how to keep a better pace for my upcoming full marathon as a part of Dopey Challenge.
In the final stretch I let it all out to rush to the after party.
Here’s what I love about Florida Road Races’ runs: the after party. Great food, great entertainment and cold beer. There really is nothing better. It’s also a chance to catch up with other runners both familiar and new. Another great thing about FRR is seeing a lot of the same people over and over especially those participating in the same 5-race challenge.
I finished the race with a time of 2 hours 28 minutes. Right about where I wanted.
For my race next week in Mt. Dora I do plan on going for a faster time but that race features some intense hills so we’ll see how that goes!
The countdown to the Dopey Challenge continues!