I traveled down to the land of the old people (we’re talking 80+ year olds who still drive), aka Sarasota, on Saturday after spending the morning at a race for B (this deserves its own post – it was really cute). I hit up the “expo”, which was oddly laid out in the lobby of a Holiday Inn (which is more than they had last year), grabbed our packets and quickly left.
After a quick check in at the hotel, Paula and I met Theresa and her hubby Ryan at Cafe Epicure for dinner, a cute little Italian restaurant in the downtown area. It also served gelato. Rest assure you did not hear any complaining from me!
For dinner (after inhaling 3 pieces of bread), Theresa and I split a salad with arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, and olives — and then I devoured this spaghetti with calamari dish.
It looks small, but it was a giant heaping of food and it all went into my belly. I also had a scoop of zabaione gelato and I was seriously stuffed. I would that meal again in a heartbeat!
After dinner we said our goodbyes and good lucks and headed back to the hotel were we contemplated pushing the beds together for a snugglefest. It was a pretty good idea.
But, decided it would be better to listen to the neighbors scream at each other (pretty sure they were both deaf). I’ll take screaming any day over having to hear them have s-e-x, which THANK GOD they did not (and yes, we would have been able to tell). *shudder*
At 5:17 I woke up to Paula telling me that the wake-up call never happened and then 1 minute later I got a call from Jimmy.
I love Jimmy.
Moral of that story: Best Western 0, Jimmy Fallon 1. Michelle — a little stressed out.
We quickly got up and dressed and then forces ourselves to eat. I did a quick Garmin check (and I remembered to wear my tape) and then we were off. On the way there I discover the thing I forgot — my water. DOH! There’s always something. Seriously. I decided to not worry about it and drink water at the water stations (they were frequent and well manned).
Traffic on the way there was horrible, but parking was a piece of cake and we got in line with about 15 minutes to spare.
Posing with an imaginary who is shorter than me, I suppose.
Just before we listened to the national anthem Paula looked behind me and realized there was a huge pallet of water. I looked to see if there were any open packages — and there was with just 1 bottle left!
Theft. I was excited about it.
That might have made my whole morning — and my entire race.
The race started on time and we were off within a minute of the gun. We started BEHIND the 2:00 pacer — which truthfully stressed me out a little. While I didn’t think I was going to hit 1:55 (it was WAAAAY too humid), I was still hoping for a sub-2 race.
This is my FAVORITE part of the race. We take off from Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall run a mile down Tamiami Trail and then head towards the Ringling Bridge Causeway. Right before the incline I passed the 2:00 pace group and I DETERMINED to keep it that way.
This thing is a beast — and it’s a mile long. Going up it the 2nd time is steeper and there’s a headwind.
This year they changed things up a little bit and instead of just running past St. Armand’s circle – we ran around it.
Yep, it’s a circle.
I liked the change and it meant random residential streets need the end. Win-win!
The first time up the bridge is easier than the way back — but I kept a consistent pace and was actually faster than last year.
- Mile 1: 8:55
- Mile 2: 8:42
- Mile 3: 8:43
- Mile 4: 8:55
- Mile 5: 9:13
I told myself that I in order to PR I needed to keep my first 6 miles under a 9:00 pace (knowing that the mile back up the bridge was not going to be under 9:00). I KNOW that I tend to lose steam in the middle miles, so I think it ended up being a smart strategy.
At Mile 6 we passed the start and some dancing bacon and eggs (First Watch is the sponsor — they do a great job!) and move into the boring part of the race.
Up until about Mile 8 it’s just rolling hill down Tamiami Trail. For some reason I felt amazing during this stretch of the race. I was aiming for a pace between 9:00-9:06 and just felt like I was on fire! I was passing guys running barefoot and women I had been trailing behind for 5-6 miles. Around this time this one woman in a grey running skirt and a pink shirt popped up and we kept going back and forth passing each other (I found this surprisingly motivating!). At Mile 8 I tossed my water bottle (after this point I stopped one time for Gatorade and one time for water) and grabbed a wet towel that they were handing out (GREAT IDEA).
(I kept the towel – which is why my shirt is wet in the remaining pictures.)
- Mile 6: 8:59
- Mile 7: 9:03
- Mile 8: 9:07
After Mile 8 the race takes a turn towards the Ringling Museum of Art (where parts of Great Expectations was filmed) and then we run into the residential area, which consists of absolutely gorgeous homes and views, until Mile 12. This is the HARDEST part of the race. The homes and views are very nice, but there are a lot of turns and ups and downs and by Mile 11 I just wanted to be DONE.
Around Mile 11 my right ankle started aching (oddly enough, it feels fine today) and I was definitely running out of steam. I calculated the time and realized that even if I ran the rest of the race at a 10:00 pace I would still sub-2 — and holy cow I could still PR!
So I did.
Although, I admit when coming into that last .35 I didn’t kick it up a notch like I usually do. No, instead I thought, “I am going to have to beat this time.” And of course, when I later saw I had crossed the line at EXACTLY 1:58 I was slightly annoyed and amused. I couldn’t have given an extra second of effort?? What a slacker.
While I was slacking…possibly the best race picture I’ve ever taken.
- Mile 9: 9:06
- Mile 10: 9:06
- Mile 11: 9:13
- Mile 12: 9:08
- Mile 13: 9:06
- Mile .11: 7:38
After the race I grabbed a water and waited for Paula to come in. She was not pleased with her time – but she was SUPER excited about her
life size dolphin.
Posing awkwardly in race photos since 2010
We enjoyed the scenery (Sarasota is beautiful. Those retired peeps have got the right idea!)
And then hit up breakfast (yogurt parfaits, bagels, muffins, and bananas). Soon enough, it was time for BEER.
I seriously love beer so much after a race. Even if it’s Mich Ultra and it kinda tastes like piss (not that I would know) I want to secretly marry it. I think Paula agrees.
During beer time we also found Theresa and Ryan.
Theresa was also talked into a beer. We had to twist her arm really hard.
We also tried to talk her into joining us for the OUC Half Marathon in December (it’s here in Orlando). It’s not fancy, but it’s a good race. And there’s also beer.
And with that — another half marathon season came to a close! Sure, I didn’t get as fast as I wanted, but I ran some great races and with some great people. I have learned such an amazing amount about myself and running in the past year — and that cannot be measured in PRs or time. I became a runner. Someone who is never fully satisfied with a race — but is damn proud of the accomplishment. Thank you for cheering me along!
Up next — Winter Park Road Race. 10K + 2!