I’ve written extensively about losing my mojo and speed, so I’m just going to spoil this recap by sharing that I finally feel like I’M BACK — well, I finally finished a sub-2 half again. It’s just one race, but this race definitely gave me the confidence to keep pushing. And believe me – I had to push for this finish! But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
So, the race. Yesterday I ran the Shark Bite Half Marathon — my 25th (!) half. It was the Inaugural year and they did a fantastic job!
The start was set for 7:30am. However, bad weather and tornado watches postponed it to 8 — and then to 9:30. The RD and the Shark Bite team wanted to ensure that everyone could arrive at the race safely (the storms passed by 7:30) and I greatly appreciated it!
I am all about running in any kind of weather, but I kind of draw the line at tornadoes (and lightning – which was also reported in the area). The race was in New Smyrna Beach, which is about an hour away from East Orlando. So this lady and I met up with our crew and headed over.
When we got there, I was a little stressed out about parking, but we easily found a spot and walked a quarter of a mile to the start. I used the porta potty within the first 5 minutes of being there (there were plenty and they were surprisingly very clean – always a bonus) and then we snapped some pre-race photos.
My work peeps!! Coworkers who run together… bore a lot of other coworkers who don’t care about running.
At the start, it looked like the weather had changed from cool (60’s), rainy, and cloudy – to warm (70) and sunny. Oh, how deceiving that was.
We started at exactly 9:30 and the RD thanked us for supporting their decision to delay the start. Some people were not able to run the half due to the later start – and they were very accommodating, either giving them the medal anyway (hopefully they still ran some kind of virtual race!) or switching them to the 5K. Gotta love a flexible race team!
Right at the start, I realized how crazy the wind was… when my hat almost flew off.
I wish I could say it let up, but it only got worse. I was about a half a mile in when I looked to the right and saw the storm clouds. Where the heck were those things hiding?? It started running about 5 minutes later. Not just a drizzle, but full on pelting rain.
Somehow I just kept going. The first two miles were hell, and I wanted to quit. I could not figure out why I was running this race in these conditions. WHY WAS I TORTURING MYSELF. Around mile 3 the rain stopped and something kicked in. I was really enjoying myself and those running endorphins. Mile 5 was extremely happy for some reason. Running is weird.
Did I mention there were bridges? AKA, Florida hills. There were 3 total — a medium-sized bridge at the start (between mile 1-2), an ASS kicker between miles 6-7, and a small one at mile 8. I actually did not mind any of the bridges, but on the ass-kicker bridge I had to hold both my hat and my bib because I thought they were going to be ripped off my body. 27 mph winds say WAH???
This is the side we ran down — taken as we were heading home.
I have to say though, nothing compared to the wind that hit us at miles 8-10. After the last, small bridge we turned onto a road and ran directly into the wind. At times, I swear I was running in place because the gusts were so intense. I kept hoping for the turn around and it took forever to arrive. I’m pretty sure I screamed more expletives during those miles than I have all month!!
Every day I’m shufflin’.
Thankfully, once we hit the turn around, the wind was at our backs for the rest of the race and I was able to pick up my pace again!
It wasn’t until Mile 12 that I realized I could sub-2 again. I had kind of given up hope between Mile 9 and 10 – even though I still kept chasing two of my friends who were about a minute in front of me. I think it helped that I really just wanted to be DONE. The wind was killing me and I felt so beat up. When I looked down and saw it was possible, I dug in deep and pushed it. It helped that Return of Mack popped up on my iPhone.
Please tell me you remember this song.
That’s right — this bitch is back!!
After a brief sprint uphill, I turned the corner and ended up crossing the finishing line at 1:59:21.
ACK!!! I was so happy!! It’s no where NEAR my PR (1:54:something), but I know I have it in me to push myself again. Confidence is HALF the battle.
After the race I celebrated with some fantastic women and men.
With our bigass medals.
Three of my friends PRs, two receive 10% finisher hats, and the rest of us, while exhausted, all agreed that it was a great race.
It was the kind of race that makes me want to sign up for ALL the races — and I’m ready to sign up for next year!!
Up next is… undecided. I’d like to run a half in February, but I have yet to run one. Hmmm…