Sarasota Half Marathon 2013 recap

March 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I did it! I didn’t die and I got the medal!

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It definitely wasn’t my fastest half marathon (St. Pete Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2012) but it wasn’t my slowest either (Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marathon 2012).

We were lucky that one of our IRunMommies friends (who happens to be seven months pregnant) now lives in Sarasota and was running the race. She picked us up at the hotel at 6 a.m. and drove us to the start. There was some traffic for parking, but it wasn’t too bad and we arrived before the 7 a.m. start in plenty of time.

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I wished all of my IRunMommies friends good luck then went to the back of the pace groups to find two of my blogger friends. They were nice enough to agree to start out with me at my SLOW pace.

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I’ve heard that there were about 2200 finishers at this race, but it didn’t seem like a crazy large crowd at the start.

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After the singing of the National Anthem, we were off. I’m pretty sure this was the first time that Beth has ever started at the back of a race’s starting line queue.

With the flash on:

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With the flash off:

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The route took us towards the John Ringling Causeway, the one bridge on the course, and we passed the semi-famous 26-foot tall “Unconditional Surrender” statue of the sailor kissing the nurse.

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Before we knew it we were heading up the ascent on the bridge.

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I don’t think that this bridge was as steep or as long as the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Belleair Causeway, or Misener Bridges, all of which I have run multiple times.

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The sun was just starting to come up as we ascended the bridge.

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I ran most of the first mile, but from then on out it was walk/run/walk/run at no particular intervals. Nanci was hoping to get her first sub-3:00 half finish (which she did…go Nanci!), so we encouraged her to go on ahead and Beth was nice enough to stick with me for a little while despite the fact that she is very speedy. I appreciated this sign:

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After the bridge we headed towards a loop around St. Armand’s Circle and all it’s pricey little boutiques. Beth took the next photo in St. Armand’s Circle, proving that she is NOT normal.

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After the circle we were headed back over the Ringling Causeway once more.

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Beth stuck with me until the Mile 4 marker, then I let her go ahead at her own pace and I was on my own for the rest of the race.

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Back up the bridge.

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The weather was perfect. At the beginning of the race it was in the mid-50’s and once the sun rose it was a beautiful sunny day.

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I love running DOWN bridges, although my hip doesn’t really like it.

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I could already feel my hip beginning to hurt after the first few miles, so I knew that the last few were going to be really challenging.

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After the Mile 5 marker we passed the semi-famous statue once more…

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and headed back past the start for the second leg of the race. Somehow I missed the Mile 6 marker…


but I thought the kayak business sign next to the Mile 7 marker was funny.

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Only non-Floridian tourists would consider mangrove tunnels “exotic”, I think. This leg of the race was a long straightaway heading north.

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Finally we turned a corner at the Ringling Museum of Art.

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They had a water/Gu stop here and I was lucky enough to get my favorite flavor…double caffeine espresso. I needed the sugar and the caffeine by this point.

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Right past there I also saw this police dog named “Mack”…awesome.

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My hip had been hurting for most of the race, but by Mile 9 everything was starting to hurt and feel fatigued. I know that I did not properly train for this race, but I don’t think I could have considering my hip. The more running I do, the more it hurts. I also have not been following the Whole30-type of diet that helped me be able to run at all again. I knew this was going to be hard.

After the turn at the Ringling Museum, the rest of the course weaved in and out through neighborhoods close to the water front. Every now and then there would be a glimpse of the water. These trees had some sort of interesting textile art wrapped around them.

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The First Watch signs along the course were pretty humorous.

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My longest “training” run for this race was 10 miles which I did every other weekend three times leading up to the race. Definitely not any sort of logical or recommended training plan. Once past the ten mile mark I was definitely feeling my fatigued legs and painful hip.

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I loved all of the groups of ladies run/walking near my pace, however. They were very inspiring to me.

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Past eleven miles it was definitely a struggle to keep going. I did still do run/walk intervals but not really in an attempt to go faster. Running was a break for my walking muscles, and vice versa. Switching it up was the least painful thing to do.

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From mile 12 on I kept passing people who were finished, wearing their medals, and walking back to their cars or their houses. Invariably they said, “You’re almost finished! You’re almost there!” NOT helpful. I’m running a dang half marathon. I know exactly how far I am from the finished. A note to anyone reading this…unless you are at the 13 mile marker, do NOT say, “You are almost there!” It’s just really annoying. Finally I really WAS almost there.

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My Garmin finish time and average pace are a little better because it auto-pauses when I completely stop and I did take a port-a-potty pit stop at one point. Obviously I stopped many times for a few seconds to take photos as always.


But whatever…I didn’t get picked up by the SAG wagon and I finished! My IRunMommies were cheering for me at the end.

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They had also grabbed one of the yogurt parfaits and a muffin for me. Thanks ladies!

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The parfait and muffin were awesome, but I was a little disappointed that there was no hot food from First Watch, especially since they had signs on the course that said, “Wakey, wakey, eggs & bakey!” Oh well. I definitely enjoyed my yogurt parfait and muffin.

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I think that by the time I finished some of the post-race festivities had died down.

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I know that some of my friends went to the beer tent at that point and they were out of beer already. They also ran out of medals and my pregnant IRunMommies friend, Meghann, was given one of last year’s medals when she finished the half marathon . So not cool. Meghann was nonchalant about it and didn’t really care, but I probably would have cried.

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I hope they send her one of this year’s medals, because she definitely deserves it! She had a cold AND was 7 months pregnant and still completed a half marathon! Go Meghann, and thanks for driving us!

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Post race euphoria photos:

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Thanks to my awesome IRunMommies for motivating me as always!

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It was a great day and a super fun time with my friends. I truly do intend for this to be my last half marathon. I want to still do shorter distance races and triathlons, but my hip just isn’t up to the long distance training. Next year Mack wants to do the half marathon relay with me!

Thanks First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon for a great event!


Airheads Fun Pass giveaway and awesome weekend recap

March 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Spring break is coming up very soon here in Pinellas County (and going on right now for some of the private schools and for Hillsborough County) and if you were wondering what to do with your restless kids all week, consider wearing them out at Airheads Trampoline Arena! Remember when I did a trampoline fitness class there with the Tampa Bay Bloggers? It was so much fun and I can attest that it will burn any excess energy the kids may have. A one day all-you-can-jump pass is $16.95, but they have just introduced a “Fun Pass” which is an all-you-can-jump package that offers seven days of non-stop activity for $29.95 per person.


And they’ve given me two fun passes to give away on the blog! Just leave a comment TELLING ME YOU’D LIKE TO WIN A FUN PASS and I’ll have Mack pick two winners this weekend (I promise). This contest is closed. Winners have been notified. Congratulations to Ali and Jessica!

So, this past weekend was so busy and I feel like I still haven’t had a chance to come up for air. I’m going to run it down as briefly as possible.

Friday night was the Brookwood Carnival, benefitting Brookwood Florida, a residential group home for teen girls.

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My friend Kelly offered to drive, so I was ready for some fun.

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A couple of my IRunMommies friends are on the board at Brookwood and helped organize the event, so my girls came out in force to support this great cause.

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I guess I don’t need to mention that it was a Mardi Gras theme. The Lakewood High School Jazz Band was there playing live music and they also had a DJ. We danced the night away.

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Val, Ali, and I teamed up and together we won the “best mask” competition.

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My triathlon relay team from TriRock Clearwater Triathlon were all in attendance.

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We had the best night and hopefully helped to raise a bunch of money for Brookwood.

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I know I did my part with the raffles and my bar tab. One of the former residents of Brookwood gave a speech about her experience there and the difference it made in her life. It was so moving and made me even more happy that I decided to support this charity.

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Thank you again for driving Kelly! I am totally blaming you for the raging hangover I had on Saturday. I intended to get up and run ten miles, but that didn’t happen. I was way too sick.

I did manage to rally just a bit in order to show up for the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon Saturday morning.


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It was a gorgeous morning and Chewie was so happy to be included in our plans!

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I couldn’t let our fundraising team, Team Woofin’ It, down.

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My friend Katie of A Full Plate organized our team and she did an amazing job getting sponsors and keeping us motivated to raise money for this fabulous organization. There were so many people out there and so many dogs! I think I heard that there were over a thousand people walking, and they also had walkathons in a few other nearby cities. All of the walkathons generated over half a million dollars for the organization!

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Chewie couldn’t keep his eyes off of the hundreds of dogs all around him.

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The walk was three kilometers around the waterfront and along Beach Drive downtown.

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They had more water stops (for people AND dogs) than a half marathon!

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Chewie is a great dog but he isn’t the most socialized beagle in the world just because we are so busy and don’t get him around other dogs often enough. He’s generally friendly at a dog park, but sometimes on a leash he will have a scuffle with another dog. He did pretty well at the walkathon and was friendly to 98% of the dogs he sniffed. He just had a couple of little growl-ups, but no real throw-downs. I was nervous about it, but he did really well and made it across the finish line without embarrassing me too much.

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It was a fun morning and helped clear away a few of my hangover cobwebs.

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But not all of them. I spent the rest of the day on the couch unable to do anything productive. My Friday night fun was worth it.

Sunday morning the boys and I went to the preview for the opening of the new Outspokin Bicycle store in Tampa.

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Sunday afternoon we all went to an annual party thrown by some of our friends in honor of St. Joseph’s Day.

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We have been lucky enough to be invited to this party for many years but this year it was almost like being at a new house because our friends recently did a huge renovation. Check out their new GORGEOUS kitchen!

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When the priest walked into the house and saw the new kitchen he exclaimed, “Oh my God!” I thought that was pretty funny. This celebration, also known as “The feast of St.Joseph” is definitely a huge Italian feast at our friends’ annual party.

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“Baby” was in charge of keeping the floors cleaned.

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We are honored to be included in this tradition and have a great excuse to eat tons of delicious homemade pasta. So much for avoiding grains.

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Well, that was it for the weekend. It was awesome. I don’t think I could have packed anymore awesomeness into it considering the hangover, and without the hangover it wouldn’t have been so awesome.