Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida Beach Halfathon Race Recap

Race was great!  So, I get up around 4:40 and am out the door at 5am...really not much I can do except get dressed and grab some drink/snacks for the drive.  After my stop for gas, I get to the park right around 5:45am.  The people taking my $5 park entrance fee were just so happy (maybe from taking this new park fee, and maybe just happy that people are actually awake at this darn time in the morning).  Either way, I'm in a little caravan now and we all land in the North Beach parking lot right around 5:50.  Parking is a breeze at this time, and I head up to the packet pick-up and it took a mere 2 minutes to get my #218 race bib (with my birthdate, I might add) and then make my way to the chip collection.  Again, 2 minutes total to get this....and then I'm on my way back to the car to drop off my swag.  Obviously, there is absolutely no need for bag check at this race.

Now, about the swag....simple.  Got some Dole fruit snack, a shirt and some papers.  But, this shirt?  I almost regret getting my husband a shirt.  Seriously, after every race, he keeps on saying "You don't wear these, so why don't you just get my size so I can wear it."  Well, I finally do...and seriously this is a shirt I would so wear.  First, there was a choice of white or green (it is St Patty's weekend after all).  Second, there is no annoying sponsorships on the back!  Seriously, you are NOT walking around like a billboard.  I have issues with this.  I pay for a race fee and therefore, I am paying for a shirt.  Why would I pay to advertise some business on my back?  Seems this is the opposite of any other sense of normality.  Third, its simple and kinda cute...but not girly cute....gender neutral cute.  Anyways, Joe was happy with it.  He loves the fact that I do all the work, and he got the shirt!

So, to step back, while the race series does promote early packet pickup at a few locations Thursday-Saturday, its not needed at all if you plan to get to the race location around 6am.   So, I'm all set...so I walk back to the staging area and meet up with some other HF's for a photo op.  One of them even brought a case of gum, so we all enjoyed that!  But, this required another walk back to the car.  Perfectly ok with me since the car was so close.  :)  Went to the restroom line afterwards and by the time the line dwindled, it was time to get to the start!

The first 3 miles is a wrap around the paved trails near North Beach as you can see on the map (I'm thinking its the same path the 5kers complete).  The next part southward runs to Fort De Soto.  Honestly, I don't even recall noticing the fort (and I've never been to this park before), so maybe I was just focused on the path?   The next section was a bit harder.  The light was getting brighter and the heat was setting in.  It was a long straight away....but the view at the turn-around all the way to the east was beautiful.  Picturesque in fact.  This is right around the 8-mile mark.

The return was harder.  I hit the 9 mile mark around 1:35...but the heat was seriously affecting me now and the water stops were clearly not coming fast enough...I kept on thinking how a sprinkler would be nice to run through right around here! Right around 11 miles, I just had issues.  Wasn't really in pain at all, even though I was starting to feel it...just simply lost the desire to push it.  Again, my goal was NOT to go for a PR...so I don't feel bad about this...I'm glad to see that my wall is coming at 11 miles now, rather than where it came in earlier races!

I was out there just to enjoy the run, and I did just that.  I know I need to work on a few things, and clearly my lack of running lately has definitely affected me.  I've run 3 times in the last 2 weeks, and one of those was also a half!  But, this race season has been very positive regardless...I've solidified myself as a recreational runner.  Remember, I had issues with calling myself a "runner" a mere month ago...so I've overcome that mental barrier at least!

With the last half of the season coming up next month (Iron Girl Half), I don't expect to break 2:20.  There is a seriously intimidating bridge AND it will be hotter!  But again, I'm seriously going to enjoy this one...as it will be the last for quite some time!

So, would I do this one again?  You betcha.  Its a "runner's race" ...run by runners for runners.  Its safe, clean, well managed and doesn't have any "fluff" that simply doesn't matter.  Now, I do wish someone would have used a golf cart to drive the path (with a shovel) before the race began to scoop up any inconsiderate dog owner's stuff...but hey, thats really my only negative comment.  I don't miss the expo.  I don't miss the hoopla.  I don't miss the cheerleaders.  I don't miss the bands.  That being said, sine this is a "runner's race" if one is accustomed to placing around the middle of the pack in a big race, it will not be repeated here. There are no "first time half marathoners" at this race...so while its not uber-competitive, your standings in your division will be negatively affected.  But again, you don't run this for the esteem...you run it for the enjoyment.  I'll be at this one for the Halloween Halfathon....same course (I think) and similar medal (starfish with halloween theme)....and this time I will bring Joe and the kids!

Why?  The course is very spectator-friendly.  Seriously, the kids could have seen me at the start, around the 3 mile mark and the finish line.  If they chose to jump in the car and drive a tad, they could have seen me at the 5-mile mark as well as the 10-mile mark (really tons of places they could have pulled over and cheered me on...really, any place on the north-south stretch...just driving the east-west stretch to the turnaround would not have been well-received by course officials).  And if they chose NOT to get in the car, the place has tons of playgrounds and is safe...and they would not have been lost in the crowd.

Definitely a race to recommend to anyone.  I just hope that next year's (which is actually on St Patty's day) has a medal with the requisite starfish draped in a shamrock :)  Listening to this Chris?  Hint hint hint!

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind words Nanette! Glad you had a good time and enjoyed the day. Looking forward to have you join us again next season! Only clarification - we actually do attract a lot of first-timers, just not the hordes in search of a party-first type of race.

    Chris Lauber
    Race Director

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  2. I'm so glad you linked up on my blog today! I signed up to run the Holiday Halfathon in December and your recap made me really glad I did!

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    1. Chris Lauber, Race DirectorMarch 20, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      Callie - thanks for entering our Holiday Half. As a race director, we're not supposed to have favorite races, but this is my fave halfathon. It's a "pure" half marathon, with no ancillary races to divert attention. Everyone is in a festive mood, with many dressed to fit the theme. Plus, it's a point-to-point, which has its own challenges and rewards. And we finish lakeside in a beautiful park. And then Santa arrives to hand out awards...

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  3. Chris, that was what I was intending to get across....your race is for runners that are into running more than the "event" :)

    Callie, I think you will enjoy it...weather should be so much better then! You'll break another PR before you know it!

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    1. Chris Lauber, Race DirectorMarch 20, 2012 at 1:41 AM

      Nanette, even though I was seriously sleep-deprived when I read your post the first time on Sunday, I totally understood what you were saying. In fact, I read your entire post to my wife outloud - we both loved it. Thanks again for all the kind words!

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    2. Oh Chris, I so understand! I worked on a few marathon committees in my time, so the hours needed and the lack of sleep are understandable. Can't wait to run the next one...and I promise my timing will be honourable! :)

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  4. I definitely want to plan that Halloween and Holiday half that they do - and am still sad I wasn't able to run this one. Sounded like a perfect race. We'd intended to have my hubs and kid meet us at the finish and make a beach day out of it - we love Fort. Desoto!

    Great recap, Nanette. Thanks :)

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  5. Andi, pull the trigger and register! It should be a blast. I will absolutely not to the Creaky Bones 5k in St Pete again, so I need to fill in that weekend with something :) Should be great! And the kids will have a blast!

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  6. Nice summary of the race. So looking forward to the Halloween half in October.

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