I did get to the lot before 6am, but I swear it took me 15 minutes to park! They made us meander through a variety of lots, passing many empty ones, until we were right up to the action. Personally, I don't think this made sense. Because we were all going to the front, the lines were unnecessarily long. I don't think people would mind parking an entire 4-minute walk away....if they had several different lots they were parking at the same time, it would have been much quicker, alleviated traffic congestion and eased tension among the runners.
Got out of the car and immediately began searching for porta-potties. Requisite line...then I wandered over near the desolate area behind Van Wezel, near the water. It was calm. Full moon was out and you could easily find your own solitude to stretch, warm up, or just chill. There was a cool breeze in the air...definitely calming. I didn't find anyone that I recognized (or even any shirts that I recognized). Thought there would be a BH or HF photo meet-up in the area, but honestly given the time change, it was DARK! So, I wander over to the porta potties again and eventually make my way to the corrals.
I search out for the 2:15 pace group. We were all talking among ourselves, but the pacer didn't utter a single word. This felt a bit odd...after all, she was supposed to bring a group to the finish line. Wouldn't it be a good thing to introduce yourself and make some small talk? I suppose our pacer in the RNR St Pete was so totally the opposite that her quiet demeanor threw me.
Regardless, the anthem soon played and the race started. I felt good at this point. We made our way onto US-41 south to the Ringling Bridge. The bridge was ok, definitely required work...but ok. Once over the top, we headed to St. Armand's Circle. I decided to start fueling around here. Then, we headed back over the bridge. Past mile marker 4, I just didn't feel the urge to push it. I let the 2:15 pace group continue ahead of me. I suppose right at the 5-mile marker, I decided that since the heat was increasing, I was going to just run this for no PR. I contemplated this for a bit until I got to the half way point, and in my mind, I firmed it up right then and there. I was not going for PR...I was just going to run this as a recreational runner and be ok with it.
It was well over 70 now, and there were no clouds on the way up US-41 towards Ringling. I just chilled...just doing a lot of people-watching. What struck me strongly was this apparent mother-daughter team. The daughter was leaning on her mother. The mother was also checking her pulse occasionally. It was so obviously unusual that I saw two runners offer gu or water to this girl. And, in retrospect, everyone was sweating but this daughter looked non-sweaty. I ran close to them for a good mile or so. When we turned into the Ringling Museum, I saw a medic tent. The duo were still right ahead of me. I stopped to tell the medical tent to call ahead and the next station and to watch for the girl and to pull her aside. Their response? They didn't give us phones. Really? This was seriously disappointing! How can a medical tent on a half marathon course NOT have communication? They did tell me that I could talk to these "other" people nearby and they could make a call. Seriously, while I'm not going for a PR, I am still in a race...and don't have the time to stand in line and talk to someone that the medical tent personnel should be seriously concerned about! Apparently, my reaction was obvious as they then said that they would take care of it.
Ok...maybe it wasn't truly a good deed, but it should count. We then make our way in the back neighborhoods. Be warned..anyone who runs in Florida and is not from Florida....do not touch the sprinklers in people's yards. I know it SOUNDS like a good idea. It is not. I did manage to stop one person from setting foot in them. Sprinklers in Florida are typically full of either 1) well water which has a "bad egg" smell due to the sulphur content or 2) reclaimed water which is obviously not healthy for your skin, but great for plants and yards. It was funny though...as this person then told her friend that she was surprised with such nice houses why they wouldn't be able to afford regular water. Well, for the non-Floridians reading this....reclaimed water is much much much cheaper and is better for your yard. It is instant fertilizer. And, with the amount of yard water we go through with this year-round heat, even wealthy families are better off with reclaimed water. Now, if you cannot get reclaimed water (we are fortunate enough to have it, but not everyone is without some serious cash to pay for the water line extension to their yard), well water is pretty common for yards.
So, 2nd good deed done. See...if I was too concerned with my pace, I wouldn't have been able to help anyone! Now, I just needed to finish this race. 5k to go. Lululemon was offering oranges...they were fabulous. I ran into another HF and we chatted briefly before starting off again.
After the finish chute, I collected my medal and stood in a tremendously long line for food. Now, given that standing still is one of the worse things you can do after a long run, this is not good. I felt a spasm in my lower leg while waiting in line, but fortunately, I moved my foot just enough immediately just to avoid a proper "cramp" ....felt something similar in the car. Considering that I felt pretty good, I was surprised by this! Food options were bananas, bagels with peanut butter, orange slices, muffins, yogurt parfaits. Water was available at another station.
Finish time was 2:29:27. I loved the fact that the race bibs had a QR, so when scanned from my phone a tad later, I was able to get immediate results for me:
Average pace: 11:24/mileI actually thought I would do worse (in overall division)...but I suppose the heat affected everyone else in a similar manner. So, I'm happy with my crappy performance :)
Overall Sex: 775/1301
Overall Division: 138/224
Finishing time....2:29:27. Did I mention it was hot? Galloway's book on running estimates that my performance would be 5-7% slower in this heat (as compared to the temps in the RNR St Pete). 2:29:27 roughly equates to 2.491 hours. 2.491 / 1.06 (average of 5% and 7%) = 2.35 hours. So, my adjusted time for temperature would probably have been 2:21. Just imagine if I truly had the inclination to finish strong.
So, overall, I suppose I'm pleased with my experience. Better than any long run before, I felt great in comparison! The big question...would I do it again? I think so. The spectators were great. The course was beautiful. I would have preferred cooler weather and a race on any day other than the first of a time change....kind of hard to adjust for that though. As for the things they can change, the parking in the morning needs to be better thought through. The line for food was disappointing. There wasn't good water/drink options once you finish the race either...I only saw one table with water cups. I would have had to drink 6 of these to satisfy my thirst.
Offical results are here.