February 15, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll St. Petersburg Half Marathon, Feb. 12: race review (Part 2)

Race day morning was a disaster. Here’s why:
  • I woke up 15 minutes late (at 5:45 a.m.). Because I’m not a morning person, and I dread waking up early on a weekend, I didn’t allow any extra time in my schedule. So, I left the house 15 minutes later than I wanted.
  • On the way to my friend’s house (her husband was dropping us off at the start line – only a few miles from their house), I realized I couldn’t find my timing chip. I didn’t put in on my shoe before I left because I wasn’t sure what shoes I was wearing (old or new – both Brooks Adrenaline GTS). I still held out hope I’d find it, though. I have a gigantic purse – it was a possibility it was buried.
  • I arrived at Caroline’s house 10 minutes late (about 6:55 a.m.). As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I was dumping out my purse. I still couldn’t find the stupid timing chip. Caroline dumped out my backpack of post-race stuff to see if the stupid timing chip was in there. I started looking under seats and in between seats. No luck.
  • Finally, we decided to get to the race and deal with it there. Surely, I could get a replacement stupid timing chip. We left her house around 7:05 a.m., and I continued panicking on the way there.
  • After arriving at the race, we ran to the first tent we saw: hospitality tent. Darn. Next tent: information. Darn. Next tent: lost bibs and stupid timing chips. Whew!
  • At the correct tent, I asked for a new stupid timing chip. The reply: “OK, that’s $5. Cash only.” I would have paid almost anything at the point. Problem: I had no cash. Who carries cash to a race? Caroline had no cash either because, again, who carries cash to a race? The woman wasn’t happy, but she reluctantly gave me a stupid timing chip. I also had to change my bib to match the number on my stupid timing chip.
The stupid timing chip
At this point, the disaster ended. We still had 10 minutes before the race started. I had my new bib pinned on and my stupid timing chip on my shoe. We made it to our corral (number 10) with plenty of time to spare. Whew!

Even with all of this running around, I wasn’t hot. Why? It was the coldest day of the winter (high in the low 50s). Normally, I hate the cold. On a running morning, I love it. Living in Florida, I don’t experience this often. Because of this, I didn’t really dress properly for the race. Usually I just wear what shows the least sweat. This wasn’t the best plan on this day. I wore Capri pants, a tech short-sleeve shirt and a jacket I planned on ditching at the start (to donate to charity). Turns out, I needed the jacket the entire race.

The race started right on time at 7:30 a.m. With a staggered start, we didn’t cross the start until about 7:40 a.m. Even with the staggered start, the first ½ mile of the race was a little crowded, but it thinned out after that.

The first three miles flew by. There were bands, a flat course, and I was enjoying every bit of this race. If I’m going to struggle in a long run, it’s usually those first three miles. The fact that these miles were easy was a great sign for me.

I kept flying along at turtle speed and enjoying every minute of this race. It was cold; it was sunny; it was beautiful. The bands along the route were actually pretty awesome, and the route was wonderfully flat and beautiful.

This race is what running is supposed to feel like: enjoyable. I had a smile on my face the majority of this race. I didn’t struggle. I didn’t repeat over and over that I hated running. I loved running on this day. 

Even though I look like a tool, I'm having fun
I kept running and kept enjoying the scenery: downtown St. Petersburg and the bay. I never took water from a water stop, but there seemed to be plenty and they looked well-stocked.

It felt like an eternity between miles 11 and 12, but not painful or hateful. Even though that mile took forever, the next 1.1 miles went quickly. Soon, I was turtle speeding across the finish line to Flo Rida’s “Low” (he was the post-race concert). My time on this glorious running day: 2:33:39. This is 15 (yes, 15) minutes faster than my previous half marathon time.
Still looking like a tool at the finish
With my training severely comprised through the entire month of December and the recent five-day headache and resulting burns, I really didn’t think this time was possible. I’m ecstatic!

I loved-loved-loved this race. The bands were great. It was well-organized. It was such a fun atmosphere.
This is the only photo I could find of Caroline and me. Apparently,
I needed to keep my eyes on Chloe. Crazy dog.
My only complaint: the post-race concert started before I finished. By being slow, I missed Flo. I heard “Low” as I headed toward the finish line. As I got closer to the finish line, the finish line announcer and music they were playing drowned out Flo Rida. By the time I got my post-race snacks (bagel, banana, frozen fruit) and found everyone at the race, Flo Rida was done. I heard he put on an amazing show, but I have no idea. Kind of bummer. But, it really didn’t put a damper on my day. 


  1. Way to go! 15 min. faster is amazing.

  2. 15 minutes?! You are AWESOME!! Congratulations on a FANTASTIC race!!


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