October 29, 2012

Halloween Halfathon, Tierra Verde, Florida, Oct. 28, 2012: race recap

I love costumes. So when I heard the Halloween Halfathon encouraged costumes (and was part of a local Halfathon Challenge — four half marathons from October through March), I was so in.

I immediately began thinking of a costume ... and thinking. And thinking. It's tough to find a costume that won't get annoying while running 13.1 miles. 

I finally decided on this.

That's Mr. Potato Head. I cut out his parts from felt and used fabric glue to put them on a brown T-shirt. Cutting them out wasn't hard. Finding a brown T-shirt was. I finally found one online that I ordered last minute that fortunately worked out great.

I also found a mini bowler hat online. It had an elastic strap that went under your chin. I decided quickly that this would get annoying without running. So, I cut it and tied it on a headband. 

The finished product (please excuse my poor
self-portrait skills; it's my only pre-sweat
costume photo)

With my costume made and on, I was ready to race. Well, or do a training run. I really wasn't planning to "race" this race. I treated it as a long training run (I had 11 miles on my schedule). My training schedule is actually for the Women's Half Marathon on Nov. 18, so this was technically early for a half marathon. I can't resist a good opportunity to wear a costume, though.

After my pathetic self-portrait, I picked up my running buddy, Lori, and we headed to the race site.  It was early and really dark. I felt so disoriented (especially since the race is along a state park beach path, and it is super dark there — no street lights). 

I packed up my packet early, but needed to get a timing chip at the race site. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. (for a 7 a.m. race) and had plenty of time to get the timing chip, hit a porta potty and line up for the start. 

We couldn't find anyone else in our running group, though. Pitch black conditions don't lend to finding people. 

We started running in the dark, which was strange. I guess I've done it before, but in a city with street lights. It was really bizarre without any lights. But, it started to get light soon after the start, and we started seeing people in our running group.

The first part of the race follows the 5K course, which started 15 minutes after the half marathon. After running back by the start line, we headed out on a 5-mile out and back course.

At this point of the race, I was feeling good, but not great. We stopped to walk through water stations, but that was it. As we started out on the out-and-back portion of the race, the half marathon leaders were coming back. It is mind-blowing to me how fast these people are! I'm at mile 4, and they're almost at double-digit miles. Insane.

Anyway, the out-and-back portion is a path along the beach, but you rarely ever see the water. Because of that, it's pretty boring. Thank goodness this was a costume race! This provided entertainment. We saw angels, devils, cowboys, cats, bunnies, zombies, Forrest Gump, a Victoria's Secret angel (a guy) and many others. Thank you for dressing up!

Around mile 5, I took a GU gel. I still felt good, but not great. We kept up the same habit of running except for the water stations. 

Thankfully, it was mostly overcast for the majority of the race so it wasn't nearly as hot as it could have been. One problem: the wind. Because of pesky Sandy and a cold front, it was super, super windy. I didn't notice it too much on the way out on the path. But, shortly after I made the turnaround, I noticed it. It took a lot of energy to run.

I kept running, though, until about the 9.5-mile mark. I stopped to take my first walk break (besides the water stops) at this point. 

From this point on, this race was a struggle. I was losing energy. Every time I tried to run, I couldn't run for long. I took another GU gel. This helped some, but fighting the wind was still difficult. 

Even though I was treating this as a training run, I was really disappointed. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I hoped to do really well. Even if it wasn't my goal to get a faster time, I kind of still wanted to do that. I can't help it. I always want that. Training runs were going well. My speed work was impressive (for a slow girl like me). I guess I thought I could sneak in a PR. Yeah, not this day.

I struggled the rest of the race, but managed to finish strong (thanks to support from Lori). My official time: 2:42:48. Eh, definitely not my best (2:33), but not my worst either (2:48).  

The good news: I finished, I had fun overall (at times I was bitter, but thanks to running friends, I quickly got out of that mode), I got a medal, and I see lots of room for improvement. 

Oh, also good news: beer at the finish.

Best beer EVER

More good news: my costume was not annoying (even the ears), and my hat did not move even in really gusty wind. 

Mr. Potato Head ended up being a sweaty potato.

And then, a couch potato.

I'm so using this idea for a holiday half marathon (minus the mustache and teeth, plus an antler headband). Yay! More race costumes! 

Do you secretly hope to PR every race? Do you wear costumes for races? What's your favorite costume you've seen? Do you enjoy beer after races?


  1. OMG, I love that costume!!! Glad you had a good race!

  2. i LOVE the costume, it turned out so cute!!!!

  3. The costume turned out great!! That medal is awesome! Congrats on another race, girl!

  4. Best costume ever! Great job on the half! I love that medal. Running in wind is the worst and you still rocked it!


Comments rock!