January 22, 2013

Clearwater Halfathon, Jan. 20, 2013, Clearwater, Florida: race recap

You know those days when from your first step, you know it’s going to be an awesome run? Well, Sunday (the day of the Clearwater Halfathon) was not one of those days. 

But thankfully, around mile 5, it turned into one of those runs.

Before that, as I saw the 5Kers make the turnaround to go back, I wanted to go back. As I saw the 5-milers turn around to go back, I wanted to go back. I kept going (afraid to walk at a water stop because I was afraid I would never start running again, so I proceeded to spill water all over myself). 

Then, glorious mile 5 came along, and I didn’t want to stop running. The rest of the race went by so quickly (this is a relative term because I am not quick). Instead of “Ugh! It’s only mile 7,” it was “Wow! It’s already mile 7?!” This went on for the remainder of the race.

Yes, the race that scared me. The race with the big, scary bridges. THAT race. 

You know what? It turns out that I liked running up and over two big and scary bridges, and I liked running back over them to get back to the finish. Well, “like” may be a strong word for the bridge at mile 12. But, it was doable. But, it was also a challenge. It was fun to run up it when so many walked. I felt strong. I felt amazing. I felt empowered.

Before I even hit mile one, I went up the first big bridge (Clearwater Memorial Causeway). Then, I made my way to Clearwater Beach and up another big bridge (Clearwater Pass Bridge) before mile 5. Miles 5-9ish were flat until we went back up the bridges on our way back to the start. 

Before mile 1 (picture not taken on race day)
Down the other side

The weather ended up being pretty awesome: 60s and overcast. Considering it was in the mid-80s earlier in the week, I thought it was fabulous.

And, the course was beautiful. 

I never got bored on the course, and I think the bridges helped with that … as did the sweet views of the gulf. 

I took GU Energy Gels (mandarin orange and island nectar) at miles 4 and 8, and I took water and sometimes Gatorade (blech) from each water stop.

As I made it to Mile Linda (mile 11), I made sure to enjoy every step (which wasn’t hard since I was already doing that). But, it was a beautiful mile (I wish I was talented enough to take photos while running, but I’m not).

It was also at Mile Linda that I started calculating my possible finish times. For some reason, I am terrible at math while running (this is not the case when I’m not running). I could not figure out why my finish time was going to be so high. It felt like a great race despite the pesky bridges. Um, unfortunately, it’s because I thought I had 3.1 miles left at this point (instead of the actual 2.1 miles).

When I made it to mile 12 (and the final bridge),I realized my math was off, and I got excited about my possible finish time. That final bridge ascent really wasn’t fun (and it was pretty darn slow for me), but a sweet descent to the finish followed. 

Across the finish

My Garmin time was exactly the time of my official chip finish time: 2:38:29. It’s my second-best half marathon time, and it was on the most difficult course I’ve ever run. This is exciting to me! 

So, even though it wasn’t a personal record, it was an amazing race, and I’m really happy with my result. I loved the race, I loved the experience of the bridges, and I love that I’m back in the 2:3Xs for a half marathon time.

Have you ever been worried about a race and ended up surprised at how well you did? Do you like running bridges or hills?


  1. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah buddy YOU ROCK!! Congratulations on having such a great race, I LOVE when that happens!!! <3

    1. Thank you! I didn't think it was going to happen at first (pesky first 5 miles), but I stuck with it. :c)

  2. I love that you didn't let your fear stop you, and I love that your post race smile looks genuine. I hope you are as proud of your accomplishments as I am. P. S. Katie loves the bridge photos

  3. I get nervous about every race. Its so irrational. Especially when it ends up being just great rather than the disaster I imagine. You did aaaaaaaamziiiiing! Looks like a beautiful course! This race is on my list. Congrats!

  4. Awesome job! It is the best when a good run coincides with race day! Congrats!

  5. Woohoo way to go Jina....I love to run over our bridges in spring and summer so pretty above the Rogue River

  6. Wahooooo!! So happy you had a great race! I love when they go by quickly like that! Great job!!

  7. The part about race time calculation in your head made me laugh. I always try to do that and am a total failure every time. I can usually get within ten minutes but that is not overly helpful. This race looks beautiful and I love the medal! The starfish theme is so cute. Awesome job!!!


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