February 4, 2013

Best Damn Race, Safety Harbor, Florida, Feb. 2, 2013: recap

I hesitated doing this race. Why? The name of the race. I know, I know. But, really. I don’t use the word “damn,” and I wasn’t sure I’d feel comfortable telling people the name of the race.

Then, I saw the medal, and it was all over.

Fortunately (?), I got over my non-use of the word “damn,” and fully embraced it in relation to this race.

This damn race was damn early, and it was damn cold. Too much?

With a 10K start time of 6:30 a.m., this total non-morning person was not happy. Thankfully, it was in Safety Harbor (only about a 10-minute drive from home). This inaugural race also included a half marathon at 7:15 a.m. and a 5K at 9:30 a.m.

I (along with my boyfriend, a.k.a. photographer, and my dog, a.k.a. cuteness factor) arrived at the race around 6 a.m. 

I went the bib-on-leg route because I thought
my jacket would come off ... I thought right.

After freezing alone for awhile (yes, 48 degrees is freezing in Florida), I met up with my running group at the start.

Fit2Run St. Pete represent!

After freezing some more as a group, we were off. My running buddy, Lori, and I set off at a comfortable pace. The first portion of the course went along Tampa Bay (b-e-a-utiful) with a turnaround to come back by the start.

When the pack leaders made the turnaround to come back, we were greeted (?) by Angry Bike Pace Leader Man. I understand the need to be stern and loud, but man, this dude was mad. I'm not sure what we did to him, but we got a very angry "TO THE RIGHT" command. We did as we were told.

Mile 1: 11:58
Mile 2: 11:55 

We grabbed water or Gatorade (blech) at each stop, and I never worried about running into one. They were plentiful, thank goodness.

Around 2.5 miles, we again encountered the Angry Bike Pace Leader Man. Only, he wasn't angry.

Lori even mentioned it to him. "You're not angry anymore."

I was laughing so I didn't hear his response, but I guess he mentioned he almost died earlier. I guess that's reason enough to be angry?

The course continued along Tampa Bay until we made a turn into a neighborhood where we encountered some unexpected "hills." I've decided I don't mind a big hill, like a bridge, but these little, gradual, unexpected hills and I are not friends. 

Mile 3: 12:03
Mile 4: 11:56

After the neighborhood, we wound into a park where we made the turnaround to come back to the finish. 

Lori and I noticed a girl running who was kicking one leg out as she ran. We thought it was kind of strange, but then realized she must be hurt. As we ran by her, Lori asked if she was OK. She said she was, but had tears in her eyes. Lori encouraged her, and she started running with us.

She said she hurt her knee in a mud run, and it still wouldn't heal. Poor girl. She said her knee didn't hurt when she ran with us, and she ran the rest of the race with us.

Mile 5: 12:25 (Oops.)

We also ran into two other girls from our running group, and we finished the race together. We really picked it up the last full mile.

Mile 6: 10:54 
Mile 0.2: 2:06

My official time: 1:13:16. It is almost exactly in the middle of my other two 10Ks.

It was so awesome to cross the finish line five strong! After hugs from the injured-knee girl, we met up with some others from our running group.

I also cheered Caroline across the finish, who rocked out the 10K and then ran 2 additional miles.

After watching others in our group come in, it was beer time. Yes, it's completely acceptable to drink beer before 9 a.m.

Oh, and that medal that made me run this race. Yeah, it's pretty sweet. I love that it's functional ... or it's supposed to be.

It doesn't actually function as a bottle opener.
But, the race organizers kindly offered to send your name on to the awards company (that produced the medal) who will send you a fully functioning medal. Yes, please!

I loved this race. It was a beautiful setting. It was well organized. It did have one of the best damn after parties (beer, pizza, subs, fruit, brownies and a DJ). And, I ran it with some of the best damn running peeps.

Reunited, and it feels so good

This training session, I've run a bunch of races ... alone. I finally conquered that half marathon PR I was chasing for almost a year. But, it doesn't mean as much to me as running with my running buddy, Lori, or our rockin' running group. Damn.

Do you use the word "damn"? I don't curse at all (I do listen to expletive-filled rap, though), but I just picked this up. Have you ever come across an angry bike pacer in a race? Do you have any functional medals? Do you like the idea?


  1. Looks like you ladies had great fun! Congratulations on a great damn race! ;)

  2. Sounds like nice scenery and good weather. I'm also not a huge fan of small gradual hills, they're almost harder than a large one you know is coming. Also, out-and-back courses are a little bit mentally challenging because you know you have to retrace what you already ran. Cool medal though and sounds like a fun after-party!

  3. I love the name of this race and the medal! So funny. It is so great that the woman with the hurt knee could run with you all. I need some running peeps to do races with, it looks like way more fun! Great race!

  4. Looks like a blast! That medal RULES!!! Great job!

  5. It was a blast! A great race!!


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