After not running my planned half marathon this past month due to a bad chest cold – I was antsy to run the earliest half I could get my hands on.
I had a trip out to Florida in March to spend time with family, and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon fell during the time I was there, and was conveniently located.
This race conveniently (please note sarcasm) fell on the first day of daylight savings time – so the 6:45 am start would feel like a 5:45 am start, and the 4:30 am wake up would feel like a 3:30 am wake up.
Nevertheless, I slept very well for a pre-race night, and woke up to my alarm. I had my usual oatmeal and almonds – and since my body felt it was the middle of the night – it was really tough to get down.
My mom dropped me off at the start area at 5:45 am, and I picked up my packet, checked my participant tee with gear check, and lined up at the start, placing myself between the 2:45 and 3:00 pacers. I had no PR in mind due to it being my first half marathon in the Florida heat and humidity. I believe it was 75 degrees at the time of the start.
There were no time-released corrals at the start, everyone started at once. I started out at a slow jog until the crowd thinned and eased into my 30:30 intervals.
There were a lot of Galloway runners in this group. I played leapfrog with with a few people who must have been running the same intervals as me. There was one major “hill” which was a causeway bridge that we ascended before mile 1 – and we would return to that bridge again a little after mile 4. I crossed the first 5k at 40 minutes in, which was consistent with the pace I wanted. When I came back to that bridge, I changed my intervals to 15:30 as I climbed – my goal was not to wear myself out – especially as the heat rose. Once the bridge was out of the way – I switched back to 30:30.
Miles 7-9 seemed to take FOREVER – at that point the course went through residential areas, pretty but didn’t captivate my attention enough.
At mile 11 I started to get a pain in the back of my knee that forced me to switch to 15:30 intervals and alternate which foot I pushed off of. The pain started to go away halfway through mile 12 and once I saw the finish line I pushed through.
My time was 2:54:53 with a pace of 13:20 per mile. Not near my faster times – but I’m happy.
The post race food was a catered brunch from First Watch – but I was not hungry at all – bummer, because it did look delicious.
After the race, I grabbed my bag from gear check – took a medal selfie and waited for my mom to pick me up (just like middle school).
This race was my first out-of-state half marathon, and it gave me confidence to know I could run the distance in high humidity and heat.
The race was organized and provided enough on-course support. Definitely a great experience.