This weekend was a whirlwind. It started on Friday, which I took off from work because I was supposed to see Breaking Dawn at midnight, but it worked out anyway because I needed to pick-up my race packet.
Packet pick-up and the Race Expo were held at the very fancy and beautiful Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
The hotel is huge but the race did a great job with signs directing you to the packet/t-shirt pick-up and eventually the Expo.
I grabbed my packet, swag bag, and did a quick loop through the Expo. There were lots of great vendors but I really do not have any money to spend and wanted to beat the traffic on the way home.
The bag is pretty nice and I will definitely put it in my rotation of reusable shopping bags.
Tail liked it too.
My race bib and one of the Bondi Bands I bought at the Expo. I love how this race prints your first name on your bib. (In case you are unable to read it, it says “I belong to a drinking club with a running problem.”)
The goodies in the bag minus the Women’s Running magazine that I already started to read.
The t-shirt is very nice and made by Born Fit. I will definitely use this shirt to run in.
Saturday, after my Democratic Women’s Club meeting, I headed to my Mom’s in Tampa. Sleeping there cut my driving time down by an hour. We watched TV (I finally got her to watch Once Upon A Time, which I knew she would like.) I attempted to go to sleep at eight but it was more like nine. I tripled checked my alarms after Thursday’s incident, and planned to get up at 3:30. I woke up without incident and had lots of coffee and a light breakfast.
My stomach was not doing great, which it never does when I am super nervous, but I managed to get out of the house only 20 minutes later than planned. There was no traffic until I got off the highway in St. Pete and then it was monstrous. At 6:30, I was still in line to get into the parking garage and the race started at 7. It took me 15 minutes to park, five to walk to the porta-potties (I really had to go), and I got to my corral as the air horn went off. Not ideal but at least I was always going to start towards the back, so there was no time lost.
The first mile or so was super crowded which worked since I had not had a chance to warm up, it was nice to stick to a slow pace. My plan was to maintain about a 11 minute/mile pace which is comfortable for me. I did take one bathroom break around mile seven but only lost two minutes waiting and could not have run one more minute with a full bladder.
Beautiful Course: Gorgeous houses and water views. I kept thinking, can you imagine living here in this beautiful place?
Tropicana Field: Getting to run through Tropicana Field (where the Tampa Bay Rays play) was really cool. It was towards the end of the race and running on Astro Turf is an experience. This is reason enough to run the race, how many people can say they ran a lap around a MLB field? (I also found my self touching one of the green walls because I was always curious if they are padded. My conclusion is if you run into one trying to catch a ball, it must really hurt.)
Crowd Support: Great signs and lots of cheering. Having the names on the bibs let people cheer for you by name. My favorite signs were a series that were staked within 20 feet of each other and were to a runner names Laura. They told her how much they hated to miss the race but that she was going to do great. The final sign in the series promised her a foot massage when she got home. How cute is that?
Water Stops: They were all well manned and had plenty of volunteers. My favorite was a 70’s themed stop (sponsored by a local running club) they had a VW Van and were decked out in disco duds (including wigs.)
Cool Medal: Really unique and perfectly represents the race location.
Lost My Car: This is completely my fault, and sadly not the first time this has happened to me. All the rushing to get to the race before it started, I did not pay attention to where I parked. I ended up walking around for two hours checking every parking garage within a three-mile radius of the start. Not my finest hour by a long shot.
Heat: It was pretty hot for November (even in Florida). I am so glad I was convinced to wear my Fuel Belt. Having access to the extra water was essential.
I finished the race in 2:46:09. I am happy with the time because I really was focusing on finishing and if pressed for a time goal, would have said 2:45. It leaves me with lots of room for improvement and I cannot wait to run another Half.