The Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon, otherwise known as the race I almost didn’t run, was on Sunday. As I discussed here, I was freaking out because of a nagging IT Band issue that forced me to miss running most of January (I could run but the pain had me running with a slight limp which is very strange.) Ultimately, I decided that trying my best and walking if necessary, is a fine way to start a race.
On Sunday, I woke up at 4 AM and did the normal coffee/dicking around on the internet trying to wake up thing. I was not exaggerating about being nervous and did not sleep all well. After being sufficiently caffeinated, I ate a light breakfast and changed my clothes five times. It was a foggy cool 56 degrees and I could not decide whether to wear capris and a t-shirt or shorts and a tank. Preferring to err on the side of being cold, the shorts won.
I thought parking might be an issue for this race because the race start was in the downtown area and there is not a ton of parking. The residents tend to take up a lot of the street parking, so I knew that would be tough. I decided to park at Celebration Health, which is usually where I park for long runs, and walk the mile to the start. The good, I was able to use an actual bathroom before the race. The bad, I walk a mile much slower than I run it and I arrived at the start when they were singing the National Anthem. I attempted to squeeze myself into the starting corral but it was tight (plus moving during the anthem seems to be something people frown upon.) I eventually worked my way to the middle of the start and we were off.
My plan was to run at a comfortable pace and walk if I needed to. Luckily, it was cold enough that my leg started to feel slightly numb, which I think really helped with the pain. Celebration is such a beautiful place to run and I enjoyed looking at the houses and the pretty trees. (If you want to see what I mean, check out the course video found here.)
Around mile 7, I started to hurt and took more regular walk breaks. By around mile 11, I was done and watching my Garmin every 30 seconds hoping the miles were going faster than they seemed.
As you can see, I had a tiny little bit of gas left to pull myself over the timing mat. I stuffed my face with some awesome food (garlic knots and a delicious muffin.) Wandered around the finish area for a bit to cool down and look for anyone I knew. (I did see a friend from the Lakeland Runner’s Club which was awesome.) Then I realized that I had to walk the mile back to my car but decided if I made it, would stop at Starbucks on the way home.
Official time 2:21:13. Not my best but not my worst. For the amount of training I missed and my wonky leg, I did much better than I expected.
So in a nut shell…
Loved the medal.
Loved the shirt.
Race support was excellent. Lots of water stops with great volunteers.
I had to hunt for my water after finishing the race.
Would prefer timing clocks throughout the course.
There was a delay in getting the times posted.
For an inaugural race, the good far outweighed the bad. The race is showing a lot of savvy by allowing people to give constructive criticism on their Facebook page. I know the race directors care about responses because I ran into one on the hike back to my car. He asked about my experience and took a few notes about the minor criticisms I had.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed running the Celebration Half Marathon and plan on running it again.