Before I start my race recap, I just have to say that I loved this race. Although it wasn't Disney-fied like the Wine and Dine or the Marathon Relay, there were so many things about it that I loved.
I posted yesterday about what a great expo it was.
It was inside Tropicana Field, and it was super painless. Even though people had been griping about $15 expo parking, my mom and I found free parking a stone's throw from the stadium, so I can't complain.
Inside, I picked up my bib and shirt, and we went to check out the gear. Rock N Roll events are sponsored by Brooks, and the gear was really cute. If it had been a tad cheaper I would have bought one of the pink running jackets (but I also live in Florida...so when do I usually need a running jacket). I also got three pairs of socks from a ridiculous price, got my GU and shot blocks, and wandered the other booths.
Nothing caught my eye as far as discount registrations were concerned. I almost registered for this race for next year, but I decided to wait and see how my schedule pans out.
On Saturday morning the temperature read 38*. I'm sorry, but that's not supposed to happen, much less on a day where I'm supposed to be up and out of the house by 5:30...I layered up in a long sleeve tech shirt, a short sleeve tech shirt, a long sleeve cotton shirt, a hoodie, and gloves. I ended up getting rid of the hoodie and cotton shirt along the route, but I kept the gloves the whole time.
When we got to the race, Tim and my mom dropped me off at Ferg's. It's a bar near the starting line that was open for runners. I don't think many people knew about it, because it was empty, they had water for us, and the bathroom lines were short. It enabled me to go three times, as I am so neurotic about using the bathroom before a race.
After my last bathroom run I headed out to corral five with a goal in the very back of my mind of running under two hours. My previous best was 2:06 at the Wine and Dine, but with my head cold and the frigid temps, I didn't know if this would be in the realm of possibility. I didn't have to wait long at the start before they started the different corrals. They were so organized with the wave start, and we didn't have to dodge people at all in the beginning. This was new to me since I'm so used to pushing and shoving at the beginning of the Disney races.
The first few miles of the race were a bit boring in mainly residential areas of St. Pete. They went by quickly enough before we made the turn and could start to see the downtown area. I dropped my hoodie around mile two on an incline. It seemed to be when others started shedding early layers too. For those non-runners who may be reading, when you drop your clothes along the route they're picked up and donated to nearby facilities.
Also for these miles I was holding in the low 9 minute miles making sure that I didn't pour it all out and hit a wall later. I felt good, and I knew this would be a good race for me. Around mile 6 I stared picking it up a little bit to run under 9 minute miles.
It was at the halfway mark where I knew I was going to run under 2 hours. I felt fantastic and wasn't exerting myself keeping under my goal pace.
But around mile 8 I started seeing people that had started with the 2 hour pace group (they had pink signs on their backs) and I asked if they were running with the group. They said "No! We lost them a while ago!" and it made me panic. I started wondering if I was wrong and needed to actually be running faster than a 9:10 pace to run under two hours. I picked it up to 8:30 pace for a mile or two to make sure that I was going to hit this time. Then I relaxed and remembered that I had done my research and there was a chance that the pacer had started in an earlier corral.
And I was right. He had started in corral 4, so he had a minute one me.
Mile 8.5-9.5 was so so windy on the pier, but it was pretty views to attempt to enjoy in the blistering wind. The wind didn't really subside once we got off the pier either, so I guess it was just getting us used to it.
Along the way I had wanted to get some cute pictures, and one idea I had was to jump for the camera I saw on the pier. I unfortunately was caught at a bad moment on the landing and wanted to share. I promise it's the most embarrassing picture I'll ever post of myself...but hopefully you'll get a laugh. Otherwise I got some cute ones I'll post.
For some reason around mile 11 I thought we were turning around, but the turn around didn't come for a very long time, and I got really frustrated with my wrong ideas and started to just want to be finished. There was a super steep bridge with a photographer at the top, and I thought that was just a bit rude (ha!). By mile 12 I was just so excited to see that finish line.
And see the finish line I did, around mile 12.75. It was an illusion, and it seemed so much closer. I started running sub 8 minute miles way too soon, but I held on and ended up crossing the finish line in 1:57.44. I got my medal (which is part of my enjoyment of running...let's be honest), picked up my snacks, and met up with mom and Tim to celebrate!
What a great race!
Overall I would applaud Rock N Roll on a great event, a well planned course, and a great expo. There were spectators along the way, including mom and Tim that I got to see at 8.5, 9.5, and the finish! I will absolutely be doing this race again! I'm even going to look into other Rock N Roll events around the country.
Now I'm just deciding what's up next for me...I'll definitely be running Gasparilla, but I haven't decided which of the four offerings I'll partake in yet.
And thanks again to my mom and Tim for freezing their butts off to come support me! I loved having you there along the route.