Showing posts with label Women's Half Marathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's Half Marathon. Show all posts

Friday, December 6, 2013

Race Recap: Women's Half Marathon St. Petersburg

One of the reasons I love running so much is because of the races. I get so excited for race weekends because of the expos, gear, courses, and other runners on the course. Running a race is so different than running alone or even with friends, even if you're running the same pace as normal.

Last weekend I ran the Women's Half Marathon St. Peteresburg for the second time. Last year I ran it as a training run, and since I'm training for another marathon right now, the same would be true this time as well. I had 16 miles on my training plan, so I decided to run three before the race so the race finish line would be my finish line as well. I attended the expo the day before, which will be in a separate post, and picked up my bib and plenty of expo goodies. I remembered the night before how much easier it is to get ready for a running only race. Compared to a triathlon, running races require so much less "stuff".

When my alarm went off on Sunday morning, I threw on the clothes I had laid out, strapped on my Garmin, grabbed my shoes and Gu and was out the door and on my way down to St. Petersburg. The parking was easy, and I was glad I had remembered to bring cash since the parking was $5. I don't think I had paid attention to that information in the race packet. I got parked, got out of my car, and got out on those first three miles with the intention of using them as a warmup.
I felt good, and after those three miles found some friends in the pre-race area. One of the things I love about local races is all the friends I get to meet up and run with.
After hanging out for a few minutes we made our way to the starting line. Tori and Meg had said they'd run with me at a 9:15-9:30 pace for my long run, but I had told them if they wanted to speed up they definitely could, since they had originally said they might run sub 2 if it worked out. Either way, I was glad to have company for a period of time.

There was a huge cheer station setup by Nick and the Best Damn Race crew at mile 1 and 7, so it was fun to see friendly faces so early in the race.
They also took some great pictures of us on the run! We were all feeling great in the beginning. The weather was perfect in that it was cool and overcast, and it didn't warm up or get sunny the whole time we were on the run.
The course had changed just a little bit; we no longer ran around the pier, and we didn't run through Tropicana Field, so there were a few extensions onto other roads we hadn't run on last year.
We ran the next bit through the nice neighborhoods around the Coffee Pot Bayou. There were lots of spectators. Around mile 6 I got a little bit of a stomach ache, but I told myself that there wouldn't be any slowing down because I'll probably be running with a stomach ache at Ironman Chattanooga next year. It might sound silly, but it worked. I kept pushing and it eventually cleared itself up. 

We ran back through the cheer team when we were all ready for a pick me up. Meg has had some hip problems and they were flaring a bit, and I needed a boost as well.
Caroline got a great picture of me running, and it embodies how I feel while I'm at a race or out on a fun run. I just love how running makes me feel!

A few miles down the road we were all running different paces, and Meg and Tori walked for a second while Meg tried to work out some of her hip problems. I went on because I knew they were together and we only had 5 or 6 miles left. I also knew that this was a training run for a redemption marathon, and I wanted to have some solid long runs under my belt to have in my arsenal at the starting line of Jacksonville Bank. 

I didn't have headphones with me so ran the last 5 miles alone with no music, but it was nice to get lost in my own thoughts. On the course map you can see the very long out to the west we run, and I will say that I was very tired of running away from the finish line by the time we turned around. I wanted to be heading back on the slight downhill to the finish!

When we turned it was pretty much smooth sailing. I saw a great sign that I want to recreate next time I spectate, and I picked up the last mile to sub 9 pace. This gave me confidence to know I still had stamina in me after a 16 mile run.
After crossing the finish line, I headed over to the finishers' area and collected my Publix sugar cookies, chocolate covered banana slices, and fluids. Yum! I skipped out on the bubbly, but there was also a glass of champagne offered to us all at the finish.

After we all finished, we took another group picture. It had started to get a little chilly by this point, and we were all ready for breakfast!
The medal changed this year from a palm tree to a beach chair. I can't decide which one I like better, though I think they're both so pretty! I love adding more bling to my medal rack!
 And in all, this day was a huge success. I had a wonderful time running a very well put on race, I had a ball running with friends and hanging out before and after the race, and I had a really solid long run that helps me feel more confident in my ability to actually run a marathon in less than a month!
Women's Half Marathon gave me a free entry to the race in exchange for blogging about it, but I've done the race and registered for the race in years past without any incentive aside from a great course and well organized race. I'll definitely do it again next year as long as I'm physically able to, and I'd totally recommend running one of their races. They're all over the country throughout the year, and they're put on by the Competitor Group.
 Have you ever run an all women's race before? What did you think?
What makes you go back to races year after year? For me, I think it's about the course, the organization, and friends doing the race. The medals are becoming less important to me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Running Back in Focus: Workouts Last Week 11/18-11/24

I'm really late with this post, since I usually put it up Sunday or Monday, but I was busy wrapping school up and getting ready to head to my parents' house for Thanksgiving (where I'm writing this post). But, I still wanted to share it because it's a shift back to being running focused, and I like looking back on them myself to remember what I did leading up to and coming off of big races.
Yay for more running. That meant an extra rest day last week because I haven't been on the bike and still haven't found a pool to go to.

But I ran more! In fact, I ran quite a bit more! It was glorious, all 32 miles of it! I'm training for a marathon December 29th and am trying to carefully bring my mileage up to get in a fair amount of training. That meant a 16(.22) mile this past week followed up by 18, 20, and 22 in the three weekends to come. 

What that meant is that there will be more easy runs than there have been in previous training cycles. Those easy runs didn't happen this week. This week I learned a lesson of taking things slower.

Monday: Rest!
Tuesday: 4 miles. This run was supposed to be easy, and my legs felt good and I ran too fast with some half miles sub 8 thrown in there. That wasn't my smartest move, though it did help me become more comfortable with high 8 minute miles on not as tough of runs. I will say that I think I ran this harder than "easy".
I rode the bike for half an hour after that.

Wednesday: Supposed to be 6 miles with 4 at tempo, but I used a treadmill at school that ended up being propped up on a permanent incline, and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why all my paces felt so much harder. I ran two miles at 8:20 then half a mile at 8:35, and then I just cooled down because I was dying. I can't explain it.

Thursday: I decided to do 6 miles here with a few a little faster in the middle. Again, not ideal, but it was 2 warm up, 2 at 8:20, 2 cool down. That was my 6.

Friday: Supposed to swim. Woke up, Beth texted me and we opted to skip. Oops.

Saturday: 2 mile shakeout. My legs felt pitiful. It was pathetic. It made me worried about what 16 and the Women's Half Marathon would be like on Sunday.

Sunday: I ran 3 miles before the Women's Half Marathon for a total of 16.22 miles (since tangents and I aren't friends). I'll post a recap of that later today, but it was a great race! I had a ball! The 16.22 miles were done at 9:20 pace, so I was happy about that!
Hope last week's workouts were good for you!

This week I'm looking forward to running the Ironman Chattanooga run course on Saturday! I'll report back!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Post Race Week & What's next?

After Rev3 Florida on Sunday, I got a "recovery" week. I guess that means different things depending on the distance, but for me so far it has meant a 2 mile easy effort but sore run on Tuesday, a 2 mile easy effort much better feeling run on Wednesday, and then an accidental hard 2 miler averaging 8:35/mile on Thursday.

I tend to memorize my training schedule and not have to refer back to it unless I need to confirm, so today when I got home a little later from work, I just knew I was supposed to do another 2 miles, and I also knew that it didn't say "very very easy" on my training plan. So, I decided that meant I should go out with a long stride and see how I felt. And I felt good! I probably ran the two miles too fast, but it's 2 miles. 

When I got home, I checked the plan to make sure I was right, and somehow, I wasn't. I don't usually make mistakes like this, but I was supposed to ride 17 miles at a moderate effort and not run at all. Oops. I'm only slated for 2000 swim tomorrow, so I'll probably ride tomorrow before a 10 miler this weekend. 

And then it's back up in mileage to continue reaching goals.

Next up?

I'm running Women's Half Marathon next weekend! I did it last year and loved the course. It's around downtown St. Pete and along the water, and with the removal of the pier this year it shouldn't be as windy as last year.
And like last year, I'm using it as a long run for my next marathon!
I'm also excited that so many people I know are running or spectating. Many friends are running, and those that aren't have teamed up to set up cheer stations along the course. Though I'm forcing myself to run it as a training run in the 9:30-9:45 pace range, I know it'll be helpful to see friend and cheerleaders on the route. 

I'm also looking forward to a running race with a bib! It has been a long time since I've done a run with a bib on that didn't have me biking and swimming before. In fact, I think it has been since my PR half in March. And for that I'm super thrilled! If you want to register and have been waiting, do it!! The price jumps in three days on November 18th, and if you use the code LITTLEBIG registration is only $95 instead of the $105. That includes a great swag bag, a nice medal, and well planned course, and an after party after the race, among other things. Are you running it?
70.3 to 26.2

Then, I've got a spike in weekday running, the intention to keep biking and swimming, and an 18, 20, and 22 miler to complete before I head up to Jacksonville for my second go around at the marathon. It's a quick turnaround from 70.3 to 26.2, but I've gotten some input on my plan, and I'm also not planning to go up there and blow any records out of the water. The reason I want to do another marathon so soon after this half Ironman is because I want a redemption from my first effort before I get into Ironman training.
I own more than one shirt, and after a year of wearing only that one for almost every race, I actually won't touch it anymore.
I don't want the memories I have of a marathon to be the ones I have from Disney. They're not that fond, and I know biking 112 miles with the visions of my Disney experience in my head won't be a confidence builder. I need redemption, and whether that means running a PR or not, I just want to wipe the nightmares of the distance from my brain. My intention is to run the race smart and with the goal of having a bigger smile on my face when I finish.

The goal for 2014 is to get to the starting line and finish line of Ironman Chattanooga. In the meantime I have some plans for running races in the first few months, and I'd be lying if I said a half PR wasn't dancing in those dreams somewhere.
I'm doing ZOOMA Florida as an ambassador in January and am excited to see and meet a few bloggers I interact with regularly. The race is January 18th in Amelia Island, and you can come too! Meet us there and use the code FLAAMB7 for 10% off the registration price!

I'll then do the Best Damn Race Half marathon for Tori's Bachelorette Party and some combination of Gasparilla Races. I'll probably sneak another Half Ironman or two in there before the summer triathlon season starts, and then I'll stick to local races as my schedule picks up to unfathomable heights.

What's your next race goal? 
How far in the future do you plan out your race calendar?
Is there a race that you always do, year after year?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day Deals

Happy National Running Day! I celebrated by swimming 2500 yards this morning. I'll celebrate with a run at the end of June...
I just wanted to mention a couple of deals for big races that are worth considering registering for at the prices they're at.
All of the Rock N Roll races are $20 off, which means St. Pete right now is only $65. That's about the cheapest you'll see it from my experience, so I'll probably register for that today at that price.

Another Competitor Group series, the Women's Half Marathon series, is also offering $20 off all of their races. I was chosen as a Runspirational for this series, so they comped my entry for sharing it with you on my blog. I'll be running the St. Pete race in November, and the $65 that it's also being offered for right now is absolutely the lowest it will be. I've run it once before and love the course a whole lot. If you register today you can't use an additional discount code, but if you wait, you can use the code LITTLEBIG for $10 off any other day. 

Another race I'm already registered for that's actually in 2014 is the Best Damn Race. I'm running the half marathon in 2014 but ran the 10k this year and PRed and loved it a lot. It's a local only race, whereas the others have events nationwide, so this is more for the Tampa Bay area people. They're offering $5 off with the code RUNDAY.

What other deals do you know of?
Are you planning on registering for anything today?

I'm also considering registering for RnR New Orleans and figuring out a trip there...

And like I mentioned above, I'm working with Women's Half, but not the other two races. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Women's Half Marathon Race Recap

My training plan last week called for a 17 miler as my long run. With the Women's Half Marathon on Sunday I took it as the perfect race to make up the majority of that mileage. And what a great choice it was! I loved this race. After hitting the expo on Saturday, I was excited for what was to come on Sunday!

After eating pizza to carbo-load on Saturday, I set my alarm for an early 4:00 am wakeup. I've learned that the only way to get myself out of the bed for early mornings is to annoy myself. Ah, the power of self-awareness.
I slept just fine because I didn't have any PR goals for this race. I was mostly concerned about getting my four miles in before the race; I was shooting to be there before 5:30 to give myself ample time for those four, a bathroom break, and time to find some friends. 

As soon as I was up and moving about, I loaded up my gear, threw on my race clothes, and ate a couple of Eggo waffles before heading out the door by 4:45. The drive was quick, and I found a perfect parking spot right in the starting line lot for only $5. As far as I'm concerned, for a sizable race, $5 parking within a 2 minute walk of the starting line is as good as you can get. 

I put on my headlamp (and looked so cute, lemme tell ya) and was off with a jacket and arm warmers over my tank top and shorts. It was chilly! But within 3 minutes of running I knew I would be just fine in the race and wouldn't be needing the jacket. The four miles went by quickly, and I got a little preview of where the water stops would be along the route. 

After that I met up with Tori, Meghan, and Caitlyn for a blurry picture from a stranger and some starting line company.
We headed to the start line and found that all the corrals were filled to the brim. We stood on the side at an entry point and knew we'd just file in after the start. Because none of us were had any pre-decided time goals, we weren't overly stressed about being in the corral. The weather was perfect and we were looking to have a good time!
I borrowed this picture from Meghann so you could see how well branded and busy the start was!

The course was beautiful!
  A lot of it ran along the water and through some really pretty neighborhoods. I figured I'd do a mini breakdown by mile, because it's amazing how much my thoughts, feelings, and momentum changed over the course of this race. 

Mile 1-3: When the gun went off, we filed into the flow and made it to the start line in less than a minute. The first few miles went really quickly. Tori and I ran together most of those miles, and we really ended up splitting off at random. The 2:00 pace group was massive at this time, and they were all running so crowded together that it was a pain to run in. I picked it up to get in front of them, more because I was tired of all of the weaving than being concerned with where I was according to the pacing group (read my opinions on pacing groups below). Tori and I ended up separating from that, and we had all previously agreed that we'd break off when we were ready. 

Mile 4-5: The run in Snell Isle was beautiful. The homes were nice and there were people out cheering in their yards. Somewhere during that stretch I heard someone call out "Go Meghan!" and I teared up (our names were on our bibs). I normally have my music on so loudly that I can't hear much. I guess I was between songs and heard her. Hearing a stranger call out your name is so motivational, and it makes me want to keep having my names on my bib or shirts. 

It was also during this time that my 8:40-8:50 miles were feeling pretty good. I was calculating and started thinking that I could possibly earn a shiny new PR today (my previous PR was a 1:57:44) if I could keep this up. Exciting! What I didn't calculate was that these were actually miles 8-9, as those four miles before were still in the bank.

Mile 6-8: The miles leading up to the pier were pretty uneventful. I kept trucking along holding my pace, and then I saw Caroline! I didn't know she was going to be out there, and it was exciting to see her and her boys cheering us on! It was another fun pick me up that helped with my pace. She also snapped a few pictures of me! Thanks Caroline!
You can see from the pictures how pretty so much of the course was right along the water. It made for a great day!

Then came the pier in those miles. My goodness, after the Halloween Halfathon I thought I'd experienced the strongest winds I could. I was wrong! The headwind on that pier was crazy. I was glad that it was facing us as we were headed out, because I knew it'd be very strong at our backs going back off the pier. Oh happy day! I just put that in the back of my mind and chugged along. I did decide somewhere in these miles to start walking through water stops. That helped me have a little break. I've never done it before and don't know that I'll do it again, but that little bit helped me a lot mentally.

Miles 9-12: This was pretty much the low point of the race for me. There was an incline after we turned  at 8.5, and then there was a deceiving turn. Because I hadn't studied the map well, I thought we headed straight for Tropicana Field (we ran through the trop), so when we turned right and added in a mile around Mirror Lake, I wanted to find the course designer and tell them my feelings personally. The hill and the course shift killed my momentum for a couple of miles, and that's when my PR dreams of miles 4-5 turned into fingers crossed for sub-2. Between that and walking through water stops, I think that's why my mile 12 (reads as mile 16 on the chart below) is a 9:30 pace. I'm also not 100% sold that I actually ran that one in 9:30. That included the bit indoors in Tropicana Field, and I feel like maybe my Garmin got a little out of whack. My mile 13 reads as 8:51, so I'm guessing it's probably more an average of the two in those last two miles. After all, I've read so much lately about Garmins not being perfect (the shock and horror).

Mile 13: I was ready to be done! I just pushed it home. I think it was a bit of a downhill, as we ran back what had seemed like an uphill earlier, so that helped a lot. We turned, and finish lines always seem so close but yet so far away. We will still had .4 to go to reach it, but it could be seen in the distance! Rude. 

And then I finished! Yay! I hit my personal distance record at 17.26 miles, and I had run a sub-2 for the half. It was a little less than a minute off of a PR, so I can't be displeased. It was a wonderful race, and I had a ball on a beautiful day!
And then I met up with friends who had finished and others as they were finishing!
And the bling, which is especially cool this year. I love race bling!
It was a great day. I don't think I can say that in so many different words. There is nothing I can complain about. The course was beautiful, the company was fun, and everyone had great days. Most of the girls scored awesome PRs, and for those of use that didn't we had other reasons to be excited!

Thanks Women's Half Marathon for a fantastic day. And thanks weather for helping out. We couldn't have done it without you! I was going to write a little about my thoughts on pacing groups, but I'm going to save that for another post. I realized as I mentally started that post that I have more than an addendum's worth of opinion.

Thanks Women's Half for providing me with an entry into this race! It was a great one, and I'm a repeat runner for sure. I was signed up last year but had to DNS it because of my ITB issues. This one made up for it!

Oh, and I updated my "Race Recaps and Upcoming Races" link above. Now it links to recaps all the recaps I've done for races I've run. It also has my most up to date race calendar.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marathon Training Week 10 + Weekly Workout Recap Linkup

Another week of marathon training in the books, and I can tell you that the post about being tired on Friday applies even more now. Marathon training isn't easy, and I'm not even hitting 40 miles a week yet. I don't know how people run 50+ miles a week and function as a normal human. I feel like the walking dead right now.
This is how it broke down.
Another week of no cross training. Shocking.

The 17.26 miles on Sunday was perfection. I ran 4 before the Women's Half Marathon, then I ran the race. That's why my pace is faster than a normal long run. Here is how that pace broke down, for those interested in numbers:
I'll recap the race tomorrow!

This week I'm headed home to Chattanooga in time for PEAK WEEK! Perfect timing, but not really. I know there are a bunch of places to run there, so I know I'll get those runs in. I just hate that it will mean time away from my family. Here is my plan:
The race is getting closer! I can't believe how quickly the holidays are coming and how quickly that means the Disney Marathon will be here! I'm getting so excited!

Linkup your workouts for the week, race reviews, or workout plans below!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Women's Half Marathon Expo (plus a few things of interest)

It takes me very little to get excited, so combining shopping with running related items and the fact that I'm there to get ready for a race is the ultimate formula really puts me over the edge. I have been looking forward to the Women's Half Marathon expo for several days now, and I have to say that while it was smaller than others I've been to, it didn't disappoint.

I met up with Kat and Beka and some of their running group friends, and we headed across the bridge to the expo together. 
The expo was held at the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Pete, and we knew it would get crowded so made sure to get there earlier. Being in one of the ballrooms made it tight, so I am glad we beat the crowds.

We headed in, found our way to packet pick-up, and got our bibs, goody bags, and t-shirts. I really like the colors of the bibs this year. Bright pink is my second favorite color to purple, so I definitely approve! And isn't it awesome that they put our names on it?!

Normally I would have fished through the bags to see what else was offered, but I wanted to get straight to the shopping! We walked to the expo from the packet pickup, and I saw this sign. I love this quote, because some people might think we're crazy. It is our day off!
The branded merchandise for the Women's Half was super cute this year. I loved these two t-shirts in particular. I didn't buy either, since it's not a goal race for me, but looking back I kind of wish I'd gotten the one on the left. The design is so unique!
And next up I saw the medal I'll be earning tomorrow. It's huge! I think it might be the biggest one I'll have.
And as though that one wasn't impressive enough, they had all of the Women's Half medals on display. I particularly loved WHM Scottsdale medal! That sun is too cute. 
Then I picked up a new toy. I had one item on my list to purchase today, which I got later, but I thought in the back of my mind I might like to try The Stick. I have a trigger point foam roller that I use a lot, but I like that I have more control over where I use the stick. The one I bought isn't The Stick, but it actually seems to be better because of the black beads that stick out a little. It's called the Range Roller. And I can tell you already from the little I've used it, I love it!
Next up, I saw the RunDisney booth far in the distance and immediately made a beeline. I wanted to see my marathon medal! And it is HUGE, heavy, and beautiful! It added fuel to my already white hot fire. The two circles in the middle spin, and one side of the quote says, "all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
This sign made us laugh. Which way? Or is this signifying that we're here?
After the expo we took a trolley ride to the new Fit2Run St. Pete store. How fun is this store?! It's really yellow! They were having some big sales, and I ended up winning a raffle prize of $5 off my purchase. Since I only planned on buying a headlamp that was $18ish, I was happy with the $5 off! I did also end up getting Tim a running shirt that was half off, and I picked up some more Body Glide for myself for tomorrow. No chaffing! 
After I got home I got a chance to look through the bag, check out the t-shirt, and look through my loot. The goody bag is a reusable grocery type bag, and inside of it (besides all of the normal paper) was a copy of Women's Running Magazine, a trial size Lady Speed Stick, and a luna bar. I also got a little hand sanitizer from the BayCare booth.
And my purchases for the day: a headlamp, Body Glide, and the roller. It's exciting for me!
For the rest of the day I'm planning on laying low, watching football, and eating a carb-heavy meal. My training plan has me running 17 miles tomorrow, so I'm going to get four done before the race starts. One of the main reasons I bought the headlamp was because I knew it'd be dark when I'm running, and I want to make sure I'm safe. I'm not worried about people being around, because with a huge race like this, I know there will be others doing the same thing.

I haven't fully decided on my goal for tomorrow's race. My legs are tired from some speedwork on Tuesday and the 8 miler on Wednesday, but I would hate not to give it my all. I think I'll probably try to run sub-2, but if I don't I won't be disappointed.

I'll report back tomorrow after the race! Wish me luck!

A few other things that may be of interest:
Join The Holiday Challenge
The Holiday Booty Buster Challenge starts Monday! Be sure to sign up now so you can get started at the beginning. The prizes look awesome for this year, and the accountability is even better. You decide your own level, so you're not competing against people of crazy different activity levels than yourself!

Also, my Tiny Prints giveaway is ending tomorrow night at midnight! Make sure you've entered!

Lastly, I wanted to make sure I shared with you the deal on ShowerPill coming up next week. I was sent ShowerPill wipes to review by the company, and though I'm waiting until tomorrow after the race to use my first, I have heard amazing things about this product. I will be taking advantage of this deal, and I wanted to make sure you can too. I'll update you on my experience with them tomorrow after the race, but I'm 100% positive it'll be exactly what I'm hoping for.

These wipes are big enough to use for your whole body, and they help clean you up after a run or workout at the gym. If you don't have time to shower before you've got somewhere to be, this is the next best option (as it will be my option tomorrow...). I know several bloggers who swear by them, and I'd been meaning to buy my own before they came to me in the mail. Perfect timing! 

The link will take you to the product on Amazon, where the sale will be.