My second half marathon in Florida is officially in the books! And, just like my last one in Myakka State Park, Tampa delivered some serious heat and humidity. My last few weeks have been some of the biggest mileage I’ve ever had, but a short taper had me feeling pretty relaxed and ready to run.
My parents planned a last minute trip to Florida, so we decided to stay up in Tampa the night before the race to turn it into a little vacation for us all. Saturday morning I was able to do a fun shakeout run with dad — it’s been awhile since we’ve run together because of our move so I soaked up our four sweaty miles together before heading up to Tampa.
Fast forward to race morning and an early 4am wake up. After some cuddles with Kona, a bagel + peanut butter, getting my fast braids ready, and of course some potty time…it was time to get dressed and head to the start line!
Our hotel was close to I jogged toward the start and on my way, found fellow Oiselle bird and #houmarathon photographer friend, Elaine! She’d traveled all the way from Chicago and was running all four races…crazy. I wanted to make sure I got a solid warm up and had time to hit a port-a-potty again, so after I quick picture, I was on my way.
Pro-tip for this course: I ran the course backwards as part of my warmup and found all the single port-a-potties along the final mile. No lines and fit right into my pre-race miles!
While I didn’t sign up early enough to mail in my entry for the seeded start (qualifying time of 1:45), I was able to get a sticker at the expo that allowed me to get into the seeded corral. I’ve never started a race so close to the pros. I mean, I could practically touch them!
Starting behind the speedies had its consequences! While the first mile felt easy, I knew when it beeped at 7:05 I’d gone out a bit fast!
As I started to reign my pace in, I started getting passed by the runners at the front of the unseeded corral. Getting passed never feels good, but I made the decision to run my own race.
Miles 3 & 4
I started to feel the heat here. There wasn’t a ton of air flow or breeze on the island so I definitely started to feel warm! There were a couple ladies that started pushing the pace early on so I kept my eyes on them and then passed them as they faded early.
The best thing about having spectators at a race is seeing them! I wasn’t feeling great during this mile, so seeing my parents as I came off the island gave me the burst of energy I needed.
I started feeling a nice breeze and slight break in the humidity here. I took my Maurten gel (which had started chaffing where I had tucked it in my sports bra) and started to mentally regroup for the final half of the race.
It was during this mile that I realized that many of the people around me were starting to fade. So I started setting my sights on catching all the women I could see ahead of me. It was also around here that I saw the pros heading back…what a race between Scott Fauble & Elkanah Kibet!m
Around 9.5 was the turnaround point — I always hate u-turns, but focused on keeping my momentum going and passing the last woman I could see in front of me.
After passing the women in my view, it was time to start picking off the men! I worked on staying steady and passing as many people as I could! These miles ticked off even faster than the ones earlier and I loved being able to see the rest of the runners going toward the turnaround.
At this point I was running fairly solo and felt strong and relaxed!
Mile 13 – Finish
The final stretch! I got to see my parents again as I neared the finish. I really appreciated my warm up because this last mile was familiar. I glanced at my watch a few times here and knew I’d run a solid race!
All in all, I was really happy with the execution of my race. While I took it out a little faster than I should have, I was able to find my pace and run a strong back half! But beyond the time and the race, I recovered well and I’m feeling even more ready for the big goal — BOSTON!