Tag Archives: Clearwater Iron Girl Half Marathon

Race Review: Clearwater Iron Girl Half Marathon

Chip time: 2:20:41

That, my friends, is the kinda time you get when it’s the 7th ring of hell humid and you’ve barely run for the past month. It’s hard to believe I ran a 2:03 in Sarasota just a month ago.

Sunday morning started with a 4am wake-up call. Michelle and I did all the pre-race things we do – got ready, ate some breakfast (oatmeal and a banana for me), and got our caffeine on.

This race was the first time I’ve ever seen timing chips like this:

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We fastened them on with zip ties but I could still feel it flop around on my shoe through half of the race even though it was on really tight and through several laces. Not a big deal, just not my favorite. At the end of the race, they cut them off and took the chips back.

Michelle and I drove to the park (where the Expo was held the day before) to catch the trolley that took us to the race start. We had NO problem parking and caught the trolley right away.

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Side note: Our friend’s Tiffany and Connie ran the 5k. They waited for an hour for the trolley and once they made it to the race, they were closing the starting line because finishers were starting to come in. They almost didn’t get to run. Luckily they did and schooled all the other teams by coming in 17th out of 129. Way to go, ladies!

On the trolley, I enjoyed my second Red Bull before 5:30 am.

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Then Michelle and I annoyed other passengers by taking way too many pictures of ourselves. I say, the more pictures you take before your gross and sweaty…the better.

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We arrived at Pier 60 and stood in line for the restrooms a couple times during our hour and a half wait before the race started.

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People kept staring at Michelle (or her bib?) and we couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was her super-hero like utility belt that she uses to scale walls.

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We headed down to the race start where people without bib numbers were just hanging around IN the start line.

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There were no corrals but the race start seemed pretty organized for having no organization. A guy just made an announcement for the 6 and 7 minute milers to get toward the front, the 8, 9, and 10 minute milers to get in the middle, and the 11 and 12 min milers and walkers/joggers to get toward the back.

This is all the people standing behind us.

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The race started on time and I really didn’t feel like I had to dodge many runners like I normally do. I’m sure this was a sign somehow.

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Most of our running areas along the course were really narrow so girls were running outside of the orange cones which slowed cars that I could have touched if I reached my hand out.

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Although the picture is blurry, the first bridge is in the distance here. There were three of them. Three horrible, horrible bridges. That didn’t include the rolling hills. For the first time, my hamstrings are sore after a race. The whole race felt like a hill climb. I will never bitch about the Melbourne Half Marathon bridges again.

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Pretty sunrise over the first bridge.

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Top of the first bridge.

Oh, I saw a LOT of ladies in running dresses (there’s one in the picture below). This was the first time I’ve ever seen one. I want to bring running evening gowns in style. Look for that at my next race.

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I know runners look forward to the decline after a bridge – but I thought it was all hard this time around.

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Around mile 3.5, blog reader Shawntae recognized my Camelbak (!) and said hello.

Hi Shawntae! Thanks for saying hello. 🙂  (I hope I spelled that right.)

Don’t worry, I didn’t get totally creepy and stalk you in the race results to get that spelling.

Shortly after the mile 4 marker, I put away my camera. I hate holding things during races and I needed to get out my trusty sweat rag because I’m a disgusting, sweaty woman.

My pace was significantly slower than normal. At my worst, I can run a 10 min mile but I was running a lot of 11 minute and 11:30 minute miles during this race. At Mile 9, I walked for 5 minutes. I also walked leisurely through three water stations. Then I walked for a few minutes at the top of the third bridge (Mile 11) because my heart rate felt too high. I was DYING during the entire race. It was SO hot and uncomfortable.

Best part of the race? Tiffany and Connie stayed after their 5k to cheer for me and Michelle when we crossed the finish!

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No clue why I’m still wearing my headphones there, because nothing was playing.

Speaking of the finish, as I was coming in I heard the announcer call my name and then I crossed a big blue area that looked like the finish. So I started walking.

It wasn’t the finish.

I looked up to see photographers and ANOTHER big blue area that was the actual finish. So, I had to start running again. That was SO confusing to me. Tiffany and Connie said that everyone was making the same mistake, so at least it wasn’t heat stroke that was making me see finish line mirages.

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Oh, and the Sweaty Band that I bought that the Expo did not stay in my hair. I didn’t even realize it was falling out until Michelle said something. The blog world swears by them and I’m here to tell you…I have not found a headband that can stay on my head.

I did LOVE my new sunglasses and the iFitness belt I bought rocks the pants off of Spibelts.

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Michelle and I walked around a little bit after the race and took some pictures.

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We waited for about 30 minutes to catch a trolley back to the area where we parked. Then we took cold, uncomfortable showers (not together) because there was NO hot water at the condo.

Before we headed home, we had to get a few pictures. Remember that belt I told you about in the last post?

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Let’s look at it a little closer.

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Yeah, those are hands.

I love a belt that can double as a fashion statement and a way to show surprise.

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Michelle gets cranky if she doesn’t get Starbucks after a race, so we stopped there and I had my first Starbucks drink ever – a tall skinny vanilla iced latte (Michelle’s treat!). 

I felt like Mary Louise Parker in Weeds holding this drink.

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The latte wasn’t bad, but it’s not my thing. I think next time I’ll stick to their mini-cupcakes. 🙂

Overall, this was the hardest half marathon course I’ve done. The heat didn’t help at all and I had a hard time getting through it. But I finished and got my medal and I’m proud of that. Now I can sit back and relax for a couple months before marathon training starts.

Updated to add: A cool thing I forgot to mention about Iron Girl – they email you with your actual race results, not just a link to get your results. I’ve never seen a race do that and thought that was pretty cool.

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Iron Girl Half Marathon Expo

Saturday was a long day.

I drove over to Michelle’s house around 12:15 so we could head down to Clearwater (about a 2.5 hour drive from Orlando) with plenty of time to make it to the Expo before it closed at 5:00pm. The next two hours went like this:

  • 12:40: Arrive at Michelle’s house.
  • 12:45-1:00: Figure out the address of the condo were we were staying. (Michelle’s MIL happens to own a condo in Clearwater about 5 minutes away from where the Expo was held. Score!)
  • 1:00-1:15: Michelle does random things to get ready to leave. I don’t know what these things are. I kill time by reading a baby name book and find it ironic that Paula means “little” and I’m 5’9”.
  • 1:15: We leave.
  • 1:25: We stop at Publix for water, PowerAde, Red Bull, and snacks.
  • 1:40: We are on our way to Clearwater.
  • 1:50: Michelle realizes she left the condo key at the house.
  • 1:52: We stop on the side of the road so Michelle can search for the key.
  • 1:55: We drive back to Michelle’s house.
  • 2:15: We arrive at Michelle’s house.
  • 2:17:  Michelle realizes she had the keys in her purse the whole time.
  • 2:17:10: Paula takes a deep breath and avoids a mild stroke.
  • 2:20: We leave town for realsies.

I was convinced we would not make it on time, particularly when we hit a traffic jam at the I-4/I-275 interchange, but we did with about 20 minutes to spare.

The last time we arrived at an Expo so late (St. Pete Women’s Magazine Half), most booths were already packing up, so it was nice to see the Expo was fully open and there were still plenty of people there.

We found parking and picked up our packets with no problem. But they ran out of swag bags, so we only got our bib and a t-shirt. That was a total bummer since we had already seen what was inside the bags on a bunch of other blogs. Sad smile

We looked around at the booths and then…the booth’s won.

Expos were made for suckers like me.

While Michelle was buying some Gu’s, I noticed we both have the same jacked-up toenail and neither of us have the decency to cover it up with polish.

Right across from the Expo was the water. Pretty, no?

After the Expo, we headed over to the condo to drop off our bags, change our clothes, and head out to dinner. The condo was complete with shag carpet, 1970’s linoleum, and…a loom. (It’s in the middle of being renovated so it can be rented out.) There was also a special belt buckle we found that I’ll save for the next post.

On the way to the condo, we spotted the Clearwater City Grill and decided that was an easy spot for dinner.

There was no one there when we first arrived.

Michelle bought me a beer to ensure we would stay friends and I would not kill her in her sleep because of her earlier forgetfulness.

It worked.

I normally don’t drink for at least a few days before a race. But traditions that do not have to do with alcohol are meant to be broken.

Michelle and I shared the sliders on toasted pretzel bread (she had Mahi, I had ground beef).

If you ever wonder how Michelle works full time, runs races, and is a mother of 2 – it’s all about multi-tasking. Food in one hand. Tweeting with the other.

Michelle had the fried calamari – which was undercooked.

I had the grilled chicken, which was burned.

Neither of us finished our dinner. We decided it was best to skip directly to dessert, so we walked to the nearest frozen yogurt place – Cali Yogurt.

This place sold everything including jewelry, post cards, cereal, back massagers, and wind chimes. Totally normal.

I had the taro root flavored yogurt with blueberries, kiwi, cookie dough, and mochi (the little white things).

The yogurt made up for dinner. 🙂 I don’t know what taro root is but I do know it’s tasty. The fresh fruit complimented it so well, I wish I had gotten more of that instead of the cookie dough.

After licking our yogurt cups clean, we headed back to my car that was still parked at the City Grill. We’re pretty sure the guys that undercooked our calamari and burned our chicken tried to hit on us. If only they could have cooked our food right the first time, they might have gotten some of this action. 😉

Once we got back to the condo, we called it a night but we arrived just in time to catch this view from the condo’s parking lot.

This view almost makes me miss Sarasota.

I’ll have a race review for you tomorrow. Let’s just say I got the worst time I’ve gotten since my first half. (2:20:41)

How was your weekend?

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The End of the Race Season

I registered for two races today.

The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater on April 10…

 

…and the Sarasota Half Marathon next year on March 11. It’s a year away, but I know I want to do it. And right now, the price is $20 less than what I paid to run it this year.

 

I may or may not being running Iron Girl alone. Michelle can’t decide if she wants to run it or not. Go over to her blog and tell her how lonely I am without her and that she needs to run it. It’s on the beach! I think that’s reason enough.

(Edit: Ok, it’s NEXT to the beach. Not on sand people, I’m not that crazy. ;-))

After the Iron Girl Half, I will be taking a little break from running. I’ll still do one or two 4-7 milers a week, but nothing long distance. I need to get my lady-muscles back, so it’s time to start focusing more on strength training. (I might even do some before/after pics.)

I’ll worry about the running in June when I start my marathon training for the Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon.

Speaking of marathon training, Michelle is signing up for Track Shack’s Marathonfest to keep her motivated during training. It’s basically a group marathon training program. I do think running with other people and being accountable to show up for specific runs will keep my training in check. Plus, I might make some new running buddies that will eat cupcakes with me afterwards.

By the way, I googled “running while eating” in hopes of finding a funny picture to insert here. Instead, the search gave me this:

You are welcome.

Training starts June 4. The part I’m worried about: running in the Florida heat. I was really considering doing a lot of my marathon training on the treadmill. Running last year outside during the summer nearly killed me – and I only ran at night.

Biggest Pro for me:

  • The course is planned out for you and it’s different each time – so I won’t have to circle around a neighborhood 8 times trying to get a specific distance while looking like a sweaty neighborhood stalker.

Biggest Con for me:

  • Waking up at 4-4:30am one day on every weekend from June until my full marathon. (Which is almost necessary because of the heat. It’s hotter at night than in the morning because the pavement hasn’t had time to cool all night.)

What do you all think? Have you followed a plan like this when all you want to do on the weekends is drink beer and sleep in?

All this marathon talk is really making me look forward to my break in running.

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The End of the Race Season

I registered for two races today.

The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater on April 10…

 

…and the Sarasota Half Marathon next year on March 11. It’s a year away, but I know I want to do it. And right now, the price is $20 less than what I paid to run it this year.

 

I may or may not being running Iron Girl alone. Michelle can’t decide if she wants to run it or not. Go over to her blog and tell her how lonely I am without her and that she needs to run it. It’s on the beach! I think that’s reason enough.

(Edit: Ok, it’s NEXT to the beach. Not on sand people, I’m not that crazy. ;-))

After the Iron Girl Half, I will be taking a little break from running. I’ll still do one or two 4-7 milers a week, but nothing long distance. I need to get my lady-muscles back, so it’s time to start focusing more on strength training. (I might even do some before/after pics.)

I’ll worry about the running in June when I start my marathon training for the Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon.

Speaking of marathon training, Michelle is signing up for Track Shack’s Marathonfest to keep her motivated during training. It’s basically a group marathon training program. I do think running with other people and being accountable to show up for specific runs will keep my training in check. Plus, I might make some new running buddies that will eat cupcakes with me afterwards.

By the way, I googled “running while eating” in hopes of finding a funny picture to insert here. Instead, the search gave me this:

You are welcome.

Training starts June 4. The part I’m worried about: running in the Florida heat. I was really considering doing a lot of my marathon training on the treadmill. Running last year outside during the summer nearly killed me – and I only ran at night.

Biggest Pro for me:

  • The course is planned out for you and it’s different each time – so I won’t have to circle around a neighborhood 8 times trying to get a specific distance while looking like a sweaty neighborhood stalker.

Biggest Con for me:

  • Waking up at 4-4:30am one day on every weekend from June until my full marathon. (Which is almost necessary because of the heat. It’s hotter at night than in the morning because the pavement hasn’t had time to cool all night.)

What do you all think? Have you followed a plan like this when all you want to do on the weekends is drink beer and sleep in?

All this marathon talk is really making me look forward to my break in running.

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