Hoover Dam Half Marathon: Race Recap
My December Race (#2) happened to also fall on the day before my birthday! What better way to celebrate than with a sweaty 13.1??
Deciding to do this race instead of the Brandon Half was the smartest idea for me since it gave me another week of recovery after the Women’s Half and helped me to get my groove back .. sort of at least!
Hubs and I ended up camping out at my parents house to shave off a good 40-45 minutes of travel time in order to be at the start at Madiera Beach City Hall bright and early at 530am race morning. It was super nice to chill with the ‘rents and order in my favorite pre-race food: pizza!
Getting up around 5am, we were ready in no time and headed down to Madiera Beach where the race started. It ended at Taylor Park, a separate location, which is a new deal to me when it comes to race routes. Anyhoo, I had time to warm up and hit up the port-o-lets a couple of times before the start. As the morning went on, the early fog I’d seen began to turn into humid, thick air…I tried to put this out of my mind. B.o.B. and I found each other and she reminded me of this weather worry when she brought up how it felt similar to the ING Miami Marathon she’d run back in January – I’d heard icky stories of this race from all of those in our run group. Bad omen #2. We decided to start together and if either of us needed to go or slow down we were game to at least have each other to keep company for part of the race. We kissed out respective men good bye and headed to the start.
We bumped into Denise and her partners in crime
Miles 1-3: Easy peasy. We ran along Gulf Boulevard right by the beach. It was nice and breezy for a bit. B.o.B. and I had a lot to catch up on since we usually don’t have a ton of time to hang out one on one, so it didn’t feel like 3 miles when I saw the mile marker sign.
Miles 4-7: My usual wall proved itself to be a mother above all mothers. Now, I did my best to put out the foggy, humid weather from my mind but it began to be felt by my lil lungs. B.o.B. asked me if I was okay around a 9:30 pace and I said yes feeling physically okay. Nothing hurt besides my lungs. We encountered our first bride heading into the area close to the Pinellas Trail and I felt worse and worse. By mile 5 or so we ran into Meghan who was truckin’ along nicely – I knew she’d already run before the race working on a 20 miler for the day so it was great to see her and chat, the 3 of us. I kept saying to myself that I didn’t want to walk. That’s when I heard The Wheeze. I initially thought it was a fluke and nothing to think about it so I trudged on. I began noticing the girls chatting along nicely and I wasn’t able to chime in – at all really. I had to walk. Drat. I’d only walked for about 100 feet when I decided to try and run again. My breathing still wasn’t where it should be and I couldn’t afford an asthma attack – not worth it. As I took a puff of my inhaler, I bumped into a friend of a friend who I’d met at the start and decided to strike up a conversation with her – whether she wanted to or not 😉 She was a lovely lady who was on her 5th half marathon and wanted to work on getting faster. We talked about speed training for a bit and then headed into the start of the Pinellas Trail. She’d made it back to a jog again, as did I, but told me to go ahead. I yelled “you’ve got this, you’re already a fanatic!” as I headed into the park at a slow rog.
Miles 8-10: I started to get my stride back, somewhat. I stayed around a 10:05-10:30 because not only was my breathing worrying me, but I felt blisters a-formin’ on my right foot. Pain is temporary, pride is forever – that’s what I kept telling myself. I also told myself that it was by birthday tomorrow and this wasn’t my A race, I’d won half marathon gold at the Women’s Half and I was in this Holiday race to get in #2 and have fun – I wasn’t hurting myself on my birthday eve! Oh, the humidity .. my cute outfit now turned into a blob of green. Still, the cheers from spectators and people yelling “Go Elf!” kept me pushing. I took water at each water stop but didn’t walk but one other time around mile 9. This section of the race was nice, as I hadn’t gotten to run through the Pinellas Trail before. Cyclists passing through were super polite as was all of the folks I chatted with along the way.
Miles 11-12: I was in a comfortable slower run pace and my breathing was holding steady. The Wheeze went away, so I knew I was in the clear, but I still took one more inhaler puff just in case. It was hot. In the 80s – the air felt thick. Just the day before I’d gone to the doctor because my allergies weren’t getting better from my medicine and my doc told me I needed to see an allergy/asthma specialist – she also knew I was racing and nothing would hold me back. Anyway, where was I..oh the Pinellas trail was most of the race’s course. I took an orange slice from another stop and then looked up ahead. A massive bridge. Lovely. Oh well – I had to do it, I was approaching the end! I didn’t walk, but steadily ran up the incline and then relaxed on the decline. We were headed into Taylor Park soon!
Miles 12-13.15: I ran into another runner who appeared super fit and runner-like. He said “Cute outfit…I’m hurting…these always seem like a great idea until you’re in them huh.” I said, “You’re telling me! But we’re almost there, stay strong!” Yea, I was all Ghandi-like until I entered the park – on a gravel trail. Across the lake I could see the Finish. My Garmin said it was only at around 12 miles so more to go still. My poor feet, I didn’t want to even look at them. I pushed and pushed around the bend and then sidewalk reappeared – thank goodness! I kicked into high gear and came into the finish, so happy to be done! The announcers yelled out our names and one said “Here comes Katrina, our lone Elf!” I asked her if I was the only one and she told me I was – most peeps were dressed as Santas this year. Not only was I done, but I was the lone elf – alriiiiight.
Official Finish time: 2:13:37
This was a great race, I have to say. Despite the weather, which is something no one can predict, the course was lovely. The bridges and hills were a challenge, but a welcome one that reminded me that I need to hill train more. Yes, we have a few in Florida. I enjoyed running along the beach and then into the trail. The costumes and people were so friendly and a great distraction from the run. It was a smaller race too, under 800 people, so not a lot of zig zagging or traffic. The medal: pretty sweet. The post race party: full of beer (which I didn’t have – tummy problems), food, water, and red/green smiles.
I went into this race knowing I wouldn’t ‘kick butt’ per say. I was just back to normal after the first half and even hubs commented that I had a very le se faire attitude going in, which I did. I didn’t want to race it, especially with the weather forecast and the race itself! New course and so much fun to be had..I wanted to enjoy it and sure did!
What is that? The Day 9 #HOLIDAYADAY challenge word was “Ladies Dancing?” … Oh we got that down…
Me with Meghan and B.o.B. gettin down
This was a great kick off to my birthday, now I’m off to play in the ICE! 😉 Don’t forget this Giveaway goes through 12/13!
and p.s. today’s #HOLIDAYADAY word for Day 10 is SPARKLE! Check me out at instagram!
How are you celebrating this glorious Monday? 😉