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Working the Women’s Half Marathon

I hadn’t planned to run the Women’s Half Marathon this year since Space Coast Marathon falls a week later.    Then, I heard my friends at Suncoast Running sponsored two water stations at this Women’s Half Marathon and needed about 3 dozen people to help work the stations.  I jumped at the chance to be part of a race without the training and roped my friends, Chrissy, Faith, Michelle and Raffi into helping too.

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I have always wanted to give back to the sport that has given me so much.

2011 11 20 09 21 52 703 Working the Womens Half Marathon

I loved witnessing the different emotions (joy, elation, pain and exhaustion) as a spectator.  I had felt those emotions many times.  Sometimes all those emotions in one race.

2011 11 20 09 29 59 513 Working the Womens Half Marathon

We cheered and celebrated their victories while serving them water with smiles.

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For me, working the water stations at the Women’s Half Marathon was far more enjoyable than running it and I would definitely do it again, if they’ll have me.  Hopefully, I didn’t scare anyone with my crazy pimp hat dumping feathers in anyone’s water or my loud mouth boisterous cheers and praise.

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*Droid photo submitted to*

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GoneBananasSnapshotSunday Working the Womens Half MarathonSIMC Working the Womens Half Marathon


My Women’s Half Marathon

half marathon My Womens Half Marathon“I have this thing with fives”, Tiffany informed me last Saturday.  “The number five is not a good number for me.  Bad things always happen, especially on May 5.”


Tiffany was assigned bib number 325 for Sunday’s Women’s Half Marathon and she was not happy about it until I informed her that the sum of the three digits equals 10.  “So, think 10”, I told her and her anxiety over her bib number seemed to dissipate.


Did I mention my bib number was 580?  The sum of my three digits left me with 13 and not a good sign.


The 5K and the half marathoners shared the same start time.  With ridiculous numbers of people (close to 4000 and mostly women obviously) squeezed into the corral, Tiffany and I couldn’t start at our pace group.  When the race began, it took us 3 minutes to even cross the start line.


whm09 start My Womens Half Marathon


For the first mile or so, I exerted so much energy trying to weave in and out of walkers.  A fork in the road at the half mile mark detoured the 5K runners left while the half marathoners turned right.  Many runners/walkers were confused by the detour and it caused a great deal of congestion at this particular turn in the course.  By the time we reached mile marker 1 at the St. Pete Pier, I lost Tiffany in the crowd.


whm09 pier1 My Womens Half Marathon


David, our super Strider leader, told us he would be cheering for us around the 2.5 mile mark and sure enough, he was there with camera in hand.  Even though, I didn’t have Tiffany running along side of me, it was nice to see a smiling face cheering for me in the sidelines.


For the first half of the race, I kept my pace at a steady 9:15-9:30.  I so desperately wanted to finish at the 2 hour mark.


Although I studied the course map beforehand to memorize all the water stations, snack stops and bathroom breaks, somehow I overlooked the cobblestone, uneven roads, “hills”, bridges and numerous turns.  All these obstacles combined with weaving around walkers, I felt unprepared.


whm09 bridge My Womens Half Marathon


Around mile 6, I chose to run on the sidewalk rather than the uneven cobblestone road and I worried how my knees would hold up.  I slowed down my pace to about 10:00-10:30 and my knees seemed happy.


whm09 cobblestone My Womens Half Marathon

whm09 dwtnstpete My Womens Half Marathon


Then around mile 10, the heat began to bother me, but I soon cooled off around mile 11 when the race course led us into Tropicana Field.  Running the bases was the highlight of the run for me.  The a/c and the squishy turf were a welcomed relief and my pace dropped down to 8:00.  Although, I could have run a few more homeruns, the course led us back out into the heat for the last two miles.


whm09 tropicanafield My Womens Half Marathon

whm09 tropfieldhomerun My Womens Half Marathon


As I passed David at the finish line, I gave him my trademark smile and waved even though I wanted to cry.  I felt so defeated.  The heat killed me.  My legs hurt.  I just wanted to go home and go back to bed.


I was not happy with my performance.  David tried to ease my sorrow by telling me that I’m way too hard on myself, but I know how I’ve performed at other races and it’s disappointing when I can’t hit those numbers again.  I suppose I should be grateful that I can even finish.


To quote John “The Penguin” Bingham, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

Clock time 2:17:15

Chip Time 2:14:14

Pace 10:14.8

Place 924/3411

Gender Place 864/3275


As for Tiffany, fives may not be so bad after all or maybe thinking 10 worked out well for her.  She finished 2:03. Way to go, Tiffany! icon smile My Womens Half Marathon


whm09 t me My Womens Half Marathon

I am Woman. Hear Me Flush.

Last Saturday, Tiffany and I ran 13 miles to prepare for the Women’s Half Marathon this Sunday.  This has been longest our run on the Starkey Trail and it was good that we did.  We now know we don’t like running long distances on the trail.  We prefer running in our neighborhood because of the available bathrooms and convenient snack stops.  Thankfully, there are water stations along the trail, but all that rehydration only makes you need to pee more and there’s a lot to be said about bathroom breaks that don’t require you to relieve yourself in palm fronds or behind a tree.


As for our run, we weren’t really pushing it and so our time wasn’t the greatest.  We were conserving our energy for Sunday’s race.  We’re both hoping to finish under 2 hours.

13 Miles


Ave Pace 12:12


As for the rest of the week, I ran on Monday and Tuesday, but my times were o.k. My calves were pretty sore from Saturday’s run, so I decided to rest the remainder of the week.

Monday 11/15

4.05 Miles


Ave Pace 9:49


Tuesday 11/16

3.28 Miles


Ave Pace 9:26


I’m really looking forward to race on Sunday.  Much like the Race for the Cure, the course will follow along the streets of St. Pete.  Although I’ve been studying over the course map, I didn’t see any bathroom stops, first aid stations, water stations or snack stops and for a moment I thought our Starkey Trail run had prepared us for this race more than we realized!  Then, I found all my lovely stops on the FAQ page.  Phew.



Half Marathon Course Aid Stations:

Mile 1.75    (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)
Mile 4    (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)
Mile 6    (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)
Mile 8.1   (GU Gel – Espresso Love, Chocolate Outrage, Vanilla Bean, Tri Berry, Stawberry Banana)
Mile 8.2   (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)
Mile 10   (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)
Mile 12   (Water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade)

All aid stations will also have portable toilets.


(Thank goodness!)


Have I mentioned how excited I am about  “the ultimate race goodie bag”, my hot pink Crocs and my medal? icon smile I am Woman.  Hear Me Flush.


All Half Marathon participants will receive the ultimate goodie bag including: official Women’s Half Marathon Crocs and a reusable, recycled Kendall Kollection tote bag designed by Jacqueline Savage McFee. Also included in the bag will be additional Kendall Kollection products manufactured by Carolina Pad, race chocolates and more!



2 1 I am Woman.  Hear Me Flush.



1 1 I am Woman.  Hear Me Flush.


Bathroom breaks, bling and goodie bags with shoes and chocolate.  What more could a woman ask for?

Steady as She Goes

With a little over 3 weeks left until the Women’s Half Marathon, I have been showing some steady improvement. 

10/20 Tuesday

4.70 miles

Time 47:25

Ave Pace 10:05


10/21 Wednesday

4 miles


Ave Pace 10:01


10/22 Thursday

3 miles


Ave Pace 9:30

Then last Friday, running at 10 a.m. in the blazing sun seemed like a good idea.  Can you believe we are still hitting highs in the upper 80s here?!  But like I told my virtual running partner, Lori, you have to train in all kinds of weather (rain, wind, cold, heat, etc.) because you just never know what weather to expect on race day.  Nonetheless, training in the heat forced me to walk more during my run.

10/23 Friday

5.01 miles


Ave Pace 10:35

On Saturday, Tiffany finally hit double-digits again.  It’s been a long road getting back to ten miles, but it felt so good to reach that distance once more. 

10 miles

Time 1:50:52

Ave Pace 11:05


But like I said, I’m slowly improving and I’m moving at a steady pace under 9mm.  Although my walking water breaks throw off my times numbers, when I get moving again I’m clocking under 8:00-8:30 mm.

10/26 Monday

5.01 miles

Time 47:57

Ave Pace 9:32


This week, Tiffany and I will try our hand at another set of speed drills.  Then, according to our virtual coach, Hal recommends a 15K race so we’ll try to run 9 miles at pace some time this weekend. 

Even though I didn’t schedule a race this weekend, quite a few Striders are running in the Inaugural Halloween Half Marathon this Saturday and Larisa keeps harassing me to run with her.  With a little more planning and foresight, I would have loved to join my fellow Striders, but then my Halloween weekend is already full of tricks and treats.  I honestly don’t know if I could have squeezed in a race, but it would have been fun to get one more wear out of my Lady Gaga costume!  Although I can’t imagine running with all that hair sticking to me and my sweat causing my lovely blue lightning bolt to streak down my face.  That would not be a pretty sight.  Besides, does Lady Gaga even wear running shoes?

Getting Down to Bizniz

“Half Marathon training officially begins tomorrow. Bring it on,” read my running mommy friend’s status update on Facebook.


Her status update startled me like a loud buzzing alarm clock waking me from a sound sleep.


What the?! What half marathon?!  Which half marathon is twelve weeks away?! 


Is the Women’s half only 12 weeks away?


I opened my Outlook calendar to count the number of weeks until the Women’s Half on November 22.  Counting this Sunday, the race is only 11 weeks away.




 Holy pacing, Batman!  I need to get back into the game!


I thanked Laura for the reminder and the motivating update to help me focus and rev up my training again.  I downloaded Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan, posted it on my fridge and e-mailed a copy to Tiffany with the subject line “we are so screwed” to prepare her as well.  Considering that Tiffany and I ran 6 miles last Saturday albeit pathetic at best, we still attempted it and it starts us right where we should be according to my almighty Hal.


The upside to this sudden and urgent desire to get training again will also get me on track with the Longleaf Triathlon International Relay, which is only 6 weeks away.  As the runner on the relay team, I need to finish a 10K in less than 50 minutes to place at least third according to last year’s stats.  And for the simple fact that my team is relying on me, I need to pick up the pace for sure.  Then, there’s also the Race for the Cure 10K in 3 weeks, which will provide me with an opportunity to determine how I will perform at Longleaf.


So this morning, I jumped out of bed at 6:00 a.m. to run 3 miles.  No more lying in and complaining about time off from my injury, the dark, allergies, asthma, my DH’s new schedule or my kid’s school schedule!  It’s time to get serious and down to bizniz!  With that, I decided to run my “race pace” in the dark.


3.16 miles

Time 30:54

Ave Pace 9:47


Not exactly my race pace, but it’s an improvement from Monday’s run.  I’ll run another 3 miles tomorrow morning and then, Tiffany and I will go for 6 miles again this Saturday with the Striders.


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