My Women’s 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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! 🙂



  1. RunningBetty says:

    Please know that you have an open invitation to call me whenever you are in St Pete! Esp when I have photos from other races to give you 🙂
    Let me know where to send em. Congrats!

  2. Christine says:

    Congrats on your time, for me that would be an awesome time! But we all have not so great runs, all you can do is use that to improve!
    I’m currently training for my first half marathon, I have a 2yo and 6mo, I’m home alone with the two kids all week, so I run twice a week with the jogger stroller and once on the weekend without the stroller. Can I do a half with only 3 runs a week?

  3. Margaret says:

    omg – we were right by each other my clock time was 2:17:39. It was a tough day and the course was a difficult one, don’t beat yourself over it – you did great!!!

  4. Tracey says:

    Wow! You guys were way back at the start. I enjoyed running through Tropicana Field, but could have done without that parking lot. At that point too, the tiny inclines felt like giant hills. My legs were done! After the race I checked my Garmin and it showed I ran 13.32 miles. I read several reviews on from women saying their Garmin showed a longer distance as well. So, with that, we all ran better than we thought we did. Great job, Denise!

  5. morethananelectrician says:

    This is a good run…you know that most of this is the experience and the journey getting there. The psychological issues having to start in these huge crowds are tough…and it has been the worst experience for me when running.

  6. lindsay says:

    congrats! sorry to hear about the crowds getting in the way a bit, but you ran well! running the field sounds like a fun change-of-pace (and speedier even for you) 🙂

  7. Tiffany says:

    Maybe we should get a rope and tie ourselves together, so we could stay together in a big crowd. It was not as fun running all by myself. Sniff! Sniff!

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