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Sarasota Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Sarasota, Florida
United States
US Road Sports & Entertainment Group
51F / 11C
Total Time = 2h 53m 28s
Overall Rank = 2230/2541
Age Group = M5559
Age Group Rank = 76/82
Pre-race routine:

Attended some good friend's daughter's wedding Saturday evening and didn't get home from the reception until about 11PM. Was good and only had one glass of wine at the reception. Wasn't able to fall asleep until close to midnight.

Had alarm set for 4:15AM, so didn't get much sleep.

Got dressed, had some coffee and some whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

Left for race site about 5AM; no traffic and got there about 5:15AM. Had my pick of parking spots, so picked a spot close to the starting corrals.

Walked around to loosen up and visited the porta-potties a couple of times.
Event warmup:

Did a couple of short (100 yd) jogs/shuffles to loosen up about 30 minutes before the start. Other than making sure my joints are loose, I don't see much sense in warming up too much for a HM.

Took off my jacket and warm-up pants about 15 minutes before the start and put them in the car before heading to the starting corrals.
  • 2h 53m 28s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 14s  min/mile

Lined up towards the back in the 13 min/mile corral for the start.

It was in the mid 50's and got a little chilled waiting for the start, but knew I would warm up as soon as we got going. Was surprised to see so many folks with gloves, stocking caps, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Knew they would probably regret it later (In fact I noticed a lot of discarded shirts and other clothing items alongside the course only a few miles in).

With the narrow starting chute it took our group almost six minutes to get to the start line.

With a 7AM start and 7:30A sunrise it was still a bit dark at the start.

Stayed to the right and settled into my planned 3:1 run/walk ratio and 13 minute overall pace. Tried to focus on running easy and keeping good form. In particular concentrated on keeping my stride length short (which I think did in my hamstrings last year). Went through the first mile, just before the bridge, in 12:50.

Passed the leaders heading back the other way while crossing the bridge.

Tried to stay relaxed and run easy on the run out to St Armands Circle and back. The pack started to thin out at this point, so it made things a bit easier.

First three miles where all in the high 12's, so felt good knowing I was on my target pace. Fourth mile coming back over the bridge was about 30 seconds slower.

Sun was up by that time, so put my sunglasses on.

I had the 2:45 pace group just in front of me for the first few miles and was tempted to try to speed up a bit and latch onto them, but resisted the urge and stuck to my planned pace.

Grabbed quick a sip of water at the first few aid stations even though I wasn't very thirsty.

It was a bit congested at mile six where they had an aid station on the left and the relay exchange on the right. The course became two-way at that point for the next mile with the leaders coming back in the other direction.

The road surface had a pretty steep crown, so tried to stay as far right as I could on the flat at the top of the crown.

Had a few twinges in my Achilles starting around mile eight, but adjusted my stride a bit and it was OK. It was about the same point where my hamstrings started bothering me last year; fortunately they were fine this year.

Switched from water to Gatorade at a couple of aid stations, but it bothered my stomach, so went back to water. First time that's ever happened to me.

My plan was to run at my training pace until the aid station just past mile nine (where my race fell apart last year), then try to push the last four miles coming back through the bayside neighborhoods.

Was able to pick up the pace at mile nine and pretty much hold it the rest of the way, so that part of the plan worked. Also was glad that I had run this part of the course of few weeks ago and was familiar with all the zig-zag turns and which side of the road I should be on.

I made one fog-headed mental error at mile marker 10. I hit the split button on my watch at the marker, but also stopped running, confused and thinking it was also time for my walk break. I walked for a bit before glancing a my watch and realizing that I still had a couple of minutes of running to go. It ticked me off that I had let my mind wander.

Toughest/most painful part of the race was the turn from Sylvan St. back onto Tamiami Trail, about a mile from the finish. It's uphill and my legs started to really hurt at that point. I had planned to not take any walk breaks the last mile, but did walk a little bit up that last hill.

Once at the crown of the last hill you can see the finish line in the distance and lots of spectators on both sides with cowbells, cheering, etc.

Made the last 90 deg turn about 100yds from the finsh. Got got passed by a couple of other runners with about 50 yds to go. Was going to let them go, but all of a sudden felt the urge re-pass them and sprint to the finish. Actually surprised myself that I was able to sprint at that point. Re-passed them easily and crossed the line.

What would you do differently?:

This is the third time I've done this race (and my third HM) and I feel I'm still learning how to be a distance runner. My preparation was lots better this year than in my previous two races and I think I can apply what I did this year to do even better next year.

Though it sounds funny coming from a relatively slow BOPer, my average pace has improved a lot in the past year because on the improved consistency and increased volume in my run training. Need to keep that up.

I think I did the minimum number of long training runs to finish comfortably, but would be better off performance-wise if I added a few more next year, particularly in the 10-14 mile range.

Losing weight over the past 18 months has also helped me, but I've hit a platteau over the last few months and want to take off another 15 pounds.

I think it also helped a lot to do a couple of 5K races in my HM prep this year. Besides being lots of fun, they helped me a lot with my confidence and my feel for pacing. Plan to continue that.

Post race
Warm down:

Walked around for 15-20 minutes while sipping some water. Legs hurt and I was fearful of getting cramps, so wanted to keep moving around for a while.

After my legs started to feel better, got in line for the food tent. Grabbed a banana, a blueberry muffin and half a bagel, then sat down to eat it on the tailgate of my Blazer. A few friends came by and chatted with them. One of my triathlon friends invited me to go for an OW swim later in the day. Don't know if he was kidding or not, but I politely declined.

Thought about doing the beer garden, but it was packed and I really didn't feel like a Michelob Ultra at that time of day anyway. A massage would have felt good, but line was long and I didn't want to wait. Walked around a little more, then headed home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

As noted above, think a few longer training runs would have helped.

And of course, losing more weight is always good.

With my physique I never get mistaken for a runner or triathlete. I'm sure it's a limiter, but not much I can do about it (other than weight loss) so it really doesn't bother me too much.

Can't ignore the effects of age (particularly longer recovery times), but feel I am learning how to deal with it. In particular, I think I've learned how to effectively manage my chronic knee and Achilles issues.

I kind of ignored any kind of hydration/nutrition strategy, probably because it's never been an issue with my sprint triathlons. I'm thinking it might help to take some nutrition somewhere past the mid-point. Will have to try some things in training for next year.

Event comments:

Third time I've done this race. First time was in 2009 at age 55 when I did it with my son, Scott. My initial motivation was to train for a HM during the triathlon off-season because my running was such a blantant weakness.

Missed 2010 and 2011 due to injuries. Did it last year, but wasn't really properly prepared.

Trained much better this year, which resulted in a PR (and nine minutes faster than last year's disaster).

I'm never going to be a great runner, but hey, somebody's got to be at the BOP. ;)

Even at almost 60 I feel that I can continue to improve. I guess that's partly a function of getting a relatively late start in endurance sports.

But the most important thing is that I really enjoy training for, and participating in, this race.

I feel blessed that I can still do this stuff at my age, especially twelve years after my open heart surgery.

Like is good, even at the BOP. :)

Last updated: 2013-01-04 12:00 AM
02:53:28 | 13.1 miles | 13m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 76/82
Overall: 82/2541
Performance: Good
Mile 1 12:30.03 2 12:46.44 3 12:54.32 4 13:19.57 5 13:25.42 6 13:04.51 7 13:08.31 8 13:54.37 9 13:31.15 10 13:18.03 11 13:31.40 12 13:21.35 Didn't wear HRM this year. Been training for the last year by RPE, plus I like the interval timer on my non-HR Timex Ironman watch, which makes it easy to keep track of my run/walk intervals.
Course: Start in Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall parking lot. Down Tamiami Trail over Ringling Bridge to St Armands Circle and back. Up Tamiami Trail to Ringling Art Museum, then winding course through bayfront neighborhoods back to Van Wezel.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-03-18 1:37 PM

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Sarasota, FL
Subject: Sarasota Half Marathon

2013-03-18 2:03 PM
in reply to: #4664672

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Sarasota Half Marathon
I missed you at the race. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and feel like there has been improvement. Great Job!!!
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