The night before the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in St Petersburg, FL, I had a horrific dream. My friend Strawberry E (who wasn't even going to St Pete so I'm not sure how she ended up in this dream) and I were going to the race start and I told her that we were 30 minutes late. We parked and ran up to the race start. The meanie dream lady race director told us too bad that we couldn't race.
I told her I wanted a refund and she responded by looking at my Garmin and saying, "You haven't run enough for a refund." I told her I was in taper and she said, "You don't need to taper for a 1/2." At about this point in my dream I was devastated. And then I woke up with two more hours to sleep and ponder my stress level. Hahaha.
Fortunately, my actual race went nothing like my dream and I could not have asked for a better race day. My alarm went off on time and I headed to St. Pete to meet up with The Reporter. She and I were both a little concerned about how we would feel racing after completing a Miami race just two weeks ago. We both joked that we had that excuse in our back pocket should we suck it up at RnR.
It was down right cold for us Floridians at the start of the race. The temps were in the mid-40's but the wind chill made it feel like the 30's. We huddled together with a group of runners that just kept getting bigger. Apparently we all decided to do what the penguins do and share our body heat. It was pretty funny.
The Reporter and I separated and headed to our corrals and I was happy to see a few familiar faces while we waited to start. I LOVE the time separated corral starts. It makes the start so much less congested and it seems that everyone in my corral was where they should be because we were all around the same pace. Hallelujah!
I had plans to meet up with my buddy Gatorate so he could pace me but I didn't see him until about mile 3 or so. He was in the back of my corral and had to sprint to catch up to me. But considering how fast he is it probably wasn't that difficult.
We chatted and ran along and I didn't drop my throw down hoodie and gloves until about mile five. I was trying to stay close to the 1:45 pace group because I really just wanted to run a 1:44 for a PR. As we ran along I kept seeing my Garmin under 8 minutes per mile. I thought we were running faster than a 1:45 but I just stayed with the group and when we seemed to hit cruise control by mile 8 I knew the main pacer was just giving us a good buffer.
The course itself was flat and the only weather issue was a little bit of wind but I'm used to windy runs along the bay where I live. St Pete is a beautiful place to run so that defnitely helped.
Around miles 9 and 10 I was wondering if I was going to bonk at some point but I just kept telling myself that I was going to PR and make up for the shit show that was Miami.
When we got to mile 10 I knew the PR was in the bag. I was feeling the pace but not struggling too badly and when we got to mile 11 I told Gatorate I was done talking. Heh. He said it was cool and continued to tell me awesome stories of his hash runs and pointed out a statue in a local park that the hashers had put flour on. Let's just say it was like a Betty Crocker bra on this poor marble lady. So yeah...it was awesome.
The picture above is proof that I take some awful race photos. I look like a deranged person. It cracks me up. I was still wearing my long sleeved shirt that I had intended to throw down during the race. I wound up wearing it the entire race and took it off for the post race pics because I wanted to show off my new outfit. Poor fashion planning on my part but I had no idea I'd be as cold as I was.
As we got to the 12 mile mark Gatorate reminded me and those around us that all we had to do now was smile for the camera and get our PRs. He yelled for me to kick it in as soon as we could see the finish line. I admit I probably picked up the pace a tad bit too far out but what the hell. I do what my pacer says.
We got toward the clock and Gatorate was yelling "One forty-four! Go! Go!" And I looked at the clock and thought, "Ack! I gotta get there before one forty-five!" But as I crossed I remembered that I was ahead of the clock and saw the 1:43 on my Garmin and knew I had PR'd. Hallelujah! Suck it Miami!
Me and Gatorate. Thanks so very much Gatorate - you are a fantastic pacer!
Happy to share that The Reporter also had a PR! Woo hoo! Congrats girl!
There was some controversy leading up to this race because of other local races being in competition and the Rock N Roll brand being purely for profit. In addition there were some parking fees and shuttle fees that a lot of folks were surprised by, although I think most of the parking fees had more to do with the city or venue versus the race series from what I've read. I admit to being surprised by the fees as well. However, when I look at what it cost me in Miami versus what I wound up paying yesterday, I got off pretty easy in St Pete.
The race itself was well organized and the post race goodies were nice with more than just a bagel and a banana. The best part was the "free" Flo Rida concert. It's not every day that you get to watch a big name artist with all your running buds.
Granted, I had a free race entry since my company sponsored those of us who wanted to run it, I don't feel as though it was a race I'd never consider again. I will absolutely still support the local races but Rock N Roll does a good job overall.