Happy Tuesday! How is the week going for you so far? I happen to be a little behind but I guess that happens when you take a few vacation days, huh?
Anywho, I’ve already run 11 miles this week, and you may already know this, but I also ran a half marathon on Sunday. I ran the Suncoast Half Marathon in Lakewood Ranch. It was my first half marathon of the year and I was pretty excited and looking forward to it.
Before I go any further I think it’s important to mention that on Saturday morning I woke up with a severe allergy attack. I sneezed at least 3 times every 5 minutes for the entire day and by dinner, MacGyver was calling me Rudolph. Nice! Right? Anyhow, around 7PM I relented and took a Benadryl which knocked my ass out by 9pm.
Now, let me just say that I didn’t go into this race with any expectations, other than to have fun, because I have never run it before and after dealing with dead butt syndrome for the last few months, I didn’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. But y’all know me better than that, and of course I am always doing what I can to improve, so I did plan on running for fun, but I also would have liked to have a great finish or even a PR.
That didn’t happen….so that’s the short version in case you’re bored already and if not, here is the full version…please continue on.
The Suncoast Marathon is a beautiful course in Lakewood Ranch that runs from Main Street at Lakewood Ranch through the Country Club West communities. It really was a pretty race course. Unfortunately it was raining when I left my house in Venice that morning and it was either overcast, drizzling or raining for the entire race so I wasn’t able to enjoy the scenery as much as I would have liked but hey, it wasn’t cold and we’re in Florida, so there.
The race was set to start at 7am so I got there around 6 to make sure I was able to find parking but also because I wasn’t familiar with the area and I tend to be a nervous Nellie about that sort of thing. Parking was absolutely easy, peasy and I was directed to a spot very close to the starting line; I couldn’t have been happier or relieved.
The start line was on Main St. and there were many port-a-potties but there was also a Starbucks and they allowed all of the runners to use their bathrooms! SCORE! The line wasn’t really all that long and I met some really nice people including Drew, who told me about the Starbucks bathroom, so thanks Drew!
I met up with the 2 hour pacers at the start line. I had met them at the expo and they were really nice and they offered to help me get that sub 2 if I wanted to try for it. The plan was to run a steady 9:09 pace and I felt that was doable. I always tend to go out too fast and run the first 5 or 6 miles in the 8’s which totally wears me out and makes my beloved negative splits virtually impossible. So, the plan was, 9:09 with the pacers unless I felt tired and then I’d fall back and just enjoy.
The race started within a few minutes of 7 and we were off. Within 1 minute I knew this was not going to be ‘my race’. My legs were dead and I could not wake them up. It was almost like they were asleep and frozen at the same time. I was also yawning! The damn Benadryl. UGH! I was feeling the effects almost like a hangover and it was rough. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t spring back to life so I settled in to the most comfortable pace I could and just rode it out.
The first 7 miles were fairly comfortable but it got harder as the race went on. I managed to keep running for the most part although I did stop for water stops and walk through them and I stopped to give all the kids who came out in support of us some serious high fives. (I loved all those kids and their smiling faces.) This race had a fair amount of spectators along the route and one of them handed me some Mardi Gras beads. Somewhere around mile 11 there was a group of drummers and y’all know I love a good drum circle. I gave them a peace sign and danced a little jig before running off which cracked them up. I finished the race in 2:12:10, that’s the official chip time. As soon as I crossed the finish line, one person handed me a cute little visor and another handed me my cherished bling.
Not my best or my worst race, but I’ll be running this race again next year and the next and the next after that. I hope the next time the weather is better but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
After the race there was tons of food and drink but I had to get home because MacGyver was working on the house and I wanted to spend the rest of the day with my in-laws but everyone was having a blast and next year I’ll hang out at the after party until they throw me out!
When you plan your races next year, I think this one would be a great one if you are running a first half, looking for a flat course where you could possible PR, want to run in a beautiful town with great support or if you’re looking for a race that is well-organized from start to finish. Definitely add this one to your list, you won’t be sorry and I’ll be there too.
And here are two things that I learned from this race that I’ll be writing about in the future. First, I should never take Benadryl or any medicine that knocks me comatose the night before a race unless it’s an absolute emergency. I should have known I would be feeling the effects for the entire day after, because I always do. So if you know that you react badly to certain medications, it may be wise to avoid them if you can. The second thing that I learned is that when you have a training plan that works for you, don’t second guess it. I added some miles to my training the week before the race and I changed my structure around. It obviously didn’t work for me and I’ll be writing about it at a later time but for now, lessons learned.
Did you race this weekend? What race did you run and how did you do?
Have you ever taken a medicine that affected your race?