First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon 2014 Review

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon has been on my to do list for quite some time so I was pretty excited when the opportunity to run it presented itself via the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

First Watch Sarasota half Marathon

Since we have a vacation home near Venice, Florida, I already had a place to stay which is always nice when a race is more than an hour away from your home. And since my niece and her friends were coming down for Spring Break we got to spend some time with her too, so it worked out perfectly.

We went down on Thursday nite and on Friday morning MacGyver and I went over to the Fit2Run store to pick up my bib. The packet pick up was a breeze and only took a few minutes and the ladies there were extremely helpful and very nice.

Packet Pick Up

My niece arrived Saturday morning at 2:30am so I didn’t get much sleep on Friday nite. Saturday was spent running around with the spring breakers, hitting up Trader Joe’s, and doing some shopping and other things; so I got to bed kind of late on Saturday nite as well, which made 4am on Sunday morning seem really early. Of course, if lack of sleep were my only problem, then this race would have been easy peasy…Unfortunately, this was half marathon number 4 of the year and I am 7 pounds heavier than I was last month but I am nothing if not a trooper so I powered on, full steam ahead!

Trader Joe's

Spring Break 2014

The Spring Break Seven…which later became 10!

The drive from my house to the race start is only about 20 minutes but as I got closer to the start there was a bit of traffic. It wasn’t bad though and parking was a breeze. I was directed to a spot right in front of the Hyatt fairly close to the start and once I was parked, I immediately hit up the port a potty because, well, because I’m me and that’s what I do.

The line for the port a potty’s near the start line was fairly long but there were additional port a potty’s near the finish and hardly any lines at all. I made my way to the start line with about 15 minutes to spare. The race start time was 7am and it started about 5 or 10 minutes late, no biggie.

Porta Potty Line

Because the race was the day before St. Patrick’s Day, I wore green and some pretty fancy beer socks!

Green Beer Socks

It was pretty windy first thing in the morning and I was really enjoying that wind, especially as I was chugging up the hellacious bridge known as the Ringling Bridge because this fist part of this race takes you South on the Tamiami Trail and then East over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle and around it and then right back over that bridge. But let me just tell you, the scenery is spectacular and it makes it all worth it. And on a side note, it’s probably good training for the Iron Girl half.

Race Course

After you finish crossing the bridge the second time you head North toward the Ringling Museum, which you get to around mile 9. It’s a long stretch but it was nice because there were quite a few spectators along the course cheering us on and the policemen along the course were also very nice, I may have even high fived a few of them.

Sarasota half Marathon

Once you reach the Ringling Museum, you turn left and enter the Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores neighborhoods. Some of the homes were really beautiful and I couldn’t help but stop to take pictures of the water along the way. I also saw some of the best race signs during this stretch.

Sarasota

Beaches of sarasotaRace Sign

Great Race SignWith only a mile and a half to go, I came upon a boy who was only 12 years old. He was walking and I stopped to talk to him. His name was Treyton and this was his very first half marathon and he was running with his parents and his sister, all of whom he was ahead of. He was tired but I encouraged him to start running again and I ran with him all the way to the finish line. That was the best part of this race. Seeing that kid in his superman shirt cross the finish line of his very first half marathon, I loved it. It was a beautiful moment and I almost cried. Seriously.

Best Race Medal

After crossing the finish line, I received one of the best medals I’ve ever gotten. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the after party, (which looked like a blast), because I had some Spring Breaker’s to attend to. And may I just add that every single one of them loved and wanted my race shirt and I have to admit, it’s my favorite race shirt thus far!

Race Shirt and Bib

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:15:10. It wasn’t my best or my worst time but I had a blast. This is a gorgeous course and other than the bridge it’s relatively flat. Despite the fact that there were over 3,000 runners on the course and it was a sold out race, it wasn’t over-crowded and the race organizers did a fantastic job. The course was well marked, there were plenty of water stops with water and Gatorade and they also handed out gels, (which I believe was around mile 7.) I’m definitely coming back next year and I’ll be back at fighting weight and hopefully injury free because next year, I’m gonna beat my time, and I’m going to party like a rock star afterwards! Count on it!

Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I received a complimentary entry to the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon in exchange for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.
In case I didn’t mention it before, the medal was very cool, so cool in fact, that someone stole mine and now I need a new one….

Boomer with medal

What’s your favorite race medal and why?

11 thoughts on “First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon 2014 Review

  1. I must do this Half next year… I heard some other runners at the seafood festival in Dunedin talking about what a perfect race that one was … All the things you mentioned….. At the time they were talking about it, everyone was signing up for the Honeymoon Half in November …. Just sayin… The price goes up in April ( but I know you get some freebies … Lucky you) I hope you had a good time with your niece … I’m on spring break now and the weather is stinky

    • I know, I feel so bad about the weather. I was going to call you and see if you wanted to go running but I’m nursing hip pain and have to take some time off. Next year, we must run the sarasota half together and we can stay at my house! It’s a done deal okay? I’m signing up for the honeymoon half this week too! it’ll be a great race for november and maybe I can pr? That would be nice. Have an awesome spring break, you deserve a vacation!

  2. I like A1A’s medals (except last year’s kinda) 2012 was a pair of flip flops. They also put on the Halloween Half in Miami so they have themes ones that change each race. However, I think I’m done with long races!

    • The flip flops sound so cool and I hear you about the long races. I’m taking a break from halfs for a while due to a little injury. 🙁

      • I’m not a good runner anyways but my running has fallen by the way side in the last year. Hoping to be more consistent this year.
        Maybe I can do another half next winter.

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