The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Recap & Review



I ran the Sarasota half marathon last year and y’all know I really loved it and was looking forward to running it again, in fact, I was hoping it would be a sub 2 for me. You can only imagine how excited I was when I happened to be fortunate enough to receive a free entry through my affiliation with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, however, all opinions about the race are my own.

Until a few days before the race, I would have said I was well-prepared and I would have said a sub 2 was definitely possible but that was a few days before. I did everything I could to ensure that my hips were in top shape and even though I did get a little tight in the IT band area, it was all good to go by race time.

Originally I had planned on staying at the house in Venice the night before the race since the drive would be shorter but that didn’t work out and instead I left from my house in Clearwater which meant we had to leave at 4:30am! My Mom is in town so she and the kid came along.

Van Wezel

Because the drive there was rather long, we stopped at a gas station close to the start so by the time we arrived at the Van Wezel, (near the start line), I didn’t have to visit the port-a-john and believe me that was a first, I highly recommend it. (There is nothing worse than standing in a port-a-john line and barely making it to the starting line.) We arrived around 6:15 so I had plenty of time to stretch out and get ready and I felt great.


As always I dedicated this race to #TeamJaimie

The race started just a few minutes late but I felt really good and super confident. The kid even shot a quick video of me at the start line. You can see me when it goes into slow mode. I’m in the blue tank.



That’s totally my game face!

It was a slow start due to the amount of runners but I was in the B coral and I got going and got through the first mile with no real issues. The first 3 miles felt awesome. I decided to keep the pace at around 9:30 until mile 3 because I knew the first half of the race had us running across a large bridge twice! I nailed my pace on the first 3 miles with no problem and planned on taking it down to 9:15 for the next 3. The plan was to scale down 15 seconds a mile every 3 miles to hopefully finish with a sub 2.

running to bridge

Sometime after mile 3, I got a pain in my abdomen. Not the typical runners pain but the pain I got when I took my in-laws to Mazzaro’s. This was bad y’all, really bad. It didn’t let up at all and sometime in that 3rd mile, I had to walk. I thought if I walked for a bit it would go away but that wasn’t happening. I was seriously concerned that I might have my first DNF.

running over bridge

I walked as much as I needed to because I didn’t want that pain to escalate into the pain that I had before. I didn’t know if I could make it go away and if anyone could have heard the inner diatribe in my head, they would totally have committed me. Somehow, I made it back over the bridge and by mile 6 the pain was barely there so I continued on. I won’t lie though, when I passed the relay point I secretly wished I was switching out with someone else.

running in sarasota

Miles 6-9 take you through the streets of Sarasota and there are tons of spectators to cheer you on. It’s one of the things that I love about this race. I got through those miles and had picked up the pace a bit but I knew there was no chance for a PR. The last few miles take you through some of the neighborhoods and there were lots of people outside cheering and offering words of encouragement. I needed it.

going to the ringling


When I saw the finish I was elated and couldn’t wait to see my Mom and the Kid.

running in

They weren’t there.

where are they

It seems that when I didn’t finish in 2 hours, Mom was convinced that I was dying or dead so she marched right over to the medical tent to have them locate me…..EMBARRASSING!

Fortunately, I located the kid and we called and stopped her before they were able to do a full on search!

finishing time

I finished the race in 2:21:22 (chip time), the worst time I have ever run, but if it makes any sense, it was the most proud I’ve ever been of myself and my efforts because I fought through some pretty bad stomach pain to get there.

my medal

I still plan on getting that sub 2 and I will and I’ll also be back to run this race year after year because the scenery is beautiful, the course is fun and full of support and cheerleaders, and it’s extremely well-organized. If you plan on putting this race on your bucket list, I highly recommend it.

And so do Boomer and Hank!

I love my medal

this weighs more than meHere are the particulars:

Location: Sarasota, Florida
Host: Lifetime Athletic Events
Race Fee: This race offer blitz registration which offers huge discounts to those who register early and that’s a good idea because it does sell out!
From their website:
Blitz pricing
Tuesday, March 17 – 55% off
Wednesday, March 18 – 45% off
Thursday, March 19 – Sunday, March 22 – 35% off
Packet Pickup: I picked my packet up at Fit2Run on the Friday before the race. It was quick and easy and all of the people there were super nice.
Parking: Parking fills up pretty quick but I got there early so I didn’t have a problem. I do suggest getting there at least an hour early to find a good spot.

support crewSupport Crew: There were a ton of water stops and most also had Gatorade. I’m pretty sure one of them had gels as well, though I can’t remember which one.
Swag and Bling: This was the 10th anniversary of the race so we received a very nice T-Shirt and a bad ass jacket! This half also gives out the largest and best medal, ever! Seriously.
After Party: The after party was a ton of fun and I really like the fact that they encourage you to bring your friends and family. I would have stayed a lot longer too, if I had felt a bit better. I did manage to have a little fun on the way out too…

Fish Pose
Overall: Overall I think this is one of the best races I’ve run and I’ll be back year after year! I can’t wait to see what we get at the 20 year anniversary!

And in case you’re wondering, we still have no idea what is going on with my stomach and causing the intermittent pain and I suspect it will be many more weeks and a few more doctors before we do.

Have you ever had a dnf or a near dnf? Tell me why.

14 thoughts on “The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Recap & Review

  1. You are an Olympian in my eyes Flower! Congrats on digging deep and finishing the race. What is causing that pain? You take care!

    DNF or near DNF? I will go with a near DNF. My first and only little trail race. I was so geeked to do it. In my mind it was going to be the beginning of trail races to follow. I didn’t know there were even trail races. Planned on racing strong. Yeah, right! Woke up the morning of the race unable to get out of bed because the back was out and the sciatica was unbearable. Had it just been me I would have stayed home, but was doing it with friends. Arrived at the race and it was super intimidating. This was no fun run. Those trail racers were part of some secret society of mega fit people. A totally different vibe. Race starts and it went downhill from there. A series of running and walking intervals plus throw in a couple times that I fell to my knees from the sciatica. About halfway I look across the lake to the finish line and contemplate swimming across, except it is a frigid fall day. Finish the short race humiliate…embarrassed…broken:( My friends go on to do the longer race and I wait for them. Give them hugs when they finish, head to the car, start driving and begin sobbing like a baby. Get home and see the results and I am last in my age group…sob some more. THEN a beautiful thing happened, I realized that I must be a runner because I care. It was the moment I considered myself a runner. I may be slow, I may suck, but it is in my blood:) A good day!

  2. Awesome job!! Way to power through! I’ve had some killer pain in my abdomen before while out on a run and it always stops me. I’d call it a side stitch from hell. Haha
    Way to go girl!!

  3. Oooooh, I was feeling so nervous reading your writeup I was willing you to make it under 2hrs (so sorry you didn’t get there). But well done for keeping going. Rotten pains!!
    I ssooo want an under 2 hrs half. At my pace at the moment I’m happy with an under 2hr 10km!!
    Very cool medal.

    • The medal was a cool consolation but I am planning on sending it to my friends little girl who is battling a pretty serious form of cancer. I think she deserves that medal more than anyone I know. And thanks so much for rooting for me. I’ll get that sub 2, I just know it. 🙂

  4. I haven’t had a DNF yet although I wondered if I’d get through the SD Half :).

    Now that I’m going back to day shift, I’m hoping my running habits get back to normal (calling it training is stretching!). My toe still isn’t fully healed, though.

    Hope you find out what’s up with your stomach soon!

  5. Way to go! I am glad you are proud of yourself since we all are. It’s not all about the PR. Great job powering through the pain. It just makes you even more bad ass than ever.

  6. Good going, sister!! Gold star to you for powering through the tummy issues. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious! My only DNF was the Fredericksburg half I did with Melissa. I was still nursing Robin and didn’t train half as much as I should have. I don’t recommend it. xoxo from VA

Leave a Reply to Karen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *