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.

Getting ready for tomorrow…

As far as running goes, I took Friday and today off. My IT Band has been tight and no matter what I do I haven’t been able to work it out. Currently I’m soaking in biofreeze so we’ll see what happens. At least I can be somewhat proactive about it. The same cannot be said about the weather.


I really hope the heat doesn’t do me in. There is a high pressure anchored to the East of Florida and it will be here through the weekend. That means that Sunday the high will run about 5-8 degrees above average. I hope it doesn’t get as hot as it did on Friday, 87 degrees was crazy hot for this time of year.

In case you’re wondering why I’m so concerned about the weather, it’s because I’m running the Sarasota Half Marathon on Sunday so yeah, I’m concerned.

Sarasota half Marathon

I’m hoping my IT band loosens up and I can finish before it starts to heat up and that’s the plan. That being said, the course is beautiful, the race is extremely well organized and I’ll be running amongst many friends, so regardless of the weather or my time, this will be an epic race.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Diet Fail, a Good Run and chance to win a free entry into a Sold Out Race.

I am not one of those people, you know, who weigh themselves every day and then obsess over what the scale says. I just think there’s something inherently wrong with that. I know, because I used to do that, years ago when I was stupid and all of 98 pounds. I did say years ago.

Nowadays I step on the scale once or maybe twice a month, that’s it. I try to eat healthy, exercise regularly and I don’t deny myself treats every now and then. Up until now that’s been a pretty good system but something went awry this month because when I stepped on the scale yesterday, I was sort of shocked at the 7 pound difference…and it wasn’t in my favor, yikes! I thought back to the weeks past.

Liar Scale

Maybe I had taken a few more rest days….or sat on my butt a bit more. Maybe I wasn’t eating all that healthy or I should have skipped the cream cheese frosting. So I looked over my calendar. I did take rest days but no more than usual and I was less active but not a lot less and I did slack a little in the healthy eating but not that much. I could have cut back on the treats, maybe I could have had a spoonful of cream cheese frosting instead of the entire container but hey, what’s done is done.

This month, I’m gonna clean it up a little.

Anyway, I was pretty motivated to run today so I got out there and plowed out a little over 9 miles and I’ll be honest, I wanted to stop at mile 3 and then mile 4. I felt heavy and my legs felt tired even though yesterday was a rest day…I felt like this:

funny running dogs

I felt good after that until mile 5 and then I wanted to stop again but I fought through it and by mile 6 I was feeling great so I kept going until mile 9 and then I ran back towards my house and ended at 9:15. I felt great at the end and I was proud of myself for getting my motivation back today.

sucking sucks

I’ve been a little stressed about my running this week because I’m running a half marathon on Sunday. This is one of those races I’ve wanted to run forever and I am so lucky I got in because it’s sold out.

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay is known for its great scenic course over the John Ringling Causeway with breathtaking views. The medal and tech shirt are also pretty sweet. But I’ve wanted to run this race because it’s near my house in Venice and everyone that I’ve met who runs down there tells me that this race is hands down one of the best you will ever run and that I should make it a priority. And the best advice I get when it comes to running races is always from other runners.

This year I was lucky enough to be able to run in this race and I was also lucky enough to receive an email yesterday with the best news ever, and I’m going to share it with you now.

Sarasota half free entry

That’s right, you could win an entry into the Sold Out First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay! Enter here and Good Luck! I would love to see you there!

What would you do if you gained more than 5 extra pounds in a short period of time?

Has that ever happened to you?