Reading Time: 4 minsThe FirstWatch Sarasota Half Marathon is a great half marathon and this year was my 3rd year running it. This year marked the 10th anniversary for the race and for that the race included a commemorative jacket for all participants. For a few months leading up to the race I was approaching this race with a mindset of it being a “B” race. I knew I would be in better shape as time went along due to my Ironman 70.3 training and this was a perfect opportunity to get my long run in. I also did something I’ve never done before- I put in a moderate 20 mile bike workout the day before the race. I’m at the point where my long training rides are around 50 miles so putting in a quick 20 was absolutely no problem. In the grand scheme of things I feel this didn’t have a big impact on my race, but who knows for sure.
This race pretty much is at the limit for me in terms of not staying in a hotel for it. I live about an hour north of this race and the parking situation is not the best, so this forces me to leave at minimum an hour and a half before the race. As mentioned before I love to arrive for races about 10 mins before they start. Allowing me just enough time to warm up and begin the race. Traffic and parking always kills this and forces me to arrive much earlier than I would like to. This race is definitely within this situation. This time I ended up parking about 1/2 mile from the start and there was zero issues, coming and going after the race. This also allowed me to get a nice pre-race warm up to the start line and a nice recovery walk back to my car after it. I’ll definitely remember where I parked for next year’s race.
I had a corral A bib, so for a change I actually started in that corral, with the intention of hanging with the 1:45 pace group. Many times, especially recently, I’m starting way back with the 2:45/3:00 pace group and just run negative splits the entire race. This is how I got my current half PR time at Best Damn Race. This time around my plan was to hang with the 1:45 pace group until around mile 10 and then drop the hammer for the last 5K. Ultimately aiming for a 1:40 finish time. Everything was going as planned. That is until around 8/9. It’s been a while since I can say I blew up in a race and that is definitely what happened in this one. I had to come to a complete walk- I almost couldn’t believe how spent I felt. I quickly threw together a plan to get back on track. I figured to walk for another minute or two and then throw down a 7 min/mile for one mile to make up for the walking and then throttle back to a 7:45 pace. This would of brought me closer to an acceptable time, which would have been a 1:45 finish instead of the 1:40. And a 1:45 finish would have been a great time as that would have shaved 4 mins off my current standing PR.
This plan did not go so well! After about 3/4 of a mile running a 7 min/mile pace and already 9 miles into the race I was done! In my head I was pretty much said fuck it, lets at least finish in under 2 hours! Thus setting the bar much lower. From there, it obviously got easier- and I simply finished the race with some intervals. I would say that I did a pretty good job of salvaging the race the best I could by coming in at 1:52:43 (just over a 8:30 min/mile pace average). Not too bad! Of course this race has the borderline obnoxiously big medals, but a great looking medal nonetheless.