Sunday, February 19, 2017

A1A Half Marathon {Race Recap}

If I could sum up this race in one word it would be: Miserable. Not because of anything the race organizers did (or didn't do) but because the weather was hot and humid and it made for very challenging race conditions. Even at 5:30am when I was walking towards the start line I overheard people commenting about the weather. But despite the weather, thousands of runners showed up...

Including a few friendly familiar faces...

The wait at the start went by quickly and we were off only a few minutes after the initial 6:00am start time. This race has a rolling corral start system so everyone most people lined up according to their pace... 
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(that's me with the blue arrow sticking out of my head 😉)

Of course, there are always those participants who line up at the front of the corral and walk the race (from the beginning) as a group... side by side... across the width of the road... necessitating that runners zip around (and between) them. But hey, what would the race be without them right? 😒.

Anyway once we got rolling I tried to get into the right groove. I was running by myself so I decided to listen to a Soca music podcast by DJ Private Ryan. The podcast was 2 hours and 45 minutes long, so my goal was to finish before the podcast finished (I already threw any hopes of beating my Miami Half Marathon time out the window because there was no way that was going to happen based on how humid it was). Shortly after the start I narrowly avoided getting stopped by the train and made it to Mile 1 (which was my fastest mile of the race)...

The only major bridge on the course was just before Mile 3. At this point I was trying to run for 0.5 miles before taking a walk break but this wasn't an easy bridge so I decided to just walk it all the way to the top...

And I stopped to take a few pictures of the view...

By the time I got to the 3 Mile mark I had already slowed down a bit in terms of my pace (and that, ladies and gentlemen, becomes the theme of my race for the next 10 miles)...

The beginning of the race has more of a city view but as you go beyond Mile 3 you start to see the beach and the view becomes more scenic...
(this is the last on-the-course pic I took. It was just too humid to do anything but try & run after this)

Just after Mile 4 the route goes through a State Park, which is not the most scenic section but today it happened to be the coolest section along the course (and therefore my favorite part of the route... except for the finish). I reached Mile 5 in the park...
... and Mile 6 was just before the park exit. Once we were out of the park we were back on the coastal route heading north. The route goes up to (approximately) Mile 9 before the turnaround to head back down the beachfront. Most of that was a blur though because the heat and humidity were really bad. I started getting nauseous and my legs were cramping (but just slightly). I remember adjusting my intervals several times from running a mile: walking a minute (in the beginning); to running 0.5 miles: walking a minute (up to mile 4); to running 3 mins: walking 1 min (up to mile 9); to running 2 mins: walking 1 minute (for the rest of the race). And sadly there were even points when I couldn't make it through the entire two minutes of running. At Mile 10 I decided to just focus on finishing...

From Mile 10 to 13 I battled with blisters and nausea so I tried to focus on sticking to the intervals as much as I could until I eventually crossed the finish line... 
Overall, especially considering the weather conditions, I'm not too disappointed with my finish time. Of course I wanted a sub-2:30:00 finish time, but at the end of the day I'm just glad it's over and I survived it without injury.

My Garmin time was a little off, but so was the distance (which is pretty typical for my device)...

But according to Garmin my "best pace" was not too bad at all...

This race is known for it's finisher medal and even though I'm not a bit fan of it, the medal wins awards all the time and everyone else (well mostly everyone) seems to love it...

This may not have been a great race (weather being the primary issue) but the race organizers had a lot of water stations on the course. Water stations and general on-the-course aid are a big deal for me, so I was pretty impressed with the amount of support that was available. 

Would I do this race again? I'm not sure. I think I said "no" after the race last year, but yet there I was, lined up at the start and struggling through 13.1 humid miles this morning. I'm not sure I would pay to do the race again... and certainly I wouldn't pay the full entry fee. But it is a decent local-ish race to participate in (if you can deal with the ridiculous humidity), and could therefore be a good option if you're looking for a February half marathon. However, I would not, I repeat NOT, do the full marathon at this event. It's just too hot (last year was hot too), and no medal is worth 26.2 miles of that humid madness 😫.

4 comments:

  1. You did great!!! Especially considering the weather! The view looked so pretty in your pictures.

    I had a half last year that was so miserable because of the weather (it was in JUNE lol) and I find myself considering it again. But this post is a reminder that I should really think seriously about that before signing up lol.

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    1. LOL yes think about it VERY carefully ;) and thanks! It was half marathon #20 for me so I'm glad I got it done. It wasn't the time I wanted but still a course PR :)

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  2. I saw you on the course! I knew you looked familiar but couldn't place you, but then I read your post and made the connection. It was a really, really tough race. Way to stick it out! I should've taken the heat advisory more seriously; I was not expecting the humidity! Glad I only did the half this year and not the full!

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    1. Oh man I wish we would have gotten a chance to say hi! Congrats on your finish! I definitely could not imagine doing the full! Have you ever done the full at this event?

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