Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Iron Girl Half Marathon Race Recap

Pre-race flexing
On Saturday I traveled to Clearwater with Cate and Andy for the Iron Girl Half Marathon.  Clearwater is on the west coast of Florida and as I came to realize, a very popular Spring Break destination.  The place was packed!
The beach in front of our hotel
I signed up for this race back in January and it was my first out of town, had to stay the night, race. During this trip I realized how lucky I am to have so many great races in my own town!  Disney  and Track Shack, our local race sponsor, whose owner also happens to be race director for RunDisney, has spoiled me and this race just didn't measure up on a few levels.  I was expecting more from the race and myself and was disappointed on both counts.

I started coming down with some bug on Wednesday and instead of getting better, it only got worse.  I don't get sick very often and when I do it's usually a cold that I can run out.  Not this time.  I was lethargic and achy with a serious cough.  BUT I had made plans to go with Cate and had paid for this race and hotel so I was going. I kept hoping each morning I would wake up feeling better. That could happen...
Goody bag contents plus bottle and headband I bought.
We arrived Saturday afternoon for packet pick up.  There were only a handful of vendors but no Bondi Bands. I had my heart set a few new ones.  The highlight was finding a bottle I can attach to my ifitness belt!!  I love that belt and now I can use it to carry drinks for those long runs too. Usually I wear a hydration belt and the ifitness belt, now I only have to wear one! 

Race day started at 6am. Our hotel was just a block from the start of the race so we did not have to get up too early.  I don't sleep well in different beds, so that coupled with all the  medicine I was taking made for a fitfull night's sleep.  Needless to say I did not wake up feeling better, but I figured running wouldn't make it worse, plus I had come this far, I wanted to do the best I could.

It was an all girl field of 1600 runners and there were no corrals.  I saw a few pace group signs and tried to squeeze my way near the 2:30 group.  The start was right near the beach at dawn, a lovely setting.

I knew the race was a loop course over some causeways, but I did not know it included three LARGE bridges and a hilly course!  I started off at a decent pace and after making my way through the initial crowd and past walkers who started near the front (What is that about???) I was able to run up the first hill without any problems.  At mile four I started to feel tired.  I ate some of my Stingers and hoped for a return of some energy.  It was very hot and humid and I was sweating up a storm which made me really thirsty.  The water stations seemed very far apart and I began walking through them.  By the time I got to the second bridge around mile eight (I think) I had to walk up the hill. I began walking more and running less. By the third hill, on mile eleven I was pooped and it was even more steep, so I walked that one too.  I couldn't wait to cross the finish line so I could rest.
Approaching the finish line, finally.
I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 2:19:48.  I was so relieved! I got my medal, some water and a chocolate muscle milk. I sat down to check out my toe which had been bothering me during the race to find I had a big blister on the bottom of my big toe!  What the heck!! I was not in my best shape for this race and it was getting worse.

Cate and I 
After the race, we got cleaned up, checked out and headed back home.  After a stop for some much needed carbs (bagels) I took a nap in the car.  Once home, I headed to the bed to lie down and rest.  I spent the rest of the day sleeping off a bad headache and woke up starving. Andy made a fabulous dinner of chicken parmigiana, salad and chocolate raspberry cake while I snoozed.  It was just what I needed after an exhausting day!

The day ended on a great note and I finally did wake up feeling better on Monday.  I guess I eventually did run that bug out of me, it just stayed too long!  

I  don't think I will run the Iron Girl again, it just wasn't worth all the travel, time and money, plus Clearwater Beach was just too touristy for me.  I wanted it to be better: more music, less hills, more water stations, better vendor participation.  My expectations were just too high, but now I know.

It wasn't all bad, I enjoyed my family and the quiet of the beach at dusk.
We did experience this a beautiful sunset Saturday.

Have you ever run a race when you weren't quite up for it?

Here's the breakdown of the race:

Avg Pace


  1. I know it was tough but I still think you did an awesome job! And it was all kind of worth it right? I mean you got to spend time with me, it helped you get past your cold, & you earned a nice medal to boot! ;)
    Those bridges were rough though! My legs are still a bit sore.

  2. Congrats on the race even though you were under the weather! :)

  3. I think you did AWESOME even if you weren't feeling 100% health wise!

    I let bloggers persuade me into doing a 5K even though I had been battling a cold. I was completely shocked when I ended up getting a PR that day!

  4. Congratulations on a tough race. I had a similar experience when I ran the A1A half. I agree with you: after running Disney and Track Shack races, you really do get spoiled! With the A1A, I was so mad when the "Gatorade" they advertised was some no name sports drink. The course support sucked; there was no entertainment. And it got REALLY hot at the end, so yeah, not my favorite race.

    Have you looked into the Women's Half in St. Pete? It's in November. I ran it last year and enjoyed it.


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