Besides always being an amazing weekend away with friends, and meeting wonderful people while there, Women’s Running Series St Pete Half Marathon is always my favorite race. Yes, this could be because it was my first (and theirs too) 5 years ago. Either way, I just love the town, love the race, love the views, and the weather is I always so great.
Speaking of the views… On Saturday, I set out early in the morning for a quick, easy run. The kind of run that just loosen ups the muscles a bit. I was excited to catch the most amazing sun rise while out there. I am a firm believer in stopping to take in the scenery. When something that beautiful happens, just stop and enjoy it. So I did. And I captured a few pictures along the way. For those looking for a great race in the late fall with absolutely beautiful weather, consider the Women’s Running Series Half Marathon in St Petersburg, FL.
Back to talking about the race…
Two months ago, I had high hopes for this race. I had been training hard and just knew I would set my personal best at this race. Unfortunately, life (as it usually does) had other plans for me. Between a nagging shoulder injury (just made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor) and tendonitis in my mid foot I was just not in optimal shape for setting any records.
No matter if I had to walk the race, I was going to participate and finish the 5th annual Women’s Running Series Half Marathon in St Pete. Like I said, this is my favorite race. After a short period of thinking I could still run my best, I finally (after talking with a dear friend) let go of all the pressure to run hard and decided to just enjoy the run. This year was about being part of the 5th year and enjoying the race, nothing more than that.
After waking up at 5am to prep for the race, I headed to the start line. I met up with several, but unfortunately not all, of my friends also running this race. We stretched together in the corrals and waited together to start the race. As they let our corral begin, I took off to do my own thing. I really wanted to take in the scenery and just run my race in my own time, on my own pace. I knew I would once again see them at the finish line.
The first 5k was actually pretty good. I kept on pace just under 11 min miles. That was pretty much my plan for the race. I wasn’t trying to over do it, just wanted to do what I do without the pressure of a finish time in my head.
Between Mile 3 and 6 I saw the best sign… “One day I wont be able to do this. Today is NOT that day.“
The other sign I loved was “Embrace every mile, Celebrate every moment.“
The next 5k was just like the first. Although I did slow down the pace a bit. Not for any reason other than trying preserve some energy and I really just love running through Snell Island. The scenery on the waterfront is a great sight; very relaxing actually.
It wasn’t until about mile 8-9 that I started to really feel the pain in my shoulder. That pain started to move down my arm causing me a bit of pain and numbness in my left arm. The motion of running was making it worse. So I switched up my intervals and walked a little more than I ran. Like I said, my goal was to finish, not hurt myself.
After a few miles this way, I was over it and just wanted to get to the finish line. I wanted ice for my shoulder and possibly even a massage to relieve the pain. I started to make little goals for myself: Run to the next stop light; Great song on the tunes, run through it; Oh look, the Rays Stadium. I can run to the end of the parking lot; I see a water stop ahead, run to the water stop; Run until I see the 13 mile marker… Those little goals got me back on track a little and kept me from getting too in my head about a finish time.
Before I knew it, I was nearing the finishing chute. I saw one of our Team in Training coaches on the sidelines at the finish. He yelled to me to keep moving, the finish line was ahead. I was hurting but he was right. The finish line: the most amazing sight to see when you are hurting… I thought to myself “what would Courtney do?” And I decided that no mater how many miles I might have walked, I was not walking or even jogging across the finish line. So I sprinted!
No records were set in St Pete this weekend – well, one was… I was able to set my course record by 13 seconds. Thanks to the sprint at the end! ;)
Right from the finish line to the medical tent for ice while I waited for a massage. A quick massage to relieve the pain and then I was ready to celebrate with friends. By that time, they were all across the finish line. (Well, speedy Jacey was ahead of us all.) I was able to get a finish photo with Vikki before the rest of the group showed up. Then we all got in one photo at the finish.
The memories we make on trips like this really do last forever. Looking forward to next year – Yes, I already signed up at the expo to return again in 2014.