I was ready for the Athleta Iron Girl Half Marathon and Clearwater's bridges...at least mentally. I've done enough races now that I don't really get nervous anymore. I usually sleep fine the night before a race. My only occasional worry is not getting up in time because I'm known for hitting the alarm snooze button multiple times. And boy, does that alarm ring early on race mornings!
Anyway, I was mentally ready but maybe not physically. I only ran one 6 miler in the last month, since the Sarasota Half Marathon. I wanted to give my hamstring and IT band time to heal so I wouldn't experience knee pain while running. I was OK with walking some of the race if I needed to.
My friend Denise picked me up and we rode over to Coachman Park together. We met up with some friends and fellow bloggers for pictures...always a must at races.
The race started promptly at 7:00am. The course took us from Coachman Park over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway. I felt great running up and down the bridge, no walking needed yet. We headed toward Clearwater Beach and through the round-about. I loved the quiet, peaceful view of the empty beach.
Next up was the Sand Key bridge. I walked up this bridge because it was steep. I ran down and once I was on flat road again, I could feel the pain in my knee. UGH! We weren't even to 5 miles yet! A little stretching and I was good to go. We ran through Sand Key Park, very similar to the Clearwater Marathon. Somewhere in Sand Key Park my ipod died. I had charged my Garmin but not my ipod...whoops. But I was fine running without music.
Once through Sand Key Park (mile 6), we ran south on Gulf Blvd and eventually turned around (about mile 7.5) to run north on Gulf Blvd back toward the Sand Key Bridge. At this point I had stopped multiple times to stretch my IT band. I decided to walk up the rest of the bridges. Once I was over the Sand Key Bridge I felt the sharp knee pain I had during the Sarasota Half. I pulled off the course and stretched longer and more thoroughly than I had done before.
While I was stretching, I thought happy thoughts. It was a beautiful day for a race. I enjoyed the breeze and overcast sky. I thought about the gorgeous water and soft sand I was running by. I tried to engage the power of positive thinking.
I continued on the course through the less traveled streets near Clearwater beach, around the round-about, and toward the last big bridge. I was almost to mile 11 and ready to be done.
The wind picked up and I felt like I was running in place at times...against the wind, we were runnin' against the wind. At least we were running on a paved path all the way to Memorial Causeway. I'm still runnin' against the wind (since I had no ipod, I had to sing to myself).
I passed mile 12 with the bridge in site. Over the bridge, down the helix and to the finish line I went. Surprising, when I went from the helix to flat pavement my knee was fine. Maybe it knew the finish line was just ahead (thanks knee).
Jenny snapped this photo of me right before I crossed the finish line.
I didn't run with my phone this time so photo credit goes to Denise for all of the other photos above.
Photo by Lori.
Photo by Daffodil.
Even with some knee pain, I had a great race and was happy with my finish time! The people at Iron Girl put on a fantastic event. I loved the post-race pancake breakfast. I was so excited they had mini semi-sweet chocolate chips as a topping (along with strawberries and bananas but this girl always takes chocolate)!!
I'll be back next year for more sparkly Iron Girl bling! Do you see the glitter?!
Finish Time - 2:18:40
Division Place - 83/221
Overall Place - 463/1257
Avg Pace - 10:36
Disclaimer: I was given a free race entry to Iron Girl Clearwater in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.