First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Recap…. And Other Antics!!

For the past couple of years, I’ve really struggled with any improvement on my pace. The most truthful answer I can give is that I am not consistent in my running. In the past, I would run three or four times in one week and then not run for two weeks. Then, I would lace up and try to run a half marathon or something equally crazy and wonder why my pace was stuck in the 14 minute mile or even worse, a 15 minute mile.  In the back of my mind I figured as long as I was faster than the Disney sweep pace of 16 minute miles, I was doing okay.

When I go down memory lane on the Athlinks site, I see that my fastest average pace ever was 9:56 for a 5K in January of 2009. I never saw an average pace under 10 again. After my car accident in August of 2012, my pace was all over the place, the worst being a 5k I walked with an average pace of 20 minutes per mile, and the best being in the 14’s.

This January I joined an 8 week boot camp at a local garage gym. In addition to losing a total of 17 pounds (so far), I feel strong enough to move your refrigerator if needed.  Honestly, on a day to day basis, I feel so incredibly strong that I sometimes shock myself with my abilities. The results of that strength are evident in my running as well. Last week I ran a local 8k with an average pace of 13:33.  I hadn’t ran 5 miles since 2014 but I was still able to achieve this great result.  This past weekend I ran the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Relay race with my friend, Jan.  She agreed to take the first leg of the race, which was the 6 mile stint that included the crazy steep Ringling Bridge.  I would run the 7.1 second leg and we would run across the finish line together.

Team “By His Grace” was ready to roll.  We left my part of town about 5am so we’d make it up to Sarasota well in advance of the race so Jan could get the feel of this 3,000+ people race.  She’s used to local races with a few hundred people, plus she’d be starting off in a corral so I wanted her to get her bearings well before the run started at 6:45am.  Jan’s pace is pretty consistently in the 12’s and 13’s, and she has been training on the Punta Gorda bridge close to her home so I knew she’d be finished with her 6 miles in about an hour and 20 minutes or so.  I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to wait – I was looking for chairs in the transition area, but found none. That meant I had to stand in the dark and wait for her all that time. Waaaaahhhhh!!!

The race provided a race belt for us to wear the bib with the chip.  Jan was to wear it the first leg, unhook it and hand it to me in the relay exchange area and then I was to wear it for the second leg.  I will admit, when Jan handed me the bib belt, I snapped it right on but I hesitated in starting my watch because I was trying to get my bearings and get out of the chute area and get running.

My watch data shows 6.91 miles, but the official race results show my leg was 7.1 miles.  I haven’t ran 7 miles since 2014.  Our official finish time was 2:58.04, and Jan’s Garmin showed her pace at 13:32.  With an overall pace of 13:36, that means my average pace must be 13:34!!   Whaaaat? Remember when I was talking about how much stronger I am now? That’s what I’m talking about. 

Moving forward I can’t break the momentum. I cannot go back to random running, I need to keep moving and running more and more so I’ll be ready for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Race Series – 8K/half marathon challenge on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21st!   Stay tuned for future posts for a giveaway registration so you can join me in one of the races!

As I said before, the running/training does not end when I get back from Cleveland, because I’ll still be running while getting ready for the September 23 Inaugural Weeki Wachee Springs Mermaid Half Marathon!! If you want to join me at the mermaid race, you can use LANTZER15 to get a 15% discount too!

So you’re wondering about the “other antics” right?   I felt so great after yesterday’s 7 miles, I thought I’d get up and run with my favorite little white pup, Brodie this morning.  We’ve been running 3 miles together in the neighborhood on a random basis but since we have the Fast and the Furriest 5K coming up on April 8, I need to get him out and running with me.  

Well, so yeah, here’s what really happened. I woke up this morning to a car horn blowing and then a loud scream.  All I could imagine is that J ran over a dog pulling out of the driveway while headed off to work. I jumped out of bed without shoes, without a shirt, without my glasses and without using the restroom (if you know what I’m saying). I had on a pair of boxers I sleep in and that was absolutely it – not even my earrings people.  I had morning hair that I clearly worked on all night.

Somehow while running to the garage, I had the wherewithal to open the dryer door and grab the robe I knew I had just washed the night before and threw it on while running out the door. I learned that somehow the garage door wasn’t closed properly so when J pulled out of the driveway, the dogs pushed the door open and decided to go for their own little run.  Brodie ran like a horse in the Kentucky Derby and I could see him running by the lights of J’s car chasing him down the road, around the corner, to the next block. Then Brodie ran into someone’s back yard so J stopped the car, Brodie came running out from the back yard and continued down the road.  

By the way, the little sneak kept looking back to make sure that J was following in the car the whole time he was running down the road – maybe he didn’t want to get lost? Well, J turned left headed out of the neighborhood and so I stood there in the middle of the road, still no shoes, no shirt, no glasses, no phone, and NO BATHROOM. Just about the time I started to panic, little Brodie came running back around the corner toward me and I crouched down and called his name.  He jumped into my arms like he hadn’t seen me in a year and just kissed me and sat there.

A minute later, J came back around the corner not realizing that Brodie had been running back toward me. We all got back in the car and headed home. It was at this point I decided Brodie probably had a good run for the morning, so I would rest and head out with him in the morning! Ugh that crazy dog.  I guess I”m really grateful he’s registered and microchipped and he has a license, just in case something might ever happen in the future. Later in the morning, Brodie just sat on my lap reflecting on his morning run…..

How’s your running and training coming along? Do you ever run with your pup?

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