This past weekend my family took a wonderful vacation to Florida. It was a great escape from the cold and snowy winter weather, and I was able to race a half marathon while we were there. The race I chose was the Publix Florida Half Marathon in Melbourne. This was the first time I have raced outside of New England and New York, so it was exciting to have a new experience.
The weather was rainy, windy (10-20 mph), humid and warm for me (68 degrees) coming from freezing temperatures. The wind was definitely the biggest challenge, but I have run in worse! I was also drenched from the rain, although I think it helped keep me a little cooler and I didn’t think twice about dumping cups of water over my head at water stations because I was already soaked. I was thankful the race started bright and early at 6:45 AM to avoid it being any warmer.
We got to the race nice and early, and I did a very easy 2 mile warm-up followed by drills and strides. I started out feeling really good. I had a bagel with peanut butter and banana a couple hours before the race, and I took a gel at mile 5. For fluids, I took a couple sips of water at every water stop, which was every 1-2 miles after mile 3. I knew this was going to be really important due to the humidity and heat, as well as my lack of training in that weather. Thankfully, I did have some hard efforts on the treadmill, which certainly helped.
Mile 6-7 and mile 11-12 were the only hills (bridge overpasses), but they were still pretty substantial. Mile 6-11 were also pretty windy and I tried to run with several people to block the wind, but I kept finding the pace too slow and having to pass them. I was disappointed with the slow miles in the middle, but I was happy I finished with some fast miles and had a great kick at the end. I passed a lot of people in the last couple miles. Below are the splits from my Garmin watch. My official time was 1:32:37. My goal was sub-1:30, but I will keep working towards it!
My #1 priority when I finished was to get out of my clothes and shoes. I was worried I was going to get blisters because my feet had that prune feeling you get when you’ve been in the bathtub or pool for too long. First though, I got this beautiful medal and I got asked to take a picture with this crazy Dalmatian firefighter mascot.
It was hard to leave the beautiful sunshine and clear roads, but we are thankful to be back at home and have our dogs with us again. Here is an amazing sunset from one of our nights there: