Spring Hill Mania – Half Marathon
As you might have read from my last post, I was in Florida for the Outback Bowl. I had my eye on this race for quite a while…I originally thought I would run the full marathon…but I’m not even THAT crazy…also I wasn’t sure how I would be getting to this event, it was over an hour from where I was staying. In the meantime I signed up for the Hooters Last Chance 5k (which was the day before) and was content with just one race.
However…things changed… If you don’t know, I am not a frequent flyer, I really don’t care to fly anywhere……..OK if you don’t know this, you haven’t been reading my blog full of road trips.
Ok, anyway…I was talking to tailgating friend Scott, and even though it was last minute, I gave up my seat on an airplane, and drove to Florida with Scott. This meant we would have a car to get to the race. So, I signed up…. I signed up late, even with the $10 discount the race was around $90 for a half marathon – YIKES!
I was really set on doing this race, as I will be in Key West 2 weeks later for the Key West Half Marathon. I needed one last long run before that race, and I needed to train in the Florida heat . I am currently happy running in 30 degrees and shorts at home, so 60 degrees would be hot for me. This was the perfect opportunity to train.
The race was on Saturday, Jan 1……….yep I had 5 hours of sleep, and maybe a hangover, however Scott drove me to Spring Hill, FL bright and early.
After a Nugo Dark Bar for breakfast, I was at the park pavilion grabbing my race bib. There was a cotton shirt included with registration, but I was late so they didn’t have one for me. I could have had it sent to me, or I could get a $25 gift card to an online compression company. I chose the gift card.
The start was at 8 am. It was sunny and warm, the temps would rise to 80 degrees.
There were a few announcements about the course. Information about aid stations and port-o-potties, and where turnarounds would be, since it was an out and back course.
The wheel chair start went first, followed by the marathon, then it was my turn to start the half with the 10k runners.
As mentioned above, this was a good training run for my upcoming Key West Half, so not really sure what the goal was, except to get the miles in, in the Florida sunshine.
The out and back course was on a bike path along the Florida 589 toll road. This meant the scenery was a snoozefest. Highway on one side and back yards or open land on the other. There was also no shade.
I ran 6.55 miles out and saw the sign to turn around. There were two aid stations on the way out, so I would hit them on the way back. They were near the 2 mile and 5 mile markers, so those 3 miles in between seemed to take forever. The AS only had water and lemon lime Gatorade in Dixie sized cups. Now that I think about it, I didn’t see any of the port-o-potties that were supposed to be every 3 miles, but I didn’t need one, so I wasn’t looking. I hope for those running the full marathon there was some sort of food, or the stations started to be closer together or they offered more.
I was glad I brought water with me. I was not used to running in the heat and sun. I could drink and splash water on my face. For the price I paid, I expected more support or ice or more water….or I am just not used to the heat in winter.
I moved along the entire time and finished around 2:28. Which really, not a super bad time for me…so I will take it. I was hot!
After a short walk, I was at the pavilion where the “headquarters” of the race events were. There were some boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, bananas and some homemade breads to eat. It appeared someone was cooking the advertised pancakes and eggs, but none were available when I finished. It was also 23904 degrees and it was the last thing I wanted. There was also a cooler with Gatorade.
I grabbed a donut and slice of bread, filled my water bottle with some Gatorade and walked back to the car, to find Scott awake from his nap. I could hear some announcements coming from the pavilion, must have been the awards.
Scott was watching some RC airplanes, as we were in a public park area with ball fields and open areas. I was over the race, it was time to go…. I ate half the donut, refilled my water bottle with water, and we left.
I really wanted to find a produce stand and get some fresh squeezed orange juice and some oranges. We took the scenic route back to Clearwater Beach….all the stands were closed! Maybe because it was New Years Day and a Sunday.
We made it back to the hotel in time to get ready to head to Chanelside for the Hawkeye Huddle. Almost forgot we were here for a bowl game.
For the $90 I spent on this race, I expected more. I have run full marathons that cost less and have provided more. I know this race opens up a year in advance for a price around $30, which I would say is more than fair, but to pay what I did so late in the game….totally overpriced. Also, about that gift car….yeah that’s a waste… the prices for things, just don’t work so I get something for nothing… I have to pay a difference or shipping…….. I already paid $90 for half, where I got a donut and Gatorade….not worth it paying more.
I did get something out of this race. The training in the heat. I am going to be ready for Key West!