Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
Saturday 10/26/19 was the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon and 5k in Port Orange, FL. I ran the 5k two years ago and really wanted to try the half this year because of all the great things I've heard about the course. I switched my long run to Saturday and saw my scheduled pace would be around 9:20-9:35 putting my pace around a two hour half marathon. This is also my fourth half marathon and would be my slowest ever. Last year I would never be okay with running a two hour half (that's 30 minutes slower than my long run paces from last year). This year however, I am totally okay with running a two hour half. I decided to take advantage of the pace groups and start off with the 2:05 group to make sure and not go too fast then stay in between them and the 2 hour group. As long as I ran over 2 hours I would be happy.
I woke up around 5 for the 7 am start time. Runners had to park near the finish line then walk about 3/4 mile over the Dunlawton bridge to the starting area because there is no parking around there. It's good because it's close to the finish line. There was plenty of parking for almost 1000 runners being there. The starting area under the bridge was really neat too with lots of eager runners and music. I already had my bib so I just waited to start. We were off right at 7 and I remembered the 4 things: 1-start my watch 2-start my racejoy app 3-start my strava 4-start my music. I started with the 2:05 pace group.
Something I am always amazed at is how everything opens up after you cross the starting mat. I think the announcer said there were over 600 half runners this year. I was kind of in the middle of the pack with plenty of people around. We had a water stop after the second mile and I was thirsty. It was going to be a hot day for sure so I planned to take water at each of the 11 or 12 stops. My problem was that I was starting to get hungry since I wasn't nervous and ate breakfast hours ago. I ate my gel I brought with me at the first 5k but didn't plan on eating anything till the half way marker. Thankfully the water stops on the back-end had more gels. I had 3 total which is way more than the 1 or 2 I normally need for a 13.1 miler.
I started to break away from the pace group here since I felt comfortable that I wouldn't go too fast. The sun finally started to come up too which woke me up a bit. I felt refreshed after the gel and enjoyed the beautiful run down A1A toward Ponce Inlet. Usually when I'm running here it's on the beach so this was a new experience.
The halfway point of the run was the prettiest part. We go to run towards the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and at the park they have over there. It's actually the same course as the beautiful Operation Changing Lives 5k. I just love Ponce Inlet it's such a special place and a beautiful place to run. I had a couple miles here under 9 minutes because I got caught up in all the excitement lol.
The sun really started to come out in full force at this point and it sure was toasty. I was drenched in sweat at this point and so was everyone else. I was still having so much fun though and probably smiled the entire time. I was in front of the 2:05 pace group and just made sure not to get up to the 2:00 group.
The last mile was over the Dunlawton bridge which was pretty tough but scenic at the same time. They even had a band playing and cheering us on which was just another of the special touches that this race has. After the bridge we made a turn and finished at Aunt Catfish's restaurant. I crossed the finish line at 2:02 and was thrilled. We received our amazing medals and got to party at the finishing area. They had plenty of vendors, a breakfast buffet, and beer for all runners (of age or course).
I loved this race so much. It was so fun and relaxing at the same time. I really enjoy races as training runs and not having to worry about time goals or any of that. Next on the list is Central Florida Legends Mermaid Half Marathon on 11/24/19.
6th in age group (women 30-34) of out 32