I can now say I have completed my first half marathon! Yes, just the first as I have a feeling that I will be training for another before too long. Saturday was a beautiful day for a race in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Just before the start it was a bit cold due to the wind so I made a last minute decision to wear my running jacket. I was so grateful for it during the first few miles. Overall the course was flat, but we did have to conquer one bridge that offered the beautiful view of the day.
What a view! We then headed into Fort Clinch and ran several miles through the park. The overarching trees and marsh views were beautiful! I ate the first of my Clif Shot Blocks around mile 5. I had decided earlier that I didn’t want to wait for mile 9 for fuel since I was normally hungry about an hour into my long training runs. This turned out to be a great decision and kept me going for a while. My pace at the 6 mile split was 12:27 – not too bad for a girl who began training in November!
Once we emerged from Fort Clinch, we turned back onto Atlantic Ave before heading down Fletcher Ave for the final miles.
I knew we were close to the beach which made me smile. Around this time I began calculating that I could finish within 3 hours if I kept my pace up. My original goal had been to simply finish, but now I had a new (which was my original goal at the start of training) goal. I ate the last of my Clif Shot Blocks around mile 9. I needed the extra fuel by this point since right at mile 10, I started feeling the distance and time that I had been running. I changed my mental focus to thinking that I only have a 5k left! That’s it; you can do it! I gathered my energy and pushed through since I still wanted to make my goal of 3 hours. We made the turn down towards the beach and I knew the end was in reach.
The last 0.3 miles were in the sand on the beach. Right as I hit the sand, I saw my mom and she gave me the encouragement I needed to finish the race.
Overall I maintained a 12:53 pace which I am happy with. Looking back, I wish I had done a few things differently. My trip to Thailand and having a sinus infection derailed my training for the last month and potentially slowed my run, but its only my first and I have opportunity for improvement. I have also learned about the importance of fuel on longer runs and will continue to fuel more frequently during runs over an hour.
ZOOMA Florida was well run and I loved being a part of a race geared towards women. I am already looking forward to next year’s race in Florida!
I am ready for this clock to reset!