Yesterday I ran the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater & boy am I feeling it today! I’ve ran several half marathons the past 3 years I’ve been running but this one was special for an array of reasons. For starters, several of my friends ran it (Hi Krishna, Erin & Melanie); it’s so nice to see familiar faces for pre-race dinners, throughout the race & at the finish line. The Iron Girl Half Marathon was the first half marathon I do on the beach — it was one of the prettiest runs I’ve done in Florida. This half marathon was one of lessons for me, so rather than give you a mile by mile recap I want to share the lessons learned at the Iron Girl. Here we go!
Lesson #1: Take it easy with the pre-race dinner. I’ve been eating really clean lately (which I’m loving) but knew my body needed more carbs before the race. After doing a quick search for restaurants around Pier 60 (where we were to pick up our packets) we settled on an Italian place nearby. We started the meal with goat cheese topped with sundried tomatoes & olives served with toasted bread, decadent from the get go. For dinner I ordered a rich pasta dish with eggplants, artichokes, peppers, parmesan with a creamy sauce. You think I’d stop there but under the “I will burn this off tomorrow, I’m running a half marathon” excuse I had a cup of cookies & cream ice cream. See where I’m going here? Entirely too much dairy & carbs & my stomach was not happy! I used the port-a-potties 5 times during the race. 5 times. I’ve never had stomach issues during a race before, needless to say it sucks. Running & an upset stomach do not mix; no one should see a port-a-potty that many times in one day EVER. Moral of the story: Don’t overdo it the night before a race, my stomach is not made of steel.
Lesson #2: Florida isn’t flat! Whoever said Florida is flat has never a) visited Florida State University (Go Noles!) & b) ran the Iron Girl in Clearwater. I knew we were running two bridges by looking at the course map, what I didn’t know is that Clearwater is hilly. I was not ready for hills at all so my legs were feeling the burn! I need to do a better job researching the courses so I know what to expect before the race & am not huffing & puffing through steep hills I didn’t train for.
Lesson #3: Bridges are lame. My introduction to bridges happened at the NYC Marathon, I thought my days with steep bridges were done after that race…I was wrong! Now, like I said in Lesson #2 above I knew there were two bridges but boy oh boy were these bad boys STEEP — I had no idea we had such steep bridges around these parts. The first bridge came at mile 7 & I was still feeling good, tackled it without a problem. The second bridge was at mile 11, who the heck has a steep bridge at mile 11? That’s just plain cruel! Dear Iron Girl organizers, please hook runners up & don’t place a ginormous bridge at the end of a half marathon! That said, the views were beautiful!
Lesson #4: Running in the rain can be tricky. There was a 60% chance of rain for this race & we were lucky, it only drizzled a couple of times & downpoured once. The downpour happened right before I tackled bridge #2 & it was intense, I could barely see while running & almost ran into someone in the process. I saw a couple of runners in front of me hit the pavement as they slipped on the wet concrete, not fun at all. As runners we never intentionally train in rain so this was uncharted territory, not just for me but all the runners around me. I have to be extra careful while running in the rain so I don’t crash into people or fall down. Lesson learned!
In all, the Iron Girl Half Marathon was a good race: beautiful course, awesome medal, free massages after finishing & an all woman field cheering each other on along the way. Though I had a few hiccups with stomach issues, hills, bridges & rain I still finished strong, proud of my accomplishments, thankful my body does so much for me. Regardless of the curve balls we sometimes are thrown with perseverence all things are possible; there’s nothing I can’t do. There’s nothing you can’t do. Know that & live it!
Have you ever ran the Iron Girl Half Marathon before? Or run on the beach? Let’s hear your experiences!