Our son’s surprise birthday travel weekend to Tampa was a great excuse for a last minute decision to run this race. It was exhausting and fun. First I looked at Moffitt for miles, either the 5K or the 10k race and then the holiday halfathon looked fun. I wasn’t looking to run another half marathon. We ran three half marathons since the middle of October. However, I needed a long run, so I thought I would treat this as a training run. I wasn’t looking at a (personal best) PB but it could have been if I pushed it more. I’m still having issues with my ankle, knee, and hip, it’s better than this time last year. I know I need to do more stretching and cross training work. I’m a bit on the lazy side when it comes to the extras, even though I know it would help my speed and some of the aches and pains. This race was the last half marathon race of 2018.
The race started on the lovely Madeira/Redington beach area. The first 4 miles took us along the gulf through little quaint beach towns. The décor and Christmas lights were a great added feature. The iffy weather changed the start time from 7:30am to 6:30am. I love earlier starts, because I’m up early and like to get my run done. A storm loomed from the west as it threatened the gulf coast. The radar showed strong thunderstorms and heavy rain coming on shore around 9am. We hoped to finish the race without interruption. The fierce wind and dark sky at the start line created excitement and anxiety if the race would go off and if runners would finish before the storm arrived, but the gun and runners were off without a hitch at 6:30am. I hit an easy pace of about 12-minute mile through the first 7 miles and by then the wind died down a little and pockets of sprinkles in the air was enough to keep us cool.
At mile 7 my left ankle and right leg started to bother me but I was determined to push through. Running is really a mindset and it’s not for the weak minded. I slowed a little and backed off to about a 13-minute mile pace at mile 7. This pace seemed more relaxed and doable to get to the finish. The slight breeze and a passing shower ended at mile 12 and then came the gush of heavy rain. Just when we entered the park for the last mile sheets of rain blinded my eyes, I could barely see. Puddles of standing water ran up my ankles, my feet felt as if I had cement blocks on as I could barely move, but I kept trudging through.
The rain gave me an extra boost to get to the finish line fast. KJ convinced me we were on track to finish just under 3 hours. We rounded the last .10 mile barely saw the finish line with the blinding steady rain as we crossed at 2:59:15. Wow, what a finish. The finish line is usually manned with support and volunteers handing out medals, but the rain so heavy and steady we almost forgot our medals. The couple of volunteers draped in rain gear ripped open a box of medals and handed them to us. It was one of the cutest medals all season. This was the last half marathon of the 2018 and it ended just like this year, stormy.