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Friday, March 8, 2013

Seaside School Half Marathon...And a New PR!!!

I'm not writing my normal Fitness Friday post today since I had a rest and recovery week anyway. Instead I want to tell you all about the Seaside School Half Marathon!

In case you missed it be sure to read about the Seaside School Packet Pick Up and Expo!

My alarm went off at 6AM and I felt very rested. I did all of my usual things....went to the restroom, got dressed, rolled, stretched, ate a Designer Whey protein bar, and took some pictures!

Here I am with Coby and her friend Mandy!

We headed out the door about 6:40 and walked our two minute walk to the start line. Immediately I saw all of my Sole2Soul Sisters!!! We huddled up for our group picture!

Do we look cold? It was in the 30's with 10-15 mph winds! That's chilly on the Gulf Coast! This would be my first half marathon in cold weather. Usually I train in cold weather but race day ends up being warm! I was looking forward to running in the cold...I feel like I always run better in the cold.

I was also super excited to see some of our Sole2Soul Sisters from Illinois!!! Yes they came all the way down here to run! They are used to cold weather...even running in this was no big deal to them!

I reunited with the Illinois S2S leader Stephani! You may remember that I met her for the first time this past summer when she was in town on vacation and came to run with us. She was just as sweet and gorgeous as ever! (Thanks for the picture Stephani!)

I also got to meet Bev and Angie! They were sisters from Illinois AND they were super excited to tell me that they read my blog!!! How awesome! It was so cool to meet actual readers!!!

I was super happy to find Holly from Running and Baking Oh My! She's my pace partner! We always run together if we are running at the same time or running the same race.

We didn't have long and it was time to line up at the start line. We headed towards the back to find where our sisters were. I really didn't have a goal for this race. I was just going to run it for fun. I knew it would probably not be my best time since I had just run a half marathon the weekend before.

Holly, Donna, Me, and Kim all squeezed in the corral ready to start!

And another group shot! (Thanks Megan for the picture!)

And check out Holly and Jacque's shoes!!!!! They found the wings I was talking about at last weekend's race!!! Unfortunately I didn't see these at the expo or I would have surely bought some!

Finally we heard the gun go off and we were ready to run! 

I LOVE this picture that Cocoa L. Photography posted on the Seaside School Half Marathon's Facebook page of us crossing the start line!

The course was an out and back course so I wasn't sure if I would like it. It's described as "fast and mostly flat" but we knew there were some rolling hills because one of our sisters runs it every year and gave us the run down. The first few miles were all about warming up and not starting out too fast. I told Holly I wanted to stay with all the sisters and she was fine with that. Within the first two miles we crossed over a bridge with an awesome view of the water and you could see the sand dunes in the distance! So gorgeous!

That was the prettiest part of the course. We passed by some neighborhoods and by some businesses but mostly it was just us and the road. Around mile 3 we reached Grayton Beach State Park where several of our sisters and their families stayed. We kept our eyes out for people we knew! We saw Renee's family, Mindy S.'s husband, and Katrina's family. 

And then I saw Laura's Dad...Mr. Terry!!! He had his camera ready and was taking pictures! He is an awesome photographer and has taken many pictures of us running (like during my first half marathon)! He got some great pictures of me and Holly! Thanks soooo much Mr. Terry aka Laura's Dad!!!

Holly and I didn't stay with our sisters for long. We broke away about mile 2. I was feeling great and so was Holly...we kept trying to slow down but our pace would just keep getting faster. I had no idea what was to come. 

I took a Huma Chia Energy Gel around mile 4. Around that time we started seeing runners that had already turned around and were headed back. It was awesome seeing their looks of determination as they sped by us. But Holly and I agreed that we preferred running slower and being able to talk. Those lead runners looked pretty miserable. 

There were rolling hills on the course but Holly and I tackled them with ease. I think we were well trained for those hills. 

We made it to the turn around before I expected it and I couldn't believe we were already half way done! I was feeling great and having the best time! We were able to see the sisters that were behind us once we turned around! We cheered them on as we went past! They were all looking strong! 

The rest of the race we sped up. I had no idea we had sped up so much until I saw the final stats at the end of the race. I really was feeling great! I wasn't struggling a bit. I was having one of those runs where I felt like I could keep going forever! 

Around mile 10 we saw Laura's Dad again! He snapped some more pictures of us! You can see in the pictures that Holly and I were running in the opposite lane from most of the runners. That side of the road had a slant to it so we moved over. 30A was closed so we didn't have to worry about traffic.

At mile 11 I knew I was close to a PR. I had set my PR last April at the Gulf Coast Half in Pensacola Beach...I ran that race in 2:24:37. I couldn't believe that I was going to be close to that time only 7 days after running another half marathon! 

Around mile 12 Holly told me I was so close to a PR and that I needed to go on. I resisted at first because I didn't want to leave her. But she finally convinced me and I took off! My body had been wanting to run faster and it felt great! I now had that goal in my head...I wanted that PR bad!

Around mile 12.5...knowing that I was almost there!

You know how in some races it feels like you are never going to see the finish line? Well this race it seemed to sneak up on me! I saw it before I was even looking for it! I was feeling so great that I was almost sad to be finished!

And...I DID IT!!! A new PR of 2:23:22!!!!! I was ecstatic!!!! Who would have ever guessed that I would PR after running another half marathon 7 days before? I was 7 minutes faster than I was last weekend! 

You can see how much I sped up in the last half of the race when you see the timing stats! 

I grabbed my medal (which surprised me...I thought the Vera Bradley bag was our medal) and headed to get my Vera Bradley bag! There were only two patterns left when I got there. But I loved the brown pattern that I got...Canyon

I immediately headed back to the finish line because I knew Holly wasn't far behind me. I ran into her before I got there. She PRed too!!! We stood in line and got our finisher pic before heading back to the finish line to cheer our other sisters in. 

Of course we had to take a few pictures to celebrate our PR's!!!

While waiting at the finish line (it was FREEZING by the way) I saw this sign and had to take a picture! You could tell that Seaside was so glad the runners were in town!

Once our sisters had all finished we headed to the after party! I was looking forward to eating some Jim 'N Nick's BBQ...they are my favorite BBQ place! They did not disappoint! We had coleslaw and a choice between a pulled pork bbq sandwich or a turkey sandwich. I chose the pulled pork...and it was amazing!

Yeah major fail that I didn't open the sandwich up so you could see but I had my hands full and I was freezing!!! ;-) Just take my word for it when I say that it was probably the best pulled pork sandwich I've ever eaten...and no that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I had just run 13.1 miles lol!

The after party would have been a lot more enjoyable if it weren't so cold and windy. We were freezing! Being sweaty and in the cold didn't help. There were umbrellas set up on the lawn in front of the amphitheater. People had brought chairs and blankets to sit on. A band was was perfect...if only it wasn't so cold lol!

Here's a picture of the pattern of my bag and the medal! Love it!

Overall I thought this race was amazing! It was super organized and the volunteers were awesome! Getting a medal AND a Vera Bradley bag was just icing on the cake! And I have fallen in love with the little town of Seaside!!! I definitely want to run this race again next year! 

Stay tuned tomorrow to hear all about my afternoon in Seaside after the race!

QOTD: Have you ever PRed in a race unexpectedly? 



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