2017 marked my fourth year running this race! It also marked my fourth “runniversary”, which means that exactly four years ago I ran my very first race and “got hooked”! Speaking of hooked – the day before to the race we went fishing. Great opportunity to rest your legs and really relax. I highly recommend it.

Regarding the race – I wish I’d been able to run this one hard; I wish that I’d been able to push the pace and chase last year’s PR – but that wasn’t in the cards for 2017. Since my SI joint injection three weeks ago I was feeling nearly 100% better, but I hadn’t spent any time on speedwork in the past months leading up to this race, and I was just now able to run the distance without any issues. So instead I approached this race as an opportunity to just run and build my base mileage – like I’ve been doing every weekend. The motto was “slow and steady” with a focus on the steady part. If I wasn’t able to run fast, I’d at least try to run even splits.

Just two days before the race a cold front rolled through the area and cooled off the night to a comfortable 57 degrees. Purposely, I lined up at the very end of the field; in fact, I only had a small group of ladies behind me when the gun went off at 6:30 a.m..

Since I was familiar with the course and didn’t have a time goal I used the first mile as my warm-up. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in any hurry – as I made my way up the bridge two ladies ahead of me dropped their phones in their attempts to take a picture while running. Ladies – please, for the love of God – do everyone around you a big favor and stop this nonsense. Or, at least, if you’re so hell-bent on taking a picture while you’re out there, step off the course and out of the way. This way you’re not an obstacle to runners behind you, and you won’t put yourself in a position where others might get extremely pissed off at you, or worse, run you over.

Once I crossed the Memorial Bridge and made my way down the causeway toward the beach I turned up the volume on my headset to drown out the chatter around me. The louder the music, the better I can focus – whether that’s on running “fast” or just steady. And steady is what I was after!

On a side note – I was a bit surprised to see no race photog after the crossing of the first bridge. Where there was one last year there was none this time around. Also – this photo was not taken at the race, but two weeks prior…..

I witnessed one of those breathtaking sunrises when we climbed up the Sand Key bridge at mile four and my legs were still feeling great! I really didn’t feel any fatigue, even as we crossed it again on the way back. And then, to my own surprise, once I made my way back onto the Memorial Causeway (a spot where I typically mentally start to lose focus) I still felt fine.

Instead of attacking the last bridge at mile 11 I decided against it. There was absolutely no point in changing strategies now – I had saved my energy for a reason, and my finish time did not matter. I cruised up the bridge, then “let it fly” on the downhill portion leading into the finish stretch. I had plenty of energy to put down a bit of a “finish sprint” if you want to call it that…

I wasn’t limping around like I usually do after a hard race, and I experienced zero soreness in the days after the race. Maybe next year I get to “race” this one again. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be in good shape to prepare and train properly……

About Alex

Wife, runner, German native, beach bum, foodie, and wine lover. If you’re looking for info on how to run your next PR you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not an expert on running or nutrition, and I won’t tell you what else you should or shouldn’t do. I'm fairly creative but notorious for starting fifty different projects and finishing (n)one. My blog is simply a collection of my personal experience in the crazy world of - running! Along the way I’ll also share what other random projects I’m currently into.

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