It would have been nice to finish the year with a PR, but that simply wasn’t in the cards. I wasn’t trained to push for any kind of fast pace, especially not over a half marathon distance. Instead, I ran my (drum roll please) 20th half marathon at a rather comfortable pace, and with some of my favorite runner friends.
Location: Nathan Benderson Park, a 600-acre community park in Sarasota, Florida. Starting temperature: a whopping 43 degrees with approximately 15 mph winds to make it just a bit more uncomfortable. If you’re from up north you might think that I’m whining over 43 degrees, but for Floridians this is simply too damn cold!
We tried to stay snuggled up in the car for as long as we could, then put on old rags over our running gear to keep from freezing. The race started on time at 7:00 a.m., and I finally got warm around mile two. The scenic (and flat) course took us through and around the University Town Center area with nearly constant water views.
We circled the lake once, then doubled back on the western side, still enjoying the view of the water and warming a bit in the morning sun. Around mile five we turned into a neighborhood area, where the course had us running on a narrow sidewalk along N Honore Ave, with almost no space to pass anyone (a.k.a my least favorite part). The majority of the race course however was centered around Cooper Creek, which is actually home of the 2018 world rowing Masters Regatta!
Finally, at mile 12, it was on to one of the most unique finish in running, the “Floating Final Mile” as we literally ran across the lake for over a mile until finishing in front of the large grandstand inside the park.
Quite a unique event and a sparkling finisher’s medal for BOTH the half marathon and 5k!
Race amenities included a beautiful and well fitting Dry-Fit shirt, free race photos and finisher video, snacks and refreshments. It was very well organized, and despite the chilly weather I have to say I enjoyed myself. Last but not least I want to mention a new product I tried during the race: calf sleeves! I’ve never used them before, and I probably won’t use them much in the future, but the friendly folks at @https://twitter.com/
As you can see, I paired them with my CX-W compression capris. Under more “normal” weather conditions this combo would be too hot (the reason I don’t use sleeves), but on this cold morning the sleeves gave me an added layer of protection. They are tight because they’re compression sleeves, but felt very comfortable during my run. Unfortunately, despite the added compression, my right calf was very tight at the end of the race (as it always is), so I’m not sure the sleeves had any big positive impact. On cold days, you can most certainly catch me wearing these again, and if you’d like to snag a pair for yourself you can get a very affordable pair here. If you like them, give the company a shout-out on social media.