Key West Half Marathon Recap

This past Sunday I ran my second half marathon. The Key West half was listed as one of the top 10 destination half marathons in Runners World so we figured why not!  I went into this run still nervous about running 13.1 miles but with much more confidence than my first half marathon! When I started running I could run 3 miles in 35 minutes and during this training I had a 3 mile training run at a little over 25 minutes. In less than a year I improved that much and improvement brings confidence. IMG_5905

What I was worried the most about was the Florida humidity and that I had trained mostly on the treadmill. To get my training runs in I have to run between 4-5:30 am so that I can get ready for work and get my kids ready. My husband runs at night and I don’t want to take away from my kids time at night. So in the winter, I have to go to the treadmill at that time of the day, because let’s face it- IT’S COLD IN MICHIGAN!

But I was getting faster and my first half I ran at 2:02 so I thought for sure I could PR this half!

My husband and I flew into Florida and had a pretty good final run before the race. Friday and Saturday were rest days and beautiful outside. BUT the race and people on Instagram kept posting about the weather coming in for Sunday morning. Then at 8 pm the night before we found out that due to safety the course would be changed so that the waves would not knock us off a couple of the piers. A few other races in Florida at the same time were cancelled for the next day. But not ours…so we figured “why not, it’s fun and a challenge”.

We woke up on Sunday morning, did our pre-race ritual and off we went.

The race was set to start at 7 and at 6:15 we got an email that the race would be delayed due to tornado warnings and a high wind advisory. IMG_7878

So they sent us to shelters to stay out of the storm. It was a little scary but also a little fun! I honestly had never ran in such high winds so I was naive and had no idea what to expect. It was pouring tropical sideways rain, signs were being blown around everywhere, and all the power was out!!

But the race director came in, said they had been in contact with the National Weather Service and it would blow through enough for the race to still go on.

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I lined up with the 2:00 hour pacer. We talked, she was a Boston Marathon runner, who has a half PR of 1:25. She told me that due to the winds we would have to run the first 7 miles out at 8:12-8:15 pace because the back 6 we would be running into the wind and it would be very slow and we would the additional time to make up for the slow pace due to the wind. AHHH! I ran the first couple with her and then slowly started to slow to my normal 9:00 minute pace. I got to the boardwalk to run and the conditions were horrible. Seaweed was flying all over, Man-O-War was on the course that had got blown up on the path, the bathroom porta johns were blown over on the course, it was insane.

When I turned around at the turnaround point I instantly felt like I was running in a wind tunnel. But I wasn’t the only one, I looked around at everyone else struggling with the same problem. I watched my watch go past my goal time and then past my first half PR and was MAD at myself. I finished at 2:13 and wanted to cry happy and sad tears. Happy that I finished it because it was the hardest run I’ve ever ran, but sad that I trained so well and didn’t even come close to a PR.

Then my husband came up and told me he ran it 14 minutes slower than his last half. Then I started talking to everyone standing around that had the same exact issues. People who had 1:15 PR’s and ran it 10 minutes slower and people who had done over 30 half’s and it was their worst half to date. Honestly, it made me feel better, it wasn’t just me. I was still sad that it wasn’t what I expected and I didn’t do as well as I had thought but given the conditions I decided to let it go and just BE HAPPY! This won’t be my last half and it taught me very valuable lessons as a new runner. Every run is a blessing and every run is an accomplishment.

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#RUNHAPPY

-Jess

 

 

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