Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Live Ultimate Half-Marathon race report

Saturday morning I ran a half-marathon. The Live Ultimate half-marathon. What ... I didn't tell you? Don't take it personally turns out I didn't tell my husband or kids either. I came home with the medal and they were like, "What you ran a race today? We had no idea!"

I didn't do a race preview because it was really just a catered training run for us. In fact on my schedule the coach had put 2:20 for the time so I wasn't really taking it seriously at all as a race. So this report is more about the event than my performance.

The run was on South Beach and that's a great place for a running event. It was a different course than the other half marathon I've run on South Beach (13.1 Rock and Roll). There were no bridges but lots of turns and about 2 miles on the sand (yuck ... more on that later).

There were lots of events happening all at the same time. A half-marathon, a 10k, a 5k and a kids run all on the same morning. I actually had several mommy-friends running the half and the 10k which was really fun. I had registered with a coupon a while back so my registration wasn't too expensive which is always nice.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was available either in Davie or at the National Hotel on south Beach depending on which pre-event information you read. They weren't really consistant or clear with pre-race info. It's a first time half but I do think they had the 10k last year. I elected to pick up my packet before the race because it wasn't worth a trip to either Davie or South Beach which would take quite a lot of time. In my opinion the only time it's good to drive from the burbs to South Beach is before 9:30 am otherwise the traffic and parking stink :-)

When we got to the race site it was super windy. Windy enough that it felt like it was lightly raining but it was actually spray off the nearby ocean. I was pretty happy we weren't supposed to be swimming. Packet Pickup was a little delayed but otherwise uneventful. The shirt is cute. It's a t-shirt not a tech shirt which is nice and they have girl shirts - also nice.

The race
Shortly before the race I cleared up that I was allowed to run ... I didn't need to hit 2:20 but I knew I wasn't going to hit a pr or anything. I hadn't hydrated nearly enough and I had brought nutrition for a training run - not a race. I take in more calories at a higher effort.

This race was a good size. There were a few hundred people for the half. Nice and small. We lined up and it was 1.2.3 go. Nicole and Carl scooted off right away. I stayed with Benji for a few minutes because he was adjusting his tunes and then he motored off too. I held a comfortably fast pace for me for a few miles which was kind of surprising in a nice way actually. Then the 2 hour pacer pulled away. It was sad to see him go but I knew I wasn't ready for a 2hr effort today.

The course was marked but not all that well. The mile 2 marker said mile 4 ... oops. They could have used some more signs. But I had no trouble following the group ahead of me. There was only water on the course and also no nutrition. That's probably not the best thing for a longer race but I had brought my own gu so I was fine.

Around Mile 8 the course goes onto the beach for about a mile. That totally stunk. It was soft sand and running in soft sand is really hard. I was pretty tired so I was okay with slowing down though. Then it comes back onto the path and up past the lifeguard office and down to Monty's on Alton Road that was nice. Then back around and back onto the sand ... stinks even more the second time. Heading back onto the sand a bunch of people went the wrong way because it wasn't well marked at all. And I have a friend who made a wrong turn and only ended up with 10 miles.

I walked a bunch on the sand because it's just not worth the effort (or the turned ankle). I had slowed down a bunch and actually was fairly nauseated at this point which was kindof weird. I was ready to be finished. So we got back onto the path and I just gutted out the last third of a mile. I didn't go fast or anything but I jogged when I wanted to walk ... or stop.  At this point we were all mixed in with 10kers and maybe even 5kers all walkers really ... that's always a challenge but the race was small so it wasn't a big deal. If it grows that will be a thing having to dodge walkers in the second half but I didn't have an issue.

There were lots of people at the finish but they weren't cheering for anyone. That was odd. But there were two dolphin cheerleaders there too they cheered... that was more odd but in a sweet way. Time 2:11. Not a pr but I'll take it.

The medal is good. They were handing out electrolyte water and chocolate zico coconut water at the finish. I like coconut water but not chocolate and it wasn't cold so that was a bummer.

Once all of our group had finished and we had sufficiently complained about running on the sand we stumbled off to find some food. Then I learned that Ultimate Live is a drink company. They make tea drinks. I dutifully sampled each of these and I'll say they are pretty delicious. My favorites were the Blood orange flavor, the lemon and the mint.

It might sound strange but I find sweetened tea to be a pretty good fit for endurance exercise. It's very calm on the stomach and the sugar is always good. They had other food from whole foods but it had a long line so I skipped it and headed home.

I would only do this race again if they removed the part of the course that's on the sand. Beautiful but not really any fun.

More practical stuff I learned during the race
So I didn't do a race nutrition plan for this. I was super casual about hydration before and only brought two gus. I did notice that and I am looking forward to seeing if I can hold a quicker pace longer in February with a better plan. Also I need a new hand held bottle for during the race. The one I have leaks constantly and I'm totally over it.

In other news there are 14 weeks until the Rome Marathon. 
For anyone who cares ... that's nobody... this is the Marathon Monday post it's just a day late. Yesterday was delayed with a visit to the post office to mail gifts. I can just about work the words "Rome Marathon" into every conversation which is pretty fun. Training is going well. I am either running 18 or 20 miles this weekend. Yikes! And I'm totally overwhelmed with the whole get ready for Christmas thing!

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