Let's Rock & Roll!!

Before last weekend's race I was in a bit of a rut with running. I was questioning why it is that I do it. I felt like my runs were crappy. I think the race helped.

Last Sunday I ran the Rock N Roll St. Pete half marathon. I actually wasn't supposed to run that race but a friend of mine couldn't so I ran as her. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to, but I wasn't going to be winning any awards - I'm not fast enough for that sort of thing, and I just wanted to go out and have fun. I was going to volunteer, but then I got this amazing opportunity to run the race and I figured, why not? I had run the RnR in Vegas, and it was awesome, so why not try it out in St Pete. 

I didn't have to, nor did I have time to go to the expo, so I can't really say anything about that. I'm sure I would have liked to go and check out all of the vendors. I love that about expos. Unfortunately with my work schedule and the schedule of the expo, I didn't get to check it out. There will always be the Gasparilla expo. 

I worked the day before the race, and wound up being stuck at work an hour late. My 10 hour shift turned into 11 hours, and I didn't have time to grab dinner. That's right, no carb -loading for me before this race. I got home around 9:30pm, and had to get my stuff ready. I wasn't prepared at all, picked out the first outfit I saw, realized I couldn't find the armband for my phone and that I had forgotten all about replenishing my stock of GU. I was freaking out a bit, because I know I usually got through a pack of chomps and a gel during a race. That, or 3 gels. I checked the course map and they would be handing out GU - at mile 10! I would surely be fading out by then. I posted a comment on Facebook asking anyone to bring extra GU if they had. I hoped for the best.
All ready to go and Rock this race! (pun intended)

I woke up around 4am, with very little sleep, and got ready. In the process of doing so I found a saving pack of GU chomps! I should make it! I would have the chomps (each bag is 2 servings) around mile 4 and 7, and then take the course provided gel pack at mile 10. I should be good to go. I headed over to Anna's and we set off. Her daughter, Emily, was running the mini marathon that morning as well.

It was chilly before the start of the race, but that was ok. I prefer running in colder temps. We walked around a little, so a few friends, and waited for the start of Emily's race. The 5k went off. I thought it was a bit odd for the 5k to start before the half, but that's how it went.

Soon after we assembled into our corrals. Anna, Carla, and Hailey were in corral 8, so I stayed behind to start the race with them. Luckily since I was to be in corral 7 I could move back to 8. We all chit-chatted before the race, gossiped a bit, and then we slowly approached the start line. Then we were off, unexpectedly to us 4. 
Starting line.

I was trying to stay with Anna for the race, but I am terrible at keeping a steady pace. We ran together for a few (i think) miles, and then I found myself a bit ahead. I waited on the side. It's definitely better, and more motivational to run with a friend, and I was still feeling a bit of the running blahs. We ran together some more.
Thank you to Ben Mena, who captured my favorite running picture of me! I think this was around mile 5.

The bands along the course were fun, I'd take my headphones out whenever we were approaching one. I remember one of them shouting "throw your hands up" and all of the runners including myself obeyed. It was fun, and motivational. I think that's when I started getting into the race.
Palm trees on the course. I've lived here for 3 years and still love the palm trees =)

The course was pretty, and I actually spent some time looking around. I usually just focus on the race, and not my surroundings, so it was a nice change. I lost Anna again, but I knew I would see her at the finish, so I kept on going. Around mile 9 I looked at my watch and realized there was a possibility of PRing, but I'd have to stay fast, and give it a crazy amount of energy. It had started to get pretty hot, and when I tried to push myself a little more I realized that wasn't going to happen. Instead of getting disappointed I realized that I was still doing pretty well considering how I'd been feeling and the high temps.
20k! Almost done, and never saw a 20k marker before. Thanks to Anna for the pic.

As I headed towards the finished line I saw Carla and Anna. Their waves and smiles gave me an added boost. I just had to run a little more and I might actually make it to the finish in under 2:30. I kept going.
At the finish, my friend Sara was volunteering, and handed me my medal. Getting a medal from a friend makes the race experience that much better!

Official time: 2:29:25. Sub-2:30. I was happy. I had been sick, I hadn't felt like running. I didn't have dinner the night before and I had very little sleep. And it got pretty hot. My sub 2:30 half gave me the motivation to run again. And I thank my friend (who I will leave un-named in case anyone has a problem with the bib usage) for letting me run this race. 
They caught me checking my watch!

I saw Johanne at the finish and we got a pic together. That was awesome because I have missed her at the past few races. Then we headed over to the stage where Sean Kingston was performing. There wound up being a pretty large group of us and we were partying and dancing. You wouldn't have thought we had all just finished running 13.1 miles. 

Johanne and I at the finish! Yay we saw each other!

Rockin out to the Sean Kington concert!

Kurt, Emily, Anna, Johanne, Haily, Carla, Me, Yarisi

The weather was beautiful, the concert was fun, and I was in great company. We got a couple of group pics and headed over the the beer garden where we met up with more friends. Of course we had to take some more pictures as well.
And an even bigger group pic!

We hung out in the group for a little while and then decided it was time to start the trek back home. Anna and I headed over to the shuttle with her daughter and friend. 
Bling of the day

I had completed my 10th half marathon in less than a year of racing. To treat myself I decided it would be a good time to get some pampering and I went with Anna to get a pedicure. 
Of course I was reading Women's Running during my treat
Pedicure time!

The day ended at Hiro's for some hibachi dinner. It was a fun experience and the food was pretty tasty. And of course, I was in good company which made for an awesome night.

I was out of my running rut, and ready for what was in store for me next....