A1A Half Marathon Race Recap!!

Wow… it has been a long time since I raced. I was hurt in September last year, which put an early end to my fall season. Luckily I am back, healthy, and back racing! On Sunday, I ran the A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had intended to PR and was even shooting for my first sub-1:50. Unfortunately, it was not my day, and that is not how the race went. It was a grueling 13.1, but I learned a lot and I feel more confident heading into the 6th week of my full-marathon training.

Saturday

I went to the expo in the morning to pick up my bib. A1A always has a large expo with a lot of freebies and deals. I walked around, picked up some free food, and then went out to lunch with Kristina and Ali. It was great to meet them, and it kind of felt like I was meeting a celebrity or something! My mom had come with me to the expo and hung out with us at lunch as we discussed the pros and cons of Ali running the full marathon (and she did! She even PRed!).

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Kristina, Ali, me, and my mom all enjoyed some good pizza (and snacks) at Pizza Fusion!

After lunch, my mom and I made it home and we watched the Marathon Olympic Qualifiers. I gotta say… I need a friend like Amy Cragg. It was incredible how she pulled Shalane Flanagan through the end of the race and even caught her at the finish line. Seriously, Amy needs to be my training buddy!

For dinner, my parents and I went to a local Italian restaurant. This is probably where I screwed up my race. I typically eat a plant based diet and mostly keep to a vegan diet. I occasionally eat eggs, and very occasionally will eat something milk based. I decided to order pasta with a crème-based sauce, since it sounded really good. I can’t think of a worse thing to eat for someone who rarely (if ever) eats crème-based foods. And so it was not to my surprise when I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible stomach cramps. I told myself that they would subside, went back to sleep, and woke up at 3:30 am to get ready to race.

Race Day!!

I knew that my stomach did not feel right, but I figured it would probably go away after a few miles. I took a few trips to the port-a-john (which helped, for sure), and then got to my starting spot. I saw Ali as she was heading over to the corrals and tried to calm my nerves while talking to my parents.

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Ali and I hanging out at the start line. I was pretty nervous here!

Miles 1-5

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At promptly 6:00 am, the race began and I walked my way up to the starting line and took off. I wanted to hold just over an 8:30 pace for the first 5 miles, and then my plan was to take a few seconds per mile off for the rest of the race in order to PR. The only problem was, over an 8:30 pace felt labored and hard. I tried to hold it for the first three miles, but my stomach cramps kept getting worse. I pulled the pace back a bit for miles 4 and 5 in hopes to work out whatever was going on.

Miles 6-10

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By the 10K mark, I knew that I was not going to PR, so then I just told myself that I wanted a course PR. Despite the cramps, I held it together, but couldn’t stop thinking about how hard this pace seemed for me. Mile 10 was just over a 9-minute pace, which is normally a pretty chill pace for me. It did not feel chill at all. I had gotten to the out and back portion and kept telling myself that if I saw Ali or Kristina on the other side, I would take a 10-second walk break. I never saw them, but instead stopped at each water break. I usually run through the water stops, but I couldn’t keep myself from walking. By mile 10, I was starting to get worried that the 2-hour pacer would catch up to me.

Miles 11-13.1

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The last 5k of the race is along the beach with some beautiful views. I kept at it, pushing myself to get my course PR. I turned up my headphones, hoping that I could drown out my own thoughts (which were seriously telling me to just walk to last three miles).

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Even though I wasn’t feeling like I could run really fast, I did enjoy the scenery!

I looked at my watch and figured I could maybe eek out a very small PR if I busted my butt for the last three miles. I’m not actually sure if that is true. On a good day, maybe I could squeeze out a few 7:30 miles… I did at Rocky Mountain, but I was not going to manage that here. I told myself to just keep it comfortable-ish and finish. During the final mile, I saw my PR come and go. I didn’t care too much, and I was focused on just finishing. I saw my parents, Frank, and his parents by the end, and I barely had the energy to wave. I just gritted through and finished. After crossing the finish line, I doubled over hoping that would give my stomach some relief. It was definitely my most labored race finish ever.

My official finish time was 1:54:24, less than 3 minutes off my PR.

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Happy to be done!

 Post Race

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My whole family was there at the finish line. Even though I was tired, we managed to get this cute shot!

I got my medal, grabbed some Gatorade and found my family. I’ve gotta say, there is nothing like a whole lot of suffering to appreciate a race medal. I ate a little bit, hung around the finish line and even got to see Kristina finish!!

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I was glad to see Kristina cross the finish line!

Overall, I had a fun race, even though things did not go as planned. I’ll have other chances at PRing in the half marathon. For now, I am focusing on Colfax. I have a few tune-up races in between, but none of those will be PR attempts. I am concentrating on slower longer mileage and making sure that I do as well as I can out at Colfax. I think this race was a good lesson and if nothing else, was an opportunity to run a little faster and hang out with my family!

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20 thoughts on “A1A Half Marathon Race Recap!!

  1. I’m sorry your stomach screwed up your race 😦 That really sucks!! Good for you fighting through the finish, and that’s still a great time given all the issues you had!

    I think you have that big PR and sub-1:50 in you. It just…wasn’t the right time. Keep in mind that you had only been training for 4 weeks leading up to this, and that’s really not much time to get into good half marathon shape. It takes about 2 weeks for your body to adapt to your training load so essentially, you only had about 2 weeks of your training “in the bank” at this race. So just look at it as you ran a 1:54 on only a few weeks of training – that’s impressive! 🙂 Plus, the lessons you learned here will just make Colfax even better, trust me on this one. Keep going, Kerry. You’ll get your big PR. Any goal worth having is worth being patient for.

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    • Yeah. I am not too bothered by this at all. I certainly know that I did not have enough solid training in me to have a great race… and I am running Rocky Mountain again this year, so I can go for a PR then. I think I have a sub-1:50 in me too, so it’s just a matter of waiting until the time is right. Honestly, I’d rather this race be bad than Colfax… I feel like I got it out of my system. Haha!

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  2. Amy Cragg was amazing. Dez Linden is still my front runner but all those ladies did an incredible job.

    As much as I hate these runs, they are so important in the big picture of running and improvement. We want all our races to be PR’s and strong performances but that just doesn’t happen. These tough grueling races challenge us, test our limits, and make us overcome. Those will be hugely beneficial in your upcoming races. Great job, the suffering makes everything more enjoyable in the end.

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    • Honestly, I feel like this run helped me a lot. I have ran twice since and I feel stronger and more mentally prepared. I think this race is going to help me a lot more as a sucky one than as a perfect one. I feel a lot more ready going into the rest of my training.

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  3. I’m sorry that your race didn’t turn out the way you hoped. I’ve always found out and back portions to be so demoralizing, especially if you are already struggling. On the up side, it sounds like it was a really fun weekend with friends and family! Plus that beach looks gorgeous!

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    • I did have a fun weekend. I was really happy to see my family. A good race would have been a plus, but it’s ok that it was so hard. Hopefully this means that Colfax wont be hard!

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    • Thanks! Florida is a fun place to do a half, especially in the winter. My splits last year were a little prettier, since I managed to do a negative split. I definitely felt like I didn’t run a very smart race.

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  4. I am sorry the race was so tough for you! The race I ran in FL a few months ago suuuuucked. Paces that were easy for me on race paced runs were a huge effort down in the FL humidity. Oh and it didn’t help that I took several mg of ativan the day before to help ease my worry about flying. My dad said I was doping, but I was reverse doping hahaha! I know you will hit that sub 1:50. You were so close already even with your yucky stomach!

    You and your mom are so cute! Oh and I also felt like I was meeting celebs when I met Ali and Kristina!

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    • Oh I take Dramamine when I fly and that is definitely like reverse doping. It makes me the most tired person in the world. I’ll probably go for a sub-1:50 at Rocky Mountain this year. Hopefully I wont have stomach issues again.

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  5. Way to push through the tough moments! I saw you twice on the course and shouted at you, but I must not have been loud enough. I’m glad you didn’t see me because it means you didn’t take any walk breaks on my account.

    Sometimes all you can do is push it as hard as you can and redeem what you can, and I think you did that. What a great sub-2 time, and not even that far off your PR! Congrats again!

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    • I wish I would have seen you. I had my music turned up really high to down out my suffering. I am super glad that I still ran a sub-2. I was definitely concerned while out there that I wasn’t going to make it.

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  6. Dealing with stomach cramps during a race is the worst. I think they can mess with us mentally more than any other type or cramp because you never know if you’re going to need a bathroom break in between aid stations. That stresses me out like crazy.

    I’m glad you got to take in the fews and enjoy a little bit of the race. You’ll be getting that half marathon PR in no time!

    I love that your mom is wearing a Beatles shirt in your post-race pic. She must be the biggest Beatles fan in the world – that’s so awesome!

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    • Oh my mom is obsessed with the Beatles. She has a ton of Beatles t-shirts and she has seen Paul McCartney in concert a ton of times. lol She is probably their biggest fan!

      The stomach cramps definitely wore on me. I think just spending so much energy on them that it just made running miserable. I’m glad I got that out of my system though. Colfax will go a lot better. Haha!

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  7. Ugh. Stomach issues during rCes are the worst! It sounds like you did a great job pushing through! And 3 minutes off your PR is pretty good for feeling so bad. Congrats!

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    • Thanks! Stomach issues do suck. It was actually 3 minutes slower than my PR. haha. I was shooting for a sub-1:50, but unfortunately, stomach issues make that pretty tough.

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  8. Sometimes I’m so amazed by what we can push ourselves through when we really want to. I think about how when I am walking and get stomach pains, I want to just curl up and not move. But you finished a half marathon! Nice job on the race! Hopefully your next one will be less pain and more comfortable for you.

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