Yesterday I ran the Iron Girl 5K and had an absolute blast.
The day started with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. I car pooled with two co-workers, Wendy and Sheila, so it was off to Wendy’s then to Sheila’s.
The drive over to Clearwater was pretty easy and traffic was pretty non-existent when we got there. We found a spot in a garage right away.
Wendy and Sheila were doing the half marathon so I wished them luck as I waited for them to get started so I could line up for the 5K. While waiting I ran into some Junior League friends, who were also doing the 5K (saw lots of familiar faces!)
Once the half marathoners started I made a last minute pit stop to the bathroom, but ended up getting out of the non-moving line once I saw I only had 10 minutes left to line up. Big mistake! I should have been ready to get in line right behind the half marathoners. As I neared the starting line I saw there were no corrals or anything. Just a large crowd of women. I ended up at the back of the line, which I wasn’t happy about.
Once the race got started it moved fairly quickly. I did spend the first mile passing walkers and people going at a slower pace. So I did not pace myself like I should have. The bulk of the race was going over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, which I was a bit nervous about, but it actually wasn’t bad at all! I pushed to get up it and tried to put on the brakes some as we made our way down it. Then I found my groove and kept a nice, comfortable pace. I was so pleased at how GOOD I felt during this run. The weather was sunny and not too hot. The view was beautiful.
Once I saw we were nearing the finish I pushed myself again and really ended strong. And I remembered to smile for the finish line photo! (Which felt so weird.)
I clocked in at 30:01 at a 9:42 pace. I couldn’t be happier! Maybe I’m a better runner in the morning? This race just felt so much better than the first and I shaved off 2 minutes from my time and 30 seconds from my pace. Or I could just be improving 🙂
I had an hour to kill before Wendy and Sheila finished so I made my way to the food tent, where I got a dissapointing “breakfast”. I was expecting a buffet of gloriousness and instead was handed a box with crackers, hummus, a protien bar, a piece of chocolate, dried edamame and a dried fruit and nut mix. I chowed down on the bar and fruit and nut mix, which was good…just not what I expected. Then I saw they were doing free massages…yes please! My massage felt ahh-mazing. It was an awesome 10 minutes. By that time I headed back to the finish line to wait for Wendy and Sheila.
It got extremely windy (we were right on the beach) and the clouds got really dark. I thought we were about to be faced with some serious storms. It only ended up raining for a few minutes and then the sun peaked out. Oh, Florida weather.
This photo makes me laugh so hard…my hair!
Overall, this was a great second race experience. Definitely bigger than the Robinson Preserve, but I wanted my first race to be small. It was interesting to compare the two.
Pros of the Iron Girl
- Great course
- Easy access location
- Fairly organized
- Vendor tents seemed to be good although I didn’t visit them
Cons of the Iron Girl
- It might have just been me, but every time I was looking for a volunteer I couldn’t find one. I don’t think they had special shirts or anything that identified them as volunteers.
- I didn’t check a bag, but noticed that gear pick up was right where the water was after the race and seemed like a really hectic place to have it.
- I was expecting real food and the snack box was a dissapointment. I wouldn’t have minded much if they had promoted “snack box”….just a matter of expecting something and then getting something else.
Did you run a race this weekend? Was it the Iron Girl? If so, what did you think?