Clearwater Halfathon (#5)

Can someone please explain to me WHY it was so blasted hot today? Doesn’t mother nature know I had a half-marathon to run today? I checked the weather last night & discovered that it would be about 60 with 99% humidity at race time. uh. yay?

I dressed appropriately in shorts & a tank top…on January 22nd…. it just doesn’t seem right, even for Florida. Last year at this race, it was freezing. Literally, freezing.


Last year the Strider’s volunteering at water stop 4, 6 & 9.


This year at the same water stop. a little bit of a difference in apparel.

Back to the race:: I met up with Jenny around 6am – after I got scammed into paying $5 for parking (what the heck?) I had planned ahead of time where I wanted to park, I’ve parked in this same lot for two other events and never had to pay. This morning I saw a sign outside the lot that had a 5 on it.. I thought it meant Lot 5 .. there was no $$ sign. Had there been I wouldn’t have turned in there. Oh well. Lesson learned. Don’t park in that lot. I was just trying to avoid the crowd that would be parked down in Coachman park.

Anyhow, I met up with Jenny, and we hung around the start until it was our time to head over to the start line.

When we decided to do this half-marathon we decided that it would be a no-pressure race for us. This was half-marathon number 5 for me (since October) & 4 for Jenny (plus she ran a marathon in October). We decided we would just enjoy the race, and not take it to seriously. Plus, there were 2 massive bridges that we had to go over, then back over again, so it wasn’t going to be a PR course no matter what.

I brought my camera with me to take some picture since we weren’t to worried about our time. Uhm, it’s quite hard to take a non-blurry picture while running. Honestly I have no idea how all these other bloggers do it? Don’t worry, I don’t plan on making this a habit – I just thought it would be fun today.

The gun went off, and we were tackling our first hill out of Coachman park. We didn’t really pay attention to where we were standing in relation to the starting line so we got trapped behind some slower runners. We bobbed & weaved for a minute and then we were clear and able to run our own pace. Two turns later and we were tackling our first causeway, the Memorial Causeway. If you’ve been to Clearwater, this is the main causeway that goes from Downtown Clearwater into Clearwater beach. It’s a beast.

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blurry picture # 1. you’re welcome.

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the views really are awesome from the top of the bridge.

From Memorial Causeway we shot around the round-a-bout onto S. Gulfview Blvd. We hung a right onto Gulf Blvd, and this is where we started to climb the 2nd bridge, the Sand Key Park bridge! This bridge is a beast. It’s a pretty gnarly incline for about 1/4 mile. Then, it’s a ridiculous down hill for a 1/4 mile. down hills are not my friend, neither are up hills.

We zipped on through Sand Key Park, but before we entered the park we saw 58 screaming Suncoast Striders!! It was so much fun to get to run by them and grab a water from one of my friends. It’s hilarious to have your own cheering section! That must be what celebrities feel like; people screaming your name!? Fun times!


hmmm, yes, that is Mike in the cheerleading outfit! I didn’t even notice he was in a skirt until I saw the pictures.

right after this water stop we turned right into Sand Key Park. I LOVE Sand Key Park, # 1 we got married there, # 2, it’s just beautiful. I had to make a bathroom stop in Sand Key. I knew at the start line that I was going to have to stop, but the gun was about 2 minutes from going off, and there was still a pretty good line at the port-o-potties, so I decided waiting would have to happen, and I’d hit up a bathroom the first chance I got..which was 4 miles later.  (there were other bathrooms before this point, but I didn’t want to run off course to get to them).

Jenny kept running, so when I came out of the bathroom I made a mad dash to catch up with her. I’m sure I looked like a total idiot passing all sorts of people trying to catch up to her.

As we exited Sand Key Park there were our trusty cheerleaders again!

and were off again, take a right out of Sand Key Park and down Gulf Blvd a few miles then a turn around and it’s back to see our friends at mile 9..and then… we hit that darn Sand Key Park causeway again. We stayed strong and ran all the way up that baby!

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I asked Jenny if she wanted to do burpees at the top (They are her fave.heh) but she declined, so we flew down the other side of the bridge, and we were on our way towards the finish line.

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It’s not your eyes, it’s the camera.

At this point it started to get really hot. There is pretty much no shade on the entire course, but what can ya do besides hope for some cloud cover..which we did not have.

I was feeling great and we were keeping a relatively easy pace (for me). I was definitely enjoying the run – I really needed this easy paced, no stress or expectations race. I know that I’m the only one that puts pressure on myself, but I still needed this race to just chill out and remember why I like long(er) distance running.

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We had one final bridge to tackle – We had to run back up the Memorial Causeway and back into Coachman park. I knew that this bridge was going to be a bear, so I put it in a low gear and trucked on up that bridge. Jenny was not having such a fun time on that bridge, but she stuck with it and got it done.

Then we looped down the helix thing that takes you off the bridge and it was just a short jaunt to the finish line. Hallelujah! I needed some water and some shade!

We crossed the finish line in 2:01:56
OA:248/517
AG:12/44
Female: 96/237

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Race Review: Awesome! I’m a huge fan of Chris’ races! This was my 5th race, and I’ll continue to go back for more fun in the sun, and awesome Starfish medals! I don’t know how Chris manages to have put on such a fabulous race, but he does!

I follow Chris on FB and over the last few days he’s been doing facebook updates while he has been getting things ready for the race. Man, that guy is busy! It was a lot of fun to follow along as the Race Director gets ready for the big day!  I’m really looking forward to the March Race, Florida Beach Halfathon; I plan to try for a PR there! 1:49:1X or bust! Winking smile 

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I need a nap. Is 5:30 to early to go bed? to late to take a nap?

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4 thoughts on “Clearwater Halfathon (#5)

  1. Jena – LOVED reading your race review. As you might imagine, I get a bunch of feedback after each race, but I seek out blogs by doing a google search. That’s where I really find the unvarnished truth. Plus, I get to read all the details and comments about specific parts of the course. Happy you had a positive experience. Thank you for such kind words, and for following our progress on facebook. I really wanted to update it throughout the weekend, but just got overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done. I will probably draft a final post that describes the Saturday prep and of course, the race day. It was fun to share it all. See you in March!

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