Replay: the Tallahassee Half Marathon – February 3, 2013

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last blogged about my race experiences. My husband and I have been involved in some home improvement projects and I have had several writing and editing assignments that seem to have captured all of my free time. As a result, this report is a bit belated.

Although I enjoy half marathons, I usually prefer longer races, so it is rare for me to sign up for a half if there is a full available. However, every year the Tallahassee Half Marathon calls to me because I know my oldest son will come out and do it with me. I enjoy his company before, during, and after the race, even though he manages to finish well ahead of me, especially this year when he had a PR of 2:28. I can only dream of a finishing time that fast.

This year was similar to past years. My husband and I drove toTallahassee on Saturday afternoon and spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening with our son and his family. We stopped at the DoubleTree Hotel downtown to get our race packets. I chose the no-tee-shirt option since I already have so many tech shirts that I don’t wear. It is too bad the shirts weren’t cotton because I really liked this year’s design of the cute groundhog on a blue background. There is a tiny expo with a few local vendors and no samples of food to try so we picked up our bibs and last-minute instructions and headed for home. It was an early night because the race began at 7:30 on Sunday morning.

The race starts and ends on the Florida State University track and there is plenty of free parking, a warm building to wait inside (with indoor bathrooms in addition to the outside porta-potties), and a chance to warm up and ‘relax’ until given the word to head outside. Lots of my friends do this race so I had a chance to enjoy some conversation with Deb, Mellody, Phil, Bettie, and Lois while waiting for the countdown. We took off and my son decided to take it slow and easy for the first couple of miles. So slow and easy that I was striding well ahead of him and getting a little concerned that he was having trouble with his knees or back. I kept stopping and turning around to check on him and make sure he was still moving forward. He was. However, all the constant turning around to see how he was doing was causing me to break my stride and slow me down. I finally decided he was just biding his time until he felt ready to run and I began to move forward in earnest.

Sure enough, around mile 4 David passed me running and I never saw him again until he passed me after he hit the turn around and began heading to the finish line. For me, the race was an easy training run. It’s a flat course so I experienced some shin splints early on but nothing unbearable. I know the course practically by heart so it was kind of fun to just take it easy and enjoy the cool spring weather and the camaraderie of other participants. There is nothing especially noteworthy or scenic on the course; because it is so flat and fast, many runners choose to do this race to try and qualify for Boston.

I finished in 2:46, about usual for me. The medal was especially attractive this year.  It had the same cute little groundhog as on the tee shirt, with half marathoners getting exactly half the medal as the full marathoners. This year I placed second in my age group and would have liked to stay for my award (they are hand crafted ceramics and not mailed) but with my family waiting impatiently for brunch at Azu’s, a favorite Asian restaurant, I decided to forgo the award and keep everyone happy instead. It was another enjoyable half in Tallahassee.

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