Ideas, photos, routes, and how I fare doing all sorts of workouts. Riding, swimming, biking, etc. Dave Masterson's workout blog.

Archive for the tag “half marathon”

2017 Space Coast Half Marathon

We had great weather conditions for this event, we had 60 degrees at the start and 63 degrees at the finish line two hours later. The team dinner was good reconnecting with the group that comes to this race each year. Only Miami Marathon has more pacer people!

My morning started early as I woke up at 3 am for unknown reasons. Not a bad thing, it’s good to have extra time to prepare. Everything in that realm is well sorted, I drive to the race and park in a new place – a dry cleaning business that’s closed for the day. I am only 2 blocks from the start line. I know the pacers are meeting at 5:15 for a photo, I’ll have been to the restroom already and in place for that. My group at the lineup consists of all ladies… Jennifer, Valerie, Keibe, Hannah, PJ,  Lori, Sondi, and Jennifer Keyes whom I know from Palm Beach county. The other Jennifer lives or runs in Jupiter, Fl. I tell her about our group and where we meet each week for long runs. Lori and Sondi ran with me last year in the 1:50 pace group – they will look to stay with me for most of the miles then surge ahead later if they feel good. Hannah is someone that knows Pacer Kristen and was told by her that my 2 hr group would be a good fit. I give a brief talk on how we handle water stops, reminding everyone to tie shoes securely and that I will do most of the talking when the going gets tougher in their later miles. A guy dressed in orange named David joins in with us during Mile #1, he stayed for most of the race before scooting ahead in the last 2 miles.

We ran the first mile in 9:54, above the recommended 9:07 pace but the road heading out was crowded. Plenty of people disregard the pace per mile signs and feel if they are in a race, they need to be near the start point. It’s considerably different than the 1:50 group which I’ve done for the past three years. In those years we galloped to pace pretty quickly. Mile #2 had us 20 secs closer and by Mile #4 we were within 10 secs of perfect timing. I chatted with some of the frontrunners in my group, we are behind Pacer Callix and his 2 hour gang. The Galloway 2 hour group correctly starts behind us, almost catches up and then takes their walk break. We do well on the first “out” portion of the course to the turnaround. I remind the group to drink and eat their nutrition before they feel hungry or thirsty. I guess that my group has a dozen people, plus a few of the “followers.” Followers refers to the runners that won’t say they ran with a pace group – but they tail us the whole way until they drop off or zip ahead near the finish.

At halfway, we turn towards home and a few have peeled off. I told folks that we would invariably go through the turn area mile a teeny bit slower than we should, there are porta potties, two aid stations and a run over the halfway point timing mat. We leave there and hit Mile #7 about 12 seconds slow. Hannah is now up front running next to me. Her mom is in the race, too, following a slower pace team. Her dad was at the turnaround, they are Space Coast locals! Today’s run will be a personal best if she can finish in the 1:5x:xx zone with me. Our group is good as a gang of 6-7 in the 8,9, 10 mile areas. We pass a few people, I invite them to join and stay with us but they are already tapped on energy for today. Hannah says at mile 9 that it’s beginning to become a struggle. I fill her with only positive thoughts about how she’s already done all the hard work in training, the majority of the miles are already done, and how soon we will be celebrating at the finish with a group photo! She was so good in breaking through whatever she was experiencing. My chats with her got head nods and positive smiles and affirmations. This was us running down River Rd. one on one, going for her best time ever. So fun!

Well here’s a race day first. At around 10 miles, I reminded my group to use the nutrition they brought. Eat a gel, chew on the gummies, whatever, don’t think that taking anything any later in the race will help your performance. Hannah pulled out a sleeve of Clif Shot Blocks, the same thing I had in my pocket. She futzed with the packaging, and I offered to help her open it so she could focus on the running. She said she was ok and that it was open and ready now. Seeing her eat the gel block, I thought I’d use some of mine – the flavor I chose to carry today was a good one. I keep mine in non-ziplock plastic sandwich bags, so they are easy to reach in and grab. I put one in, chomped down and felt a crunch. Huh? They don’t crunch! I reach in and remove it from my mouth, along with a 35-year-old tooth crown stuck to the gummy. Really? Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.20.12 AMI pulled the tooth off the gel and store it in my Nathan 10k pouch. I’ll be glad I did that vs pay for a new one to be created. I tell my group what happened to many laughs. Seriously, I exclaim – “I will do anything to help you reach your goals, including shed body parts and other essentials!” This lightened the mood for ½ mile and made for a good bunch of laughs as we rolled forward with less than 5k to go.

At 11 miles, I told two of the runners, David and one of the gals to go faster if they felt good. At this point, the bridge at the base of the finish line area was well in sight, I used that to encourage them to really go for it, which they did. Hannah also soaked up these truths, she was a mere 19 minutes from the best time she has ever had, and although hurting some, I kept encouraging her to just run with me, not waste energy talking unless she wanted to, and keep rolling forward. I distracted her and the group back at the turnaround, asking them to “remind me at mile 11.5 to share with you my confession for the day.” That builds curiosity and Hannah was quick to remind me once we passed the 11 mile flag. I told them that our goal as a team was really to finish 30 seconds early – if they were with me and had started in my group, they were definitely going to get a sub-2 hour time if we finished together. I think that realization, with the tall condos and finish area in view, helped Hannah and two other gals significantly. They knew and believed they could!

The final 2 miles had all of us making sure we had good bib placement and smiles ready for the on-course photographers. I told my group the photographers usually sit on the long last straightaway. I also cued them in on the fact that spectators line the road and final finish area and these folks would be cheering for them. “Tingle time” for Ms. Hannah! She was right with me and at 12.5 miles I told her to run for the finish, she was so close, the last 800m was only two laps around a high school track. The rest of my small group did the same. Lori and another gal we had passed lined up next to me and sped up. I explained that I had to finish on time, but they were encouraged to surge if they had energy and felt good. For the final half mile, only I ran in with the 2 hour Galloway pace group leader. He said his group ‘kinda all ran with me, the run pace of a 2 hour run/walk group was pretty aggressive he explained. So I finished at 1:59:27, almost tripping over a rug they put done on the last curve to cover wet dirt. I took good pics with some in my group at the finish. Hannah was clearly the star of my group, she fought hard and really achieved what she hoped for a mere two hours before.space coast

It’s very rewarding to have been a part of that type of personal triumph. I know she was working hard and feeling discomfort. A few of the others met me at the finish line to thank me for the experience. I waited for a few of the girls I started with who finished in 2:02, 2:03 range.




Two for the 9th

13mi / 5mi. First up – the Saturday run with the group. Dave met me, Walter was in Taiwan and Manila. I got to the store early and quickly realizeed I had no food/gel/snack. I will try to formulate a healthier alternative than the heavily processed gels I have always used. They cannot be good for me, they are 100% from a lab!

Dave and I ran up to Carlin Park, where I had to stop for the bathroom again. This is 3 Saturday runs in a row! I have to re-assess what I am doing before the runs, I cannot be “holding on” hoping a bathroom is nearby when it counts in a race. We chatted and kept an around 9 min mile pace, both of us admitting we need to up the mileage next weekend for the marathon December 7th. The time change gave us an almost entire run in the sun, so I have to remember to wear glasses, a visor or both from now on. There was a craft fair at Loggerhead, small this year but something different. It allowed us to run down the center of the street from the pier to Donald Ross Road.

The 5 miler I did later in the afternoon with Jessica. I’m glad and impressed she likes to stretch it out and do a bit more each weekend. This slow growth is definitely the right way to build miles, for your muscles and your confidence! We had cooler than usual weather, no clouds – it was unlike some of the middle of summer humid runs we have done. I was most impressed that we did 5 miles and felt good afterwards. Two-a-days make sense and adding miles this way is fun for me.

Eat Sleep Run Training Group

Eat Sleep Run Training Group

Training Group in the Northern Palm Beach area focusing on the Palm Beach Half Marathon – Dec. 8th, 2013

Sea Wheeze 2012

13.1 mi.  This race and the prep leading up to it was filled with so much fun and enjoyment for me. Travel, friends, fun and FUN, (the band) made for a great weekend in Vancouver . Charlotte, Stanton and I drove up Friday afternoon from Seattle. From home – I knew Teresa and Robert, Lanae, Elizabeth, Becca and Heather would be around. We arrived at our hotel at 7:30pm after big traffic backups and border delays. We walked the 7-8 blocks to the Convention Center to get the race packets and see the lulu Showcase Store. So much of the stuff was gone already, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to bring nice things back to those I said I’d shop for. Quotes from other participants on lululemon’s facebook page rang true…

“Loved the race and the course, but agree with all the feedback about the store and would love it if Lulu made some merchandise available only to runners online!”

“My feedback would be: the store needs to give runners first dibs on merchandise. VOLUNTEERS and others should shop after as this time the volunteers had first access. It was a huge incentive for ebayers to pose as volunteers this weekend and thats a real shame because they had access to exclusive race package items as well.”

So slim pickings, but I already knew that as we drove up towards Vancouver. Teresa sent me a text saying that at 2:00pm there were plenty of guy clothes left, but ladies popular sizes were sparse. When we got inside the Vancouver Convention Center, I picked up my packet, a chip with lulu founder Chip Wilson’s face on it (Chip on the chip!), some very long light blue lulu shorts, and a wrist bracelet for admission to all racer-only areas. I went to the Showcase Store and took pictures of the different retail islands sorted by size. I sent them via email to the girls back home so they would hopefully give me some direction as to what to buy. No returns or exchanges – so these purchases had to be right. Shoot straight, Dave!

We went to Subway for dinner because it was quick and on our walk home. The city looked really nice at night, the mountains framing the skyline as the sun set.  Our food was purchased “to go” so we could head back to the Sheraton and get ready to sleep. With three nights behind me already on the trip I was just about adjusted to West Coast time, I knew I’d sleep ’til the alarm went off. Some quick clothes and gear prep, the sending of the emails, and I went to bed. The morning of the race I felt good knowing the start temp was in the 60s. Charlotte said it was humid, but not for me like our Florida days. We gathered up our stuff and did a slow warmup jog down to the Convention Center and start line. We didn’t see anyone else we knew, even after trying to arrange to meet by the big LED screen in the main plaza. Charlotte and I did some additional warmup running against the grain of people heading down to the race. That felt good, to zip around in a parking lot at race pace.  I must have looked very ridiculous! Then we went into the corrals. I figured we could start in the first corral, right up against the tape. This way we’d be in all the pictures taken of the first-ever Sea Wheeze race. Robert and Teresa worked their way up to find Charlotte and I in corral #1, they were VERY MUCH on the race start plan of blowing out our first few blocks then relaxing to our desired pace. Originally Robert was going to pace with me, but in light of his triathlon age group nationals being next week, he decided to stay at a more relaxed pace and run near Teresa.  Our start strategy worked, we were front and center for the pictures and lulu video! Before that, I went on the main stage and did a quick hello to the crowd and a welcome to all those I referred to as our Palm Beach County “A Team.” That was fun and unexpected! I decided to run with the 1:30 “pace beaver,” the name race organizers chose for lulu’s best runners. Our guy was funny and talented, helping people with form and stride. He was good to run with too, always talking to us and stoking the crowd! As a result of seeing how much fun he was having, I’d like to pace a group at a marathon in the future…

The race started quickly, my first mile due to the sprinting start was 6:03. I relaxed into the pace I belonged at (6:52) and allowed the 1:30 pace group to catch up. I thought the course was very nice, a tour of the city and many of its sights. The beginning 3 miles were a slight descent and went by the city’s hockey and CFL stadiums, then down a hill into the neighborhoods. There were plenty of cheer stations along the route with unique lulu inspired characters. I did think that the first water station was too far into the course, I guessed it to be at 2 1/4 miles. I could’ve used one at 1.5 mi. The pacer kept us rolling along very good – going well even while heading uphill. The marquee hill(s) was a trip over a bridge that led to the lululemon HQ building. Up and over the metal bridge, the crowd support was really good. From the building, neon clad girls rappelled sideways perpendicular to the walls as more lulu yoga girls posed on the roof. They had prepared well for the entertainment of the day’s runners! Oddly, Charotte saw none of this in her race experience. The Molson brewery across the street from lulu HQ changed their message board sign to display a “Good Luck” to runners announcement. We ran around a corner in the neighborhood near Kitsana Beach and then up a slow, steady incline. Here we saw the race leaders heading back at us coming down the hill. Our pacer knew all the top men and women, cheering each on by first name as they passed us. We made a right turn and then up another steeper incline, it was well staffed with fans and volunteers. The turnaround at the top should have meant time to catch our breath, but the pacer had us accelerate on the down slope to make up for a bit of a slowing on the run up. I was low on fluids here, I noticed I was dry when I attempted to spit. Then we came past lulu HQ again and across the metal bridge, I saw Heather Cruz. She was the only person I’d encounter on the course from back home. We ran down off the bridge and to the shore heading for Stanley Park. There was a beach and thankfully no big wind, the pacer said that on windy days the seawall segment of Stanley Park can stop you flat out! The water stops here were deceiving, meaning the signs said the aid stations were 400m away but seldom did that match up to reality. I took fluids at every stop, either water or something called Vera (?) drink. We rounded the westernmost point of Vancouver along the Stanley Park seawall. It seemed like every turn would lead to the place where you could see around where we’d be running to, but most of them led only to a view of more turns and more seawall running. Once we ran straight east, we saw a large highway suspension bridge and made our way under it continuing east. One guy in our dwindling pace group said he didn’t know the elevation map on the race website was in meters, that’s when I realized neither did I! I knew this was harder than I thought. We entered a park at the end of the seawall and climbed up a short hill to the city streets again. Along the run, I saw people dressed as fish, mermaids, brass bands, the Iviva gymnastics kids, and a guy in a green lulu unitard. There was always something neat to see while on this course, either people or scenery. I ran past a misting station, not daring to run through it fearing that I was tired at this pace and I might loose concentration and just slip and fall. Once we made it to the streets near the convention center the pacer said we were very close to the finish. My Garmin said we were only 1 or 2 tenths of a mile away, but when we rounded the last corner and looked down the street, we had to run all the way back to the inflatable watermelon start arch. I knew I was already past 1:30, so was the pacer. He finished in 1:31:45, my time was 1:32:07. Robert came in shortly after me and asked me how I did, I told him my time then he asked how long it was… I didn’t think to look. My Garmin said 13.4. I knew I paid close attention to getting the tangents correct while running the course, no extra steps if I didn’t have to. Others in our group clocked 13.4, one watch read as high as 13.55 miles. I know my pace average was perfect, 6:52 on the Garmin. For longer than 1:30. So I was happy with the race. I ate a good breakfast of waffles with blueberry sauce and fruit skewers. I didn’t know there were massages in the registration area, or I could have been early on that line then eaten my breakfast food with people I knew. I did the lulu store shopping despite the low inventory, I think I got nice limited edition clothes the girls back home will love!

This was a good first time effort for lululemon and their Sea Wheeze race. It’s great to travel to a race, especially when my expectations for the race and time to finish aren’t crazy. It didn’t matter what time I finished with, more importantly I was back out traveling. Doing what I truly love – exploring in a different city and doing exciting things with my friends.

Click on any of the photos below to see a gallery…

Post Navigation