Yesterday morning, I ran the Komen Florida Suncoast Race for Cure 10K.
According to the race website, race day packet pick-up was from 6 to 7:15. I like to make sure I have plenty of time to get to the race location, pick up my packet and relax a little before the start of a race. That didn’t happen this time. I set my alarm clock for 4:30 but apparently I shut it off instead of waking up. Thankfully, my boyfriend woke up at 5:57. We rushed around getting ready and managed to get out of the house by 6:13. Somehow, we were able to make it to the Vinoy just before 7:15. I ran over to the registration tent to pick up my race bib and shirt.
Just before the race started at 7:30, I found my friend Justine and her husband. We both felt a little rushed before the start of the race but we somehow managed to get into the starting area with a few minutes to spare. Right at 7:30, the 10K race was started. I didn’t hear the National Anthem being sung but apparently my boyfriend heard it while I was getting my packet.
The starting line of the race was located right in front of the Vinoy in about the same location as the Honda Grand Prix 5K, which I ran back in March. I actually felt really good at the start of the race. My calves were a little tight but considering that I ran the Tower of Terror 10 Miler last weekend I felt awesome. The course went down 5th Avenue NE (a brick road) and then turned left onto Bay Shore Drive NE. I continued running down Bay Shore towards the St. Pete Pier.
Watching the sun rise over the Pier was absolutely gorgeous. The first mile marker and water stop was located just before I reached the Pier. Just like every other race, I decided to take my first walk break when I reached the water stop. I drank my water and then started running again.
When I got back to Bay Shore Drive, I made a right turn and continued down towards Albert Whited Airport. I ran past Al Lang Field, the Mahaffey Theater and the new Salvador Dali Museum. I absolutely love running races around downtown St. Pete because it reminds me of all things I love about where I grew up. As I reached the second water stop, I stopped running for another walk break. This second walk break really got to me mentally because it gave me the excuse I needed to continue with the walk breaks even when I didn’t truly need them.
I looped around the Mahaffey Theater and started running up 1st Street SE. As I ran past the parking lot for Al Lang Field, I saw the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market being set up. This farmer’s market is largest in the southeast, which is pretty amazing! I was still feeling pretty good at this point even though the humidity was pretty bad. The sun was hot and the moisture in the air from last night’s storm made for some muggy running conditions.
The next two miles took me down and back up 1st Avenue S. I ended up taking quite a few walking breaks on this portion of the course, which I was very disappointed about. When I reached Beach Drive NE, I met up with the 5K runners. The 5K race started 30 minutes after the 10K. They were going along at such a pace that I felt compelled to continue running and avoid taking walk breaks.
As I continued running on Beach Drive, I realized that this race was about so much more than me. It was about survivors of breast cancer past, present and future. It was about the friends and family of those affected by breast cancer. It was about hope, courage and strength. Even though I wasn’t having the best race, I was running for a cause and that was more important than anything.
I rounded a few more corners and found myself running towards the finish line, which was very similar to the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Petersburg Half Marathon. The cheerleaders at the finish line were absolutely amazing. They really helped me pick up the pace and push it across the finish line. As I came up to the finish line, I could here my boyfriend and Justine cheering for me.
When I crossed the finish line, I saw volunteers handing out medals but they weren’t for everyone. These medals were just for cancer survivors, which I thought was a truly amazing way to congratulate those people on such a wonderful accomplishment. Not only did they beat cancer but they also came back to cross the finish line of a race. One of the volunteers was cool enough to let me take a picture of the medal!
I grabbed my bottle of water and then found my group. By this time, I was drenched with sweat and really wanted to take a shower. I was really proud of my finishing time though. Even though I know I could have run faster, I still finished 5 minutes faster than the Prostate Cancer Awareness 10K race a few weeks ago.
Mile 1 – 11:02 min/mile
Mile 2 – 11:22 min/mile
Mile 3 – 12:11 min/mile
Mile 4 – 13:01 min/mile
Mile 5 – 12:22 min/mile
Mile 6 – 12:36 min/mile
Official Time – 1:15:45 (total time), 12:13 min/mile average pace
After the post race pictures, my boyfriend and I took Justine and her husband to one of our favorite breakfast places in St. Petersburg. The Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge is amazing and it is located inside Albert Whited Airport, which means you can actually see the planes taking off and touching down. I think that is pretty cool.
I had an omelette with avocados, tomatoes and brie cheese. It was delicious and I ate absolutely everything on my plate. I did burn quite a few calories after all.
What is your favorite race location?