First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Report

I hardly ever sleep the night before a big race, and it was no different this time. So after a sleepless night, I got up at 5am to have breakfast and get ready.

I was surprised to see Susan up making my coffee. So sweet! She wanted to cook me oatmeal but I declined…. I had brought my chocolate cream of wheat from home.


I left the condo at 6 am and walked across the street to the race start. It was very dark and quite chilly. I wore my knee sock arm warmers and a windbreaker. I walked around soaking up the excitement. I was just one of the almost 4000 eager runners.

anxious to start the race

anxious to start the race

I also looked for my friend Mary. Eventually I took a Gu, checked my jacket and got in line at the 11 min mile sign. Then I got a text from Mary that said that she and her sister were at 10 min. mile, but at that point, it was too crowded to move.

The gun went off and it took me almost 3 minutes to get to the start. Then I began to follow my plan: RUN slowly (between 11 and 12 min miles), walk through the water stops and walk only when I absolutely cannot run.

Secretly I hoped to finish under 2:45 but would happy with 3 hours.

And that’s exactly what I did.

sarasota hm map

the course map

The first half was tougher than the second since you had to run over the bridge twice but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. And the view was amazing. On my second time over the bridge, the sun was rising. I didn’t take any pictures because I knew there would be better ones posted. (Check out THIS BLOG for some great photos esp. the sunrise ones.)

photo of the bridge (from the day before)

photo of the bridge (from the day before)

check out my arm warmers!!

Check out my arm warmers!! and the beautiful sunrise)


Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner (lots of folks dressed up!!)

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner - Yup, I am in the photo!!!

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner – Yup, I am in the photo!!! (right center)

still lookin happy

still lookin happy

I was ahead of the 2:30 pacer for the whole first half of the race but then I got tired. My ankle was fine but my right foot hurt on and off throughout the race. What else is new?


faking the “happy”

So during the second half, I followed the 2:30 pacer and the good news was that I never saw the 2:45 pacer. The second half was scenic also…beautiful houses and water views.


I think I am smiling as I cross!

another view

another view (the proofs cover your face to make sure that you buy them)

I’d be lying if I said that this race was easy. It was the hardest one I have done. (not the course, but my running pace, stamina, foot pain, etc…) I wasn’t sure that I would finish but I just willed myself to run and keep running. I couldn’t run fast but I ran through the finish line smiling. Ecstatic to be done and proud that I did it.

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner

Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner – love this one!



My friends Susan and Stanley were waiting at the finish line with a camera. I was so happy to see them there. The volunteers put the medal over my head (boy, is it heavy!). Then, I saw my friend Mary who was waiting for me as well.

Isn't she adorable?  She had a great race!

Isn’t she adorable? She had a great race!

I grabbed a water and waited on line for refreshments. While you were online, they handed out yogurt parfaits. The food was the usual muffins, fruit and bagels. There was also a beer tent.


half marathon #6 completed

I must say that this was the most beautiful course I have ever seen. The race was well organized. There were clocks at every mile, water at every 2 miles for the first half and at every mile the second half…even had Gu at mile 8. There lots of funny motivational signs, music and crowd support. They even handed out frozen grapes around mile 12. I highly recommend this race. I would do it again if I lived in Florida.

I really lucked out on the weather too. Just perfect…not too hot…. Not too cold….mostly cloudy until the race was over.

Race Stats:


finished 1935 out of 2541 (1590 were women), 50th in AG

Race Splits

Race Splits

So my average pace was 11:45.  I did better than I thought but I wished I had done better.  It was slower than my first half marathon (2:26).  Then again, I have been injured.  I am happy but at the same time, can’t wait for another chance.  I think I can do better!! Or can I?

We are our own worst critic! But if we are satisfied with our efforts then we won’t try harder next time.

Happy Running! Are you hard on yourself also?


25 thoughts on “First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon Report

  1. Awesome job! You have no reason to be hard on yourself, but I do the same thing. So far, I always meet the goals I set for myself during a race, but afterwards I pick the poor thing to death. In the end though, I take those parts and use them to better myself. Lord knows, I’m still slow. What would be your advice in training for a half? Work on distance first, then speed or work on them simultaneously?


  2. Congratulations Darlene! You smashed your goal and that is fantastic! Now to hear what your next challenge will be… have fun deciding what race is next.


  3. Wow! Way to go. Routing for you from Ontario, Canada. I can’t wait to experience the glorious feeling one must have when you cross that finish line. I haven’t seen chocolate cream of wheat in Canada but it sure looks yummy.


  4. Pingback: My Next and Favorite 5K | My First 5K and More...

  5. Pingback: My next half marathon? | My First 5K and More...

  6. Pingback: Half Marathon #12 | My First 5K and More...

  7. Pingback: Half Marathon #14 | My First 5K and More...

  8. Pingback: Thinking Out Loud Thursday: Almost Time for Half #15 | My First 5K and More…

  9. Pingback: Thinking Out Loud Thursday: Sarasota Music Half Marathon – My First 5K and More…

  10. Pingback: TOLT: Sarasota Music Half Marathon Race Recap – My First 5K and More…

  11. Pingback: TOLT: Every Picture Tells a Story – My First 5K and More…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.