Publix Florida Half Marathon Recap


It seems like I’ve been planning this race-cation forever (since October) and now it’s come and gone.

I signed up for the Publix Florida Half Marathon as my 34th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I love race-cations.
  • I had enough FF miles for a free flight.
  • I have many many friends who winter in Florida (as well as my sister-in-law who moved to Florida) who have offered me places to stay.
  • I am sick of this cold weather and need some sunshine in my life!!!!!!!!
  • I love the beach, ocean views, climbing to the top of lighthouses, visiting bird sanctuaries, morning sunsets, etc.
  • The races are usually flat and have awesome views.
  • According to Runner’s World Magazine, it’s “One of America’s Top 10 Bucket List Waterfront Races.”

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on November 24 and since then I have completed easy weekday runs and long runs on the weekends.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

Thanks to my running friends, I actually completed all my long runs… for the first time in a long time!!

All my runs were at an easy pace. No speed drills, progression runs, tempo runs, hill repeats, etc.  I didn’t expect to PR at this half marathon….bridges…humidity… hello?

The goal for this half marathon was pure enjoyment!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous last race-cation — rest the legs the day before and fuel adequately before the race.

The day I arrived in Florida, I relaxed at the pool (need that vitamin D), walked around a bird sanctuary and started my carb loading with shrimp tacos and key lime pie.

The next day, I went for an easy run, had brunch with some old friends, walked on the beach (continuing my vitamin D intake), and then headed North to visit a tennis friend who lives in Hobe Sound.

On the day before the race, I took a leisurely walk around the neighborhood and then went to a park where we climbed a mountain tower and strolled a nature trail with my hosts before I left Hobe Sound.  A lot less walking than I normally do the day before a race. Then I drove about 1 1/2 hours north to Melbourne to pick up my race packet.

As you can see, I had picture perfect weather…until now.  As soon as I arrived in Melbourne, it started to rain.

Luckily, packet pick-up/expo was indoors.  The expo was small and had the usual samples and race garb. There was nothing that I needed to buy. I had wanted to walk around the town but it was still raining so I left.

long sleeved tech shirt and cap – strawberry was the theme of this year’s race

The last stop was my sister in law who lived about 1/2 hour south in Sebastian. I was planning on spending the night there. Unfortunately that morning, her husband was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  That definitely put a damper on the weekend but my sister-in-law was happy that I was there with her for moral support and company.

Inside of going out to dinner so I could carb load, we ordered in pizza and then we relaxed at home for the rest of the evening (and I got my racing stuff ready for the next day.)

the usual racing outfit – tank, shirt, cap – at the last minute, I decided not to wear the compression sleeves since it was so warm out (mistake??)

The weather forecast looked ominous: heat, humidity, heavy rain and wind. Oh my!!

it turned out to be even hotter than predicted. 70 already when I woke up.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 4:15 am.  I thought it might be chilly so I grabbed a throw away shirt, jacket and DIY arm sleeves and took off for the race start.

 Jammer, of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.

pic from Florida Today

I arrived around 5:45 am and it was pouring.  I got a great parking spot, very close to the start.  I waited in my car until the rain lightened. I donned my poncho and set out to join the other runners.

at least my poncho was clear so you could see my Skirt Sports outfit

I brought dry clothes and flip flops and planned to check a bag but I realized that my car was just as close to the finish as the bag check so I went back to my car and left my bag.

Now it was pouring again, I sought shelter by the rest rooms.  There were several real options in addition to porta-potties.

braving the weather for a photo!

The good news was that it was warm out.  The bad news was that the humidity was 99%.

 The National Anthem was played before the start of

pic from Florida Today

Soon we heard the national anthem. The marathon started first. Ugh… 26.2 miles in rain.  Grateful it was not me!!

Then we were forced to leave our shelter and approach the start line. The rain had stopped (but not for long.)

 The National Anthem was played before the 6:00am start

pic from Florida Today

I lined up near the 2:05 pacer though I was doubtful that I could finish at that time.

I’ll do my best to recap the race below.

My plan, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop.

I knew that the course was not flat and a big bridge to cross at mile 6 and mile 12:

But it does look to be scenic and have water views and there would be supposedly up to 20 musical acts along the course.

2018 course – shows the water

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

2019 course – pretty similar except the bridges are later

Miles 1-3:

9:43, 9:54, 9:58

We started through the green arch and headed North along the old U.S. Highway 1. The break in the rain lasted about one mile and then it started to rain. It varied from a drizzle to a down pour. And since it had been raining since yesterday, there were puddles galore…and in some places more like lakes.  It made it impossible to run the tangents since that was where the biggest puddles were located.

I ran at what seemed to be an easy pace but I quickly lost the 2:05 pace and was following the 2:10 at least for awhile.

There was water and Gatorade at every mile and I stopped at each one for a drink. many of the stops also had gels (Cliff Shots) too. (Some even had pickle juice.)

Miles 4-6:

10:02, 10:09, 11:00

As my feet got wetter and wetter, they got more and more uncomfortable. Around mile 5, I developed a big blister on my right foot and soon after, the bottom of my left foot began to ache. (oh the woes of my feet…)

But the most annoying part of the race for me was my RUNNING BELT.  It kept loosening up.  I’m not sure if it was that it was wet but I must have stopped to tighten it what seemed like a hundred times.  If I didn’t, it practically fell to my feet. (I will stick to my SpiBelt.)

There wasn’t much crowd support. Who would want to stand in the rain to watch a race??  But there was music throughout – either musicians or bands and someone on a motor bike playing music loud.

Around mile 5, I took my first Gu and then at mile 6 we hit the first causeway (Eau Gallie Causeway) and DAMN. In addition to being long and steep, the wind picked up and we were running into the wind (of course).  I ran and walked. I wanted to save my legs for the rest of the race. I was looking forward to passing the guy playing the white baby grand as in all the photos but I guess that wouldn’t work in this awful weather.

Image result for publix florida half marathon

pic from Florida Today

The 2019 Publix Florida Marathon, Half Marathon, and

Can you see me on the left??

Miles 7-9:

11:06, 10:54, 11:25

As you can see, each mile I am running slower and slower.  I’m sure that I was probably passed by the 2:15 pacer by this point. Since my feet hurt and I was feeling like a drown rat, I decided to just run and not worry about my finish time.  You could call it giving up. I call it just “Not Feeling It.”

We ran by some crazy, gorgeous homes that are right along the river. I wished I could have enjoyed the ocean views because almost the entire race had them but it was just sea of grey skies and fog.

Miles 10-12

11:22, 11:22, 11:03

Around Mile 10, I took my second Gu hoping for an energy burst. Then at mile 12 (how cruel), we hit the 2nd causeway – the Melbourne Causeway.  I ran/walked it not because I was saving my legs but because it didn’t really matter at this point. The 2:20 pacer had passed me awhile ago and I made a lame effort to catch (and almost did).

Mile 13- 13.23:

10:27, 8:33

Yes, I know I look like a retard!!

Finally we made a few turns and ran through the green arch and then turned to run through the strawberry arch. I did my best to sprint but it was hard to do with all the puddles and my belt falling down!!

Garmin time= 2:20:21
Gun time = 2:20:50
Chip time = 2:20:29

dripping wet and happy to be done!

I got my medal and since it was raining hard, I headed back to my car to change and get an umbrella.

There was entertainment and lots of food booths outdoors but I went inside to stay dry.  First I had to try the pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

The rain let up and I went back outside. I chatted with other runners, had some Starbucks coffee and contemplated waiting in line for some strawberry cider but then it started to pour again so I went inside for round two of post-race fueling. This time, I had 2 pieces of pizza.

Before I left I checked the results. I doubted that with my finish time that I would win an award.

over 6 minutes slower on the 2nd half – that cost me the award

Nope. I came in 4th.  Too bad because you got fresh strawberries, strawberry sunglasses and a pint glass.

But as they say “Finishing=Winning”

Half #34 is in the books

Additional Race Reflections:

I have yet to figure out how to get past my foot pain and finish the second half of the race strong.  I also feel defeated when I realize that I cannot accomplish what I am capable of.

My finish time was slower than my previous race which was all hills and a much more difficult course. I do not even expect a PR (under 2:06:52) and especially not one with those weather conditions.  However, I do think that my finish times should be under 2:15.

Enough whining…I am so grateful to be able to travel and run races.

My only regret in this race was that I didn’t wear my compression leg sleeves. I have never raced without them or run any training runs longer than 3 miles without them.  Though, my leg never hurt during the race and I walked around a botanical garden for several hours after without pain, I wonder if my injury on the beach was related to my not wearing compression.

We’ll never know for sure.  Hopefully, I am NOT seriously injured and I can start training for my next race.

All in all, I thought this was a great race.

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Real bathrooms and comfortable location to wait at the start/finish.
  • Free beer, cider, Starbucks coffee post race.
  • Strawberry pancakes & pizza post race.
  • Bag Check.
  • Water and Gatorade stops every mile.
  • Cliff Shot gels and banana halves available at many water stops (as well as pickle juice).
  • Many porta-potties along the course.
  • Music along the course.
  • Water views along 90% of the course.
  • Well marked course.
  • No major injuries.
  • Walker friendly – 5 hour course limit.
  • Pacers at 5 mile intervals up to 2:20.
  • Cool medal.
  • Logo caps and tech shirts.
  • Post race concert.
  • Free race photos.

The Bad:

  • My loose race belt.
  • Blisters
  • Bridge at mile 12.
  • The weather

The Ugly:

  • The Weather

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Feb 2, 2020

Final Stats:

Next Up:

United Airlines NYC Half-Marathon

This was one will be the totally different – no beaches or water views or warm temps and humidity but big crowds, lots of excitement, hills of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, finish in Central park… Looking forward to it…. Hoping for a dry day!!!!!!


As you know, the Tuesdays on the Run link up has been retired. There is now a new link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). The new link up is called Tuesday Topics and starts today!!

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel!

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! 

runner-sig

38 thoughts on “Publix Florida Half Marathon Recap

  1. Thanks so much for the great race report! I am considering doing a race in Florida and this might be the one that I pick – this one or the Miami Half Marathon are top of my list.

    Love the swag for the race too and the strawberry theme was really cute. Congrats on another half marathon finish!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on a good race, Darlene. I love the contrast between the pictures of you training for the race and those of the actual race. Wasn’t it tough to leave the warmth of Florida? I would have loved this race since strawberries are my favorite food. We just missed strawberry season when we were in Florida. Too bad about the rain, but at least it was a warm rain!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a good race overall, in spite of the weather. That’s great that they had indoor locations for before and after and the strawberry pancakes sound delicious! Here’s to better weather for your next half 🙂

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  4. I’m not really sure which is worse — cold rain or really humid & pouring. Both so not fun. It’s always a shame when it’s a scenic course and you can’t see it because of the weather!

    You do have lots of chances for another great half so fingers crossed that you’ll get one with good weather.

    I would have loved some vitamin D we got almost no sun at all (but still much better than back home).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cold rain is worse but it causes you to run faster. It’s too bad when it’s scenic like Florida and Coney Island. Unfortunately my next 2 are not as scenic.

      Definitely not the polar vortex you missed at home. And you didn’t get a sunburn lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “My finish time was slower than my previous race which was all hills and a much more difficult course. ”

    I’m struggling with this today too. I’m thrilled that I took ~ 6m off last year’s, but I really wish the weather would get it’s shit together for that race because it should be better than Lebow and could be faster than Brooklyn.
    Hope your feet decide to behave.

    So many good Florida choices!

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  6. That is such a cute medal!

    Bummer about the weather, but at least it wasn’t cold. I cannot imagine running in cold weather and with rain.

    Were you able to take care of that blister? The combination of the socks and the rain definitely did not help.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. THis sounds a lot like the weather we battled in Chicago for the RnR last July. No bridges, though LOL At least the temps were warm, but (almost) non-stop rain really can be a drag (quite literally when one’s shorts get so heavy they feel like they’re gonna drop to the ground with every step). Great job on fighting through to the finish!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m from Botswana where it hardly rains even during the rainy season. So I have never run in the ran let alone raced in the rain and I’m 100% sure a race would be cancelled here even if it was just a light drizzle, LOL! So I read this thinking, “But surely, the rain is going to stop now”. Can’t believe it rained from start to end but so proud that you finished well, even though not in the time you were hoping for. That medal is probably one of the best I’ve seen! LOVE it! Well done Darlene. PS: I once had a belt that kept slipping. It was brand new, but in the end I only used it that once. It was just so annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations! Too bad about the weather – I went for a weekend getaway in Florida last month and it was POURING rain almost the entire time and not even that warm. I hope you get your foot issues sorted out! The strawberry pancakes look great!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The weather this weekend was nasty and i hate that you had to experience it. I was running about two hours north of you and while the rain held off, the wind and humidity were no joke. You were a beast pushing through!

    I am always nervous about running long distances further south, but this course looks intriguing. I might have to give it a go.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Friday Five: My Last Half Marathon – My First 5K and More…

  12. Hi there, The Zoe Loren Foundation 5K is a local fundraiser that provides scholarships to area students. Proceeds from this annual fundraiser also go toward supporting enrichment programs for at-risk children, after-school programs and more. This year, we look forward to seeing you and your friends/family at the starting line and giving back TOGETHER to a wonderful cause! Visit https://www.zoelorenmakeadifference.org/ to learn more about our race.

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