I am an IronGirl!

No….not that kind of Irongirl….although beating up bad guys is cool even if not profitable.

Yesterday morning was the IronGirl 5K in Clearwater. This was my first race ever in 2011. This year it was my third race of 2012….what a difference a year makes.

Our wacky and wild Florida weather kept us all on our toes through race time. Bad storms blew through the Tampa Bay area overnight. Given the forecasted storms, Steve and I decided it would be best for me to catch a ride with friends and keep the kids out of the potential rainy morning.  Sad for me to not have them at the finish line – but understandable.

So off I went to the races with my friends Wendy and Heather….both speedier than I.  To ensure myself they would wait for me to finish and give me a ride back – I made sure I was the sole member of our caravan who remembered where we parked.  Tricky!   We made it to the race in good time and with clear skies above.

Great skies over the Clearwater Causeway

The worse part of the race (of any race) was the port-a-potties. Seriously folks – how hard is it to invent clean, non-smelly port-a-potties? We put men on the moon and can order pizza online but we can’t pee in a stand alone stall that doesn’t stink??

The irony of this is that the lines for the port-a-potties were SO long.  You have a couple of thousand women….we need to pee.  I seriously considered peeing on a palm tree…but I didn’t want to get arrested right before the starting gun.

Me, my hips, Heather and Wendy (note the stinky port-a-potties in the background)

 

This year’s course was point-to-point.  A change made due to parking and shuttle issues with last years loop course.  (There ain’t much parking in Clearwater Beach area…downtown is much better.) I’m not sure why but this then resulted in a very narrow first 3/4 mile or so. The starting chute was skinny and went back for forever.  And the few streets in downtown Clearwater that the course snaked through were not wide at all.  I found myself doing a couple of shuffles to not trip over people who decided to suddenly walk in the middle of the road, or were turning to talk to people.  Now I’m not all about winning – but I was eager to go forward at least.

But the pace was reasonable and eventually I hit the amazing and scary Causeway (see above pic).  Given that they were predicting high winds – I was sure we’d all get blown off the bridge. Of course the worry was for naught. Once I made it up the crest of the bridge (walking most of that), we were treated to the most amazing views of Florida coast, sunshine and even a sliver of a rainbow. In fact, I ran some of my fastest pace on the bridge – which is sad as I almost didn’t want it to end and come back to the flat end of the course.

Overall I enjoyed the race a whole lot….was proud of how much I kept going even when I wanted to stop. I only got a little teary with about .2 mile to go – thinking about how much my family’s support means and how I missed them being there to cheer me on.  But I wiped the tears aside and got across the finish in 37:42.  Which is about 50 second slower than last year.  I actually wasn’t too upset about it.  I know I have work to do – and the injury hasn’t helped.  But the best part was the momentum….I want and know I can do better next time.  And the shiny shiny medal helps a lot.

Woo HOO!!

Wendy and Heather ran great races too (faster than me of course) and waited for me. But by the time we all caught up – the dark clouds were rolling in off the Gulf.  So we just grabbed our boxed breakfast treats and caught a trolley to the car. For a great event – I was a little disappointed in the boxed food.  After I run – I crave FOOD….eggs, bagels, bananas – things with substance.  The food in the box was crackers, hummus, a fruit trail mix bag and edamame. Really?  Oh and we did get a small square of chocolate.  Not really the food I want….but maybe if that’s what I really ate all the time I’d be skinnier and faster….well and hungrier….but who knows….

 

I did manage to eat the chocolate square (after I got home and made myself a bacon, tomato and cheese bagel sandwich – hey I ran 3.1 miles I deserve!).  And I wrapped myself in the comfort of knowing that I want to keep doing this….and not just for the bacon….  🙂