On Saturday, January 16th I participated in the St. Pete Beach Classic 10K for the third year in a row. I was hesitant about “running” this race because I had barely been running since my half in December. We did sprints at boot camp and I went out for two 3 mile runs but I hadn’t done much else distance wise. I seriously debated not even running the race but I had paid to run it and the registration was non-transferable. Not to mention this is one of the best race events I’ve ever participated in and I knew no matter how well I did I would still enjoy the overall experience.
I took the Friday morning off before the race from camp to just get some extra rest. That night I joined my friends for dinner at Chipotle. I remembered how well the rice and beans did for me carb-loading the year previous. Since I did not pick up my race packet the day before and the race was scheduled to start 15 minutes earlier this year, I had a bit of an earlier alarm the next morning. The weather was a bit warmer the race morning but still gorgeous weather especially for running. I made sure to hydrate with a full bottle of water and fueled with toast with peanut butter and a banana. I arrived to the race site shortly after 6am and made my way over to the packet pick up area, where once again the process was seamless. I headed back to my car to drop off my stuff before making my way back to the start area. All the walking was a really nice warm up as I typically don’t do that much walking or a warm up run before the actual race.
Prior to the start I made a plan to just go out and give it all I had, ideally if I could keep my pace below 12:00 I could finish around 1:15. I set my watch for a 3 min run/1 min walk interval in hopes that I could stay ahead of the 12 minute pace should I need to slow down later in the run.
Feeling pretty good as the race started I went ahead and ran till the the first water stop, just shy of a mile and a half. As we approached mile 1 I opted not to look down at my watch to see my current pace as I did not want to syke myself out for going too fast or too slow. After the first water stop, I went into run/walk intervals. I picked out certain runners in the crowd to stay within eye range of. Just after the water stop at mile 4 my asthma flared up and I slowed to a speed walk, thankful to have my inhaler on hand I was able to get my breathing back under control as I approached mile 5. It was here where I decided to acknowledge the time and pace on my watch. Knowing I could easily finish around 1:05, I pushed passed the intervals for mile 6 and put all I had left into the last 1.2 mile, crossing the finish line in 1:06:54. Needless to say I was very surprised, yet super happy with my time. It wasn’t a PR but it was my second best time for a 10K, and had I not had the issues I did with my asthma I could have finished around or beat my PR time of 1:03.
As I have mentioned before in my 2014 and 2015 Year in Running reviews, this race wins my vote for best post-race amenities. There is always cold water and Gatorade within feet of the finish. All the post race amenities are patrolled by volunteers and in order to access the food tent you must show your bib, if your guests do not have one they are not allowed inside. I like this as too many times at races see I many non-runners indulging in the post-race party food. The food is really good too. They have assorted fruit, yogurt, bagels, other pastries, even rice and beans.
I’ve participated in the St. Pete Beach Classic for the last three years. It is the best race event in the area. From affordable race registrations to a seamless packet pickup process, the coordinators keep things well organized and running smoothly on race day(s). The medals are awesome and hands down this event has the best post race amenities. I will be back again in 2017!
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