I had heard that the Seaside Half Marathon was a fun course to run, being at the beach at Destin, FL. It was described as “mostly flat and fast” and that was mostly true. This race fell two months after my bad first marathon, so I was already in condition for the distance and wanted to prove to myself I was better than that marathon performance.
I felt that between recovering from the marathon, and tapering before this race, I would have about six weeks to train. So I approached my training with a goal of speed. I had done lots of distance work for the marathon, but those six weeks I worked on speed and intervals. My only previous half marathon had been very hilly, and I had run it in 2:10:07 so my goal here was to beat that time and try to break two hours.
The weather on race weekend was absolutely beautiful! After a winter of temperature swings down into the teens, we had lows in the 50’s and highs close to 70. The race officials were saying it was the best weather they had had for the last six or seven years.
This race is sponsored by Vera Bradley and race swag is a large Vera Bradley bag, so the mix of women was probably 75%. The course runs on route 30A, which is all beach living at its best – Florida’s gulf coast version of highway A1A. It was cambered pretty steep in a couple of places, but not too bad, and the first (and last because it was an out and back course) 4 miles were almost flat. However, the road is just two lanes so it was consistently full of runners the entire time. From about miles 5 through 9 the course turned into rollers. Not hills – it is Florida after all – but a lot quick up and downs of 15-20 elevation changes. I had been practicing for flat, so this was a little unexpected. My goal was to try and maintain a 9:00 pace, to break two hours, and in almost made it. I got a cramp going too fast down a hill in mile 8, and had to walk it out for a couple hundred yards, then had a slower pace the next mile.
Then I gave it a big SIUP and got back my pace, and ended up with a 2:04:06…which is a new PR and beat my old time by 6 minutes, so I’m happy. All in all, this was a great weekend and a great race. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for an early spring half marathon.