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St Pete Half Marathon

St Pete Half Marathon finish

EnduraMan runs the St Pete Distance Classic Half Marathon the day after winning 3rd place in Masters at the Discover Caladesi Island 5K. This was his first double-race weekend, and he discovered a hard reality. It’s very difficult (nearly impossible) to run a personal best without tapering before the race.

My St Pete Half Marathon Goals

My goal was to run faster than my current half-marathon personal record of 1:51:12, which I set 15 months ago in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I had set my Garmin’s PacePro plan to complete 13.1 miles in 1:49:02 by running a consistent 8:19 minute per mile pace. However, if I could not set a new personal record, I would run the race at the fastest pace I could sustain.

Sun Dial Parking Garage

The St Pete Half Marathon race recommends we park at the Sun Dial Parking Garage. It only charges an $8 flat fee to park all day. So, my plan was to park at the Sun Dail Parking Garage. When I arrived there was a line of cars stopped. I waited for a few minutes, and the line barely moved.

Then I saw two empty parking spaces on the street next to the line of cars. Why haven’t any of these cars parked there? At first, I thought parking must not be allowed there. Finally, I decided to stop waiting in line, and I pulled into the available street parking. Immediately, a second car took the space behind me.

Getting out of my all-electric SUV, I read parking charges start at 9 AM. It was 6 AM, so my street parking was free for the next 3 hours!

Race Preparation

Next, I run about a mile to North Shore Park and pass many people walking to the race. Doing a warm-up run is part of my race prep plan. In about 9 minutes, I arrive at the registration tent. Within 30 seconds, I tell the volunteer my name. She locates my bib #2080 and hands it to me. Then, she calls, “large,” and another volunteer supplies her with my St Pete Half Marathon t-shirt.

I grab four safety pins, walk over to a nearby table, and attach the bib to my shirt. A few minutes later, I walk over to the check-bag table. I tell the woman, “I don’t have a bag.” and show her my t-shirt. She says, she ran out of bags. However, she gives me a label and asks me to write down my name and bib number. Rolling the shirt into a ball, she sticks my label on it.

The Dark Woods

I make my way through the crowd of runners and see hundreds of people in line to use about twenty porta-potties. My next objective is to find the starting corral. With 20 minutes until the race starts, the corral is mostly empty. Then, I feel I need to urinate.

From experience, I have found porta-potties or restrooms with no lines located nearby. So, I walk around the perimeter and find a small building. However, it’s closed. Walking around to the other side, I notice a dark wooded area.

As I walk through the dark woods, I notice a man in a deep squat with his shorts pulled down to his ankles. Well, that guy is taking a dump, so I look away and keep walking. Finding a secluded tree, I urinate in the darkness.

On my way out of the dark woods, that guy is gone. However, a lady is now squatting in the company of a man.

Running the St Pete Half Marathon

At 6:30 am on Sunday, February 11, 2024, the St Petersburg Distance Classic Marathon, Halfathon, and 10K started. The temperature was a comfortable 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are my race paces:

MileAvg PaceGoal Pace (8:19)
18:03Ahead
28:14On
38:40Ahead
48:15On
58:24On
68:18On
78:21On
88:20On
98:29On
108:50Behind
118:52Behind
129:35Behind
139:21Behind
13.228:36Ahead

Race Performance

As you can see from the pacing table above, the first nine miles I was on pace to run the St Pete Half Marathon in 1 hour and 49 minutes. Around 10.5 miles on the Pinellas Trail I pass Tropicana Field. Then, running toward a large parking lot I pushed to run faster. I tell myself, “Come on!” I speed up and feel a sharp pain in my left chest and have to slow down.

Running this 8:19 minute per mile pace for ten miles has taken its toll. Now, I must run at a slower pace and dozens of runners start passing me. I realize achieving a personal record will not be possible today.

As I pass mile 13, I accelerate my pace for the final 0.2 miles. Pushing as hard as possible, I run as fast as possible toward the finish. My official St Pete Half Marathon time is 1:53:28. It is a good time, but not my fastest.

New Heart Rate Threshold

During the race, my 60-minute heart rate average hit a new all-time high of 158 bpm. So, my heart beat on average 158 times per minute for an hour! That’s my heart’s hardest one-hour run.

As a result of my new heart rate threshold, my heart rate zones increase 2-to-3 beats per minute (bpm). Here’s my new running heart rate zones:

  • Zone 1: 114 – 128
  • Zone 2: 128 – 142
  • Zone X: 142 – 150
  • Zone 3: 150 – 158
  • Zone Y: 158 – 161
  • Zone 4: 161 – 166
  • Zone 5: 166 – 255

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