Race Review: Clearwater Iron Girl Half Marathon

Chip time: 2:20:41

That, my friends, is the kinda time you get when it’s the 7th ring of hell humid and you’ve barely run for the past month. It’s hard to believe I ran a 2:03 in Sarasota just a month ago.

Sunday morning started with a 4am wake-up call. Michelle and I did all the pre-race things we do – got ready, ate some breakfast (oatmeal and a banana for me), and got our caffeine on.

This race was the first time I’ve ever seen timing chips like this:


We fastened them on with zip ties but I could still feel it flop around on my shoe through half of the race even though it was on really tight and through several laces. Not a big deal, just not my favorite. At the end of the race, they cut them off and took the chips back.

Michelle and I drove to the park (where the Expo was held the day before) to catch the trolley that took us to the race start. We had NO problem parking and caught the trolley right away.


Side note: Our friend’s Tiffany and Connie ran the 5k. They waited for an hour for the trolley and once they made it to the race, they were closing the starting line because finishers were starting to come in. They almost didn’t get to run. Luckily they did and schooled all the other teams by coming in 17th out of 129. Way to go, ladies!

On the trolley, I enjoyed my second Red Bull before 5:30 am.


Then Michelle and I annoyed other passengers by taking way too many pictures of ourselves. I say, the more pictures you take before your gross and sweaty…the better.


We arrived at Pier 60 and stood in line for the restrooms a couple times during our hour and a half wait before the race started.


People kept staring at Michelle (or her bib?) and we couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was her super-hero like utility belt that she uses to scale walls.


We headed down to the race start where people without bib numbers were just hanging around IN the start line.


There were no corrals but the race start seemed pretty organized for having no organization. A guy just made an announcement for the 6 and 7 minute milers to get toward the front, the 8, 9, and 10 minute milers to get in the middle, and the 11 and 12 min milers and walkers/joggers to get toward the back.

This is all the people standing behind us.


The race started on time and I really didn’t feel like I had to dodge many runners like I normally do. I’m sure this was a sign somehow.


Most of our running areas along the course were really narrow so girls were running outside of the orange cones which slowed cars that I could have touched if I reached my hand out.


Although the picture is blurry, the first bridge is in the distance here. There were three of them. Three horrible, horrible bridges. That didn’t include the rolling hills. For the first time, my hamstrings are sore after a race. The whole race felt like a hill climb. I will never bitch about the Melbourne Half Marathon bridges again.


Pretty sunrise over the first bridge.


Top of the first bridge.

Oh, I saw a LOT of ladies in running dresses (there’s one in the picture below). This was the first time I’ve ever seen one. I want to bring running evening gowns in style. Look for that at my next race.


I know runners look forward to the decline after a bridge – but I thought it was all hard this time around.


Around mile 3.5, blog reader Shawntae recognized my Camelbak (!) and said hello.

Hi Shawntae! Thanks for saying hello. 🙂  (I hope I spelled that right.)

Don’t worry, I didn’t get totally creepy and stalk you in the race results to get that spelling.

Shortly after the mile 4 marker, I put away my camera. I hate holding things during races and I needed to get out my trusty sweat rag because I’m a disgusting, sweaty woman.

My pace was significantly slower than normal. At my worst, I can run a 10 min mile but I was running a lot of 11 minute and 11:30 minute miles during this race. At Mile 9, I walked for 5 minutes. I also walked leisurely through three water stations. Then I walked for a few minutes at the top of the third bridge (Mile 11) because my heart rate felt too high. I was DYING during the entire race. It was SO hot and uncomfortable.

Best part of the race? Tiffany and Connie stayed after their 5k to cheer for me and Michelle when we crossed the finish!


No clue why I’m still wearing my headphones there, because nothing was playing.

Speaking of the finish, as I was coming in I heard the announcer call my name and then I crossed a big blue area that looked like the finish. So I started walking.

It wasn’t the finish.

I looked up to see photographers and ANOTHER big blue area that was the actual finish. So, I had to start running again. That was SO confusing to me. Tiffany and Connie said that everyone was making the same mistake, so at least it wasn’t heat stroke that was making me see finish line mirages.


Oh, and the Sweaty Band that I bought that the Expo did not stay in my hair. I didn’t even realize it was falling out until Michelle said something. The blog world swears by them and I’m here to tell you…I have not found a headband that can stay on my head.

I did LOVE my new sunglasses and the iFitness belt I bought rocks the pants off of Spibelts.


Michelle and I walked around a little bit after the race and took some pictures.




We waited for about 30 minutes to catch a trolley back to the area where we parked. Then we took cold, uncomfortable showers (not together) because there was NO hot water at the condo.

Before we headed home, we had to get a few pictures. Remember that belt I told you about in the last post?


Let’s look at it a little closer.


Yeah, those are hands.

I love a belt that can double as a fashion statement and a way to show surprise.


Michelle gets cranky if she doesn’t get Starbucks after a race, so we stopped there and I had my first Starbucks drink ever – a tall skinny vanilla iced latte (Michelle’s treat!). 

I felt like Mary Louise Parker in Weeds holding this drink.


The latte wasn’t bad, but it’s not my thing. I think next time I’ll stick to their mini-cupcakes. 🙂

Overall, this was the hardest half marathon course I’ve done. The heat didn’t help at all and I had a hard time getting through it. But I finished and got my medal and I’m proud of that. Now I can sit back and relax for a couple months before marathon training starts.

Updated to add: A cool thing I forgot to mention about Iron Girl – they email you with your actual race results, not just a link to get your results. I’ve never seen a race do that and thought that was pretty cool.


Filed under Race Reviews

38 responses to “Race Review: Clearwater Iron Girl Half Marathon

  1. Congratulations on the finish of your tough, tough race! I can only imagine how tough those bridges were and how humid it was. You can move to Canada with me and I promise there is no humidity in Alberta. Just lots of snow, but the mountains make up for it 🙂

    That is the weirdest belt ever!! I am totally digging those floors though!

  2. They used those chips at the half I did last year. That’s the only one I’ve done so don’t know any better – what sort of chips do they use elsewhere? Vanilla lattes are my alltime favourtie. Nothing else comes close!

  3. Sara

    You should have popped bubbles with the hands on that belt. LOL

  4. Random Runner

    I totally can see the resemblance in the way you are holding your latte to Mary Louise Parker in Weeds! 🙂

  5. tiff

    how cute are you in your outfit with your new haircut?! SO cute! yup. you are.

  6. Stacie

    Man… Hills and heat are a rough combination!! Great job finishing strong though!!

    I could never find headbands that stayed in my hair either. I won a bic band from bloggyland and now I want to buy 173336832 more!! It does not slide off at all! Plus they are reasonably priced and some of that money goes to charity 🙂

  7. It was great running into you after the race! That course was tough and we earned every bit of those medals. Congrats! 🙂

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  9. Hee hee you win for most FUN recap of the race!

    I almost stopped at the first blue mat at the finishing chute, but thankfully, kept going…

    And yes. The entire race WAS an incline. My legs are reminding me of that today.

  10. minus the weather which was ever bit as awful in miami, i so wish I had done this race. I love all women’s races and i’m determined to get to one soon!

  11. Great job on your time! Considering the stick heat, I’d say that’s a win. 🙂 I love those mini cupcakes at startbucks. MMMM. Have you tried the cake pops? They are so-so in my opinion. 😀

  12. You and Michelle look adorable in the bus shot. Love the hands. I think about getting Starby’s all the time so I can look like MLP but then I remember I don’t have her drug money flowin in. 🙂

  13. Shawntae

    Thanks for the shout out…I feel famous!!!!! 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for a while now so it was very cool actually meeting you!!!

    • It was great meeting you too! I hope your ankle felt ok during the race. I was going to mention that you chicked me with a bad ankle but then that would have thrown my complaints about the humidity out the window. 🙂

  14. First of all-GOOD JOB! I have a half this weekend and I’m pretty sure 11:30 will be my avg min/mile pace. ZERO training has been happening.

    Secondly-I also cannot find a GD headband that will stay on my head. The ONLY thing that works for me are Prana headbands…and those are pretty massive…so much so that I dare call them headbands.

    And last-you look adorbs in your post-race photos. Cute outfit!

  15. OMG the belt, hahah!

    I hate those shoe chip timer thingies. I swear I can feel them the entire run. They flap and feel weird no matter how tight I have them cranked down on my laces. Make me nuts.

    Great hilly and challenging race!

  16. I am in so much shock that you just had your first starbucks drink I can barely comment. Ummm….good job….sounds like it was a rough one. No GI issues mentioned though? HOW DO YOU NEVER TRY STARBUCKS?? I require it after races as well. Your belt and that whole outfit look freakin adorable on you.

    • Please let it be known that the belt is NOT part of my outfit! Just want to put that out there. The GI thing – I was fine during the race but I don’t think I was running fast enough to have issues. After the race, I had a muscle milk and had to run to the bathroom about 10 minutes later. I think running and my stomach processing anything doesn’t mix. Since it didn’t affect my race, I didn’t mention anything. Oh and Starbucks – I don’t drink coffee. So that explains that annomoly. 🙂

  17. wow what a tough race! heat and humidity can totally slow you down. way to not let it stop you and you finished that thang lady!

    also: way cool belt. i love it!

  18. That chip is hella-ghetto. I would not have been happy with that. But at least you were cute and smiling and not a puddle at the end of the race! Usually after a half, I am good for laying (not even sitting) on the couch and sleeping. And other gastro-intestinal related hijinks. It’s not ok. So I am quite impressed with your cuteness and ability to think of fun ways to model your hot belt. Good work!

  19. I just realized I look CAH-RAZY in that trolley picture. Are we sure I didn’t do drugs before the race?

  20. Congrats on finishing your race!!!
    2 Red Bulls before 5:30?! YIKES!!

  21. My 3rd most painful half marathon. How did this course find the hilliest route in Florida?

  22. Ditto on negative headband experiences. They always always always fall out of my hair, no matter how hard I will them to stay in. I either use barettes or french braid my hair in pigtails and embrace my inner 12-year old.

    Good job on the race though, way to tough it out!

  23. Your first Starbucks?! I’m shocked. Sorry it wasn’t for you. I love me some Starbucks!

  24. Oh, and I forgot. I have had that kind of chip before–they should have given you two zip ties to keep it in place and not flap. But the other option is to feed one zip tie through diagonal holes to give it more stability. I actually prefer those to anything on my wrist, though.

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