Fitness Goals

A1A Half: Race Report

February 19, 2023

Prep: I trained using a plan from Runners Connect which peaked at ~42 miles. I followed it EXCEPT for:

  • One week skiing (I only did one brief run that week)
  • 2 illnesses: flu/rona + a cold, which I had 3 weeks apart. I only missed 2-3 runs with each of these, but they were annoying! Luckily, I was totally healthy for this race.

I did long runs up to 15 miles.

Last few days: I tapered big-time! Very short/easy runs this week. I ate a lot of carbs. I did not calculate actual grams but I definitely ate far more than usual (bagels, gatorade, pretzels). I did eat pizza/bday cake which is not exactly how one is supposed to carb load (too much fat!) but hey, it was a bday party.

Fueling during race: I used Skratch gummies, taking in about ~5 gummies (~20g carb) every 3 miles. I took water or sports drink at EVERY stop (IT WAS HOT). Mostly water up until mile 8 or so and then I switched to whatever they were handing out which was . . . okay. I felt VERY well-fueled for this race. And I did notice a little uptick in performance every time I took in more sugar. Possibly psychological but I’ll take what I can get.

Conditions: Hot and sunny. The first few miles the sun wasn’t up yet, and those weren’t bad. The LAST 4 were brutal – sun beating down, no shade, ~73F and 80% humidity, and a (WARM) headwind. Yuck! I kept saying “only a 4 mile training run left! only a 5K left! only a 2 mile run left” etc. But I definitely felt quite challenged the last 4 miles or so.

Of note, it was SO crowded at the start (and NOT ENOUGH BATHROOMS OMG) that I almost didn’t make it onto the course on time! We left our house at 4:30; our babysitter who is amazing arrived at 4:15 (!).


miles 10-12: the part I would characterize as brutal. surprised my HR wasn’t higher.




Overall: I was super happy with this race!! The conditions were pretty tough, or at least definitely not optimal. But I ran faster than Jan 2020 (and those conditions were ideal). So yes, training works! And I am excited to do more of it!!! But first . . . hopefully a loooooong nap.

Josh had a rougher day – he did amazing for the first 10.5 miles and then had a cramp and slowed down significantly toward the end (I mean, his time of 1:41 is still beyond my wildest dreams but he is capable of much faster). AND my super fast friend came in as second woman (!!!). (I told you she is super fast! Amazing + inspiring.)

Thanks to all who cheered me on virtually + wished me luck! And CHELSEA wins the race prediction award (sorry there is no prize but I am impressed)!

Oh! And here’s a rather unflattering pic, haha:

right after finishing omg!


  • Reply Marianne February 19, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Absolutely terrific! Congratulations not just for today but also for a dedicated and impressive training cycle!

  • Reply Elizabeth February 19, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Congratulations!!! YOU DID IT!!! You should be so proud of yourself.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns February 19, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    Congrats again on a very successful HOT race! Well done! I was close with my prediction!

  • Reply Al February 19, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    I was trying to quiz my doctor the other day about heart-rates when exercising, but couldn’t get a clear answer. For my age (40ish), in theory, my 100% ‘max’ heart-rate should be 180 and I shouldn’t be working at that level, should be more like 80% of this. I noticed, you were sustaining at near 180 for a long time in this race. Do you think the max heart-rate thing is more of an arbitrary measure?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 19, 2023 at 12:27 pm

      I think people vary much more than that standard formula! Josh’s is close to mine while racing!

    • Reply Ali February 19, 2023 at 9:26 pm

      I find the calculation to be not right, for me at least. I am 41 and went for a 4 mile run today and my heart rate average was 171. It wasn’t an easy run but I also wasn’t running full speed ahead or struggling. Mine always tends to be higher than the standard chart would indicate. (I know I have read many of these things are not studied as much for women or as well understood).

  • Reply Omdg February 19, 2023 at 3:45 pm


    • Reply C February 19, 2023 at 6:45 pm

      OMDG – did you stop blogging again? I’m not a doctor, but I loved your perspectives on work!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 19, 2023 at 6:52 pm

        I love them too!

      • Reply Omdg February 20, 2023 at 10:31 am

        Yeah, a resident discovered my blog and even though I don’t think I’m especially controversial I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. 🙂

  • Reply Amy February 19, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    Awesome job! Your hard work and training totally paid off!

  • Reply Chelsea February 19, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    The HR thing is interesting because mine is NEVER that high. I’ve heard that 160 is the target for a marathon, but I can’t sustain mine that high for that long. I did what I could consider a tough workout yesterday (though the weather was good) and my average was 146.

    Congrats again 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 19, 2023 at 5:56 pm

      I think this is very individual. I was surprised when Josh said his was in 170s- he’s a naturally good runner and somehow I thought that meant lower HR. Heat does raise mine but I can sustain 180 for quite a while as demonstrated today. And I didn’t feel like I was dying. My resting HR is mid-high 40s so it’s not a matter of high resting …

  • Reply Amy F February 19, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    Congratulations on a great race and training cycle 😃

  • Reply coco February 19, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    congrats!!! what an amazing performance despite the condition. you both look so happy in the pic!!!
    for more races to come!!!

  • Reply Kristin February 19, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    I am not a race person (though I enjoy a 3-5 mile run) and I am SO inspired by this! You really built the drama with the workout reports, sickness reports, and forecast reports.

    As a parent (my kids are close in age to A and C), yesterday’s post was striking. You threw a *kid birthday party* on the eve of the race. That is NO joke, and I’d be willing to guess your pre-kid, pre-race days were way more race-centric. Go SHU!!

  • Reply Ali February 19, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    What an awesome time! This is almost making me want to sign up for a race again…almost…

  • Reply Kristie February 21, 2023 at 9:20 am

    Congratulations on a great race!! I was thinking of you as I was running the Austin marathon at the same time. The race went well, but my Garmin (which has music built in) malfunctioned, and it would only play 3 of the songs on my playlist…over and over!! Needless to say, I don’t want to ever hear “Eye of the Tiger” again 😂 Also a confirmation that Garmin makes good running watches, but maybe not the most reliable music devices. Can’t wait to hear what race/distance you target next!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 21, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Omg!!!!!! I only had one working EarPod for my race but your situation sounds far worse!!

  • Reply Drew Conner February 21, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Amazing!! Great work!!!

  • Reply Lis February 21, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Way to go!

    • Reply Savannah Richardson February 21, 2023 at 11:29 pm

      You are such an inspiration! Congratulations!

  • Reply CinSEA February 21, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    Congratulations!! Are you exclusively wearing your Apple Watch now when you run? I’m a long-time Garmin user but have been eyeing the Apple Watch recently. I’ve always heard that it’s not as accurate and useful as the Garmin when it comes to running data. Curious on your thoughts as someone who’s used both!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 21, 2023 at 7:25 pm

      Yep 🙂 I think prior versions were less accurate but I have the 7 (latest is 8) and I think it’s pretty accurate. My fast running friend wore a garmin for the race and got a very similar result in terms of total race distance (probably the course was accurate but we didn’t run perfect tangents).

  • Reply Erica Sparky February 23, 2023 at 10:57 am

    What a great race! Good job with your training and making running a fun priority again! 🙂

  • Reply Jenny February 25, 2023 at 8:02 am

    Congratulations! I’m also a South Florida runner- I was supposed to run this race but got a stomach virus and had to miss it! I heard about your blog through another blogger and stopped by to hear the race recap. I ran this race in 2018 and yes, your summary sounds just like I remember it- hot and hard. That’s a great finishing time and yes, training definitely works!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 26, 2023 at 9:57 am

      Just checked out your blog and I have such similar feelings to you about the heat! SOOO frustrating. Almost worth moving 🙂

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