A1A Race Report

February 18, 2024

SOOOO tired right now but I will share some details from today!

The short version: I PR’d!! My PR was from 2007, 1:46:55 at the OBX Half Marathon.

Today my official time was 1:46:15, so yay! However, here are some details in bullet point form!

Pre-Race/Carb Load: I did successfully carb load as planned for this race! I never track calories or carbs normally but yesterday I did (had to estimate one thing – pizza – but everything else was pretty much labeled) and took in 385g total. The main components were bagels, sports drinks/a protein shake, a LOT of pretzels, thin mints, and pizza 🙂

I honestly felt slightly ill going to bed but woke up feeling okay. I had 2 sheets of grahams with my coffee, drank some water and LMNT, and bathroom stuff was fine – both at home and once I got to the race (TMI sorry but . . . I mean, important!)

Getting There: I was lucky enough to get a ride with a friend, so that was so nice (she also picked up my packet!). We left at 4 (which means I got up at 3) and arrived around 4:35. The garage was ~0.75 mi from the start so we walked, got in the bathroom line, and then did a 0.5 mi shakeout. That brought us to ~5:30, and people were lining up for a 5:50 start. They were slightly delayed but we were off and running by 6:00.

We were off! It was humid (like 93%, dew point 67) and 69-70F. It didn’t feel terrible — last year was much worse weather-wise because it was mid-70s and bright sunshine — all that radiant heat was not appreciated in the back half of the race! There was a bit of a headwind for the first part which meant a tailwind in the last several miles which was much appreciated.

I took a gel right at the start and my first mile was ~7:52 despite doing some weaving. It felt pretty smooth and easy. I just told myself “okay, just keep up this effort for ~10 miles then you can pick it up a little.”

I took my 2nd gel at mile 3.5. I started to notice that there was a significant discrepancy between my watch and the mile markers by 3 or 4 — like minutes-worth, which seemed very weird. However, I tried to ignore it and run by feel and my watch.

I felt good until mile 6 or 7, when we were running into headwinds and I knew we weren’t going to turn around until mile 8. I gulped a couple sips of water from cups every 3 mi or so. I took gel #3 at mile 7. (All 3 gels fit in my shorts/FlipBelt which was nice; I never had to stop to grab one and I opened them with my teeth!).

Mile 8!! We turned around and I did feel a bit better not running into the wind. I was however starting to feel kind of hot and kind of like . . . wishing it was over. I knew I *could* handle 5 more miles at a similar effort but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Not going to lie, I also continued to be annoyed about the mile markers, realizing that when my watch said “13” I wasn’t going to be that close to the end.

I took gel #4 at mile 10 and these were the toughest miles. I thought I was picking it up starting at mile 12 but I’m not sure my efforts did all that much. I finally saw the clock and noticed it said 1:46:xx so I did speed up knowing I wanted a PR.

cropped out my friend as she does not do social media and I’m not sure she would want public pix!

FINISHED! My splits:



Yep, a bit of a pace/length discrepancy! I know it’s ABSOLUTELY annoying to say this but . . . I think the course was long for a half. I took a deep dive into the strava data from A1A last year (since I ran it, I can see not only my own watch’s recording, but also that of other runners in the race) and 2023’s A1A was ~13.15 on most people’s watches including mine; this year I saw anything from ~13.39-13.5; it didn’t matter whether that data was coming from Garmin or Apple Watch or whatever. Apparently they did slightly change the course and a friend of a friend who was a very pacer said (and I quote from the screenshot she sent me): “Oh my god, it was so long! Half was 0.4 long.”

It was a PR either way, and I think in reality I really did run the race I wanted to run, even if not officially! I will never know, but that’s okay. My official time of course remains 1:46:15 as shown above.

Now onto marathon training (well, after taking some easier days to recover!!!!).


  • Reply Coree February 18, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    Congratulations! That is such an accomplishment.

  • Reply Suzanne February 18, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    Congratulations! A PR!!!! So glad it went smoothly and you ran the race you wanted to. I would be super annoyed about the length discrepancy though.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 18, 2024 at 2:01 pm

      At least it was a PR either way 🙂 And nothing really matters, just the gauge of my own fitness in training for the full in May. I am happy AND excited for the next thing!

      • Reply Lisa’s Yarns February 18, 2024 at 2:37 pm

        I’m glad you PR’d even with the course measuring long! Congrats!! All of your hard work is paying off! And just think what you could do in better temps!!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 18, 2024 at 2:39 pm

          I think I’ll have to leave Florida to find out. Haha. I have not had recent good luck with race conditions here even in winter!

          • Sarah Hart-Unger February 18, 2024 at 2:40 pm

            Of course it is going to be GORGEOUS perfect running weather every single day this week.

  • Reply Amanda February 18, 2024 at 2:34 pm

    Congrats, Sarah!

  • Reply Sarah February 18, 2024 at 2:42 pm

    A PR! Amazing! Congratulations – so happy for you that all your hard work paid off.

  • Reply Savannah February 18, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    Wow!! You are such a speedy inspiration. Congratulations!!

  • Reply istudymemory February 18, 2024 at 2:54 pm

    So thrilled to read this! I hope you celebrate all week!

    • Reply Elisabeth February 18, 2024 at 5:12 pm


  • Reply J February 18, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Congratulations, that’s wonderful!

  • Reply Lani Inlander February 18, 2024 at 3:46 pm


  • Reply Megan February 18, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    Amazing! Congratulations!!! What a great accomplishment!

  • Reply coco February 18, 2024 at 6:00 pm

    Outstanding performance with 94% humidity!!! If you didn’t struggle at mile 8, I’d say you could finish even faster!!! It’s in those moments that make the experience special. Well done!!!
    oh… I do get annoyed when the course is longer than needed.
    I’ve never though taking so many gels for half marathon but clearly it paid off. You didn’t drink much though. did you carry carry bottle? or drink from the water stations?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 18, 2024 at 7:14 pm

      I took sips every 3 miles or so! I’d drink a bit from the cup as much as I could while running.
      The gels I use are very liquidy so they contain some water and are easy to get down without extra fluid (Gu liquid endurance)

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 18, 2024 at 7:15 pm

        PS yes to lots of fuel helping. I am a believer in this, I really think it does.

  • Reply Elizabeth February 19, 2024 at 8:59 am

    Sarah, congratulations!! I’m so so thrilled for you and proud of you!! (Yes, even though we’ve never met! You still feel like a friend!) You worked so hard and trained smart and ran smart and PRed! That is amazing!!!

    I’m also really annoyed for you that the course was well past 13.1 miles but that’s out of your hands, like the weather. You dug down and did it anyway. GO, YOU!!!!

  • Reply jennystancampiano February 19, 2024 at 9:25 am

    Yay! CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t believe you didn’t get rained on- I was driving back from Orlando and it rained the whole time- but I guess the rain didn’t get here till later in the morning. Yes, it’s always annoying when the course is long- but at least you still got your PR. I know someone who just barely missed a PR because the course was long- that would be REALLY frustrating. Sounds like it was a great experience overall. Hope you’re enjoying some extra rest today!

  • Reply doris123 February 19, 2024 at 11:54 am

    Amazing! Congrats!

  • Reply Jordan February 19, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    Congratulations!! So happy for you!

  • Reply Lori C February 19, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    Amazing!!! I bet it is even more of a PR than the clock says. The extra 0.4 is a huge bummer and not inconsequential! Way to go!!

  • Reply Meghan February 20, 2024 at 5:51 pm

    Congratulations on a great race! You are super fast!

  • Reply San February 28, 2024 at 7:21 pm

    I am a little late but here to say: CON-FREAKIN’-GRATULATIONS. That’s an amazing PR! Way to go, Sarah.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 29, 2024 at 4:20 pm

      thank you!!

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