December 21, 2008
I drove up to Jacksonville Saturday with Susan. We left around 11 am, made a couple of stops, and arrived around 3:30. Our first stop was the running store to pick up our bibs, chips and goodie bags. Took a look in the store and ended up buying a 26.2 training shirt and a box of special mint chocolate flavored Gu.
It took us a while to figure out what to do for dinner. I ended up ordering some pasta to go from Chili’s. Had a quiet night at the hotel and surprisingly got a good nights sleep. The beds at the Embasy Suites are very comfortable.
Got up at 4:50 Sunday morning and made some coffee. After having coffee and a breakfast bar, we made sure we had everything, then headed downstairs to the bus. The bus trip to the start was pretty quick. We got in line right away for the porta-potties. Hung out in the gym for a while, then got back in line for the porta-potties again. By then it was time to head to the start of the race. This is where I made a big mistake. I decided to try the new Gu. I never have these things before a race! It tasted great, I thought I would be ok. I lined up between the 4 hour and 4:15 pace group. I figured I would try to stay with the 4 hour runners until we split from them. The temp was around 60 with high humidity. Not the best of conditions, but I’ve been in worse.
The race started pretty much on time. There wasn’t a huge crowd, so I was able to move along pretty smoothly. Pretty much right away, I could feel the Gu not sitting well in my stomach. I just tried to push it out of my mind and keep running. My first 6.5 miles went great. I had kept pretty close behind the 4 hour group and was feeling good when we parted ways. My time for 6.5 miles was 1:01:08.
I stayed feeling pretty good until about mile 9. My stomach was not feeling so hot. Maybe the combo of Gu and then half a bag of sport beans (at mile5) did not go well together. By mile 10 I was feeling pretty bad. Stomach was very upset. I wasn’t even going to try and eat the rest of the sport beans. So the last 8 miles of the race I just had water. This is when I really slowed down. I took a short walking break here and had to take a couple more before the end of the race. About a half a mile before the finish the path went off road onto dirt, then grass field, then a very rocky road (which did not feel good on sore feet!). Finishing the last 100 yards on the track was awesome. Just before the finish line I pulled ahead of the woman who had been in front of me! My finish time was 2:11:01. Not what I wanted, but a few minutes better than my November finish.
There was lots of water, bananas and bagels at the finish. After eating the banana and stretching a little, I headed to the bus pickup. Got right on and about 15 minutes later I was back at the hotel. Took a shower and rested a while before heading back out to the finish to watch my friend come in after running the Marathon.
It was a long drive back home. But I felt pretty good all afternoon, just tired.
I would recommend this race. It had good post race food and drink. But only for the half marathoners, not much left for the full marathoners. The shirts are the nice dryfit kind. The host hotel was comfortable. The only issue we had was that checkout was at noon. My friend didn’t finish until after that time and they wouldn’t give us a late checkout. The race flyers said there would be showers open at the school after the race, but the doors were locked. So my friend had to clean up in the sink of the bathroom before our 4.5 hour trip back home.
Chip time: 2:11:01, age group: 55 out of 106; 662 out of 1101 total half marathoners