Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A1A Ft Lauderdale Marathon

February 17, 2013

This is my first race post Disney Marathon. I was suposed to run the Clearwater marathon a week after Disney, but I got the flu. It took a couple of weeks for me to feel like I had all the gunk out of my chest and lungs, so I didn't get many longish runs in leading up to this race. The weather forcast showed a low of 43 the night before, so I thought, even though my training hadn't been great, maybe I could get a PR with this marathon.

My husband and son decided to make the trip with me this time, so we all loaded up the car and made the 3 hour trip to Fort Lauderdale Saturday morning. We got to the expo around 1 pm, after dealing with the cruise ship traffic near the convention center. The expo was pretty small, so we were in and out pretty quick. I was dissapointed to receive a men's large shirt, when I was pretty sure there had been a men's/women's selection when I registered. They wouldn't let me switch out then, but told me I could at the end of the day or the next morning. After leaving the expo, we headed over the the Westin Resort and Spa. This was located right on the course at mile 25. Easy walking to/from the finish line. We managed to swing an upgrade in rooms and ended up with an ocean front view! Awesome. After some fun times on the beach, we headed out to dinner, then back to the room for an early night for me.

I got up with my alarm at 4:30 am race morning. I hit the start button on the coffee machine, got dressed in the bathroom, grabbed my coffee and bags and then headed out the door. It was strange walking to the race area by myself. I thought I might see other runners there, but I didn't see anyone until I got to the parking area. I got right on a bus and soon we were headed to the start area. I was so happy I took the bus to the start! We could see major traffic heading towards the parking garages around the start area. After I got dropped off, I found the table with shirt exchange. I swapped out my shirt, then headed to the porta potties before heading over to the Art Museum. I met Rhonda there and a few other Marathon Maniacs. It was a nice area to hang out in. Lots of places to sit and it was a shelter from all the wind. While we waited, I told Rhonda about the Dances with Dirt marathon that I am running next month. She said she lived right by the race location. She looked it up on her iphone and signed up right then! A true Maniac. :) Not many Maniacs showed up for a photo, but we did get a 3 person shot taken by a race photographer. We had about 15 minutes before race start so we headed over to bag drop, which was at the back of the corral. The line was massive! Rhonda found her friend Sara in the crowd, so she went over to hang with her while I waited. I got my bag in the van with about a minute to spare. I found Rhonda and Sara in the crowd and hung with them because I could get not further ahead. There was a big group of people between me and the 5 hour pacer. I had wanted to start with the 4:30 guy! I was going to have some catching up to do once we got moving. Finally we made it to the start and I was off!

Lots of weaving around runners and walkers (!!!) who should have started further back. I even passed someone pushing a wheelchair! I tried not to run to fast because I didn't want to burn out later on, but I really wanted to catch up! By mile two, I had caught up to the 4:40 pacer and just around mile 3, I caught the 4:30 pacer. I ran with them a bit, but I ended up pulling ahead. I knew I was going to need to stop for a bathroom break soon, so I wanted to bank some time. I usually get in a bathroom stop just before race start, but I missed that this day. We pass by my hotel, but I see that our room looks dark, so the boys must still be asleep. Just after mile 4 we turn into Birch State Park. At mile 6, there is a water stop with a few porta potties and no line! I dash over there and make it into a stall before another woman. :) I need to learn to speed up this process as this takes up almost 2 precious minutes! Miles 1 through 6 - 9:38, 9:15, 9:19, 9:40, 9:38, 11:26

Within half a mile I catch up to the pace group again, but loose them after we exit the park and they walk through a water stop. We are now running north along the A1A. The wind is very strong with gusting winds that knock me around a bit. The lead half marathoners are already on their way back and to the finish. We have to move over to the left to give them a little space on the right. These guys are on fire! Super fast runners. :) Just before mile 9, the half marathoners turn to the right while the marathoners keep on heading north. Most of the racers are half marathoners, so once they leave, the congestion on the course is so much less. For the next 6.5 miles I try to keep a steady pace and not think about how hard it is running into the wind. I try to focus on how awesome it will be to have the wind at my back for the last 10 miles of the race.
Miles 7 through 16 - 9:31, 9:37, 10:16, 10:00, 10:22, 10:18, 10:38, 10:21: 10:30, 10:05,

Finally I am running south, to the finish with the wind behind me! It feels great. Every once in a while I get a wind push that feels like someone has shoved me in the back. It's that strong! The 4:30 group catches up to me, so I decide I will try to hang with them for the rest of the race. We are running a good pace, through it feels a little fast. After a mile I look at my Garmin to see what the split was and notice it was just under a 10:00 mile! He should be keeping a 10:18 pace! They seem to pick up the pace even more, so I decide to let them go and hope they don't get to far ahead. I know I have a couple of minutes of extra time, because I started behind them. By mile 19, I notice that I am stiffening up. I decide I will take walk breaks through the water stops. This is the first marathon in years that I have not run with intervals from the start, but I thought I would give it a try with this race. I was at 3:22 at mile 20. I should have had plenty of time to finish in 4:30. I just needed to focus on my goal. Miles 17 through 20 - 10:21, 9:58, 10:56, 10:39

Trying to finish strong even though I hurt!
The last 5.4 miles were rough. My knee hurt a few times, so I stopped and walked, giving it a break from the pounding. My hamstrings and quads were getting tighter and tighter, so I stopped a couple of times to stretch. I kept trying to push through the pain and run, even if it was a slow pace. But, I was getting slower and slower and I knew my goal time was about to slip away. When I got up to mile 25, were my hotel was, I looked around for my husband and son. I saw them up in the walkway that covers the road. They ran into the elevator that would take them to the road, so I slowed down so that I could see them. Aidan came running out and up to me. Gave me a big smile and told me to keep going. That was a wonderful thing to see! I powered ahead, trying to pick up the speed a little. I looked at my Garmin as I reached 26.2. It showed 4:35. If only that was my official time! About a quarter of a mile later, I crossed the finish line. Missing a PR by 20 seconds! Miles 21 to 26.43 - 11:09, 12:23, 10:57, 11:57, 12:33, 11:29, 4:21

Finish - 4:37:26

I hobbled over to get my medal, water and then some food. I grabbed my bag and put on my extra pullover and jacket. Once I stopped running, I started to get cold fast. I found a spot behind a truck that provide some protection from the wind, and hung out there for a bit. I was having a little pitty party for myself. I just felt really let down. I wish I wouldn't get so stiff during those last 6 or so miles. It's so frustrating! After sitting for a while and thinking over the race, I realized that this was still my second fastest time out of the 9 marathons that I have run. And I'm proud of it. One day I will get a 4:30 marathon and maybe I'll get an even faster time than that. I just need to keep running! :)

1 comment:

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