This is my second time running one day of the 7 day series of marathons. One day, I may actually run all seven! This year, the event was moved to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, in Silver Springs, just east of Ocala. The park had a wide, paved, 5 mile loop path, perfect for running. I debated with my self about driving up the night before or the morning of, but in the end, I decided it would be safer to drive up the night before. I stayed at the Day's Inn, the host hotel. I found a restaurant that served Gluten Free pasta and pizzas, so as I entered Ocala, I pulled over to call in my take out order. I stopped in at Blue Highway, picked up my Pesto Pasta with Chicken and then headed to the hotel. I got checked in, got everything in the room and then dug into that pasta. It smelled delicious and tasted even better! After dinner, I pulled out my computer and looked for a movie to watch on netflix. I thought about watching Spirit of the Marathon again (for the 5th time!) but instead, watched Run for your Life, the Fred Lebow Story. This would have been a great movie to watch before running the New York City marathon! I enjoyed it and it got me in the mood to run a marathon the next morning. :)
Race morning: I got up with my alarm at 4:30 am. Got my coffee made, got dressed and then climbed back into bed with my laptop. The race site was only 6 miles away, and with such a small race, I didn't need to be there super early. So at 5:30, I walked over to the Denny's, which was attached to the hotel, got a cup of coffee, and headed over to the park. I actually found the park pretty easily. I was worried, because it was so dark out still. I pulled into a parking spot and walked over to the covered area were packet pick up was located. I got my shirt and bib, said hi to Bettie, Jim and Melissa, then went back to my car to finish getting prepared. After a bathroom stop, where I found Melissa again, who gave me her extra iFitness bottle to use (I forgot mine!), I rushed back to the car to get water and then walked over to the start line. Thankfully, I had been warned to bring a headlight, because it was still very dark at race start. After a few course directions from the RD, Chuck Savage, we were off!
The first part of the race is run through the parking lot. We run to the end, loop around a grassy island, then head back towards the start. The RD is standing in the middle of the road, over a cone, to show us where to turn. I run around him and back out to the end of the road, loop around the grassy island again and head back. We now enter the park pathway to our right. I have my first little off course moment here, when I run to the left, instead of going to the right of the aid station. I stop, before getting to far, when I realize the course doens't look right. The women at the aid station notice me and yell over that I'm going the wrong way. I turn around and head back over to the right section of the course. I didn't loose much time and now 3 other guys had caught up to me, so I had some company. I had been in second place, with the lead guy way ahead. One of the guys, who I ended up running a a mile or so with, was Cowboy Jim! He had volunteered at last years race and ran a few laps with me late in the race, when I wasn't feeling so great. He was on day two and running really well. The course is still very dark. I could see the little section of path my light was showing me. I could not see any elevation change, only feel it once it started! About half a mile before the turn around, Cowboy Jim stopped to walk and told me to go ahead. Now I was on my own in the dark! I could see the light of the two guys ahead of me, but I didn't want to look up too much, I needed to keep an eye on the ground so I wouldn't miss the white arrows that were marked on the course. We exited the park, took a left, ran to the end of the street where the aid station was, then headed back to the park, to run back. The entire rest of this loop, I am on my own. It is gradually getting lighter, which I am thankful for, as I am running up the last hill of this loop, it is light enough to turn off my light. I head into the main aid station, grab some water and head back out. It has been misting on us for most of this loop, I had taken my maniac jacket off during the first loop and tied it around my waist. I decide to keep it with me one more lap, just in case it gets really cold. Miles 1-6 - 9:15, 9:29, 9:22, 9:35, 9:21, 9:27
As I head out for lap number 3, I see that my lead on the next woman runner has decreased. Oh, well. I just work on my own pace. I pass Bettie on the course, telling her how I took a wront turn. She then tells me that the course is also a little long. Ah, man. That's going to add even more time to my overall finish time! I am happy that she told me though. I'd rather know ahead of time. During the second part of this 3rd lap, the woman who had been behind me, catches up. She is running with another guy and they are looking strong! She asks about my pacing and tells me I'm doing great and that I'll take overall female. I say, no, that will be you! She then tells me that she plans to finish this third lap and then walk the rest. She is training for another race, that is her goal race. I think to myself, "yeah, right. I'll believe the walking when I see it!" Sure enough, I see her as I come into the aid station. She takes off running right as I come in! Lap 4 goes pretty well. It has been raining off and on all morning. My feet are cold and wet, but I keep plugging away. The little hills are starting to get a little tougher to power up, but I do my best. As seen in the splits I've listed, I start to slow down during this lap. Miles 13 through 22 - 9:27, 9:11, 9: 35, 9:34, 9: 35, 9:27, 940, 10:10, 9:49, 10:17
|One of the little hills on the first part of the loop.|
The last lap: I head out on the last lap feeling happy. I know I can get this PR! I am way ahead of time based on my 4:30 pace band. Even with the added distance of the wrong turn and longer course, I know I should have it. I just need to focus and not hit the wall like I do in many of my marathons! I take the hills on the way out, much slower than I have been, but I keep going. I pass by the guy who had been running with the lead woman. I ask him how he is doing and what happened to his friend. He tells me that she just could help herself and decided to keep running. I knew it! :) When I get to the last aid station, half way through the loop, I grab some water, and walk a bit. I walk a little to long. I walk down the road and back onto the path, telling myself to get moving! Finally I do start running again. That was a long break! Which is why that was a 12:06 minute mile! Ah well. I try to run a good pace the last couple of miles. I keep thinking of this awesome PR I will have, and that helps to keep me moving. Once my watch shows 26.2, I look to see my time. 4:16!!! Wow! Now I just need to get that as an official time! I get up that one last hill, then take the little down hill and power it into the finish. So happy! Miles 23 through 26.98 - 10:08, 10:29, 12:06, 10:36, 10:28
Chuck Savage, who is waiting at the finish line, gives me my medal. We get a photo taken of us by one of the volunteers and then I slowly walk over to the aid tables, grab a banana and cup of chocolate milk and then head to a bench to sit. I am feeling a bit nauseous. I had wanted to go back to the hotel, shower and head back out to cheer in the other runners, but by the time I got to the hotel, I was shaking so badly from the cold, I blasted the heater and tried to get warm. That was the roughest post race I've ever had. Cold, upset stomach. Thankfully, I was feeling a bit better after resting for about an hour. I decided it would be a good idea to hit the road and get back home.
Overall, I am super happy with my 7 minute PR! I guess I run well in the rain. I think the cooler temps really helped. Look forward to my next marathon!
|The course. You can see my little detour near the mile 10 marker.|