Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ft Myers Marathon

November 9, 2014
Ft Myers, FL

What a great summer of training. I followed a more aggressive training plan over the summer. Many weeks of high 40 and low 50 mile training weeks. Finally, it's the weekend to put all that training into practice. I eagerly checked on the weather forcast in the days leading up to the race. Every time I checked, the morning low showed low 60s and rain. Not good. In the back of my mind, I knew this could turn into a training run, since I have Space Coast Marathon in 3 weeks.
Gina and I headed down to Ft Myers early Saturday afternoon. It was only a 1.5 hour trip, we could have driven the morning of the race, but a friend said we could stay with her Saturday night, so why not get down there and sleep a little later in the morning. We got to the race expo, after a little detour around the downtown area. Not much of an expo. There were some booths set up in the parking lot and then 4 booths in the event room of the host restaurant. We were in and out in about 15 minutes. We had time, so we wondered around the local mall before heading to my friends house. We hung out for a bit before heading to Outback to meet Darlene, Carolyn, Ariana and Wendy for our pre race dinner. After a great dinner, it was back to the house and then to bed early. Race morning, we were out the door before 6am. Quick stop at Starbucks for a coffee and then on to the race site. We got there earlier enough to get a great spot a block from the starting line. We got all our gear ready, then headed over to the restaurant to meet everyone. A big group was here from Sarasota! After lots of pre race photos, we headed outside, where thankfully it wasn't raining, and waited for the race to start.

Running over the first bridge.
Carolyn, Gina, Darlene, Ariana and I all started off together. We had run most of our long training runs together, so we figured we would stick together for at least part of the race. I felt pretty good right from the get go. The rain started within a mile of the start. Thankfully, it was pretty light, so not an issue. The half marathoners and marathon runners all started together. We had a two lane road to use, so it was never over crowded. There was a strange turn around, early, for just the marathoners. So when we turned, we were able to see some our friends who were behind us. After a couple of miles, I was finding it hard to hold back my pace. I told Gina I wanted to run a little faster. I pulled ahead of the group, but figured they were not far behind. Mile 2 is also the start of the first bridge. We take the Caloosahatchee Bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. This is a 4 lane bridge, with one of the two northern lanes closed for the runners. Just a line of cones holding the cars away from runners. I stay to the right. I don't trust drivers in this rain. Because it's still early, there are not many cars out yet. We run along Cleveland Ave for a couple of miles, before turning right. We are on this road for about half a mile, before we turn left on Tamiami Trail. At this corner is a sign saying "first lap, left. Second lap, left. Third lap, right." What?!? A half a milish down the road, we turn right. At the end of this road is a water stop. We turn right at the end of this road turn left, taking us back to Cleveland Ave, were we head back to that sign for the second loop. Along this stretch. I catch up with a guy (Joe) who has on a Bill's Beer Run shirt. We start talking. He is from Sarasota too! We end up running a mile or so together before he pulls ahead while we are on Tamiami Trail again. As I head into that water stop, I see Joe ahead, running straight on the road past the water station, instead of turning right. I stop and ask one of the volunteers, which way I'm supposed to go. The girl says to go straight. Signs would have been helpful!! I make the left turn back onto Cleveland Ave, make the left on to the other road, then finally turn right on Tamiami trail, instead of running another loop. What a depressing area we have been running in so far. Cleveland Ave was OK, but Tamiami Trail had a lot of closed businesses or run down buildings. Not much to look at around here. Just before mile 11, we make our way over the other bridge. We make a right onto the road that runs along the water. Just after mile 12, we turn to the left, while the half marathoners head straight, on their way to the finish.
Splits for miles 1 through 12 - 9:37, 9:33, 9:00, 9:18, 9:16, 9:22, 9:07, 9:18, 9:19, 9:05, 9:09, 9:13

I go over the map in my mind, thinking we should be running on this side of the river for a while. This does not happen. We make a right turn, starting the climb up the Caloosahatchee Bridge again! This was not on the race course map! This is not good. I make my way over the bridge, hoping that we don't have to run that strange 2 loop course again. We do make a right turn on the same road as before, but stay to the southern side of the road. No double loop! We get to the end of this road and make another right turn on Tamiami Trail, heading back to that second bridge. This explains the 16 mile marker sign I saw on the bridge earlier. This will be bridge crossing #4. Just before getting to the bridge, I see runners on the other side of the road, heading off the bridge. This really shocks me, because now I realize we will have to cross this bridge again. Twice, because we will need to get back over to get to the finish line. I was not prepared for 6 bridge crossings! As I make my way down the bridge, my legs are already starting to feel sore. At the bottom of the bridge, we make a left turn and then a short while later, make another left, to head back up the 3rd bridge. Bottom of the bridge is mile 17. As I am slowly making my way up, I hear a couple of women talking behind me. One sounds like Gina. I turn my head and sure enough, it's her! She yells out that she is trying to catch up. I tell her, she will have no problem! She does catch me at some point on the down hill. My legs are really cramping and my bladder (which has been giving me problems for a couple of hours now) is full. I need a porta pottie! Gina and I run together for a few minutes, before I tell her not to slow down for me. I tell her to go on with out me. She is having an awesome race. I feel happy for her! We make a right turn off Tamiami into a neighborhood. Just before mile 19, I see a water stop and a porta pottie. Thankfully, there is no one inside. I try to make it quick, but with the stop there and then water, a banana and walking after the stop, I add a minute and a half to the pace I had been keeping up to this point. :(
Splits for miles 13 through 19 - 9:35, 9:30, 9:40, 9:33, 9:55, 9:53, 11:34

One of the 3 bridges we crossed.

I thought the stop and little bit of walking and stretching might help give me a boost for the last 10K, but this did not happen. If anything, I started to feel more tight and stiff. My running really slowed. I needed to take more walking breaks. We ran two big loops through this neighborhood, before heading back to the main road. On my second loop, I caught up with Darlene. Her fiance was on his bike giving her water. She wasn't have such a great race. We shared a few words, before I continued my slow run. Finally, I was heading back to the bridge, for my last crossing. I was not feeling good, and head to tell myself over and over to not stop, keep running until the uphill portion. I managed to get through the flat part of the bridge, before walking up the hill part. Slow run down, my quads were on fire!, and then a turn to the right. At the water stop here, I suddenly feel very light headed. I drink down my water and continue on, with hopes I will be ok. Another right turn took us to the base of the second bridge. Thankfully, we made a left turn here. No more bridge crossings! Back along the road bordering the river. Finally, I can see the finish line. It is very far away, almost a mile, but it is there. I tell myself that I can no longer walk. I look at my watch, to see that I have a very small window to still pull off a PR, but it would only be by seconds, not by 5-7 minutes I had been hoping for. I try to pick up the pace a little, finishing with a grimace and not the smile I always try to finish with. Gina and Wendy are there at the finish to great me. We grab some water and food, before heading into the Restaurants meeting room.
Splits for miles 20 through 26.2 - 11:07, 10:16, 12:24, 10:26, 13:28, 10:29, 3:08
Finish: 4:22:08

So, in the end, no PR for me today. I was off of my best time by 5 seconds! I know I am a much stronger and faster runner, than I was earlier this year when I ran my best marathon time, so I plan on recovering this week and getting that PR at Space Coast at the end of the month! :)

Download of the course from my Garmin.

1 comment:

  1. Even though it was not a PR you will go out and get it next time! Congrats on finishing! The marathon always has a surprise ending :) Congrats too on being a Skirt Sports ambassador. Can't wait to get to know you better!