Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Space Coast Marathon

Finally, it is Space Coast Marathon weekend! I've been training all summer for this. This has been my highest mileage marathon training. I had many high 40 and low 50 mile weeks. My goal time was 4:10 - 4:15. I believed it to be doable. My previous best time was 4:22:04. Even though I'd been sick and was dealing with some hip/piriformis pain, I still had high hopes for this goal race.

Carolyn and I drove over Saturday morning, getting to the expo mid-day. What a packed mad house! I thought there might be more room, since they moved the location this year, but it wasn't any better. It was hard to move around. I'm so bummed that I missed seeing Bart Yasso! He was sitting in one of the booths, but because there was so many people, I didn't even see him. :( After the expo, we checked into our hotel, did some shopping at the surf shops, then met friends for an early dinner. I had a yummy gluten free white pizza with grilled chicken. We got back to the hotel early, got our gear layed out, watched tv, then turned in early. We had a 4 am alarm set.

Carolyn, Jackie and me.

Race morning: Carolyn and I were out the door by 4:30. We made it to the parking lot, near the finish line, in good time. There were still plenty of parking spots left, but that didn't last long! We had a long wait, but it was worth it to not have to search for a parking spot. Just before 6, we made our way over to the start area to find Jackie and Emma. The half marathon started a half hour before the marathon. We got a photo, wished Jackie luck and then headed back over to the finish area to use the porta potties. Once again, it took me a little while to find the marathon maniac photo spot (moved from where it was the previous year),but I got there just in time to get in the group photo. We then made our way back over to the start line, a couple of short blocks from the finish area. We wished each other luck then went to our pacers. Carolyn was going to run with the 4:20 pacer and I planned to run near the 4:15 pacer. The national anthem was played, then they put a recording of a shuttle launch on the big screen at the start line. The count down started. There was a blast-off and we were off!

The first mile, around the downtown area, is very crowded and has lots of turns. I separated from the pace group, but still had them in sight. We made a left hand turn, to head out of the downtown area, which took us to the road along the water. We would run north on the Indian River Drive, until we turned around at mile 7ish. We had the Indian River on our right and beautiful houses to our left.The road is two lanes and for the early miles, we had it all to ourselves. I ended up pulling ahead of the pace group. My right hip and piriformis was already starting to hurt. I wanted to get some sort of a time buffer early, before I had to slow down do to pain. Around the 5.5 mile mark, the lead runner passed by on our left. Gradually, we started to encounter more and more runners on our left, so I had to keep to the right side of the road. I tried to find the flat sections, which tended to be in the middle of the road. The road is pretty curvy, so by staying in the middle, I wasn't really able to take the tangents, which lead to a longer overall distance. I saw a few people I knew from Sarasota with the fast group, which was pretty cool. The turn around point, was a very nice bike in the middle of the road. I hope nobody knocked over that bike! Miles 1 through 7 - 9:11, 9:00, 9:10, 9:10, 9:09, 9:15, 8:56

On the way back to the start area. Around mile 8.
As I headed back, I had to put my sunglasses on, as we now had the sun in our eyes. I stated seeing more and more runners. I saw the pace group, which was only a minute or so behind me. A few minutes later, I saw Carolyn with her pace group. The course became very congested. Lots and lots of runners out on the road now. There was one section of our lane, that was under water. We had to run single file along the middle yellow line to get around it. While it had been pretty nice out at the start of the run, now, I was feeling pretty warm. I was sweating alot. I tried to make sure I was drinking enough and taking in nutrition when I should. We headed back into the downtown area just before the half way point. Lots of spectators out here, which was awesome. I stopped at a water table just after mile 13. This is where I took my first walk break. Half marathon time: 2:00! Maybe a little fast! Miles 8 through 13 - 8:58, 9:06, 9:18, 9:23, 9:25, 9:22

Once we head out of the downtown area, we are one again running with the river to our left. I try to continue a good pace, but I feel my legs start to stiffen up. And, as you can see from my splits, I start to slow down. One family, has a big spread of food and drinks (bloody mary's!) out on tables in their front yard. I stop and ask for advil, but, that is the one thing they don't have in their little first aid kit! The heat is really starting to get to me. I start dumping water on my head at every other water stop. We pass the mile 20 marker (for the runners heading back) which lets me know we are getting to the turn around. So happy! There are water tables on both sides of the road. I grab water and start walking, but then talk myself out of it, because I know the turn around is very soon. Just around the corner, we make a sharp u-turn, heading back! Miles 14 through 19 - 9:28, 9:39, 10:19, 9:50, 10:23, 9:48

On the way back, I stop again at a water table. At this one, they have iced cold towels. Oh, that feels wonderful! We turn another corner, now heading north again. There is a wonderful breeze coming off of the water. I have a second wind. I feel stronger, but not for very long. Legs are feeling super stiff. I manage a shuffle/run until I reach water stations, then I take a walking break, before resuming my shuffle. I notice another runner sitting on the side of the road. He has a couple of people with him, checking on him already. He is the third runner I've seen down. The heat was rough on everyone. As I get closer to the finish area, more and more people are out cheering. Bart Yasso is out on the road, yelling encouraging words to the runners. He says "Looking good Marathon Maniac!" I yell back, "Thanks, Bart Yasso!" :) Since I ran this last year, I am more prepared for the weird way we finish. We leave the main road, hop onto the sidewalk, then run this before entering the park. Run along a sidewalk in the park before crossing the finish line. Miles 20 through 26.4 - 11:14, 10:58, 11:50, 10:27, 11:31, 11:04, 10:45, 3:53

Finish time: 4:20:43. Even with the slow shuffle and extra .2 in distance, I manage a 1 min 21 second PR! It's not the sub 4:15 time I wanted, but I'll get there. Maybe next year in Chicago? :)

Holly, Me and Carolyn after the race.

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