Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jacksonville Best Damn Race Half Marathon

Half marathon #71
January 14, 2017
Gina and I headed up to Jacksonville Friday afternoon. They drive took longer than I thought it would. We arrived at packet pickup 5 minutes before they closed!  We then headed to dinner and then to our hotel. The next morning, we made our way to the race start, which was at a waterfront park next to the Jacksonville Jaguars football stadium. Lots of parking available as well as real bathrooms! We watched the 10K and 5K runners start, then got lined up for our half marathon start. The was in the low 60s, with fog in the air. Not the best conditions. I stood near the 2 hour pacer, hoping to stay in front for the entire race. Since I was not in the best training shape, I knew the chances of a PR were not good.
After the national anthem was sung, we were off! We had a wide 4 lane road to run on for about half a mile, which was awesome. Soon, I was smelling the most wonderful scent. Coffee! The Maxwell House coffee plant was on the course! Just after mile one, we encountered our first hill. It was an overpass bridge. It wasn’t long, but it was kind of steep! During the rest of the course, there were some small up hills, but nothing as bad as the first one. We passed through some great old neighborhoods and some cute shopping districts. I ran a couple of miles with a guy with a half fanatics tank on. We chatted about our races and training. He had been racing almost every weekend and was still pushing the pace faster than I could hold for long! He pulled ahead around mile 5. The course is pretty much an out and back. A couple of minutes after getting to the turnaround, I saw Gina. She wasn’t far behind! Miles 1 through 7: 8:10, 8:25, 8:28, 8:33, 8:46, 8:47, 8:47
I started to slow down on the way back. I struggled to keep my pace around 9 min miles. I walked through a couple of the water stops and when I hit the last up hill pathway, I walked it! I figured I could run the down hill and make up some time. But, the down hill was a square ramp, so I would get two steps in and take a sharp right turn. This was hard on my right knee. So, I didn’t push the speed on the down hill like I wanted. Once I passed the Maxwell House building, I knew I was getting close to the finish. I tried to pick up the pace a bit. We made a right turn off of the main road, to run over grass and finish in the middle of the park. So happy to be done and so happy to have finished under 2 hours! Miles 8 through 13.2 (course was a bit long)- 9:11, 9:06, 9:10, 9:18, 9:59, 9:01, 1:39
Finish: 1:57:39
4th in age group
A mile or so from the finish!

Gina finished just under 2 hours! Hooray! We got a couple of beers, then stood in line for the free massage. The massage was totally worth the long wait. We then got some food and then headed out as a light run started to fall. I enjoyed this course, but probably wouldn’t make the trip back up to Jacksonville for the race. It was just a really far drive. But, we made a fun weekend out of it. Headed to Epcot after getting cleaned up. J

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