November 29, 2014
I am a ball of jitters when I get up this morning. I didn’t sleep particularly well and I feel like I am all out of sorts. I take a few deep breaths and try to go through my normal pre-race morning routine. This helps some but I still feel discombobulated.
I head to the bus stop a few minutes early. There are only two buses scheduled to run and I don’t want to wait for the second one for fear of cutting it too close to the start time. I’d rather be an hour early than one minute late.
The bus isn’t very crowded and the few people that are on it are all very quiet. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who isn’t fully functional yet!
It’s a chilly morning and the wind blowing makes it feel even colder. I have a long sleeved shirt on that I can throw away later when I warm up. I find a place to sit and then just try to stay warm. The half marathon starts before the full marathon and I have about an hour until either is set to go.
I chatted with a really nice lady who was also running the full. And, I ran into a couple of my friends who are running the half. I seem to have more and more running friends thanks to Facebook. I haven’t met all of them but I am starting to recognize faces when I see them.
Once the half marathoners are sent on their way, the full marathoners are moved into the starting area. We are crammed in the street waiting to start. As I make my way back, I find the 5:30 pacer. My plan is to stick with him as long as I can. He has mentioned that he is going to do intervals so I will stick with this group.
After a video rocket launch and the National Anthem, we are sent on our way. The first half of the full marathon is an out and back loop along a coastal, residential area. The course has some rolling hills (Florida hills, folks) and is shaded by heavy trees. It’s quite pretty.
The pacer is talking to us as we run. He is running a little fast on his run segments and mentions to us as we get to through the first two miles a bit too quickly that we need to keep him in check! I stay just behind him so I can hear what he is saying when he talks to the group. He’s a very good pacer and makes sure to alert us of upcoming water and bathroom stops.
About six miles down, we make the loop to come back towards the start. I’ve been able to keep up for the most part but I can feel myself running low. I’ve still got a long way to go. I make the decision to switch to my intervals (1/1). The pacer’s intervals were just not working for me. I don’t know that I’ll keep up with the group but I need to run my pace. I felt kind of wonky this morning anyhow; I need to listen to my body. There’s no reason for me to push too hard and risk an injury with Dopey right around the corner.
I feel a bit better after switching to my intervals. But, I’ve also been thinking while running and I’ve come to the conclusion that I haven’t been training as well as I did for Dopey #1. I picked a different training plan to follow and I haven’t followed it with the same discipline that I had when I prepared for Dopey the first time. Additionally, my cross training at the gym has been way off from what it was at this same point last year and I know that’s a big part of my success as a runner. Cross training really helped me take off weight while still running; runners can have a hard time losing weight while training because running makes you so hungry! I’ve noticed the pounds steadily creeping back on and I don’t like it. I know a large part of this is because my training has been so erratic. I reconcile to address all of this with my trainer after Star Wars weekend in January. Right now, I need to get through this race and focus on being ready for Dopey and Star Wars.
I make it to the halfway point and I’m on good time. I started off a bit aggressive with the pacer but I can still achieve a PR if I keep even and steady. My legs are still feeling a little off but I am not feeling badly overall.
After the halfway point, the full marathon course merges with the half marathon course. We are going out and the half marathoners that haven’t finished their race yet are on their way to the finish line. It’s awesome to see so many runners. This race has a solid following for both events.
This part of the course is also an out and back. It’s mostly flat and, like the first part of the marathon course, runs along a coastal, residential area that has a lot of shade. There are some sections that aren’t shaded though. And, in those spots, the sun can be brutal.
It has warmed up considerably since we started. I took off my long sleeve shirt awhile back and it is tied around my waist. I opted not to toss it because the wind was still blowing a bit and I wasn’t sure if I would want to put it back on. Now, it’s nearly drenched in sweat.
I make it to about mile 19 before my legs start cramping and getting really tight. At this point, I’m doing two minute walks and barely getting through a one minute run. I am hydrated and I’ve been fueling properly but my hamstrings are not having any part of it. As my walk segments keep getting longer and longer, I resolve to just walk. I can keep a pretty good clip when I’m walking so maybe, just maybe, I can still put up a personal best.
The crowd support is amazing along this course. Residents set up tables and such in their yards and cheered for runners as we passed by them. One group was handing out pancakes (BEST PANCAKES EVER); there was a group handing out beverages (of the adult variety); there was even a group handing out candy (MMMMMM….CHOCOLATE!). It was great to have such a well supported course. The residents really seemed to embrace the runners and the race. That is truly fantastic!
About mile 24, the 5:45 pacer passed me. I don’t know how far behind me they started but I vow to at least give it my best to keep up with them. My marathon PR is 5:49 and shaving even a couple of minutes off is better than nothing. I keep pushing myself as much as possible and as I approach the final stretch, I feel tears in my eyes. I have no idea what my time is or how close I may or may not be to a PR. All I know at this moment is that I am finishing a marathon. I’ve had a load of personal crap happen this week and it has been a generally crappy week. I’ve had so much on my mind that, many times, I’ve felt like I couldn’t make a complete thought because everything has just been so scattered. Pushing through everything else to get here today is just a reminder that life isn’t always easy. But, you can always do anything if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
My official time was 5:47:37; a new PR by two minutes. This is bittersweet for me. It’s hard not to be happy about a personal best. I just know I could’ve done so much better.
I receive my medal and the completely awesome beach towel and then make my way to get some food. There are pancakes somewhere and I am dying to have some. I get some pancakes and a Coke (a regular one!) and then find a place to eat. I don’t have a lot of time to linger because I need to get back to the hotel to shower and checkout. The hotel where I stayed graciously extended the checkout time for runners to 1 PM. I have about 40 minutes to get back, get showered, and checkout.
As I board the bus, a new stream of tears trickles down my cheeks. My feet are killing me, my legs hurt, and I am overwhelmed with the emotions of the week and of today. And, I’m just plain tired! Maybe once I’m home, I can get a good nap. Good sleep can solve a lot of things or at least give your mind a break from things. And my mind could certainly use the break!
While I was driving, I made a quick stop for some delicious Hot Now Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I needed to go to the bathroom, so I made an exit off the Greenway in Orlando to find a quick stop. I had intended to stop at Starbuck’s but couldn’t find it (I turned the wrong way). I saw the “Hot Now” sign was blazing at Krispy Kreme so, of course, I stopped for some of the warm deliciousness.
I was about 20 minutes from the kennel heading to pickup my kids before I went home when I got behind this guy. All I could think of was the “mayhem” commercials from Allstate. I took the first opportunity I could to get around this dude. This had disaster written all over it in multiple languages to me!
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