November 27, 2016
This is my last race of the year. And it is a marathon. I’m not excited. Space Coast and I have a love/hate relationship. This is my third year running the marathon; my first year was OK and I finished with a very slight PR but I ran with a heavy heart as my Grandma had passed away a few days before the race. My second year; 2015; was miserable. My mom was there and was able to watch me finish but I had some foot issues that caused me to walk a good portion of the race. Both years have been hot. It started out kind of nice both years but it got hot fast.
I know I’m not as prepared as I should be; this seems to be my theme for the year. This is 100% on me and I know it. I’m going to give it my best and hope to get through this. I don’t plan on setting any records; I just want to finish.
I head over to Port Canaveral on Saturday for packet pick up. This is always a zoo at this race because the expo is crowded. I head right to the booth and get my bib. I’m directed to the t-shirt desk to get my race shirt. Once I have that and my gear bag, I make a quick loop through the expo and I’m out of there.
I stop by Publix to pick up breakfast and water before heading to my hotel. Once I get to the hotel, I relax and watch TV. Later that night, I meet my friend Matt for dinner (actually, I picked him up at the tire place; we stopped for dinner and then I took him to his hotel; Matt isn’t having a good day!).
I get my race gear set for the next morning and I’m asleep pretty quickly. Once the alarm rings, I’m back up and getting myself together. I pack my bags so I can take them to my car. Even if I finish the race, I’m not going to make it back in time to take a shower because the latest I can check out of my room is noon. I’d have to run the best marathon of my life and get right back to the hotel to make that time! Not gonna happen!
I load my car but leave it at the hotel. I’ll take the bus to the race.
Once the bus arrives, I find some of my friends. Some of my friends are running the half and they start first. So, Matt and I hang out while we wait for our race to start. We both find our pace groups and line up with them.
I started with the 6:00 pace group. We were running 30 seconds and walking 30 seconds. I was very comfortable with the pace so I stuck with them. Just after the 10k mark, I had to stop to use the bathroom. I ate my Honey Stinger chews while I was waiting. When I finished, I grabbed some water at the water stop and then picked back up on my intervals. I made the turn a short distance later and started heading to the mile seven marker.
Just after mile seven is when I started having problems. My left foot felt like it was on fire and my right foot was only marginally better. With every step, my left foot just burned more and more. I also felt a sting on the back of my left foot near my ankle. I stopped to check it and found that my shoe had rubbed a blister on the back of my foot. It was bleeding a little. I tried to pull my sock up to cover it and to prevent it from getting worse.
I kept trying to run but I just couldn’t with my foot hurting so badly. I resolved to stop at the halfway point as there was no way that I was going to make it 13.1 more miles on a foot that felt like it was a bloody mess.
Just around the 12.5 mile mark, I finally took my shoe off. The constant rubbing was unbearable. It wasn’t easy to walk with one shoe off but it was more tolerable than the rubbing that was happening on my foot.
Another runner and I entered the “worm hole” together. The worm hole is a cut-through just past the halfway point on the marathon course. It’s for runners who don’t want to or can’t run the full marathon. You are diverted into the final stretch of the course where the finish line is. But, they cut your timing tag off your shoe so you won’t have an official finish time. As such, if you look me up in the race results, I don’t have a finish time.
This is the first time I’ve ever not finished the race I started. I stopped for the right reasons but it doesn’t make it suck any less. My foot is a literal and figurative bloody mess; I have a blister across the ball of my foot and it’s not pretty. I absolutely would have made this worse if I had kept running. But, I hate not finishing my race.
I was given a marathon medal and told that I could come back at the end of the race to see if there were half marathon medals leftover. If there were leftovers, I could trade. I don’t really care about the medal so I’m not waiting around for that. I also spoke to the race director in regards to my three-year challenge medal. Since the rules of the challenge don’t state that you have to complete three fulls or three halves, I am still eligible for my challenge medal as I did complete a half marathon today. I asked if I had the option of deferring that to next year so I could complete a third marathon. I was told no because they would have no way of knowing that it was my third since my registration would show that it was my fourth year. So, I got my three year challenge medal as well.
I like the Space Coast race. It’s well supported, the swag is fantastic, and the race staff is top notch. The course is pretty and the residents along the course make the runners feel awesome; who doesn’t love a margarita bar, pancakes, and bacon? However, this race and I just haven’t gotten along well. I’ve struggled even when well trained because of the heat (and yes, I realize that no one has any control over that!). The race falls at a time when I need a long run anyhow and it’s always awesome to get a race medal for a training run. I just don’t know if I’ll run this one again or not.
That’s the end of my year of racing. It has been an up and down year for me in so many ways. My running hasn’t been great, I’ve had a lot of injuries, and I’ve been unmotivated. Some of it is mental, some of it is physical, and it’s all emotional. I need to step back and reassess. I also need to get back on track and find balance in my life. That’s my goal for 2017, to find balance again.
I’ll be back in January with a new year of RunBrandyRun. My year starts with Dopey; and of course, I’m not prepared. But, Disney is social running; there’s no pressure to PR, only to have fun. I’ve got many friends that are going to be around so I’ll be in good company. After that, I’m taking a short break to get a handle on things.
Blessings to all my readers for a great New Year.
Until next time…gotta run.