I did it! Marathon number seven is in the books! Instead of a regular recap I figured I’d mix it up and break it down by mile the way the S.O. did for MCM. I actually tried very hard to remember each mile as I ran. It was a surprising way to also keep myself mentally focused. Good trick for future races, btw.
On Saturday we got to the hotel and opened the door and saw a huge conference table. Apparently, with our king bed, came a conference suite. We found this hilarious, of course, and worked on our TPS reports.
|Ummm, yeah, I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday.|
Then we picked our packets and met up with Meghan and Caitlyn for an early dinner at Brio (they have a great gluten free menu). The four of us discussed our race plans and due to the less than stellar weather reports, I decided I’d just start with the 4 hour pace group and go from there. I declared that I would not be PR’ing and just wanted to feel better than I did at Miami. I just don’t do well in warm weather and knew in my heart that shooting for a 3:45 would be a disaster.
I put that conference table to use and set out “flat B.o.B.”
|Team Spandits! (Aurora Borealis shorts. NO CHAFING!)|
When we got to the gym to await the start, it was 71 degrees and muggy. Storms were predicted to be on the way.
|Me, the S.O., Caitlyn, and Meghan|
We all said good luck to each other, I went to the porta potty for the 2nd time and then found my way to the 4 hour pace group. I saw my friends Hugo & Holly and chat with them.
Mile 1: 8:52 – I started behind a 4 hour pace group. But it was the Galloway (run/walk method) pace group. As soon as they shouted “Walking!” I thought, “Oh crap” and made my way around them. I can’t run/walk without having trained that way. It hurts.
Mile 2: 8:51 – Feeling fine and catch up to some running buddies from my old stomping grounds. A guy I know from the old crew named Randy and I fall in step and start talking.
Mile 3: 8:51 – Start feeling really warm. Approach the 5K finish line and think about stopping. Joke about stopping with Randy.
Mile 4: 9:04 – Pull back a little as Randy and I chat. He tells me about his daughters, who are gymnasts.
Mile 5: 9:04 – Feeling so-so. Starting to realize that the end of this marathon is going to hurt. Mentally have a talk with myself about working through the pain at the end and running for as long as I can.
Mile 6: 9:14 – Get nervous. Realize that I have to decide here if I want to drop down to the half. I decide against it, with Randy, and we keep moving. We run into my friend Teresa and she tells us she is dropping down to the half. She’s got the Goofy Challenge at Disney next weekend and it’s not worth the risk.
Mile 7-9: 9:05, 9:05, 8:57 – Not much to say for miles 7-9. We chat and Randy asks me which hotel I’m staying at. I tell him and he realizes, “Oh yeah. I talked to you in the elevator yesterday.” We laugh and the oxygen deprivation sets in.
Mile 10: 9:14 – We slow a bit as we chat and I start thinking that dropping to the half may not have been a terrible idea.
Mile 11: 8:55 – Not sure why this was sub 9, I think we hit a small downhill.
Mile 12: 9:17 – Randy tells me he doesn’t feel well. I try to think of a question to get his mind off of it. I ask him if he has children. He laughs, “And says, yeah, they are gymnasts.” Damn that oxygen deprivation! I lie and tell him he’ll feel better at mile 13.
Mile 13 9:13 – The non-Galloway 4 hour pace group catches us. I latch on to them and think Randy is right behind me. I am afraid to slow down and I just stay behind a guy with a big M Dot on his calf. He’s pacing his friend to sub-4 and I listen to them talk like a stalker. I don’t want to talk because I think I’m conserving energy. It begins to torrential downpour.
Mile 14: 9:05 – I’ve officially lost Randy. We had said this would be fine. I try to hang onto the 4 hour group. M Dot guy and his buddy start to pull away as I slow for a water stop.
Mile 15: 9:19 – I tell myself to make it to mile 20 and things will be fine from there. I have no idea why I think this. But I keep repeating, “Get to mile 20. Get to mile 20.”
Mile 16: 9:05 – It’s still raining off and on. The Galloway 4 hour folks catch me. I’m losing the non-Galloway 4 hour group.
Mile 17: 9:22 – Just. Get. To. Mile. 20. I play leap frog with the Galloway 4 hour group. I pass them just as the pacer yells, “Walk!” and then lose them again as she yells, “Run!”
Mile 18: 9:28 – Things are really hurting here. It’s pouring again and my back is hurting. I’m frustrated because I’ve run faster long runs than this. What is going on? The Galloway folks seem to be sprinting to me at this point. Why are they running so fast?
Mile 19: 10:04 – I’m almost to mile 20. I think I’m running really fast and realize I’m running a ten minute mile. I swear it felt so much faster!
Mile 20: 9:34 – I made it to 20! Only six more to go! Yay!
Mile 21: 9:31 – I start thinking about walking. I really want to walk but instead I try to think of Meb and what he would do. Then I think how his not stopping is still a seven minute mile and then I laugh at the thought of that. I run through a HUGE puddle. I consider doing the breaststroke through it. Just for shiggles. But then I think about ringworm and change my mind.
Mile 22: 9:33 – I am hanging on for dear life. I keep running but my lower back is miserable and the outside of my right leg is killing.
Mile 23: 10:07 – I break down and walk. I try to only walk for a minute or two but damn it feels great to walk.
Mile 24: 10:32 – Yup, more walking. I stop and bend over to ease the pain in my back and a nice man tells me to walk backwards, that helps. I start walking backwards and wonder if I’ll bust my ass and then turn around and walk forwards for a minute. I jog again.
Mile 25: 11:04 – Yeah, this last mile is ugly. I’m so close but I’m so tired! I walk for more than I want to admit.
Mile 26: 10:04 – I decide I am going to run this whole mile but take it as slow as I want. I know that I’m going to be close to 4:05 and I make my peace with it. I’m so proud of myself for keeping it relatively together up to this point. There was no sobbing, no thoughts of “never running again.” I definitely thought of that looming Ironman and how if I can’t make it through this, I’m gonna struggle with 140.6 miles!
Mile 0.36: 9:21 – I get to the track, see my friend Karen and run what feels like the longest 400 of my life. I’m so glad to be finished. I see 4:07 and know it’s not been my perfect day but I’m really proud of how I ran and how I got through the tough miles.
I immediately ask Karen if she’s seen the S.O. and she has. I see Caitlyn passing out medals, learn she dropped to the half (also smart decision for her, even though it’s a tough one) and then I see the S.O. He ran a PR in such crappy weather. I’m so happy for him!
We decide to get the heck outta dodge, since the S.O.’s hands are white from his circulation issues (as evidenced above) and hop on the bus back to our hotel. As we’re sitting on the bus, Meghan’s finish time comes through and she too has run a PR! Meghan & the S.O. are my heroes!
Thoughts on the Race Itself
Jacksonville Marathon is a very well organized race. However, if you are looking for bells and whistles, this isn’t the marathon for you. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t have an expo. It’s flat and fast and the volunteers and race staff were very friendly and helpful. The first few water stations seems a little chaotic but nothing that would deem this race un-doable. The weather stunk, but it definitely cannot be controlled by the RD’s. Overall, I think this is a good, small marathon. I enjoy the small ones because they are easy to get in and out of. No muss, no fuss.
It’s so funny because after I finished I thought for sure I’d beaten my Miami marathon time by a solid ten minutes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I finished Miami in 4:06, a minute faster. The difference is in how much walking I did and how I adjusted at the start for the temperature. I also had a better strategy and mental game going in. In Miami I ran hard the first half and payed for it big time the second half. It wound up that running slow and steady for this race meant less walking but a more even time throughout. I still didn’t negative split the half but I am in such a better place mentally about this race and I ran a whole minute slower!
I learned how to stay out of the “bite me” zone for this race and to take what I could from the course. I’m not done with the stand alone marathon but I will wait until after Ironman Chattanooga to decide which one I’ll try for number eight.
Thank you all for the support and cheers and encouragement and love. This was a great way to close out 2013.
Good job pushing through on number 7 Beth! I'm glad you felt like it was such a better race for you than Miami because of your race execution. The Galloway group was see-sawing with us for a long time too, and it would drive me crazy how much faster they were running and then how they'd just stop. They really aren't walking at a certain pace, are they? I channeled my inner swimmer for part of the race too, and I guess that helped keep a little sanity too. It's crazy to think that Chattanooga is going to have to consume all thoughts for the next 9 months, but yay for your next 26.2! I had fun at dinner and hanging out before the race. Thanks for also helping me soothe some of my anxiety via text too.
Oh Beth. I loved reading this! Is it bad i was laughing at a few points especially at lying to Randy about feeling better at mile 13 and doing the breat stroke through a puddle.. you did awesome, ran smart, and seemed to have a pretty positive attitude which is hard enough on a good day. Anyway u did awesome!
Very nice write up! It seems like both you and Meghan were in such good mental places during this race regardless of time compared to both your last ones. I think we should all pick one for 2015 🙂 CONGRATS ON #7! Feat in itself!
Congrats on number 7! That hotel room is halarious. Have a happy new year!
Congrats on #7! I know it didn't go quite as expected but you pushed through the pain both mentally and physically! Don't doubt the training – you'll get through 140.6! Loved the oxygen deprivation conversations, so funny 🙂 Congrats again!
Congrats on your race and the lessons gleaned. No two are alike and you handled this one well in spite of the conditions. Stay healthy and enjoy 2014.
Congratulations! I'm hoping to get to a 5:00 marathon one day, 4:30 would be a dream! It's definitely a mental game and you handled it well 🙂
We need to talk about your back issue. I have the same problem but not all the time, which is irritating. How do you work through it? Mine gets so bad my legs can't lift.
Congrats again, Beth! That darn Galloway group…they tormented me in a past race too 🙂 glad you and randy were able to keep each other company for a while
Nicely done Beth… sorry that I could not come out and support.
way to hang tough in the crappy weather.
Great job Beth! So sorry the weather was so crappy but you really made the best of it. I so admire your ability to push through it all! Congrats on another marathon in the books!
Congrats on finishing a tough race and pushing through the "suck." I know the weather and conditions were not ideal for the race you had planned, but I truly believe and say it often that these races that we push through that feel so hard are the ones that are our greatest victories. Congrats to you and Nick on a great marathon. Can't wait to see all you'll do in 2014! xo
You'll be surprised how easy the marathon will feel during your Ironman. I usually finish marathons hating life, but since I took the marathon conservatively at INFLATION I finished feeling great. The difference is you won't be pushing your limits on speed as much. Walking ia good during 140.6 😉
awesome job girlie! You did a nice job playing it smart all while being proactive with your approach to the race being a bad weather day! You enjoyed the smaller race and looked at the glass half full – another reason why you're my her duh!
Wow! Awesome job! I have to say, I am totally impressed with how you didnt start walking until mile 23. I would have started walking around mile 1….
I say this a lot, but you seriously are my hero. I am amazed at how you push through the miles and the weather gave you quite a challenge. Congrats on #7
Did you ever know that you're my hero, everything that I would like to beeeeeeeeeeeee
Ok. Yup you rock and so proud of you for pushing through in seriously sucky conditions. Way to rock the sassy pants!
As I finished and a few minutes later the sky really let loose, I thought of you and Meghan still out on the course and said a prayer you were doing already. I give you mad props for sticking with the full in those conditions. I'm 150% sure if it had been me, I'd have turned left at that sign and switched to the half.
You will get that 3:45. I think Ironman training is going to make you so incredibly strong – physically AND mentally.
What is up with you and rainy ass marathons?!?!
And SO's hands! OMG!!!
I'm really proud of you for gutting through this Boo. You are always stronger then you think.
^^^remind me not to do marathons with you if they're going to all have rain… and whoa, those hands!
way to tough out another rough race. why was your back hurting though? :-/ and what's up with that conference table? woo woo talk about a hot night! 😉
I am UNfasionably late to this party, but I really enjoyed your recap. I could totally relate to the emotion that comes through in your descriptions throughout the miles. More importantly, I am super-pround to be one of your running friends. You are AWESOME!!!
Looking at your paces for the first 6 miles, we must have been running right by each other!! I was thrown off by the Galloway pacer too. My husband is also training for Chattanooga so I'm glad I found your blog!! I look forward to reading more and newer posts!