Space Coast Marathon RR
After Vegas, I started recovering for the Space Coast Marathon. We have been doing this race every year to get our Big Bang Series, which means you have to run the race for the 5 years to get it. Year 3 included the Milky Way Challenge Medal, which basically assures you are a candidate for the Big Bang Series and the Five Year Intergalactic Series medal, so long as you complete the next two. I am doing the five marathons and hubby is doing the HMs. This was his first HM. The medals are based on each of the shuttles:
The race is in Cocoa Beach, FL, home of the Kennedy Space Center and the Atlantis. The race has a nice course full of small rollers (Little Blue might say otherwise, but it is not Florida flat by any means ), but near the beach. During the prior two years we have run it, the temps have been in the low 60s, cloudy, and not much of a problem. We always look forward to this race as it has a great party, Yuengling, and awesome medals.
However, it appears it is still Summer in Florida. We were in the mid 90s for heat indexes and 75 dewpoints until last Sunday. Then, we had a "cold" front of highs in the 80s and low dewpoints (65, ahem, that's low, right?) So, the weather for Space Coast looked to be the warmest I have seen it but at least the dewpoints would be in the normal category. The HM started in 65F and the marathon in 68F. However, the high for the day was 78F and I managed to finish when it was 77F. The course is shaded, somewhat, but the sun was brutal because there were no clouds. Apart from the sun, we were lucky with the weather compared to what was forecasted before.
Since the weather was not ideal and I still felt blah after Vegas (I am still coughing on occasion and my throat seems to be a bit angry still), I planned on having a fun time, run it, and not expect a PR. I told people I didn't have a goal but I always added: well, I want a course PR and I don't want to run above 4:40, and let me check what the 4:30 pacer is going to run, so I guess I did have some sort of plan in my mind, but did not want to accept it. I know my PR is soft but I'm basically out of luck this year. And I am OK with that. I have not run these many marathons close to each other this fast ever, I think.
We arrived to Cocoa on Saturday afternoon, did the expo, met some of my friends from the INB Fan Group (admins, unite), and went to eat at our favorite mofongo place in Orlando. Did some shopping, went back to Cocoa, had some nice margaritas and dinner, and went to bed. Therefore, of course, I only slept two hours....
This was to be my first marathon using the Altras Intuition 2s. I used them for Vegas, but you know how that ended. Hubby recommended I tried them due to the huge toe box. We thought maybe it would fix my toe bunching the sock. I have to report it did! Hoping it stays that way.
The HM starts at 6am and the HM at 6:30am (due to the course tightness, the HM needs to start first). We drove to the start at 5am and headed to the potties, met some people, forgot to text Little Blue to meet, and ate my donuts and Mtn Dew. I dropped hubby at his start and started to wait. I located the 4:30 pacers (one for Galloway and one for straight running) and stood behind them.
Off we went! Immediately, the 4:30 pacer disappeared and the Galloway one was way ahead. So much for that plan! After Mile 1, I noticed my lap had not sounded and that's when I realized I had reset my TomTom to fix a glitch in the HR (I do it every 6-9 months) and you have to replan laps either by manual or by distance (or other options). So, I had no laps and TomTom has no manual laps unless you tell it to. So, all I have was HR and overall lap pace (for the whole race). Good enough! I just basically ignored the pace and concentrated on looking at my HR every 1/2 mile or so to make sure I wasn't going past my racing HR for marathons. I am still unable to see the 4:30 pacers even though I am going at around 10:20mm.
Since the first half is in the dark and with hardly any sun, my first half went really easy and nice. I keep getting faster with every mile but I feel great. My HR is on point, and I finally see the Galloway pacer. The dance starts. I pass them while they are walking and then I get sandwiched while they are running. Rinse and repeat. I passed them at Mile 5 only to be sandwiched between the 4:30 pacer and the Galloway one. I finally passed them all at Mile 6. Of course, they passed me back way later with much less people than how they started. They were going to fast as I passed the HM mat in 2:13 and they started with me.
As I head to Mile 14, I keep looking at my husband (he usually waits for me to pass) but didn't see him. Didn't see him in the next 2 miles (the HMers are finishing going down while we head up), so I knew he ran at least faster than 2:45. The sun is finally up in the sky and it gets hot really fast. By then it was probably 73F already. Fortunately, the humidity was still in the low 60s. They said there was a headwind and the winds were at around 20mph, but with the sudden heat, I did not feel it at all. I was throwing water over my head since Mile 10. My tank was completely soaked and my skirt started dropping water on my feet from sweat and water. But I still was feeling fine.
By Mile 16, I noticed my overall pace is dropping at least second per mile. Not bad, I thought, considering it feels hotter every mile and the sun is in front of me until Mile 20. At Mile 18 I start feeling my old friend the side stitch rise up. As you remember, this is the race I ran last year with a huge side stitch for 6 miles. Well, this time I ran with it for 8 miles, but I start working around it faster this time around so it hurt less. I walked for 30 seconds at Mile 19 to get the stitch to STFU and it worked, so I ran 1.5 miles more and do the same when the pain got too high. By now I pass the 20 mile marker and mat and my pace has dropped from 10:08 to 10:13, I think or somewhere around there. Not bad, but with this pain, I cannot keep it.
At Mile 21 I see this girl on the floor either passed out or getting there (I was coming up Mile 18). A lady is asking her if she is OK and she mumbles so I slowed but didn't stop. When I cross Mile 21, I had to stop to let the emergency vehicle pass and when I get to where it parked, they are working on the girl. Hope she is OK.
Somewhere around here, both 4:30 pacers pass me. I start the dance with the Galloway group but they soon prevail. I see more people passing me, but I am also passing walkers (those that cannot even run a step). I can run but not for longer than 5 minutes before the side stitch gets worse, so I run until it hurts, walk for 30 seconds, rinse and repeat. By Mile 25, my lap pace says 10:30mm. Still good considering it's almost 78F and the sun is bad. I head into the last 0.20 and see my husband who always waits for me there for a picture. I have yelled things like I need my inhaler now to fucking side stitch before, so this year is no better with me telling him: I need a fucking beer.
Can someone explained what am I doing here?
And now I know why I did not PRd. I only ran with one leg?
I finished in 4:38:11. This is a 15 minute course PR and 4 minutes off my Paris time and my PR. My PR is from a race in the 40s. This race was hot. That I could've strategized better? Yes. That I could've run a better time? Yes. Am I disappointed? Hell, no. This is among the top 5 fastest marathons I have run but yet the hottest of those 5. I am stoked I ran this fast!
Hubby got a new PR of 2:28:XX. He is very happy and his coach (me!) is as well!
Here are the two medals I earned this year: