Space Coast Marathon 2016 (Just one more for Intergalactic Level!)

On Thanksgiving weekend, I ran my fourth Space Coast Marathon, the fourth of five Space Coasts to get the special 5 year medal and the Intergalactic Challenge.  I still remember the first time we registered for this challenge and how much fun it has been.  Not sure what the race has planned for after the challenge, but I hope it's something as amazing as this has been.

The race is great.  The RD really does a great job with not only the race, water stations, medical, potties, etc., but also on the post race party, which includes, among other things, free unlimited beer, breakfast (pancakes, even eggs), towels, and everything else you can think of.  Unfortunately, I don't really enjoy the party much as I am done when I finished the marathon, in more ways than one.  But hubby, who runs the half marathon, always partakes of the celebrations.  He just knows he needs to have a beer for me when I finish. :)

Training has been almost non-existent.  Since Chicago and later Indy, I have had a tough time breathing and just basically moving.  I did some research and thought the blood pressure meds might also be causing my lack of energy.  They did some labs on me and they came back perfect (well, my cholesterol is high, but only because my good cholesterol is extremely high, which is good).  I guess half an avocado a day does that to you!  Anyway, being that my BP has been super low in the last month, my doctor/husband agreed to take me off the regular BP meds (the ones that were causing my swollen legs that hurt in Chicago and what I thought was the cause of my lack of energy).  This was a gamble and something I would never thought of trying a year ago when my BP was 160/95.  But it remained in the 120s so we also removed the diuretic.  That's when I started feeling better.  Two days before this race I had no energy.  I could barely stay awake.  Once we took off all BP meds, it took around 2-3 days but the morning of the race, I felt great.

However, as I said, training for marathons has been nonexistent.  I have run 40-50mpw but no long runs, and no energy to run them.  I knew the race would not be fast but I was hoping to get close to 5 hours and I think I could've done it had I pushed.  But as you'll see later, the race was too much fun for that.  My only other goals were to finish and to have energy throughout, something that was lacking in Chicago and Indy.

Race Weekend
We thought of getting to Orlando a day earlier this time around, to meet with some friends and maybe drink around the world at Epcot, but since hubby and I had to work on Friday (I took the day off but he couldn't), we ended up spending another night at home, eating some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, watching a movie, and just relaxing.

We left on Saturday morning and stopped at our usual pancake place for breakfast and headed North.  This time, the trip felt shorter, so it was just near 2pm when we arrived at Cocoa and stopped at the expo.  We did our expo thing quickly, so that we could get to our Mofongo place, El Guavate in East Orlando, as quickly as possible.  We always do that for lunch and it has always been a great lunch pre-race, plus it's the best mofongo outside of PR, in my opinion, so worth a stop ALL THE TIME.

After lunch, we headed to run some errands, get water, breakfast, etc., and managed to meet our friends, Beth and Shane, for a drink (was bummed to not come in Friday to see them so it was nice to manage the meet!)  Once we went back to our hotel, we rested a bit and then went to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant near the hotel which we tried last year and loved. It was nice once again.

Here is me and Beth.  Shane and Richard are not in the picture, but they were there as well. :)

Race Day
Woke up at 4:45am and got ready.  We headed to the race parking area around 5:15am and got there pretty quickly.  Parking wasn't an issue this year and we were ready to walk to the start by 5:30am. The half marathon starts at 6am and the marathon at 6:30am, so we were there timely.  I spent the next 30 minutes on a potty line only to realize they had no toilet paper there, so went the other potties and spend the next 15 minutes there.  I was able to see my husband start his race and then headed to my start.  I stood near the 5 hour pacer (there were two, the regular pacer and the Galloway pacer).  My plan was to keep up with them as much as I could.

Of course, when we started, the runner pacer passed me and was too fast for the next 13 miles and the 5 hour pacer passed me at Mile 18 or somewhere around there.  So, I stayed between the two until then.  I know the runner pacer was too fast as I was running faster than 5 hours and I couldn't even catch him!

The first 7 miles went well.  I was taking it easy but my pace was back to my regular easy pace.  At Mile 8-9, I had to use the potty again, sigh, and I lost around 4 minutes, but still making good time.  I felt bad after that for a while, around the time where I have wanted to quit the races lately (mile 9-11) but it passed and I crossed the halfway point at around 2:26, I think, I don't recall.  As we headed to the point where the HM starts going through the finish line chute, there is a Worm Hole, an area where marathoners quit the race, their chip is taken out and then they join the HM runners and go through the finish.  I saw a couple of people do that, and I felt tempted this time around, but I felt much better than I had felt in the last two marathons so I continued.  Miles 14-18 went well but I was getting slower every mile.  My lack of LRs was felt right here.  But still, I felt strong throughout and it was just an issue of how long til the 5 hour pacer would pass me.  I had not seen them at all for a while, so no idea how ahead of 5 hours I was.

The second half was full of me seeing some of my friends coming by to finish:

At Mile 18, I saw a Beer Station.  So, I stopped and drank a cup.  I talked to the people handling it and thanked them for being there.  They told me there was a bacon station ahead, yum, so I continued on.  I did not see the bacon station 1/2 mile away as they indicated, but there was a vodka station, so I stopped as well. Got two cups of vodka and mango. Yum.  Talked to them for a bit and they did confirm the bacon station was the next so I moved on in search of bacon.  I found it!

I actually stopped here to post the following in FB (with the picture):

The 5 hour pacer just passed me. And I don't care cause I've had beer, vodka and bacon and it's only Mile 19. They promised Blue Moon at 22.

Then I continued.  Mile 19 and 20 were a blur.  I was getting slower but having a lot of fun.  I kept with the 5 hour pacer until around Mile 22, where I saw the Blue Moon station and had more beer.  Took another picture, talked to the volunteers, had fun.

Heading down to the finish started feeling hard at Mile 23.  I was slow and finally making it hard for me to continue running.  At mile 25, my calf tightened enough for me to worry.  So, I walked around 1/2 mile then and thought about walking it to the finish to conserve the calf, but I noticed it was harder to walk than to run on it, so I started a shuffle that took me to the finish.  As usual, hubby was near the finish ready to take my picture.  Normally, I would yell something at him, from I FORGOT MY INHALER, DAMN IT, to GET ME A FUCKING BEER.  This time I just smiled and didn't say much.  Damn.

Finished in 5:18:18, but it was the best marathon I've felt all year.  So, success achieved!

This week has been much better!  I finally have lots of energy and no issues.  I hope my BP continues the way it is and that I won't need to go back on meds any time soon.  Bring on 2017.


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