2009 13.1 Marathon Ft Lauderdale
Chip Time: 1:52:51
Average Pace: 8:37
Overall Place: 469 out of 2030
Age Group Place: 20 out of 201
Splits (Garmin Data)
Mile 1: 8:39
Mile 2: 8:16
Mile 3: 9:13
Mile 4: 8:39
Mile 5: 8:46
Mile 6: 8:23
Mile 7: 8:33
Mile 8: 8:32
Mile 9: 8:30
Mile 10: 8:30
Mile 11: 8:32
Mile 12: 8:25
Mile 13: 8:27
Some days, the stars align and everything just works. These are the days that help me forget about days like last Sunday and keep me racing. Today was one of those days.
I picked up my race packet on Tuesday, only two days after last weekend’s Half Ironman. My feelings about the HIM hadn’t finished sinking in yet, but I felt the need to move on. I’ve been accused of “filing things away until I am able to deal with them properly.” I should have remembered that before rushing to write my HIM race report as I left a lot unsaid. Maybe someday I’ll write a good rant about that. Or not.
I was nervous about today’s race. After running my worst Half Marathon last weekend, the thought of slipping into those same shoes for another 13 miler only 7 days later seemed like a very bad idea. I’d been looking forward to today’s Half Marathon because it would be the last race of the year for me and quite frankly, I am burned out and looking forward to a few weeks of rest. However, the thought of ending the year with another bad race made me anxious.
I took it easy yesterday, did all the typical race prep stuff and tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I woke up around 4:45am, had breakfast (toast with peanut butter) and drank plenty of water. The race was nearby. Geoff dropped me off 20 or so minutes before the gun went off. I stood in my usual pace corral wondering what pace my legs were actually going to run today. I lost a bit of confidence last weekend.
Some of my friends were racing as well, but I wasn’t feeling particularly social. I was actually looking forward to having 13 miles alone with my thoughts. We set off and immediately my heart sank. I felt like I was running a decent pace, but people were passing me left and right. I glanced at my Garmin, 8:16, and breathed a sigh of relief. I wanted to stick to an 8:30 pace, so I was fine.
Along the route I saw some familiar faces which I acknowledged enthusiastically. I felt good. Somewhere between miles 4 and 5, two drunk girls were on their way back from what seemed like an all night of drinking around the beach. One of them seemed cold in her tank top and asked one of the runners if he was cold. The runner responded “no, but I’m not drunk either.” Things like this happen out there. I wish I could remember more of them. Sometimes it’s the comic relief that keeps you going.
As the miles added up, my legs started to feel tired though nothing was hurting or feeling uncomfortable. I ate when I needed to, drank regularly and thoroughly enjoyed the perfect weather. It was in the 60s, sunny and just breezy enough. Oh what I would have given for this kind of weather last weekend, but I digress. As my legs grew more and more tired, it was hard to push the tempo. Still, I kept it around 8:30 and finished strong. I walked over to meet Geoffrey after crossing the finish line and still had a bit of spring in my step. I’ve never felt so good after a race. One of the first things that Geoffrey said to me when he saw me was “you don’t look like you just ran 13 miles.” I certainly didn’t feel like I had.
I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end an exhausting year of racing. There were some good times along with some bad, but overall, a lot of valuable lessons learned. I haven’t finalized my schedule for next year. I want to first take some time off and give my mind and body and chance to recharge. But I can tell you this, next year will probably involve fewer races, some PR attempts, and perhaps a new challenge.