26.2 with Donna Race Report
I loved the 26.2 with Donna last year and I have been running really well lately, so I was really looking forward to this year's race. My enthusiasm was dampened early. The race started at 7:30 so we left the hotel at 5:45, thinking we'd be at the start by 6:15. I pounded a coffee, a water, and a piece of peanut butter toast in the car and figured I was good to go. Then, about 4 miles from the start we hit the traffic. In the next hour we only made it 2 miles. At 7:15 I finally got out of the car and started running to the start. I hadn't planned to really warm-up, but I didn't have a choice!
I reached the start line easily enough, but I absolutely had to use the bathroom before the start. I kept going back and back and back and still wasn't at the porta-potties. When I finally got to them, the lines were atrocious. You'd think at a race that is mostly women they would extra bathrooms. Right after I got in line, I heard a big cheer go up. I thought I had missed the start, but it was just a race organizer tossing rolls of toilet paper into the lines. I snagged some right away.
I then booked it to the starting line. I had discovered in the car that my Garmin had frozen overnight and was dead, so I really wanted to find the pacing groups so I could stick to my Galloway intervals and stay on pace. Miraculously I fought my way through the crowd, climbed over a fence, and found the 2:10 group. I decided on 2:10 partly because I couldn't get to the 2 hour group and partly because I had already run almost 3 miles at a sprint to get to the start and bathrooms.
But as soon as we started running I realized the pace was too slow so I pushed myself to catch up with the 2 hour group. But the effort of reaching them, plus my unanticipated sprint warm-up, left me tired already. I managed to hang on to the very back of the group for the first 6 miles but then I had to let them go when we hit the beach. My hamstring was really bothering me and I just couldn't sustain the pace. It was a cool morning for Florida, but not bad until we hit the beach. The headwind hit me in the face like a brick wall. We only ran for a little more than a mile on the beach, but it was miserable.
Since I had lost the pace group, I held my ipod in my hand and used the stop watch as my interval timer. Having to watch the timer made time feel like it was crawling. I did see my boyfriend at mile 7.5 which was a nice pick me up.
I was tired but handling it until mile 10. Then we ran up and onto the highway for the last 3 miles. Once again we had a strong headwind and the road had strong cant that bothered my legs. Plus, then my ipod died so I lost my music. Luckily I had my phone and whipped that out so I would still have a timer.
The climb up the bridge at mile 12 was rough. I was gassed. The hill, the wind, and my hamstring were all working against me. But, finally I was at the top and determined to push it on the final .5 to the finish. I pushed it in and finished with a chip time of 2:02:58. Not a PR, but my fastest half in years and a big improvement over last year. So I made my B goal.
One I finished dry heaving I grabbed my medal. I really like the medals this year- they are stained glass in the middle, which is pretty unique. I didn't see my boyfriend at the finish I headed straight to the athletes village where I got in the massage line. As I waited I used a 110% recovery roller ball massager. That thing was amazing! My actually massage was pretty darn good too. She really dug into my hamstring and loosened it up.
After my massage I was really cold so I headed to the soup line. The post race food was a little skimpy. They had bananas, oranges, and Panera soup. I had to turn in a tag from my bib for the soup, and only got like a 1/3 of a cup. Once I had my soup I headed out to the family reunite area to meet the BF. I gave him a nice sweaty hug and we walked around checking out the booths. We got some chips at the Jet Blue booth, tried pink champagne at Barefoot, and a mini smoothie from McDonalds. I was too cold to want to stick around for long and the post race celebration wasn't that wonderful.
While now I am happy that I pushed it to get a good time, it really meant that I didn't enjoy the race as much. Last year I had a great time making friend in my pace group and enjoying the crowd support and scenery. This year I didn't talk to anyone and hardly notice anything. I just felt cold and tired and wanted it over as soon as possible. Does it make me less of a runner that I'd rather go a little slower and enjoy the race?
I also though the race expo and race organization weren't as great. The new start was a total fiasco. But I guess they can't all be winners. Now however I am a happy camper. I had an absolutely massive fro-yo for dinner last night and now I am on my fight home watching Full House, eating my free nuts, and playing angry birds.