2022 Palm Beaches Marathon

Palm Beaches Marathon1

“Forever is composed of nows”.

(Emily Dickinson)

Prince famously sang in his hit song, Let’s Go Crazy, “Electric word life, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time”.

Well, I’m here to share that I will forever have the moniker of marathoner!  😊

According to Trackshack.com, only half of one percent of the population has run a marathon.

https://www.trackshack.com/blog/1262/bucket-list…-number-1:-run-a-marathon

I did not make this rate go up much but happy to join the folks who have toed the line and completed a full marathon.

I have documented my goal to complete a marathon in 2022 and provided updates on my training progress since July.  I selected an 18-week training program to prepare me for the journey.  The training plan was precise on when to run and how far to run to build a base to start and complete a marathon—mission accomplished.

Thanks to my friends and family for the encouragement during the training—it meant a lot to get positive shout outs while I was on this journey.

Made my way down to West Palm Beach the day prior to the marathon to get acclimated to the area and attend the Gardens of Life Palm Beaches Marathon EXPO.  I was expecting this to be a large venue like the Rock N Roll events, but it was much smaller than I imagined and completely outside.  The EXPO was a series of tents in front of the Meyers Amphitheater close to the water.  There were only a handful of vendors at the EXPO so not much to browse or purchase.  Check-in was simple considering the size of the venue.  Got my race bib, t-shirt, goody bag and headed across the street to get food.

Made my way to the ER Bradley’s Saloon which had a funky vibe, great atmosphere and was still serving brunch when I arrived.  The World Cup was playing on all the TVs and they had a DJ spinning tunes in the middle of the afternoon.  Seems like a great place to hang out when I’m back in West Palm Beach.

https://www.erbradleys.com/

PB Marathon water5

Headed back to the hotel to get off my feet, rest and mentally prepare for what was coming in the morning.  Got to bed early since I needed to be up around 4:30 am to prepare and make it to the start line for the 6 am race time.

Leveraged my hotel proximity to the start line and used the 1-mile distance as part of my warmup before the race.  Yes, I used this distance to run/walk my way to the race start—wanted my legs to be warm for the race.

This race did not have corrals so found a nice spot in the middle of the other runners and waited for the race to start.  We got delayed for 10 minutes which had a few folks upset since they were ready to challenge themselves and the course.  We never heard why we got delayed but the horn went off and runners surged towards the start/finish line.

I decided the day before to keep my pace as even as possible and focused on mile splits within the 10:30 – 10:50 range.  This would allow me to gauge my fitness and mental capacity over the first half of the race to determine what I had left in the tank.

The first few miles went by, and I realized I had a big smile on my face.  This was because the months of training, early mornings and sacrifice was being played out in a real marathon.  Looking back, I was smiling at this point because we started around 6 am and the sun was still not out—didn’t realize it at the time but the coolness of the morning was going to go away very soon.

Fast forward and I kept the 10:30 – 10:50 pace range through the first 16 miles of the race.  I crossed the half marathon (13.1 mile) point at 2:26:32 which may have been too fast, but I felt good.  This is where my lack of marathon experience showed.  I was able to maintain my run form and kept moving forward with this pace.

The sun came out in full force at the 16-mile mark, and I noticed my pace start to slow.  At first it was a gradual slow down then the pace slowed more.  I felt great mentally, took water/Gatorade and gels at every station.  A lot of folks talk about hitting a wall in the marathon, but I won’t completely say that’s what I did.  I never thought about quitting just was upset with myself because my legs did not respond when I wanted them to.

Decided at this point that I didn’t care what the clock said I was finishing this race.

Amazing thing that happens during marathons is you get to see other folks experiencing the same mental struggle, pain, and doubts.  We even talked to each other as an impromptu support group to keep moving forward.  Even funnier is when you see another runner talking to their legs to keep them going, I didn’t do this because I didn’t think it would work.  LOL.

The last 10 miles of the race was just me putting one foot in front of the other and showing the most grit I’ve ever displayed in my life.  I set a goal to complete a full marathon and I got it done.  Can’t say it was slower than I imagined because it’s the fastest marathon of my life (yes, the first one too) so I’m proud of the effort to make it from start to finish.

Official clock time was 5:48:28 (five hours, forty-eight minutes, and twenty-eight seconds).

I’m going to bask in this accomplishment, take some time off from running and sleep in for a few weeks.  My Walk into the Future has a busy 2023 race calendar so will enjoy some downtime before cranking up the training.

Here’s a preview of what I have planned so far:

1/22/20232023 Vero Beach Half Marathon
1/29/20232023 Celebration Half Marathon
2/25/20232023 Calgary Stampede 10k
3/4/20232023 Orlando Best Damn Race Half Marathon
3/18/20232023 Shamrock Half Marathon
3/25/20232023 Winter Park 10k
4/22/20232023 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon
6/4/20232023 San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon
10/23/20232023 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon
12/2/20232023 OUC Half Marathon

Where are you racing in 2023?

Irie!

“You are going to want to give up, don’t”

(realbuzz.com)

Game On Half Marathon (Fort Pierce)

Game On

“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime of knowing you have”.

(Unknown)

My Walk into the Future continues to move forward towards the Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon in December.

The 18-week training plan I’m using allows me some flexibility, but the one constant is a progressive long run on the weekends.  I am leveraging local races to energize my long runs and tackled the Game On Half Marathon in Fort Pierce in October.  This seemed like a nice local race, and I signed up for this half prior to committing to run a marathon.  Luckily, this race and distance fit right into what I needed to keep moving towards the marathon start line.

The Game On Half Marathon is fairly new on the circuit—last year’s race was the first running.  I did not know about this race prior to this year but may keep it on my regular rotation since there are not travel costs associated with a race in the town I live.

This was a smaller race with the projected number of runners less than 300.  I normally avoid smaller races since they do not have the crowd support like the Rock N Roll running series.  It may seem simple but having a crowd of stranger cheering for you helps when the miles start to get tough.  Also, the larger races have a ton of volunteers to man the water/Gatorade stations.  I was pleasantly surprised this race had fuel stops at 1.5-mile intervals and this really helps with the process of completing a half marathon.

Again, smaller race so there was not an EXPO experience.  Race bib pickup was scheduled the day before the race at Causeway Cove Marina.  The process was simple, give them your name and they hand you a bib, t-shirt and four safety pins to attach the bib.  That’s it—no vendors to visit or anything to buy.  I got a quick picture in front of the Game On promotional truck with my bib and went about the rest of my day. 

I started my carb loading process earlier in the week and went to get some more pasta to continue to ingest carbs.  Also wanted to get off my feet to ensure I was ready to toe the line in the morning—I find it harder to just kick back when I’m competing in a hometown race.  Feels like I should do normal, daily activities but this can lead to tired legs on race day.

Made a point to get to bed early so I could get up and make it to the start line with plenty of time to warmup.  This race started at 6:15 am to get and stay ahead of the South Florida heat—yes, it’s still hot and humid down here in October.

Got to Causeway Cove Marina in plenty time to park, stretch and warmup prior to the race start.  Made my way through the darkness towards the start line and got in the corral with the other half marathon runners.  The race organizers did not have runners line up based on projected pace time—no big deal for this race since it was only about 150 runners for the half marathon.  There was also a 10k being run with those runners starting 10 minutes after the half marathoners got started.

I did not have a projected pace or finish time in mind since this was part of my long run.  I just wanted/needed to get miles in and the pace for this day was not as important as it normally is when I run a half marathon.  My goal was to start, finish and enjoy the race as much as possible.

This was an out and back race so wanted to enjoy the course and have fun.  We started in complete darkness so decided to leverage other runners as pacers and to ensure we did not go off course.  The half marathon organizers mapped out the course to be completed on Seaway and Ocean Drives on Hutchinson Island, which is completely flat, no bridges to cross which was a welcomed addition.

I started with a comfortable pace and did not push myself hard in the beginning.  Paced with a couple runners for the first three miles and then decided to pick up the pace a bit.  We turned onto Ocean Drive and headed south towards Jensen Beach.  Interesting thing happened at the 4-mile marker.  Another runner pulled up next to me and began a full conversation on life, hobbies, and the type of work we both do.  I have talked with other runners during races, but it is normally just small talk before we get down to the real racing.  Found out this was her 5th half marathon and she had friends running but she wanted to go faster so decided to tag along with me.

We had a nice conversation going for the next 4 miles before she decided to pull back since my pace was pretty good at this point.  The great thing about running and talking with her is it created a nice distraction from the race.  I focused more on the conversation than my pace so can’t tell you how fast I was running at this point, I was just putting one foot in front of the other.

Leveraged Miles 8 – 13.1 to test my endurance levels to determine adjustments I need to make to my training and nutrition program.  I felt good physically but need to ensure my carb loading process is improved.  I also need to map out my fueling process (time, distance) to keep moving forward with pace during races.  My lactic acid threshold is getting better but need to work on my glycogen levels consistently. 

Finished in 2:23:41 (10:58 per minute pace) which is not fast for me, but I still took third place in my age group.  I’ll take it considering this was part of my weekend training run.  Got an additional 5 miles in after the half marathon for a total of 18 for the day.

Still have work to do as I prep for December but happy with my progress so far.

What challenges are you facing right now?

Irie!

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you have done it, you feel that you can do anything”.

(Unknown)

Race for Recovery 5k

“Life is for participating, not for spectating”.

(Katherine Switzer)

The theme lately is training and racing!  Don’t think that is going to stop anytime soon since I have a marathon to get ready for.

Happy to leverage local races to supplement my training program since running in races is a lot more fun than just training miles.  Discovered 5k’s can be fun again and a great way to warm up my legs prior to my long training runs.  Fun fact, either I am getting faster, or the competition is just letting me run by them—still trying to figure out which.  LOL.

The latest Walk into the Future race was the Race for Recovery 5k hosted in Port St. Lucie on the Indian River State College Pruitt campus.  I consider this to still be a hometown race since the campus is only about a 20-minute drive from where I live in Fort Pierce.

It rained the night before and I considered bypassing the 5k but knew I still needed to log weekend miles so took a chance and headed to Port St. Lucie to toe the line again.

I did not get a chance to pick up my race bib during the week so needed to arrive a bit early so I could get my race swag and prep for the race.  Check-in was painless, and I made my way back to my vehicle to get organize, stretch, and get a quick jog in to loosen my legs.

There was not a huge turnout for this race but the folks there were friendly and ready to run.  It started to sprinkle a bit, but I was committed to run since I made it to the start line.  Made my way to the start line to ensure I did not get caught up in traffic to start the race.

I did not have a preset race time or pace in mind but wanted to enjoy the course and get some miles in before heading off for my long run.

This course starts within the Pruitt campus and then heads out for a 3-mile loop before coming back on-campus for the finish.  It is completely flat, and we never had to cross traffic which is always a good thing.

I went out with a controlled pace to allow other runners to spread out a bit to avoid bumping into anyone.  I located a runner I knew who normally runs a great pace so decided to use her as my pacer.  That only lasted for about a quarter mile since she was not pushing the pace and I felt like I wanted to go faster.

Mile-1 was completed in 8:58. Mile-2 went down in 9:17.  Mile-3 clipped by at 9:22.  We got hit with a heavy rain down pour right after the Mile-1 marker so I’m happy with my mile splits.  This is because there is nothing worse than running with water drenched shoes and socks.  My feet felt like I was running with weights around my ankles but wanted to keep pressing forward to see what I could do in these conditions.

Turned the corner to head towards the finish line and coasted a bit.  The funny part here is the runner I mentioned above who was not running fast enough for me was using me as her pacer.  We crossed the finish line in a dead heat, and she thanked ME for getting her across the finish line. 😊

Both of us clocked 28:04 and finished first in our respective age groups.  Had a good laugh as we collected our awards and headed our different ways.  I still needed to get in additional miles so headed home to dry off, change my clothes and put on a dry pair of running shoes.

Got my remaining 11 miles done before relaxing and enjoying the rest of the day.

The 5k races were done to get me mentally ready for the 2022 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  Found out yesterday this race was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian lurking in the Gulf of Mexico.  Looks like this race is reschedule for October 2023—hope to run this race one of these days.

May look for another 5k to keep me running fast—we will see.

What are your running goals for the rest of 2022?

Irie!

“Sometimes you just do things”.

(Scott Jurek)

Marathon training – Week #10

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”.

(Fred Devito)

The Walk into the Future blog continues to move towards my first full marathon in December.  I provided a Week #5 training update and promised a follow-up in Week #10.  Well, I’m still training, and the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon is fast approaching.  I don’t say that with an ominous tone, but a matter-of-fact opportunity is coming up.  It’s exciting and a bit scary at the same time.

The 18-week training journey I’m on has passed the halfway point.  There are days when my legs feel the full impact of the training journey and others when my legs are completely fresh and ready to run.  I am still learning how to balance the training and recovery phases to improve this process.

My training plan is designed to build up the mileage base to keep my mind and body adjusting to the opportunity to run and complete a 26.2-mile race.  The body remains willing but there are days when I struggle to mentally prepare for my runs.  I’m balancing full-time work, consulting, writing and an active Walk into the Future.  Not complaining but there are days when I want to hit the snooze button and not get up on a Tuesday for a 5 am run.  Tough life, I know.  LOL.

Here’s an update of my actual training miles for this portion of the training plan:

  • Week #6: 30.95 miles
  • Week #7:  36.16 miles
  • Week #8:  33.47 miles
  • Week #9:  33.16 miles
  • Week #10:  33.19 miles

I’m logging the miles and look forward to seeing how this process helps me toe the line and complete the 26.2-mile journey.  I run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and tackle my long run on Saturdays.  I started incorporating 5k races on Saturdays to jump-start my long runs with some speed work on the front end.  I seem to do better when I have a race or other folks around me so will continue to leverage races within my long runs. 

My next race is the 2022 Game-On! Run Hutchinson Island Half Marathon in Fort Pierce.  Happy to have a hometown race but this limits my ability to be a running tourist.  A fun fact for this race is the course is run on Seaway and Ocean drives in Fort Pierce—most of my training runs occur on Seaway and Ocean drives in Fort Pierce.  Interested to see how the course is supported by locals on the island—hoping to have a few folks out cheering us on like the larger races I write about—we will see.

I have leveraged my exercise bike when needed to get some training miles in when it rains or I’m short on time.  I will eliminate this from my training program moving forward since I’m not sure these miles are helping my body prepare for what is coming in December.  It feels good knowing I’m putting in miles but not seeing a direct translation when I’m out doing road work.  Today was a 17-mile training run and I got in 14 which is not bad but not the targeted mileage.  Will have to add another run tomorrow to get the remaining 3 miles in to complete the week.  Yes, runners are a different breed but it’s easier to put miles in now than get to December and not be able to perform or finish. 

I am building up to my Week #15 20-mile-long run which will be the longest of this training program.  The mileage starts to trend down after Week #15 to reset the legs and ensure they are fresh for race day. 

I’m still enjoying the process and look forward to seeing how the rest of the training program transforms my mind and body.

The opportunity is real and I’m ready to Walk into the Future with a huge running finish! 😊

What are you training for?

“There are no shortcuts in marathoning, so anyone who is a marathoner has worked hard”.

(Jeffrey Horowitz)

Run to Stop Hunger 5k

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy”.

(Mark Will-Weber)

My Walk into the Future allows me to mix and match my adventures depending on what I am trying to get accomplished.

I always love the running tourist part of my journey since I get to explore and stay in shape by training.  My big running goal for 2022 is to run and complete my first full marathon in December.  My training program is going well as I am averaging 30+ weekly miles to prepare for the task of running 26.2 miles in Palm Beach.  The 18-week training program allows me some flexibility but a standard in the program is the long run concept each weekend.  The miles increase incrementally each week and I have been dedicated to ensuring I get up on Saturdays to do my part to ensure I am ready for the full marathon.

Decided to sign-up for local 5ks to improve my speed and warm up prior to going out for my long runs.  The 5k (3.1 miles) distance provides a great opportunity to get out and test my fitness levels, gauge my speed, and have fun. 

Signed up for the Run to Stop Hunger 5k in Fort Pierce in September.  This was a hometown race, so the running tourist did not get a chance to explore new locales, but I did get to see Fort Pierce in a different context. 

The race start and finish line was located within Causeway Cove which sits directly on the Indian River in Fort Pierce.  I run by this location weekly but never ventured onto the site to explore everything that is located there.  I see the signs for jet ski rentals when running and always think about going in to rent a jet ski but have not made that happen to date.  Interesting spot with a lot of different activities hosted there:  RV park, drive-in movies on Saturday nights, concerts, food festivals, etc.

Needed to complete 14 total miles so decided to park closer to downtown Fort Pierce and run across the Seaway Drive bridge as a warmup before the 5k.  My goal was to get a 1-mile prerace run in to loosen my legs and give me a springboard to get up to speed during the 5k.  Made my way across the Seaway Drive bridge at a comfortable pace and arrived in Causeway Cove warmed up and ready to go.

I did not set a time goal for this 5k but wanted to go out faster than I did for the Celebration of Running 5k back in August.  We did not have as many runners for this race so there was not as much traffic to navigate on the course.  The course was completely flat, and we did not have to cross traffic at all.

It was an out and back race format with the turnaround at the 1.5-mile marker.  It was cool getting a chance to see the leaders heading back towards the finish line—got a chance to gauge how close or far I was from the race leader. 😊

My first mile was run in 8:40 and I felt comfortable with this pace.  Smiled when I looked at my watch and saw my first mile was well under a 9-minute pace.  The Florida humidity was thick as always, but this did not keep me from maintaining this pace throughout the race—my goal was to get some speed work in so no need to back off at this point.

I locked in on a couple runners to help pace me the rest of the way after crossing the race midpoint.  I felt the humidity a bit more in the second part of the race but had my music cranking (TI’s Motivation, again) and kept running hard.

Crossed the finish line at 26:43 for a pace of 8:35. This was my fastest 5k since March 2020 so extremely happy with the results.  This time allowed me to finish second in my age group and collect a medal and age group award.  Got a chance to talk with some local runners while waiting for the awards ceremony—we are a friendly bunch of people.

Still needed to get in additional miles so left Causeway Cove and ran back over the Seaway Drive bridge to my vehicle.  Got my additional 9 miles completed on Ocean Drive for a total of 14 for the day. 

Happy with my results and how my legs feel during this preparation phase of training.  Will leverage speed work more as I get closer to my marathon date.

Happy running folks!

Irie!

“As we run, we become”.

(Amby Burfoot)

Marathon training – Week 5

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“Of all the races, there is not better stage for heroism than a marathon”.

(George Sheehan)

The Walk into the Future blog is based on exploring opportunities, adventures and then sharing them with my readers.

I have tapped danced around the concept to run a full marathon for a few years now.  Well, no more tap dancing, I am fully engaged in the marathon training process and just completed Week 5 of an 18-week training program.

My targeted race is the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Wanted to pick a race that was close to home and with a flat course—check and check.  I have friends who have run this marathon and they say it provides the perfect course, backdrop, and time of the year to tackle the 26.2 miles.  Excited and terrified at the same time but my training program will get me to the start line and beyond. 😊

I selected the 18-week training program to allow myself time to prepare for this major life event mentally and physically.  There are multiple training plans available (12-weeks, 16-weeks, etc.) but I went for the longer plan to ensure I had time to train with a buffer.

This training plan starts out with lower mileage than most people would think of considering this is preparation for a marathon.  The following are the total weekly miles in the plan:

  • Week #1: 19 miles
  • Week #2:  20 miles
  • Week #3:  17 miles
  • Week #4:  23 miles
  • Week #5:  24 miles

Again, the training plan is building up base mileage, but I exceeded the prescribed miles each week so far since I have been training for half-marathons throughout 2022.  I did not go over the prescribed miles by much but wanted to ensure I put in the work to lead to a successful and enjoyable marathon in December.

My plan calls for incremental mileage increases as I prepare my mind and body for the challenge of completing a 26.2-mile race in December.  I complete my long runs on Saturdays with my longest run of 20-miles coming in Week #15.  I complete my long runs in Fort Pierce on Hutchinson Island where I do not have an issue of crossing traffic.  It’s the same route I run to prepare for my half marathons, but I am discovering unique points of interests on the route as I run out further due to my increased mileage.  My long runs are completed at a slower pace to ensure I can start and finish—this is recommended for all long runs.

I just invested in a running hydration vest so I can carry water with me as I extend my runs.  Hydration is vitally important considering I am running in the August heat and humidity in Florida. 

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(Hydration vest)

Looking forward to seeing how the hydration vest enhances my training as I continue to prep for the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon.

FYI—the next update will come in Week #10 of the training program.

Irie

“When you run a marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time”.

(Haile Gebrselassie)

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