“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have”.
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?
“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you have done it, you feel that you can do anything”.