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)

2022 OUC Half Marathon

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you spend your life running up and down the field and never score”.

(Bill Copeland)

My 2022 Walk into the Future became focused on completing my first full marathon in December.

The 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon provided me with a new goal and a physical challenge to work towards.  The 18-week training program provided me with flexibility with my runs, so I continued to look for ways to make training as exciting as possible.  This included signing up for 5ks and half marathons to help me break up the training sessions.

My last long run before the Palm Beaches Marathon was scheduled to be an 8-miler.  I graduated from the super long runs (18, 19, 20) a couple weeks earlier but wanted to test my fitness one more time before the marathon.

I signed up for the 2022 Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) half marathon back in December 2021 and decided to fulfill that commitment since I needed the miles.  I also enjoy being back in Orlando to see my friends and the culture the Orlando area provides.

Rode over to Orlando the day prior to the race to pick up my race packet at Track Shack.  Always love visiting the Track Shack running store since they are a one stop run store where I can pick up running gear and supplements.  Started purchasing CBD gems (gels) at Track Shack because they have a huge selection with the best prices.  Bib pickup was uneventful—I got there before the big rush and purchased a new running shirt.

Left Track Shack and headed back to Oviedo to check into my hotel.  I stay in the same place since I’m a creature of habit and it allows me to spend more time in Oviedo.  Headed to my favorite Italian restaurant, Café Panuzzos.  Love the food and atmosphere there and always come back when I’m back in town:  https://cafepanuzzos.com/

Got back to the hotel to relax and mentally prepare for the race coming up.  I was still deciding how I wanted to attack the race from a strategic standpoint—do I go out for a specific time or just clock miles as part of the training plan?  Decided to completely test my fitness to see what my training program accomplished.

Made my way downtown the next morning to toe the line for the 9th time for the OUC Half Marathon—guess you can say this is my hometown race now.

Things were going as scheduled until I got downtown Orlando.  Normally it is easy to get downtown to park prior to the race.  This year the Orlando police changed the traffic patterns and had cars lined up for miles.  I finally got out of my normal parking garage line and found a surface lot two blocks down.  This put me closer to the start line, but I lost about 45 minutes trying to get parked—never experienced this before.

Made it to the start line in time to hear the national anthem and the starter encouraging runners to have a good race.  I was able to get a light stretch in and got into the back of the race corral behind the walkers and parents with strollers.  Never been this far back so figured I was in for an experience during the race.  Fun fact—I have never passed so many people in a race.  I guess starting in the back does have some benefits. 😊

Made my way through the other runners from the back of the pack and started to get comfortable with my pace.  Could not go out much faster since I had so many runners to navigate my way through.  The weather was great—nice cool central Florida morning so put a smile on my face and then kept pressing forward.

Ran Mile 1 in 10:01 and did not feel pressed even though I had to weave my way through strollers and walkers.  Felt good after the first water stop and decided to see if I could run negative splits (faster times) for each mile.  Here’s what I got accomplished:

Mile 1:  10:01/ Mile 2:  9:57 / Mile 3:  9:43 / Mile 4:  9:47 / Mile 5: 9:40 / Mile 6:  9:45 / Mile 7:  9:54 / Mile 8:  9:37 / Mile 9:  9:57 / Mile 10:  10:34 / Mile 11:  10:19 / Mile 12:  11:18 / Mile 13:  10:36 / Mile .1 / 1:45

I laughed at myself when I saw my Mile 12 split because I got caught up looking around and sightseeing a bit too much and did not realize I slowed down that much.  Had nothing to do with fitness or pain, I simply drifted off looking at Orlando scenario when I should have been bearing down to finish this race.  Lesson learned.  Completed the OUC Half in 2:12:52 which was my second fastest half of 2022—should have been my fastest but Mile 12 took care of that. LOL.

Crossed the finish line feeling the best I’ve ever felt while running a half marathon.  The full marathon training really helped me manage the lactic acid and pain.  Felt fresh and ready to run more if it was needed.

I’m ready to tackle the 2022 Palm Beaches Marathon—let’s make it happen! 😊

Irie!

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at”.

(Bruce Lee)

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)

New way to train, beach runs!

Beach Runs

“I want to run the beach’s length, because it never ends”.

(Deborah Ager)

The quote above makes me laugh because it could not have been written by someone who runs.  The beach is a wonderful place to get in some training but there are challenges and rewards to running on the beach.

I am always looking for a training edge to allow me to run at a faster pace.  My goal to set a personal record (PR) for every half marathon I run stays true—that is the goal every time out.

I ran the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll half marathon in early September to get back into the swing of being a running tourist and to test my training against other runners.  I am happy to toe the start line again but want to see improvement each time I finish a race.  Decided to find a new training method to help me get better daily and work towards improving my half marathon times.

I was able to increase my endurance by running the rolling hills in Tallahassee when I lived there.  Did not realize how much hill training helped my ability to run faster until I relocated to Fort Pierce which is completely flat.  Running on flat surfaces is better than nothing but it is hard to replicate the intensity needed to get up and over rolling hills.

A majority of my Fort Pierce runs are done close to the beach on Ocean Drive.  I enjoy the views on this route and feel safe since I do not have to cross traffic.  I am parallel to the beach when running and make pit stops to catch views and listen to the waves.  Example:  I run 2.5 miles on Ocean drive and then sit on the beach for a bit before running back 2.5 miles.  Some of my best Instagram pictures come from the middle part of my run.  😊

This process and route have worked well for me but wanted to find a new way to train since I do not have hills to climb. 

Decided to leverage the beach and start running directly in the sand.  This is not a novel approach but one I have not maximized since I moved here.  I have run on Jacksonville Beach, but it has a flat surface without awkward inclines.  Most beaches in Florida have an incline which puts pressure on one side of the body.  The Fort Pierce beaches have this incline closer to the water but provides a flatter surface further away from the water.  I used this part of the beach to build my mental and physical endurance.

My goal for the beach runs is to slowly increase my distance each time out as I establish a new training threshold.  Running in the sand creates unstable footing and makes the body adjust to continue to move forward.  This process brings in muscles that are not used with traditional running and strengthens them.  The sand on the beach moves with each step and forces the body to adjust.  Going fast is not the object of the training sessions—building endurance and mental focus are the top outcomes of running on the beach.

My initial foray on the beach allowed me to finish a 2.5-mile run.  I extend my beach runs an additional .5 miles each time I go out with an end goal of 5 miles completely in the sand.

The benefits of this training approach will pay off when I tackle the Savannah Rock N Roll half marathon in November.  I plan to run faster in Savannah with an end goal of setting another PR at the Orlando OUC Half Marathon in December.  The flat surface should be conducive to running fast.  Who’s going to join me in Orlando?! 😊

What new techniques have you incorporated into your training program?

“When I run on the beach, it is always in slow motion. That’s how I roll”.

(Amber Heard)

https://www.runrocknroll.com/news_article/show/1135109

Half Marathon training (South Florida)

Celebration of running

“Life is short…running makes it seem longer”.

(Baron Hansen)

September 5, 2021 is coming!  This date may only be circled on my calendar, but it has importance to my Walk into the Future.

The Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon will take place on 9/5/21.  This year’s race marks the 20th anniversary of the Rock n Roll series in Virginia Beach and will also be the last time this race is run.  Received an email last week stating the city of Virginia Beach and the Rock n Roll series agreed to make this the last hoorah.  This is my first visit to Virginia Beach, and I will have to make the most of it.

The date of the half marathon is significant to me due to my training program.  I did not have a huge half marathon training focus in 2020 due to COVID-19.  I got miles in but never found my training pace because most races were cancelled due to COVID protocols.

Fast forward to 2021 and races are slowly coming back and the running tourist in me is excited to hit the road again.  I am looking forward to exploring new locations and testing myself against courses I have only read about or seen pictures.

So, what’s the problem you may ask?  Great question and thanks!  The problem is:  it is HOT down here!!! 😊

I will not get into the concept of climate change, global warming, etc. but this south Florida heat and humidity is impacting my training program.

I officially launched my half marathon training on 6/28/21.  This put me two months out from the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll half and should be plenty of time to get mentally and physically prepared to run.  I am getting my runs and bike rides in but struggle to extend my miles due to the heat and humidity in my current location.  My long runs top out at 7 miles because I want to be mindful of the impact the heat has while training. 

I get up earlier for my weekend runs but the temperature hits the mid-80s by 9 am and only goes up from there.  Not complaining because most of my runs on done close to the water so I can always stop and make it a beach outing when I am done with my runs.

I did not think the four-hour drive from Tallahassee to Fort Pierce would make much difference on my running program but there is a different level of heat down here.  Again, not complaining but stating a fact.  This is a fact I must come to grips with soon to keep preparing for future races.  I targeted several local 5ks to keep my competitive juices flowing but need these short races to get me race ready. 

I added more bike rides (gym and outside) to get more miles on my legs to build up the threshold needed to run and complete a half marathon.  This is a new approach for me but a safe way to extend my training without having to deal with the south Florida heat.

I recently added treadmill runs to my training program.  I am not a fan of running on a treadmill, but this equipment allows me to log miles and push myself to get ready for the actual process of running a half marathon.  My new training routine consists of morning miles on my regular route near the beach and then a treadmill session with equal miles.

The one treadmill trick I started using is to cover the time/distance/speed display.  Running on the treadmill is a mentally draining exercise for me and I believe it is because the display does not match what I THINK I’m accomplishing.  Simply put, it feels like I have run further than the display shows so I get frustrated with the process.  Covering the display allows me to forget about the distance and time and just put in the work.  I see multiple people who appear to enjoy their time on the treadmill, and I am amazed watching them.  I need to get over my treadmill DREAD and just put in the work. 

Looking forward to cooler weather so I can get back to longer outside runs again.  Did I mention it is hot in South Florida? 😊

“Don’t be a jogger.  They are the ones who find dead bodies”.

(RuntotheFinish)

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