Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
Sunday 11/22/20 was the Central Florida Legends Skunk Ape Marathon in Debary, FL. This was a live in-person race and my first real marathon ever. I needed this. I needed this after the 50k race last month that crushed my soul. I had a goal of anything around a 3:30:00 finish.
I was so grateful to be able to run a live race due to this difficult times. The race directors did a fantastic job making this happen and really making everyone feel safe. Things looked a little different this year. First off registration was capped at a a certain amount then they implemented waves of 25 runners each to go off separately. The marathon had 6 waves going at 10 minute intervals starting at 6:30 am and ending at 7:20 am.
I signed up last year and was able to start in the 6:30 wave for the marathon which was the first wave. I was pretty stoked about that I like starting early. It poured on my drive over and I kept thinking "oh no this isn't ideal." I arrived to the race around 6am and parking was about a quarter mile from the race start. Because of the waves and social distancing, there were basically no lines for restrooms and packet pickup. (fun fact I was bib #1 due to alphabetical order). They lined up our wave right around the starting time and told us to stand next to an orange flag on the ground so we could social distance. I was think I got the very last place in line (note to self to allow more time to get there). That wasn't a bad thing though I knew I wanted to start off slow.
Miles 1-4 8:14, 8:03, 8:00, 7:56
I didn't want to start off too fast but being in the very back was a challenge. Things didn't open up for a little while and I had to weave in and out to catch a comfortable pace. Also, I was a little winded from running around the start at this point so that wasn't ideal lol. So finally I was able to get where I wanted and things really opened up. I knew that everyone would be pretty well apart from each other and without pacers it was all on me to get the timing right. I knew I wanted to pretty much run every mile around an 8:00 pace.
Miles 5-9 7:58, 7:46, 7:49, 7:55, 7:59
We entered the Gemini Springs Park area around here and it sure was gorgeous. I tried to take it all in and be thankful for this experience. I also realized I probably needed to slow down and not let the excitement get to me. I was pretty much running alone which I do like as an introvert. The aid station volunteers were super friendly and encouraging. I made sure to thank them for being there. They had Gatorade and water on the table to avoid contact so all we had to do was grab and go. I made sure to get Gatorade when I could because it had some calories in it which is something we will get to later.
Miles 10-15 8:05, 8:15, 8:24, 8:29, 8:21, 8:26
This is where things started to get interesting. The rain really started around here. It had been drizzling all morning but by now it started to pour. The sunscreen on my face started to drip off into my eyes and became really uncomfortable. I also had my first gel around this time I wasn't hungry but knew I need something. I sucked down half of it at once and let's just say it all came back up (I know tmi). So I was able to get the other half down with no problems but I was feeling so nauseas. At the turaround I tried to think about positive things like how I was in the double digits not how I still had another half marathon ahead of me.
Miles 16-20 8:23, 8:48, 8:15, 8:23
This is really where I felt the struggle. I've heard from other runners that mile 16 on is really the hardest part of the marathon and boy where they right. My pace was certainly slipping and I was really struggling. The humidity from the heavy rain was getting to me. I had this overwhelming thirst and needed a lot of fluids from every aid station. I need to get better at drinking on the run and not completely stopping.
Miles 20-23 8:17, 8:49, 8:29, 8:26
The 20s! I was very happy about this. I really felt tired and mentally exhausted at this point. I just tried to hang out and finish this out. Honestly, this was the toughest part for me. Something somewhat encouraging is the fact that I was convinced I was running a 10 minute mile and it was in the 8:20s mostly.
Miles 24-26.2 8:34, 8:31
The home stretch was here! We left the part and went back towards the finish line/starting line. It was cool to see the roads from the sidewalk where we were running. We also saw more half marathon runners and this was encouraging. My goal changed to under a 3:40:00 time and I knew with only 2.2 miles left this could be done. Finally, I saw the 26 mile marker and knew it was so close. I just had to hang in there a little more. I never knew just how long .2 of a mile could actually be... At last, I crossed the finish line and was officially a member of the 26.2 club and achieved my B goal of under 03:40:00.
I learned a lot from this race by making mistakes.
1 . Arrive earlier than you think you need to
2. No matter how good you feel don't speed up in the beginning it will only hurt you
3. Eat more gels (I still don't know how I was able to run a marathon on half of a gel)
4. Enjoy the experience and be thankful!
5. Something I thought of was maybe I needed to run my long runs at a slightly faster pace. I ran them around an 8:30 pace but I feel like running them faster would only help me (just a thought).
Official Time 03:39:53