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Florida Marathon - RunMarathon

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Clermont, Florida
United States
40F / 4C
Total Time = 3h 11m 30s
Overall Rank = 7/94
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 3/10
Pre-race routine:

I had been toying with the idea of skipping this one. I wasn't in the mood to run, and I hadn't gotten much sleep at all due to my neighbors having a loud party until way after midnight. I got about 4 hours of sleep and was exhausted. But I got up, put on my race clothes, and then put 2 more layers over them since it was pretty cold and windy out. On my way out to Clermont, I drank a Muscle Milk and started sipping on a bottle of Gatorade, to hydrate before the race.
Event warmup:

When I arrived at the race site, I found a place to park on the rim of what looked like a huge meteor crater. It was about 100 feet down to the bottom of the "bowl". A roadway snaked its way down to the bottom of the bowl and ended at the track where we'd eventually start the race. I walked down and picked up my packet, goodie bag, and T-shirt. I immediately walked back up to the car to stay warm. The start was at 0730, it was now 0705. I had plenty of time to get my race belt on and get ready to run. I kept the heat on and got everything ready. I ate some GU Chomps that were in my race packet for extra nutrition. Soon it was time to take off my extra layers and get down to the race start.
  • 3h 11m 30s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 19s  min/mile

We gathered on the track at the NTC, at the bottom of the bowl. Wind was swirling and it was cold. Some quick instructions by the RD and we were ready to go. The marathon and half-marathon started together, so I seeded myself in the back of the front pack. My goal was just to go have fun and run for the experience. No trying to take positions in Mile 2, no going hard, NO 6:XX SPLITS!!

The gun sounded and I started my Garmin. I just ran comfortably because I knew I was gonna be blasted by a 100-foot climb in about a quarter mile. I was unsure of the course so I hung behind, about 30 people back. The really fast half-marathoners were already most of the way up the hill when I started climbing it. After running out of the NTC area, I was on a short out-n-back, it was all uphill until the turnaround, then downhill back to where we exited the NTC. Then another out-n-back, this one a bit longer, with two large hills. Again, uphill to the turnaround, and then back to the NTC exit. This was only Mile 3 and I was already tired! But I was starting to find my rhythm now. After running up another hill, we headed out onto a bike/ped trail that had some long rollers, but not extremely steep. My pace became more regular. Overall, we were heading down to the lowest point of the race. I kept commenting to myself on how difficult this was! I took a gel at Mile 4. It was windy, so it was hard to keep up a good pace while it was in my face.

Soon, I came upon Mile 6 and I knew I was almost at the turnaround. I wanted to count people ahead of me but I figured there was no point since there were half-marathoners in that crowd. But I did anyway. I was 17th. At the turnaround, I looked at my watch. It said I was right on a 3:20 pace...I figured it'd be more like 3:30 due to slowdown in lap 2. On the way back, I climbed up a long hill that we ran down on the way out...I hadn't realized how long it was! I started up at 7:30 pace but finshed it around 8:10 was a long one! Luckily there was a nice downhill after it. I told myself in lap 2 I wouldn't be starting up that hill at 7:30 pace, it'd be more like 8:30 pace. But when I got to the bottom of that downhill, it was time to start the 3-mile hill fiesta that we did at the beginning of the race. There was an aid station there and I took water, Gatorade, AND some GU Chomps. They saved me I think. I was starting to feel tired but now I had some energy! At Mile 10, I passed another runner I'd been chasing for a while. He was slowing down and I just kept up my pace. That put me in 16th. About a half mile before the end of the first lap I was able to notice the fast people coming out of the NTC area on their second lap! I was NOT about to let them lap me! I took another gel and I kept my pace up They were about a mile ahead of me but I was only .4 miles from the finish so I'd turn off on my way down to the "bowl" before they passed me on their way out to the second out-n-back. Remember, we ran the same two out-n-backs at the beginning AND end of each lap. I ran down the huge incline (ouch...quads!!) and ran around the track to right before the finish line where the turnaround was for lap 2. My split was 1:35:45. The guys at the turnaround told me I was 14th. Holy crap! Only 2 of those 17 people I originally counted at the turnaround were in the half!

I psyched myself up for the second lap. I figured, OK a top 20 finish would be nice. I feel comfortable now, I'm not cold anymore, the sun is breaking thru, it's a nice day for a run. I passed a guy on the huge hill coming out of the bowl. I passed another runner at Mile 14 on the first big hill outside the NTC area. I was still running comfortably so I didn't feel like I'd not be able to stay in front of these guys. After the second out-n-back I passed another guy. Then, on the long downhill leading out towards the turnaround, I passed another guy who was in the top 5 originally. He was struggling. I gave him some encouragement as I went by. Then I passed ANOTHER guy soon after that! I wondered how I was able to do this! I just felt great! I took another gel there, just because I figured I'd better...what if my body gave up the ghost...I needed to prevent that! The first place guy passed me going the other way at Mile 18...he was at Mile! I started counting people. I was in 8th. But not for long. I came upon a guy who'd been running extremely fast in the first part of the race but was now jogging. Kinda reminded me of myself at Marine Corps. By the time I got to the turnaround I was in 8th place, and gaining on 7th. I'd noticed he'd struggle on the hills. He'd run fast on the flats and downhills but lose alot of speed on the uphills. So I used that to my advantage and I overtook him just after the turnaround. There was another guy ahead of me and I figured now I was past Mile 20, I could try to catch him. Only 6 miles to go. He was fast though, I was about a half mile behind him and didn't know if I'd have enough time to catch up. At Mile 22 I ran up that big hill I told myself I'd be slower on. But I was FASTER! I had a little goal now, and my body was letting me work towards it. Mile 23 started the big hills again, I started catching up to 6th place. But he was just too fast...I only managed to get up to about a minute behind him by Mile 25.5 when we went down the big hill to the bottom of the bowl. He was just crossing the line when I started on the track. I came in 1 minute and 2 seconds behind him. When I looked at my watch and noticed the 3:11:30, I realized it was an EXACT even split. I have NEVER done that before. 1:35:45 and 1:35:45 down to the second!! How cool is that?!?!

I figured though, at 7th overall I must have won my age group. I got my medal, went up to the car, and got some warm dry clothes on. My hamstrings were on FIRE! Almost immediate cramping every time I stopped. Once I had warm clothes on though, that stopped. I decided, when I finally got to my car (walking up that hill was hell after a 26.2 mile run), that I'd drive down to the bottom since there was more parking now that the 5Kers and half-marathoners had left. I didn't wanna walk down that hill again, and then have to walk UP it again. I drank some Gatorade and had a hot dog. The results were up. I was 3rd in age group! Holy hell...out of the top 7, three were in my age group. The AG winner was 2nd overall with a 2:53 (!!!!!!) and 2nd in AG was the guy I was trying to catch. So...3rd. But hey, I'm satisfied with a top 10 overall finish any day! Funny though, a 3:11 last year in this race would have won the whole damn thing...and the guy that got 2nd in my AG actually won it last year with a 3:14. So...I'll be back!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing...I think this was my best-executed marathon in all of 2009.
Post race
Warm down:

After receiving my award, I grabbed some more Gatorade and I headed home. Stopped at 7-11 for a brownie and some milk. Ahhh...comfort food. I drove home and relaxed with Bri.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Wind...and of course, the hills!

Event comments:

This was my first year at this race. It is a smaller race than its name lends a clue to, but still...a good fun time. If you like to climb, this is the race for you. If you don' away fast! Great volunteers, nice people, great course. I'll be back!

Last updated: 2009-11-17 12:00 AM
03:11:30 | 26.2 miles | 07m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/10
Overall: 7/94
Performance: Good
00:07:36 00:07:15 00:07:31 00:07:16 00:07:15 00:07:27 00:07:27 00:07:33 00:07:25 00:07:24 00:07:02 00:07:31 00:07:04 00:07:23 00:07:09 00:07:36 00:07:21 00:07:07 00:07:14 00:07:20 00:07:22 00:07:26 00:07:34 00:07:29 00:07:51 00:07:08 00:01:01
Course: Insane. Two 13.1 mile laps. The first three miles and the last three miles of each loop were the same four HUGE hills. So...3 miles of hills, 7 miles of rollers, 3 miles of hills, then 3 miles of hills, 7 miles of rollers, 3 miles of hills. OUCH.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-12-23 8:26 AM

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Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Subject: Florida Marathon

2009-12-23 5:51 PM
in reply to: #2574899

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Extreme Veteran
Latonia, Kentucky (near Cincinnati)
Subject: RE: Florida Marathon
Love reading a race report when someone is "ON".  We know how an "off" race feels, but when all the stars are lined up, it feels awesome!  Well done!  Well written.  See ya sooN!
2009-12-27 8:01 PM
in reply to: #2574899

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: RE: Florida Marathon
Un frickin' believable!! Congrats on a perfectly run race! I can't believe you even split it to the second!

One of these days I hope to meet up with you at one of these races!
2009-12-28 4:32 PM
in reply to: #2574899

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Florida Marathon

Amazing as always Jeff.  COngratulations

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