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26.2 with Donna - Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer - RunMarathon

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Jacksonville Beach, Florida
United States
26.2 with Donna
23F / -5C
Total Time = 6h 30m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = F45-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke at 4 and ate English muffin with peanut butter. The night before I laid out my clothes and I dressed in multiple layers - snug tank for base layer, long sleeve tech shirt, and hooded underarmour top while the bottom was long tights and an old nasty pair of yoga pants as my throw away layer. Add pink streaks to my hair and covered my ears with a earband. Packed my gear bag with a heavy sweatshirt and another pair of yoga pants.

Traveled with friend M and we couldn't get a late checkout so we packed up everything and threw everything in the car - except my gear bag. I saved the space blanklets from some previous races so M and I each wrapped one around us. We were very fortunate and didn't have to wait for the shuttle long. We boarded around 5:40.

Arrived and stepped in line for the port-o-potties, texted my running partner L that I'd meet her near the 4:30 pace group, dropped the gear, and realized it was time to get in the corral.
Event warmup:

Normally I like to do some stretches and do a warmup with a 1 min run, 1 min walk (2X). No time and I hope that the run around of packing the car and the on-the-fly stretches while talking to L are enough.
  • 5h 27m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 29s  min/mile

L and I met at the 4:30 pace group. We had no intention of staying with the pace group but I wanted to be aware of where the group was to monitor my pace. Last year, I ran the race in 4:49 and this year, my dream goal was 4:38. I ran Ocala marathon 3 weeks before and I was hoping for a PR. This was L's first marathon but she is young and strong and I expected her to beat the 4:30 time; she would be happy sub 5. Oh how differently it all ended.

L and I began together but soon got separated. Around Mile 2, I had to tie my shoe and L found me. We started running together and almost immediately found some other people we knew. We hung around a short time but I had found my feel-good pace (Got to admit that was about the first time that happened to me. But I was in a zone and knew that was a comfortable pace for me.) I told the others to go on because I didn't want anyone else to dictate my pace.

I ran comfortably and was enjoying myself so much that I didn't even turn on my music. Past the house with the Parrotheads and past Mile 5 where the marathon relay, leg 2, was waiting. (Marathon relay has 4 people that run 5 miles of the marathon route and then the final person runs the last 6.2 miles).

We run out of the beach and ah, it's wonderful. Love the sound of the surf and the smell of the salt. Dang, wish that north wind wasn't blowing so hard. How did it find the perfect spot in the mesh of the shoes to freeze my right foot?

Somehow or another, I accidentally hit the pause on my Garmin when we started so my miles and timing is off. It's ok because I'm running by feel BUT I need to know the time because I'm taking a Endurolyte pill on the 30 min increment and a gel on the hour increment. Took the pill at 30 min but now I need a gel. I won't take the gel until I get to water station but there it is as mile 6. Wow, I'm at Mile 6 at 1 hour. That's perfect.

L catches me here which is strange because I thought she was behind me. We run along on the beach and then the halfer's peel off to head back. Just after that, I felt it - severe pain in my left quad. Soon there's pain in my left calf. I knew it then - it wasn't my day. I warned L that I was having issues and encouraged her to run her own race. I could tell that she was ON and there is no way I wanted her to stay back with me.

I evaluated to see if I was going to cause damage to myself. I felt if I just didn't overdo it, I'd be ok. I pulled back slightly and kept on going. We enter Neptune Beach and I LOVE this area. This is the whole reason why I wanted to run the full instead of the half.

Around Mile 10, it sounds like a herd of elephants behind me. We are on a narrow road and I'm suddenly engulfed by people. It's the 4:30 pace group. They use the Galloway method and run/walk. I don't use this method so I'd overtake them on the walk portion and then they would catch me on their run. I have considered joining pace groups before but never have. I see the advantages but I wasn't happy about the situation on this narrow portion. Finally the road widened but then, I fell back. I was fine with that.

We travel along thru friendly neighborhoods. Every time I see a race clock, I'm actually quite stunned at my time because I'm doing so much better that I feel like I'm doing. At one small out and back, I see L on the back portion. She is a good 1.25 ahead of me and she is looking good. Yea!!!

I'm still running in the nappy yoga pants and suddenly at Mile 17, I've had it. I pull off those things and a nice spectator throws them away. I'm running better with that extra weight off but it was short lived. Suddenly the wheels fall off. My IT band has seized up and I can't run. I walk some and then begin running again but after just a few steps, I'm hobbling again. Try running and can't. I find that I'm actually faster by concentrating on walking form instead of running occasionally. There is a lot of internal cussing, a lot of internal crying, and my brain is at war with itself. I've always considered myself queen of the butt kicking but I can't make my body overcome this. Screw it, I can walk 8 miles.

I'm mad, I'm p.o.ed, I'm disappointed, and I feel like a total loser. I'm beating myself up and it's all I can do not to snap at volunteers and spectators when they say encouraging things. I decided tho that I could be an a.h. about my inability or I could be gracious. So I tried to smile and encourage others. Passed by 4:45 pace group, then the 5:00 pace group, and around mile 24, the 5:15 pace group. I did manage to "run" when I hit the ramp down to the clinic and tried to act victorious when I crossed the finish line.
What would you do differently?:

Probably a hundred different things but the main things are:
  • stretch and do a warm up. I could have started the race late.
  • Should have gotten a massage between Ocala marathon and this marathon.
  • Should have recognized that some of my Ocala issues were still there and done my stretches to resolve the problems before Donna.
  • Done my two tapers differently. Before Ocala, I didn't do as much running because of life but then before Donna, I did one workout too hard and caused problems with my left foot that I think messed up my gait.
  • . Possibly I should have ditched the yoga pants earlier but I was so cold. Maybe I should have worn thermal tights but I didn't realize it would be 23. So next time, believe them when the forecast changes dramatically before the race and don't put my head in the sand.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    Called DH and cried a little. Then my stretches. They were out of soup and all I could find was oranges and bananas while I waited in line for my massage. Called L and found out that the little girl kicked butt. I'm so proud of her 4:15.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    Physically it was the IT band issues which I have never had. But I allowed doubt about doing two marathons in 3 weeks to enter my psyche so I wasn't as strong mentally as I should have been. Yes, the cold limited my ability but so what, I need to learn to handle that.

    Believe it or not, I'm almost glad this happened. It's making me analyze everything and I definitely need to add more things to my arsenal of knowledge because you never know what something is going to hit you out of the blue. It is so hard tho to go in confident, but not cocky. Have a strategy but revise it if needed. Know when to pull back and when to push thru. Maybe one day I'll get there.

    Event comments:

    I LOVE this race and can not say enough wonderful things about the organization, the cause, the spectators, the aid stations. There were less spectators this year than normal but it was cold and I don't blame them. But there are still more spectators at this race than most and the neighborhood people are incredible with setting out various treats and cheering enthusiatically.

    Last updated: 2012-02-06 12:00 AM
    05:27:00 | 26.2 miles | 12m 29s  min/mile
    Age Group: 0/
    Overall: 0/
    Performance: Below average
    Course: Begin at Mayo clinic and then up a ramp to Turner Blvd. 3 1/2 miles on the Blvd and then down to a beach community. About 3 miles on the beach and then thru Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach before returning to Jax Beach area and returning to Turner Blvd and Mayo Clinic. Flat except for the bridge over the intercoastal waterway which is Mile 1 and Mile 25.
    Keeping cool Drinking Just right
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Below average
    Mental exertion [1-5] 4
    Physical exertion [1-5] 2
    Good race?
    Course challenge
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities: Below average
    Race evaluation [1-5] 4

    2012-02-13 7:03 PM

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    Extreme Veteran
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Subject: 26.2 with Donna - Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer

    2012-02-14 8:42 AM
    in reply to: #4045768

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    Extreme Veteran
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Subject: RE: 26.2 with Donna - Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer
    Excellent post and U will learn from every race in preparation for the next.  GREAT job!
    2012-02-14 11:19 AM
    in reply to: #4045768

    User image

    Subject: RE: 26.2 with Donna - Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer
    Sorry folks...I guess ya'll now know who Pink Sock's h. is.  I am so proud of her and wanted to post to let her know.  She went from not being able to run 100 yds a couple of years ago to marathons now.  Sorry I miss posted on her page.  I have about as much luck w/ computers as I do swimming.  I thought i was logged on my account..again sorry!
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