Sunday, February 12, 2012
Breast Cancer Marathon / Jacksonville Marathon / 26.2 With Donna
The race has three names, so I listed them all in the title. No matter what you call it, it's a great event for a good cause, and a lot of fun.
Fun, unfortunately, wasn't the first thing that came to my mind for most of the race. We drove up from warm, sunny Sanibel, where we'd gotten used to temperatures in the low 80's for most of the week... and found howling winds with near record low temperatures in Jacksonville. It was 26 at the start, but the wind made it feel much colder.
I met up with Debbie and Michelle before the start. We got into the corral and jumped and ran around to keep warm. I talked with Bill Rodgers a bit. I told Debbie and Michelle that I'd had a bad week of running although I didn't mention my PF problems in detail. I was hoping that I'd have a reprieve for the day.
It was just getting light when we started. I tried to keep up with Debbie, but gave up after the first mile. I then fell in with the 3:20 pace group. I was having difficulty even staying with them. Then I realized that they were running faster in order to take walking breaks. This routine was definitely not going to work for me. So I fell behind them too. It's funny that I've been so speed impaired lately. Maybe it's the PF, but I also seem to be short of breath a lot.
Not that it mattered. My PF began to ache big-time by about mile 3. This is as much pain as ever - even including last year's Mohican run.
The three miles we spent on the beach as the sun was rising were spectacular. And with the hard-packed flat sand, it wasn't overly difficult. For most people, that is. I was in pain at the time. I saw Bill Rodgers again, and we said exchanged pleasantries as he was about to turn off for the half-marathon. I strongly considered turning back as well, but something made me keep going.
As the course took us on beach roads and nice neighborhoods, I was slowing down more and more. Now I was really beginning to wonder if I'd be forced to drop out. It would be a shame to come all this way and wind up with a DNF, but the pain was practically unbearable.
Somewhere around mile 12 an aid station was handing out ibuprofen. I know that taking Vitamin I during a run is a big no-no (and they probably shouldn't be handing them out). But I couldn't think of any other way to get through the run.
Half-way went by in 1:59:30, and I had to push the pace to manage a sub-two hour half. I was starting to think that I'd have to walk the entire second half to hope for a five-hour marathon.
But the pain subsided, a little. This was, however, enough to allow me to keep going and even maintain a nine-minute pace. The math was telling me that I'd have to stay at or better than that pace in order to beat 4 hours.
Mile 20 went by in 3:04. I was cutting it mighty close. Then somehow I actually picked the pace up a bit (only a bit) for the final 10K. I passed Michelle in the final mile and a half, hoping she'd be able to make it under four as well.
I crossed the line in 3:58 and change. It probably tied my Personal Worst time. Michelle made it under the Four-Hour wire as well. Debbie had finished with a very fast time.
They walked, and I limped, for a bit before we got on our respective buses out of there.
This blog has been focused on my own problems. The people who have been through breast cancer, including a dear friend for whom I ran this race, have been through problems on an entirely different level that puts my puny problems to shame. The event itself is a wonderful one on a great many levels. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Now I need a rest. A lot of rest.
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