Running for the Bay Marathon
Marathon # 365
5:05:31 - 1 AG
This will be a short race report since I was unable to record any race data due to a watch/heart monitor that malfunctioned.
I had no plans to run another marathon until mid Nov. The last race in Vietnam really tired me out and the constant heat & humidity in FL made it difficult to run long training runs. In fact my longest training run since Vietnam was only 13 miles. I planned to increase my long run each week until I reached 18 miles in early Nov. However this race caught my eye on the marathon calendar. It could serve as a long training run to beat my old bod back into (marathon) shape and It was a good excuse to visit the ‘Forgotten Coast’ along the Florida Panhandle.
I registered the week of the race and decided to leave a few days early to explore the area. The 1st glitch was no hotel rooms in Apalachicola the night before the race. I stayed in Apalachicola the first night and had to move to Carrabelle for the 2nd night. I spent Sat morning driving along the ‘Forgotten Coast’ to explore Port St Joe and Cape San Blas. After picking up my race packet I drove the marathon course that started in Apalachicola and ran across two long bridges and causeways to St George Island – a total of 16 miles of concrete bridges and causeways – to return to Apalachicola.
The 2nd glitch was no Italian restaurants anywhere on the ‘Forgotten Coast’. I had to make do with a seafood pasta at a seafood restaurant – there are lots of them!
Sun was “M” day. The races started at 7:15 am to take advantage of the light at sunrise. There were about 400 runners in 4 races that started a few minutes apart since the courses all jumped on to the John Gorrie Memorial Bridge (Hwy 98) after a few hundred meters and runners could only use the emergency shoulder to run. The temps were in the high 60s and the skies were overcast. The bridge climbed steeply for ½ mile and then declined to a long causeway and another bridge. Due to the lack of room there were no manned water stations on the bridges – only cases of water bottles that runners had to stop and collect on their own.
When we passed Mile 1, I tried to check my split but my watch/heart monitor was acting up. It was not recording splits? I tried to fix the problem but there was still not enough light (and poor eyesight in the dark) to see what I was doing and I only seemed to make the problem worse. Of course this problem started to mess with my mind and I wasted/lost about 5 minutes over the 1st 5 miles trying to fix the damn watch! I asked another runner at 5 Miles what our time was – 57:22. Out of desperation I reset the watch and it started to work and I was finally able to focus on running – just in time to start crossing the Bryant Patton Bridge at Mile 6 – another 4 miles of concrete bridge and causeway over to St George Island. When I reached St George Island at Mile 10 I hit the ‘lap’ button to check my split and the watch went crazy again? It reset itself to ZERO and I lost all my data. I was pissed and flustered.
I screwed with the watch until I reached the Half in 2:29 (a digital clock) where I tried to reset it again figuring I would record a complete/correct 2nd Half? No go! The watch completely failed! It stated “memory failed” and went blank. I was so pissed off that I wanted to rip the damn watch off my wrist and throw it in the Gulf.
However I calmed myself and decided that maybe that was a good thing. I would have to run the 2nd half based on what my body told me – and not my watch! (Been years since I did that?) I kept the pace slow & easy – close to my normal training pace. It was a long boring 4 miles back across that bridge. Thankfully the skies were cloudy and overcast because there was no protection from the sun – or the constant headwind!
I passed a few runners on the Patton Bridge and caught a few more runners as we approached the John Gorrie Bridge at Mile 21. I asked a runner what our time was at that point – 4:10. I figured it would take about 1 hour to run the final 5 miles so I just kept the pace slow & easy. I had expected there would be a lot of walking required during the final 10K but maybe the walking in the early part of the race while I tried to fix my f***ing watch saved my ass? I was able to run the entire final 10K including the climb back up John Gorrie Bridge.
I crossed the finish line in 5:05:31 so I was happy – and surprised to learn that slow time was good enough to place 1st AG. I jumped in the car and drove 3 ½ hours along the Gulf Coast to Cedar Key where I had booked a ‘Honeymoon’ suite at a motel overlooking the Marina and Gulf. The ‘Honeymoon’ suite was the only room that had a 2nd story verandah (with a porch swing) overlooking the Gulf. After a much-needed hot shower I enjoyed a few beer while enjoying the swing and view before I went off in search of a great seafood dinner.