Sunday, February 04, 2001

RR Ocala Marathon

Race Report
Ocala Marathon
Ocala, FL

Just got back from Ocala, FL where we spent the weekend so I could run that second 'training marathon' to get ready for the Sahara Marathon. Thus I must bore you with a brief marathon/trip report.
The weather was fairly cool - 46 degrees at the start and raining. In fact the worst part of the race was standing around in the cold rain for 15 minutes waiting for the race to start. But it finally got underway at 7am in the rain. By 3 miles I regretted changing into a long-sleeve T-shirt at the last minute as I was too warm! It rained throughout the first half as we meandered up and down gentle rolling hills in horse country outside of Ocala.
It was very scenic and the hills were gentle enough to be a blessing since they change the terrain and prevent 'memory fatigue' in the leg muscles. I crossed the half in 1:42 and change (almost 2 minutes faster than Clearwater) so again knew that it would be another great day or very ugly in the 2nd half. The hills did cause me to slow down a wee bit from 13 to 20 miles which I passed in 2:37:50. So I had actually lost a few seconds off my pace. Also at that point, the wind that had not been a factor all race picked up as the course turned directly into it for the final 10K! Fortunately a young stud (No, not race horse but a 30 year-old male runner from Orlando running his first marathon) blew by me at that point and I decided to stick on his tail and draft for as long as I could hold on? He literally dragged my ass the next 5 miles at a 7:45 pace.
He was running so smoothly and easily that I figured he would eventually leave my fat ass behind but surprisingly and unfortunately at 25 miles he hit the 'wall'. He slowed so suddenly and drastically that I almost ran over him. I kind of felt guilty as I sidestepped him, looked at my watch and decided that if I could drop my pace to sub 7- minutes for the last 1 1/4 miles that I could break 3:25!
I gave it everything I had but knew at 26 miles that I wouldn't/couldn't make it. But I was very pleased with my 3:25:29 as I crossed the finish line! This great time caused me to go back to my running logs again to check how far back in time/years I had to go to find the last marathon that I had run faster? It was White Rock Marathon on Dec 8/96 - a 3:18! I don't think this
'old bod' is capable of achieving that time anymore? But I am now determined to break 3:25 sometime this year! Stay tuned!

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