Tuesday, February 19, 2008

RR -Jacksonville

Race Report
26.2 with Donna Marathon
Jacksonville, FL
Sun, Feb 17/08
Marathon #299
3:58:25 – 2 AG

Marathon #299!
There were a few times in the past six months (including the 10 mile mark of the race) when I didn’t think I would get to this point!

I had picked this race for #299 for a number of reasons:
a) It was two weeks before my hometown race where I wanted to run #300
b) It was an easy drive within FL
c) It was a new marathon for FL – ‘26.2 with Donna’ - and this was the inaugural race

I discovered a few negative aspects during the early registration process. The entry fee was a ridiculously high $115 but since it all went to the charity/fight for breast cancer I was willing to accept that price! The race had a start time of 8:30 am which seemed late for a FL race? The race start/finish was at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and since there was no parking all runners had to be shuttled to the start. This increased the logistics and the amount of time to get to/from the race. I must confess that I was not enthused or impressed with the race as I headed to Jacksonville but am happy to report that my negative opinion was changed. The races (Marathon and Half) were well organized and successful -more than 7,000 runners participated in the inaugural event!

I drove up to Jacksonville early Sat morning and headed straight to the Expo and packet pick up at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium. The expo was crowded because the space was too small to handle 7,000 runners (they only expected 5,000). However I found a booth that screen printed t-shirts and had a singlet custom-printed to commemorate my 300th marathon so I was happy. I was supposed to meet up with a friend from the 50 States Club but he had to cancel at the last minute so I was on my own for pasta dinner. I drove over to Neptune Beach to explore the beaches and enjoy a traditional pasta dinner.

Although the races didn’t start until 8:30 am I had to rise early to catch a shuttle bus to the start. Fortunately the weather was warm while we had to wait over an hour for the race to start. In fact the weather was too warm. It was already sunny, HOT and humid with temps in the low 60s and forecast to climb into the 80s by the time we finished! While waiting for the races to start I revised my race strategy for three reasons:
1) The weather forecast.
2) The late start. I thought the late start was due to the logistics of shuttling the runners to the start. However I talked to a few local runners and learned that the late start was necessary because part of the marathon course was on the beach and they had to be sure it was low tide!
3) The beach! The sand would slow the pace down.

I decided to go out fast as originally planned for the first 5 miles and then accept a slower pace on the sand/beach and by then the sun would be hot and the pace would have to be slower! Jeff Galloway who emceed the race urged/warned all runners to run at least 30-60 secs/mile slower than planned because of the heat!
The races started on time and we headed east on Butler Blvd towards the beaches. The first mile climbed a long steep bridge over St John’s River and offered a sweeping view of the Intracoastal Waterway where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. I passed mile 1 in 8:08. The next two miles included two overpasses so I was pleased when I passed mile 3 in 24:17 and turned on to Ocean Dr along the Atlantic Ocean. There had been no spectators on Butler Blvd but there were thousands of spectators and residents along the rest of the course! I passed mile 5 in 41:12 before we turned on to Jacksonville Beach. The sand was hard-packed in most places but I wasn’t sure what effect the sand would have on my pace (except to slow it down)? I decided to run by my heart monitor rather than trying to maintain the same pace. During the next/first mile on the beach I seemed to be struggling a lot for the pace I was running and I was shocked when I reached mile 6 in a split of 9:01? Surely the sand couldn’t have that huge of a negative effect? But miles 7 and 8 were splits of 9:15. Fortunately the course turned off the beach and back on to good old asphalt at mile 8! I decided to lower the hammer and get my pace back down below 8:30s. However I quickly discovered there was no hammer – there was no push – there was no energy! Suddenly I felt very poorly – I was either very overheated or had a fever and I was totally exhausted and out of energy? I realized that something was very wrong! I didn’t believe I could be tired/out of energy due to the great race I ran last weekend. One of Maddog’s strengths is his ability to recover quickly? And I noticed a strange phenomenon. Although I was trying to push the pace my heart monitor dropped about 10 bpm below my normal range and no matter how hard I tried I could not increase my heart level back to its normal marathon range? I wisely decided to slow down and jog the next two miles to give my legs/body a chance to rest and recover. However when I passed mile 10 in 1:28:08 and a split of 9:52 I still felt like shit and I knew I was in trouble!

I felt worse with every step and realized that I had to go into ‘survival mode’ and just try to keep shuffling the old legs and make it to the Half and hope that somehow I would recover? I promised myself that if I could keep ‘running’ to the Half I would re-evaluate my condition and walk the 2nd Half if necessary. I knew I was just delaying the inevitable (walking) but quitting was not an option since I had to finish #299 or run another race next weekend! As I approached the Half it took every ounce of energy I had to just keep my feet moving and I knew the race was over for me. I was prepared to walk the entire 2nd Half if necessary! As soon as I crossed the timing mat at the Half in 1:57:19 I stopped and walked. The 2nd Half was going to be very UGLY!

I walked for a few minutes and strangely – almost miraculously – I started to feel better and energy seemed to be returning? I no longer felt like I was burning up? I started to jog and I noticed that my heart monitor began to slowly increase back to its normal marathon range (80% Max)? By the time I reached mile 14 my heart monitor was reading normal and my energy was returning although not fully. I decided to run again while holding my heart rate in the normal range and see what pace that translated to? I passed mile 15 in 2:14:57 and a split of 9:04. I still didn’t feel great but I was running again and I decided the smartest thing I could do was to maintain my heart monitor in its normal range and accept whatever pace the body was able and willing to give me in that range. I reached mile 18 in 2:42 and a split of 8:55. I started to feel stronger and decided to push the pace – and noted yet another strange phenomenon? As I increased my effort the heart monitor soared 10bpm above normal range to 90% Max but my pace or split increased to 9:25 on mile 19? None of that made sense? I kept my heart rate at 90% Max over the next mile and al I got for it was a split of 9:15? I had passed mile 20 in 3:00:48. I calculated that I only needed a 10 min pace for the last 10Km to break 4 hrs so I wisely decided to lower my heart rate back to its normal range and accept whatever pace that gave me! During the next three miles I felt the best I had since mile 5 and started passing hundreds of runners and walkers who had succumbed to the heat. The course was noisy with sirens and clustered with ambulances picking up distressed runners!

When I reached mile 23 in 3:28:24 back on Butler Blvd I was confident that I would break 4 hrs! Yes I still had the overpasses and bridge between me and the finish line and the sun was now hotter than Hell but I had 31 minutes to run 5 Km! I did have to dig deep and my heart monitor again soared to 90% Max over those final 3 miles as I had to weave among hundreds of Half marathoners waking a 4+ Hr Half but I crossed the finish line in 3:58:25! I am not sure how to assess my performance and results in this race! Based on my pre-race strategy and goals they sucked! But based on the conditions and what happened during the race I was glad that I finished – ALIVE – let alone under 4 hrs! I later learned that my finish time was good enough to place 2nd AG so I guess I didn’t do too badly?

I am curious if any of my doctor friends/readers have any idea/opinion of what caused the strange problems/symptoms that I experienced during the race. My guess is that I suffered a case of the ‘5-Mile Flu’?

The most important thing is that I finished marathon # 299 and I now have two weeks to get ready for #300 at my hometown race.

Some comments/appraisal of the race:
I think the entry fee is exorbitant and I didn’t like the shuttle buses and late start. But I will give credit when due. The race was very well organized. The race volunteers and residents were very cheerful and supportive. The course is unusual/different with the 3 miles on the beach. I won’t go back but I believe you will enjoy the experience if you run this race next year. I think this race will become popular and get much bigger!

And a final personal story that has a message for all my readers:

As most of my readers know I struggled through many injuries and trials the past 18 months. In early 2007 I set a goal to run my 300th marathon in my hometown race in Sarasota in March 2008. When I suffered a severe tear to the plantar fascia in my right foot last fall I thought that goal/dream was finished! I still had 10 marathons to run in the next 6 months just to get to #299! Indeed if I had listened to the doctors who advised me to take 6 to 9 months off to rest the injury and friends who told me it was foolish to run through such a serious injury – the dream would have been over! Instead I ignored all of them and listened to my body as I pursued my dream. But it was not easy! It was one of the most painful and frustrating experiences of my running career. The boredom of cross training – the pain and humbling experience of running/walking marathons in record slow times – the frustration of watching runners beat me that I could normally beat on any day. I experienced highs in achieving small improvements in my times and lows due to setbacks in the healing of the injury and slower times. But it has been a life-altering experience! I have learned to deal with pain, adversity and disappointments along with the happiness of achievement! And I believe I have finally learned to control my super-competitive nature and accept that I cannot win every race (not sure Maddog has reached that level?).

I take pride that I am ready to walk up to the start line of my hometown race in two weeks and - NONE – NADA - NOT ONE - of those ‘naysayers’ will have the pleasure to join me at the start line to run THEIR 300th marathon!

The message is: “Never give up! Don’t always believe or accept what other people tell you what YOU can do! Listen to your own mind and body – they are the best advisors you will ever have!”

I have two more weeks to run speed work and a few tune ups to improve my marathon shape and win the Senior Title in the Sarasota Marathon.

Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...


A banks is a financial institution that accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending activities. Banks primarily provide financial services to customers while enriching investors. Government restrictions on financial activities by banks vary over time and location. Banks are important players in financial markets and offer services such as investment funds and loans. In some countries such as Germany, banks have historically owned major stakes in industrial corporations while in other countries such as the United States banks are prohibited from owning non-financial companies. In Japan, banks are usually the nexus of a cross-share holding entity known as the keiretsu. In France, bancassurance is prevalent, as most banks offer insurance services (and now real estate services) to their clients.

The level of government regulation of the banking industry varies widely, with countries such as Iceland, having relatively light regulation of the banking sector, and countries such as China having a wide variety of regulations but no systematic process that can be followed typical of a communist system.[url=http://projectcontrol.v3host.nl]CLICK HERE[/url]

Anonymous said...

Companies House Webcheck
Webcheck Companies House
Company House Webcheck
Companies House Webcheck Service

[url=http://perosnalbinking.v3host.be/companies-house-webcheck.html]company house webcheck[/url]

Anonymous said...