Tuesday, October 22, 2013

RR - Apalachicola

Race Report
Sun, Oct 20/13
Running for the Bay Marathon
Apalachicola, FL
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.

Actually the best part of the whole trip was the scenery and great seafood. The race was just an excuse to go! And now I have more confidence that I am in better shape that thought and I will be ready for my next race. And with ‘winter’ forecast to arrive in FL later this week the cooler weather will help with my training and make long training runs easier and more pleasant.

 Stay tuned!


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