Okay, I owe you guys this one. I haven’t said much about the race other than I finished it. Let me preface this post by saying that I was extremely under trained and under prepared for this race. I’m usually a dedicated trainer but moving down to Orlando, working exhausting long shifts at Disney and living so far away from any trail really made me rethink training. I was seriously so close to just giving up and not running the race. I didn’t have the time or the energy to put in the 20 milers and the mid-week long runs. Nor did I ever have enough food. Financially it’s been a rough few months and fueling myself with enough food has been a struggle especially since I am an athlete and have an athlete’s appetite. I went through a really strong phase where I was driving out to Clermont to run the trails and I put in a few good long runs but quickly realized that it was expensive to get out to Clermont and extremely time consuming. I also met my boyfriend Jeremy who has been extremely supportive of my running so I decided to give the marathon a go. He promised to be there and knowing that I was going to see him a couple times during the race encouraged me to do it.
So let’s start at the beginning of our day on December 1st:
3:00 AM: wake up, eat bagel with almond butter + banana.
3:30 AM: push Jeremy to hurry up because I am extremely nervous about making the drive down to Cocoa.
4:00 AM: get on the road to drive to Cocoa. super thankful for my sunpass so we didn’t have to stop at tolls. Jeremy is in good spirits and is easing my mind about the marathon.
5:00 AM: arrive, find a parking spot, frantically search for last minute packet pick-up.
5:45 AM: bib pinned, nerves lessened, potty break taken.
6:30 AM: Race starts! :)
Miles 1-6.5: This was the first leg of the race. The entire race was one gigantic infinity loop that took us by the coast. I started out feeling really strong and was way ahead of the 3:50 marathon group. That was some what of a mistake because I went out way too fast but I was feeling so good that I decided to just go with how my legs were feeling. I finished the first 6.5 miles in 49 minutes. Yikes. Too fast.
Miles 7-14: This was just the way back from the first leg so the scenery was unchanging. It was still freakin’ beautiful. I watched the sun rise and the water was breathtaking. I made friends with an older woman who had bible verses on her shirt. We ran with each other for awhile until I had to get some water and she didn’t want to stop. The aid stations were all themed and everyone was dressed in some sort of space attire. Gatorade was called “Alien juice” which made me giggle. At mile 14 I saw Jeremy! :) He asked me how I was and I told him I was feeling pretty good and he gave me a gigantic kiss and told me he’d see me again at around mile 25.
Miles 15-21: This was the second part of the infinity loop. It was pretty uneventful but equally as beautiful as the first part. The coast was really pretty and I was feeling good overall. Around mile 19, I started to hurt but I made friends with people around me which made the time pass by and the pain subside. I made it to the turn around point and was still feeling pretty good! I hadn’t started walking yet!
Miles 22-25: Ugh, the marathon started biting at this point. The tailwind we were rocking on the way out turned into a headwind on the way back in. It sucked. I hurt so badly and All I wanted to do was finish. I was still on pace to finish a 3:50 marathon but I was slowing down. My back really took the beating at this point and I was extremely hungry. I should’ve grabbed a pb&j sandwich from Jeremy when I saw him but I was nervous that it wouldn’t sit well or make me feel dehydrated. I ran as much as I could and walked through aid stations. I was still running more than walking so I figured I was doing pretty well. The miles felt like they were getting longer, I swear. Or maybe it was because I was running slower. Either way, that leg sucked. The redeeming part was when I saw Jeremy at mile 25. He gave me a big kiss and even ran with me for a little bit shouting encouraging words and telling me how much fun he was having. I guess he made lots of friends and saw a dolphin in the water. :P
Mile 25-26.2: Longest 1.2 miles of my LIFE. I was overheated, tired, HUNGRY and the wind was killer. I pushed and pushed and pushed until the very end and thankfully saw the crowds that turned into the finish line. I crossed the finish line at 4:10:22. That last 10k really killed me but considering I was so under trained, I was just thankful for a finish!
Woot, look at my shiny medal! :) I swear I think I signed up for this race just for the medal. I’m really glad I didn’t back out. This race was so worth it. The course was beautiful and the theme was fun. I also fell in love with the little town of Cocoa. Jeremy and I want to return just to explore the area. Jeremy met up with me at the finish and we helped ourselves to the plethora of free food. I had some pancakes and eggs but I really wanted something more salty. On our way out, we saw a pizza stand and I hobbled as quickly as I could to grab a slice. Best piece of pizza ever! :) It took us awhile to find my car which got frustrating because I was tired and just wanted to sit but when we did, it was glorious. Jeremy drove us home and thankfully I was rocking the runner’s high so I could keep him awake. I got home expecting to take a nap but I was so restless. My legs still wanted to move and I was starving but everything hurt still. Jeremy brought me food in bed and we watched some movies to pass the time. Luckily I came down from that high at night and was able to sleep peacefully. Definitely wore my medal all day in bed and then the day after when I went out. I earned that bad boy! :)
Overall, I’m so glad I did this race. It really made me fall in love with marathons even more and made me realize that I underestimate my abilities way too often. I am capable of so much more and I just have to put in the time to improve.
So what’s next? I have three half-marathons next semester and I’m signed up for a triathlon class. I haven’t decided when my next marathon is going to be but I see a triathlon in my near future and then, who knows? A half-ironman and then an ironman? I can do it as long as I put my mind to it! :)