Space Coast Marathon Recap
Monday: Rest. Lots of Riley Walking.
Tuesday: Pilates. Walking.
Where to being? I think I’m going to tackle this recap from strictly a race standpoint for now and will delve into the rest of it in another post. So here we go…
Thursday and Friday I made sure to increase my carb intake and get plenty of sleep. And it’s a good thing because Saturday night I didn’t sleep a wink. I saw the time at every hour of the night. I “woke up” at 4am Sunday and ate 3/4 of a bagel before getting ready and taking my fierce photo…
There was a bus that picked up runners from the hotel and took us to the start. I ate another 3/4 bagel on the bus ride at 5am. After using the restroom 3 times, yes 3- my nerves really get things moving, the main reason I don’t drink coffee race morning- I headed to the start. It was weird lining up literally in the front. The gun went off and I was ready to PR! I started out with a 7:15 pace and over the first 5-ish miles brought it down to a 7:08-7:10 pace. I was lucky enough to find 2 guys who were shooting for a similar time and ran with them for about 16 miles. One of the guys is a 2:40 marathoner and just ran NYC. He was pacing his friend.
I went through a bit of a rough patch mentally around mile 10, but got out of that funk once I saw my entourage (my mom and sister), who were screaming and cheering me on like no other. It was awesome. The guys I was running with were pretty impressed. I even had a lady yell out, “Heather, you’re going to Spank this race!” and I just knew it was a blog reader. I mean, who else would know about that? I’ll tell you more about her later…
Once I got my mojo back, I was just taking it mile by mile, locking in my pace. I forgot to mention earlier that it was 63 degrees w/ 95% humidity at the start (6:30am), along with killer winds! I was spot on with my fuel during the run. I took Gatorade at mile 6 and a gel at miles 10, 14, 20 and 22, with water in between when needed, including several cups over my head. The course was “hillier” than I remembered, with rolling hills throughout. Around mile 16 I started to fade from my running buddies but managed to catch back up by mile 18, which felt great.
The course was a double out and back course so at the turn around around mile 20 the wind was fully in our faces. This is where things went downhill. Fast. And I don’t mean as in down a hill, haha. As silly as this is going to sound, I don’t know if I’ve ever really hit the wall. The timing in the race makes it seem that way, but I think there were several factors that added to my demise. All of a sudden my legs just would not turn over and I slowly watched my pace dwindle from 7:15, 7:20, 7:25… you get the idea.
Throughout the race I was always one of the top women and I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty darn good to here people passing the other way saying, “You’re 2nd woman!” or “You go girl!” or “Lookin good!” I’ve never experienced that before and it definitely helped push me along. Around mile 21 I was 2nd woman and then this girl came out of no where, flying by. I knew I’d never be able to catch her, I knew I would hit my goal and I knew I wasn’t going to PR, so I made it my new goal to just place in the top 3. The 3:15 pacer passed me and I asked him how far back the next female was and he said a good half mile back, that she’d have to lay down 6min miles to catch up. That was good to hear, but I also knew that meant I couldn’t slow down… anything can happen.
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 3:18:43. A bittersweet moment for sure. I was elated to have finished 3rd woman overall! I know what an accomplishment that is and enjoyed every second of being on that stage and accepting my award. BUT knowing how far off I was from any of my set goals is really disappointing. I know it was a slow race overall and everyone struggled… even the female winner only ran a 3:15 something. I realize that is still fast, but not for an overall win. I don’t want to get on a whole other topic, so I’ll finish up with this… THANK YOU EVERYONE for following along with me during the training cycle and keeping my spirits up these past couple days. The Post Marathon Blues are a real thing and you guys have been MORE than supportive, offering the kindest of words. Thanks again!