Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jacksonville Marathon

Capped off a fantastic year of racing by flying to Florida to run a flat, late season marathon. Ran the first half in 8-minute miles on the dot. Lost some steam around mile 18 or so as it warmed up to almost 70 degrees, and slowed up a bit. I never really hit the wall, and never actually cramped, but I felt that old familiar feeling in the hamstrings right at mile 20. Slight twitches warning of possible (hopefully not imminent) cramps on the way. Time to take another salt tablet or two... shoot, where are they?? Must've dropped 'em the last time I reached into my short pockets for a Gu. Ah well. I knew the drill. Slow up enough to stave off any debilitating power cramps, but not so much that I get dispirited. It worked; I was able to jog steadily right on through to the finish, coming in six minutes slower than I'd hoped for.

Still, I prepared well overall and had a pretty solid race, resulting in my third fastest marathon out of eleven (3:36:11). The course wasn't particularly interesting, though there's a nice long, shady, sort of scenic section in the middle where you run through quiet neighborhoods beneath big scraggly live oaks dripping with Spanish moss). I didn't have any issues with traffic or motorcycles or anything, which I'd been mildly concerned about based on some of the reviews I'd read on before signing up. And I actually quite liked finishing with a jog across a field, followed by half a lap on the track. Both surfaces I'm intimate and comfortable with. My final 0.2 split was definitely well under an 8-minute mile pace.


Anyway, just the usual few days of soreness afterwards; otherwise, recovered well and feel good about the event overall. Bonus: got to explore the coast a bit more and visit my friends Tim and Alice in Brunswick, GA afterwards.