Monday, November 14, 2011

Ft. Lauderdale 13.1 Marathon?

C'mon make up your minds is it a marathon or a half? There is no such thing as a 13.1 marathon, any more than a 5k marathon. Granted, many runners complain about the title of a half-marathon, as they feel it degrades their accomplishment somehow, and while it is a huge accomplishment all it's own it isn't a marathon. But, I guess this is what happens after Ironman turned their lackluster half-ironman events around by renaming the series as Ironman 70.3. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what distance you race, if you go all out in a race and leave it all out on the course you've earned some props. Let's face it, every hardcore marathoner will (secretly?) admit that they despise the effort of racing a 5k where you feel like puking the minute you cross the starting line.

Ok, on to the race, which is honestly the first half I've managed to race since the San Francisco half two years ago. Despite the inherent silliness in the race branding, they put on a well organized race. I stayed at the host hotel to avoid the 45 minute drive from Palm Beach, because really, who wants to wake up at 3 a.m. for a race? Ooops, guess I'll be doing that for Disney Marathon in January, but I digress. Kit pick up was fast and easy on race morning. Ditto for gear check, and plenty of port-o-potties for the runners. The race started at 6:13 a.m. with temps in the low 70s, and little humidity, but for a runner who sweats like I do, any heat will wear you down. So, once I broke out a good sweat after the first mile, I knew I had to shelve any PR dreams, and back off of 1:45 pace. It was a good decision. I was running well and averaging about 8:10 min/mile, but the second half got tougher and tougher as I felt myself overheating and watched my heart rate jump up 10 beats from the first few miles. But once I got to 10 miles, I knew that none of that mattered anymore. The last 5k is all about heart and mental toughness. Ignoring the doomsday messages of your brain and focusing on the here and now. Pick one runner and slowly pull him in, then pick off your next target. I'd love to say that I really picked up my pace in this portion, but at best it was a couple of seconds/mile. Crossed the line in 1:48:18, which while way off my PR feels like a huge result in these conditions.

More importantly it's a huge confidence boost as I enter my build up phase for the Disney Marathon in January, followed by the Paris Marathon in April. Even better, the next morning my legs feel lose and relaxed and ready to get into some deep marathon training.


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