2017 marked my fourth year running this race! It also marked my fourth “runniversary”, which means that exactly four years ago I ran my very first race and “got hooked”! Speaking of hooked – the day before to the race we went fishing. Great opportunity to rest your legs and really relax. I highly recommend it.
Regarding the race – I wish I’d been able to run this one hard; I wish that I’d been able to push the pace and chase last year’s PR – but that wasn’t in the cards for 2017. Since my SI joint injection three weeks ago I was feeling nearly 100% better, but I hadn’t spent any time on speedwork in the past months leading up to this race, and I was just now able to run the distance without any issues. So instead I approached this race as an opportunity to just run and build my base mileage – like I’ve been doing every weekend. The motto was “slow and steady” with a focus on the steady part. If I wasn’t able to run fast, I’d at least try to run even splits.
Just two days before the race a cold front rolled through the area and cooled off the night to a comfortable 57 degrees. Purposely, I lined up at the very end of the field; in fact, I only had a small group of ladies behind me when the gun went off at 6:30 a.m..
Since I was familiar with the course and didn’t have a time goal I used the first mile as my warm-up. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in any hurry – as I made my way up the bridge two ladies ahead of me dropped their phones in their attempts to take a picture while running. Ladies – please, for the love of God – do everyone around you a big favor and stop this nonsense. Or, at least, if you’re so hell-bent on taking a picture while you’re out there, step off the course and out of the way. This way you’re not an obstacle to runners behind you, and you won’t put yourself in a position where others might get extremely pissed off at you, or worse, run you over.
Once I crossed the Memorial Bridge and made my way down the causeway toward the beach I turned up the volume on my headset to drown out the chatter around me. The louder the music, the better I can focus – whether that’s on running “fast” or just steady. And steady is what I was after!
On a side note – I was a bit surprised to see no race photog after the crossing of the first bridge. Where there was one last year there was none this time around. Also – this photo was not taken at the race, but two weeks prior…..
I witnessed one of those breathtaking sunrises when we climbed up the Sand Key bridge at mile four and my legs were still feeling great! I really didn’t feel any fatigue, even as we crossed it again on the way back. And then, to my own surprise, once I made my way back onto the Memorial Causeway (a spot where I typically mentally start to lose focus) I still felt fine.
Instead of attacking the last bridge at mile 11 I decided against it. There was absolutely no point in changing strategies now – I had saved my energy for a reason, and my finish time did not matter. I cruised up the bridge, then “let it fly” on the downhill portion leading into the finish stretch. I had plenty of energy to put down a bit of a “finish sprint” if you want to call it that…
I wasn’t limping around like I usually do after a hard race, and I experienced zero soreness in the days after the race. Maybe next year I get to “race” this one again. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be in good shape to prepare and train properly……