Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tomoka Marathon Race Recap 2015

The second annual Tomoka Marathon

I decided after running Miami and qualified for the Marathon Maniacs I was going to take a break from marathons and work on strength and speed with hopes of running a sub 4 and getting closer to a BQ. After running Jax Bank (Dec 28) a bunch of my running friends from FCR decided they were all running Tomoka, so I thought I better too! Unfortunately, unlike most of my friends in FCR I didn't continue training after running Miami. My longest run in the past 8 weeks was 14.5 miles... My best friend flew in for spring break and we were so busy every single day leading up to the marathon including; 5 hour snorkeling tour in the Keys, kayaking the Springs, the day before the race we were up in Savannah GA site seeing all day! I didn't get more than 5-6 hours of sleep the entire time.

Race: Tomoka Marathon
Date: March 29th, 2015
Finish Time: 4 hours, 08 minutes
Distance: 26.2 miles
Gain: 639 ft

The marathon got underway around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, the half started at 7am and the 5k started at 7:30am. The staggered start was awesome. It cleared so much of the congestion at the beginning of the race.

The temperatures hovered in the lower to mid-40s, and most of us locals were freezing. Most of us were still wearing our shorts an tank tops praying we would warm up once we started running. The course was gorgeous. We ran what we call "the Tomoka loop" which has some of the most diverse, natural "Old Florida" scenery.

You get to see a little bit of everything including unobstructed vistas of the rivers, inland creeks and marshes, barrier island dunes and beach. We ran over high bridge (a small draw bridge) where in my opinion had some of the most beautiful views on the course. We ran under the huge trees that were covered in spanish moss, down John Anderson road which has a lot of big beautiful houses and finishing down Beach Street. At mile 25.5 we had to cross over the huge bridge to reach the finish line. The start line (an finish line) were at "The Casements" which is a historic former winter home of John D Rockefeller. The post race party was also held there in the beautiful Rockefeller Gardens on the Halifax river. FCR had a tent area setup with food and drinks for a post race celebration.

I started the race with the 4:15 pacer which I felt was a little ambitious with my lack of training the past 2 months, but thought it was achievable as long as I didn't walk. I stayed ahead of her the entire race. My FCR friend met up with me around mile 10 (ish) and ran with me pacing me to the end. She was amazing. Without her I wouldn't have been able to finish as quickly as I did. Miles 18-21 were on packed dirt which I have a really hard time running on, and it wiped me out. I tanked at mile 23 and without her there pushing me, I don't know that I could have gotten myself running again. My lack of training hit me hard there. The support of a friend who knows how you feel and what your goals are was so amazing. With her push, I got a new PR of 4:08:08.

The best part was coming around the corner to the finish line and seeing (heading) a crowd of FCR friends cheering me on to the finish. The support of this group (FCR) is beyond amazing. People were riding their bikes back and forth on the course offering us water/Gatorade/cliff bars/ibuprofin and just all a round giving us their support. They were hopping on the course running with others (race directors encouraged people to join in to support other runners, FCR group is awesome at not clogging the water stations by bringing their own hydration and they did not cross the finish line or take anything from the race) Then when I crossed the finish line I saw my husband (unexpectedly) standing there cheering for me. He got to see me PR at this race and I couldn't wait to tell him about the whole course! We went over to cheer on the a last few people from FCR that were finishing, than met up at the FCR tent to hear how everyone's race went. Several from FCR got BQ's and most of the others met or exceeded their goals they had for the race. It was an amazing day.

The course was so gorgeous, it was flat and shaded. They had enough water stations but if it had been warmer out they would have needed more. I loved the oranges and fruit they had as well, that is always such a pick-me-up the last 10 miles of the marathon. I am excited it run it again next year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment