Sunday, June 12, 2016

Masters of All Terrain Trail Marathon 2016

Masters of All Terrain
The marathon started at 7am, which was a pretty late start for a June marathon in Florida. The temperature reached 92 over the course of the day, and when we started it was 100% humidity. Blue skies for days which I normally love, today... not so much.

Race: Masters of All Terrain
Date: June 11th, 2016
Finish Time: 5 hours, 09 minutes
Distance: 26.2 miles
Gain: 279 ft

The Start
Jessica was running the 5 mile course, Justin ran the 1/2 marathon, and Jason and I ran the full marathon. We all started out together at the back of the pack, Jason and I quickly weaved through people making our way through the pack. The trail started out on a gravel/sand road, we stayed on this for the first 3 miles. We ran over a bridge past a beautiful waterfront and continued down the gravel road. We passed 2 aid stations during that time! 

The Jungle
We turned onto a trail here and ran a jungle trail for around 2 miles. It reminded me of a deer trail being very narrow and lush. I loved this section, it was my favorite. Very thick coverage of trail, with potential for water crossings if it had been rainy. There were hills through here and a lot of thick brush and a stream where we could hear an alligator. I liked to sing "In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle the Lion Sleeps Tonight..." through this area. It was so fitting. We came out of here about mile 5 crossing another aid station, then... ran right into the sugar sand.
Going up the deer trail
So hot... keep smiling!
Tip-toeing around the mud
Small patch of mud

The Sugar Sand
So they warn you before running this race, you will encounter roughly .25 miles of sugar sand along this course. Not worth training for right? WRONG. It must have been a typo because we ran roughly 2.5 miles of sugar sand, mostly UPHILL with no trees providing shade. It was horrible! Such a rough section to run. We powered through, continually passing people and moving forward

The Woods and Knee High Grass
We turned down a trail and hit knee high grass. We ran in this for awhile into the woods! We hit a few patches of soft sand here, lots of tall grass and this woods. It was an area we kept our eyes out for bear (the same place that 2 bear cubs were spotted climbing a tree later in the day)! We were only here for a few miles.

 The Burned Woods
The last 2-3 mile stretch of trail had been recently burned so it was very dry, sunny and even felt hotter than it probably was. The trail part was pretty cool but the burned area messed with you mentally! LOL. It was a cool section if it wasn't so hot out. Just a trail through the woods, seemed like it went forever (see the panorama picture at the bottom). Both times that we ran through this section were equally difficult for different reasons. The first time we both had to use the porta-potty SO BAD and there were no bathrooms on course, we were hot, tired, thirsty and had to pee! Jason ended up losing me on this trail by passing several people, and I ended up moving aside to let faster people pass me as I powered through. When we came off this section we ran through a wood gate where people were cheering and you could here the finish line music playing. We literally had to RUN THROUGH THE FINISH LINE and then continue on to run the loop again. I was done. Jason was long gone as I ran through the finish line, Jessica was there waiting... and I was done. But I wasn't. I found out Jason beam-lined straight to the porta-potty so I headed that direction where we met back up. 
I was tired, and hot, and had been pushing myself to run faster on that difficult terrain that I would have if I had been running by myself. Jason convinced me to keep going, telling me exactly what I needed to hear. "You are going to kick yourself in the butt if you stop now, you need to keep going, you committed to running this." Yes, yes I did. All those things were true. We started off to run our second loop. By mile 15 I got my second wind and felt amazing. The second loop was soo much easier than the first loop. I am definitely a distance runner not a fast runner. We took the second loop a little slower and I felt so strong. The humidity went down but the heat went up for our second loop. We also got a little breeze for that second loop which was so nice! Jason pushed me through the first half, and I was able to return the favor pushing him through the second. We are a good team! #runningbuddiesrock

Coming into the finish line for real, 26.27 miles-being the most accurate marathon course I have run to date!
Ya that's right, those are some BIG cheesy happy smiles.
 We finally crossed the finish line with the official time of 5:09:57. I know it was a very slow time, but I am so proud of it for how tough the course was and how hot the day was!

We ran a strong race, on very difficult terrain, on a very hot day. This has been one of the hardest races I have ever ran! Gosh I feel amazing having completed it! 

On a side note, Jessica ran an awesome 5 miles and completed her first trail run. Justin paced himself and finished his first trail run half marathon strong. We all had a great race day with a lot of ups and downs! Now, we head off to World of Beer to re-hydrate and have lunch!

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