Sunday, October 16, 2016

Southernmost Marathon - SOMO!

Southernmost Marathon - SOMO
Wow. What a week we had leading up to Somo. We ended up having to evacuate due to Hurricane Matthew so all of our travel plans got changed. Originally my kids were supposed to bounce between grandparents for this race, but because of the seriousness of the storm, I ended up bringing our friend (who also nanny's for us as needed) along so we wouldn't miss the race. I basically didn't run all week between work and storm prep... which was all so stressful! We spent all day Wednesday putting up our storm shutters, packing and preparing to come home to no power (dry food storage/water ect).
Putting up shutters at
our house

Putting shutters up at my
grandparents house

The Category 4 hurricane covering our state
 We left Thursday morning to head west and spent the night in Naples. Normally a 4 ish hour drive took us well over 10 hours because of traffic.  After a very long night watching the storm and trying to keep in touch with family who stayed behind, we left Naples Friday morning to head south trying to miss the storm. Got to Key West around 6 pm, picked up our packets and checked into the resort.

Race: Southernmost 1/2 Marathon
Date: October 8th, 2016
Finish Time: 2 hours, 44 minutes
Distance: 13.1 miles
Gain: 376 ft

Originally there were 12 of us going down to run this race, 3 running their first full marathons, 1 running her first half, 1 trying for a BQ after a long summer of training... a lot of excitement for this race (pre-hurricane Matthew). Only 4 of us ended up running the race, the all stayed behind to care for their loved ones, or homes. Race morning my husband and I woke up, and decided to drop to the 1/2 marathon. It had been such a stressful week we both decided we wanted to just have a nice easy fun run with friends. My best friend (Jess) was running her first 1/2 and I trained all summer with her so it was really exciting to actually be able to run the race with her. I had two complaints about the start of the race...
Justin, me and Jess at the start line!

1) There were only about 8 outhouses at the start line for everyone to share. I feel like there should have been quite a few more.
2) When we sang the National Anthem, there was no flag to salute. Found this a little odd.

Jess' husband Jason was running the full so he took off promptly at 5:30 am start time. The 1/2 started at 5:45 am giving a little room between the full and half marathons. This course was beautiful but Key West is extremely hot and humid. This is coming from a group of us who LIVE IN FLORIDA. I couldn't imagine running this race if I had traveled from somewhere not humid already. I would have died, pretty sure! LOL.

We took off at a nice and easy pace at 5:45 am. It was dark and none of us came prepared so we tried to stay behind people with headlamps or flash lights! Justin started the race really strong, I thought he would end up taking off and leaving us in his dust! He didn't but I kept waiting for it to happen. We hit the southernmost point around mile 3 and they had a photographer there grabbing everyone's pictures as they ran through, that was exciting.
I remember Jess saying she was excited we hit mile 6 (about half way) and she hadn't walked at all yet. This aid station was pretty cool, they had lots of cool lights and loud music playing. The sun was starting to come out now, and the sunrise coming over the water was gorgeous. As the sun came up, it was getting even hotter... which was unimaginable!
We got to the 1/2 marathon and marathon split (mile 8) and Jason was sitting on the ground there waiting for us! He decided to bail on the full and finish the half with us. He was in the lead of the marathon group but realized by mile 6 he wasn't enjoying himself and knew he would slow down as the sun came out, and we have all had SUCH A STRESSFUL week.
Best Friends

Power walking up the last bridge :)
We were so surprised to see him, but excited for him to join us! The 4 of us ran the last 5 miles together, and crossed the finish line together. It was awesome. Jess had an initial goal to finish between 2:15-2:30 and that was before we knew how humid it was going to be. We crossed the finish line at 2:31. So impressed with her pushing through! It was really cool to have trained together for the last 5 months and we all got to run the whole race together as well. It's a race I won't forget!

The course was great, we crossed a few bridges (that was the only bit of elevation change we had), we ran along the water almost the whole time, the sites were beautiful, we got to see the Southernmost point buoy around mile 3 and water stations every 1-2 miles (with ice cold water and gatorade that wasn't super diluted, which was needed for how hot and humid it was)...

I would NOT recommend it as a first marathon or half I believe you will be disappointed because it was so hot and humid it makes the race so difficult. I would recommend it as a runcation with friends. We won't forget this experience anytime soon, and have already talked about heading down to do it again (with no time goals... just a fun run with friends :D) We enjoyed the rest of the weekend in the keys including a sunset boat cruise, the aquarium, lots of pool time at the resort, site seeing, key lime pie and great fun with family and friends.

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