Months and months ago, I was talked into registering for the 26.2 with Donna 5K and Half Marathon. I had been hearing such amazing things about this race, from the course to the people to the weather, so I knew that I needed to show up and run. One thing I like about this race is that it supports Breast Cancer Research, but it’s not another Komen fund thing – there is discussion of metastatic breast cancer. Sure, the survivors are applauded and honored, and they should be. But it isn’t ignored that breast cancer is more than just a pink ribbon.
For the 5K, it was cold. VERY cold. With a half the next day, we all wanted to save our legs, so we walked in a large pack of people and had a blast. It was great to be reunited with my running buddies.
For the Donna half , I wanted to get out and run. I was trained. I had been working my butt off training, in fact. I knew that a PR was pretty much out of reach, but I wanted to run faster and stronger than I had at Space Coast last Thanksgiving. I ran that in 2:56ish, so I wanted to be faster. My PR is a 2:48:33. My real goal was to just stay under 3 hours. I’ve gotten a bit complacent with my training, since I know I can finish a half with little training. I need to stop that and start pushing. I need to make my racing more about quality instead of quantity. So my goal is to keep all of my halfs under 3 hours (unless something happens during the race, of course). Not that there’s anything wrong with a half that takes over 3 hours, but for me, I know I can do better than that.
I opted to not plan to run with anyone, simply because I wanted to push. I didn’t want anyone pushing me, however, though I had some lovely offers. I wanted to just run my race and see what happened.
My first mile was fast. Sub-13. Not bad, but I didn’t think I could stick it out the entire time. Somewhere between 2 and 3, I picked up Julie and Mark, which was awesome. It was nice to have company, but when they stopped for a bathroom break, I kept running. It was okay to be on my own, and I was feeling pretty good.
People aren’t wrong when they say this race is awesome. The spectators were amazing. The other runners were amazing. I think this race is what the runDisney Princess race is meant to be – just a generally positive place to be. But co-ed, of course. Some of the people living on the course had set up giant bubble machines. Try running through those without a huge grin on your face!
There were also guys who set up “Free mammogram” signs. Crude? Perhaps, but I thought it was hilarious.
There were plenty of people out offering support to the runners in the form of snacks, drinks, and alcohol. Some of my friends even hit up a bar while running and had shots before continuing on. Had I not been pushing, I might have been tempted.
The race course goes out onto the beach, and it wasn’t too difficult to run on the sand, as it was well packed. It was hard to get onto the beach, but once I got down near the water, I had no issues. Getting back off the beach was also a challenge.
In my brain, I kept thinking that I might have a PR in me, but I couldn’t figure out the math, so I just decided to keep running fast. Unfortunately, I was limited by my heart rate. I work to keep it under 185 when I run, and my watch kept alerting me that I was over. For me, I know that this will only mean I will feel awful later in the day and possibly the next day, so it’s not worth it to push. It’s my heart, after all.
But I still wanted to run fast. By the last mile, I knew how close I was, but I also knew that I didn’t have that PR in me. I couldn’t push fast enough. And that was okay. I had beat my goal and well surpassed my hopes. When Coach asked me the week before if I thought I would PR, I laughed out loud. There was no way I was shaving off that much time from Space Coast. Well, I was right, but I was still way faster than I thought.
That is my third fastest half. I set my PR back in early 2012, so nearly 3 years later, it feels awesome to be back! I have put on some weight since then, so this is incentive to get the pounds off.
Also, my three fastest halfs? I see a trend in the locations.
- Virginia Beach (Shamrock)
- Myrtle Beach (Myrtle Beach Mini)
- Jacksonville Beach (Donna)
Clearly, I need to run at the beach more often.