For all the warnings about weather and everything we had been hearing, we got off light on race day. It was windy, but we were spared the rain that as recently as Tuesday was at 90% chance of wet, wet, wet.
We couldn’t seem to get the new Purium Pace Group together at 5:55 am for the photo at the agreed upon site, but a picture was taken somewhere I saw. I had a small group near me to start for the 11 miles of the half and two girls doing their first full marathon. A few friends said they’d run “near” my group – keeping us in sight as most of them were entered in the day’s Half Marathon. Upon
Upon starting the race, my car keys and my small canister of salt tablets fell out of my zipper pouch and onto the ground. All of this happened right as I crossed the starting line chip mat! There’s no going back for them, a stampede of runners all setting their Garmin watches and excited are NOT going to stop as I gather my goodies. Plus, I have a group running for their time at my assigned pace, I couldn’t dash off backwards, right? What a way to begin! I spoke with my group about changing up your strategy in the race. Here was my perfect “live” example!
We were only 10 seconds off our perfect pace at mile #1. That’s not my norm, the first mile is usually 30-45 seconds slower because of runners bunching up and the craziness at the first water stop. This year’s course was different, as construction still plagues the North Bridge to Palm Beach Island. Because of the changes, there were more 90-degree turns and this had us running through obscure neighborhoods. I think the course could be nicer, featuring some of our waterfront’s better areas. My group was mostly half marathoners, with Jonathan and Jordan (female) talking and actively engaging me. I knew a few of the runners near our group, they popped in and out of our first 11 miles. Lisa Smith, Rose Hawley, Kimmie Meissner and another lady I have met before were always near us. We were on our pace or within 8 seconds of “perfect” up on the north portion of the course, miles 4-8. Coming back, Jordan did a mini-surge and left us for awhile, she would later come back before the half marathoners split off. We now ran back with the wind through downtown WPB. There we had better crowd support and familiar faces. By now everyone running around me knew my “lost keys at the start line” story so when we ran by my car – that made for a few laughs!
We had no issues keeping on our desired pace running south on shady Olive Avenue. The half marathoners left us for their 2 mile run to the finish – now we were a small group with only a few runners looking to finish in 4:10 or under. The group consisted of myself, Jordan, Mario, and two others that had music on and didn’t join in with our conversation. The run to mile 13 shaved all but Jordan from my group, but we would have random others fall back, run with us a few blocks, then peel further back. The wind and warm temps were causing early full marathoner failures!
Jordan went ahead again at mile 15, I stayed on the correct pace of approx. 9:30 min. miles. My system was ok, but I did miss having the salt pills. Water as a fuel isn’t the best option for a full marathon distance race, even at a manageable pace. (I took gels at mile 12 and 20, thankfully they didn’t also fall out of my pouch!) I ran sometimes solo and sometimes briefly accompanied by stragglers from mile 17 thru mile 21. At mile 22, I ran up to Lily, who had stopped at the side of the road while her friend experienced GI issues. (That’s runner-code for she was puking on her own feet.) She left her friend and decided to run at my pace. She said she started with the 3:45 pace group, what she had trained for at home in Michigan, but the elements forced her and her friend back. This was her first marathon. We ran now on exposed Flagler Drive into
Jordan went ahead again at mile 15, I stayed on the correct pace of approx. 9:30 min. miles. My system was ok, but I did miss having the salt pills. Water as a fuel isn’t the best option. (I took gels at mile 12 and 20, thankfully they didn’t fall out of my pouch!) I ran sometimes solo and sometimes briefly accompanied by stragglers from mile 17 thru mile 21. At mile 22, I ran up to Lily, who had stopped at the side of the road while her friend experienced GI issues. She left her friend and decided to run at my pace. She said she started with the 3:45 pace group, what she had trained for at home in Michigan, but the elements forced her and her friend back. This was her first marathon. We ran now on exposed Flagler Drive into a NE wind. I told Lily to run behind me if she needed to, which she did once or twice. At a few water stops, she would slow or walk through and work courageously to catch back up in the next 800m. I know she was hurting but to her credit, she kept it moving in her best way possible. I worked to distract her by talking about landmarks, mile markers ahead and her family waiting at the finish line. We were very much on pace the whole way, never more than 5 seconds off at each mile. In the last mile, I told her to prepare to surge if she wanted to be in the finisher photos all by herself. This worked well, as she covered the final 800m quickly to finish strong in front of her parents. I stayed on proper pace down the finish on Flagler Drive.
Only a few people I knew were still on course cheering at the end. Very blustery weather and a threat of rain will do that! Jordan and Mario both finished slightly off my time. They were thankful for having me on course to give them a marker to chase even when they both fell off the goal pace.
(Lily and I – post race)
Another Palm Beach Marathon run – 12 in a row now!