Ideas, photos, routes, and how I fare doing all sorts of workouts. Riding, swimming, biking, etc. Dave Masterson's workout blog.

Archive for the tag “cocoa village”

2017 Space Coast Half Marathon

We had great weather conditions for this event, we had 60 degrees at the start and 63 degrees at the finish line two hours later. The team dinner was good reconnecting with the group that comes to this race each year. Only Miami Marathon has more pacer people!

My morning started early as I woke up at 3 am for unknown reasons. Not a bad thing, it’s good to have extra time to prepare. Everything in that realm is well sorted, I drive to the race and park in a new place – a dry cleaning business that’s closed for the day. I am only 2 blocks from the start line. I know the pacers are meeting at 5:15 for a photo, I’ll have been to the restroom already and in place for that. My group at the lineup consists of all ladies… Jennifer, Valerie, Keibe, Hannah, PJ,  Lori, Sondi, and Jennifer Keyes whom I know from Palm Beach county. The other Jennifer lives or runs in Jupiter, Fl. I tell her about our group and where we meet each week for long runs. Lori and Sondi ran with me last year in the 1:50 pace group – they will look to stay with me for most of the miles then surge ahead later if they feel good. Hannah is someone that knows Pacer Kristen and was told by her that my 2 hr group would be a good fit. I give a brief talk on how we handle water stops, reminding everyone to tie shoes securely and that I will do most of the talking when the going gets tougher in their later miles. A guy dressed in orange named David joins in with us during Mile #1, he stayed for most of the race before scooting ahead in the last 2 miles.

We ran the first mile in 9:54, above the recommended 9:07 pace but the road heading out was crowded. Plenty of people disregard the pace per mile signs and feel if they are in a race, they need to be near the start point. It’s considerably different than the 1:50 group which I’ve done for the past three years. In those years we galloped to pace pretty quickly. Mile #2 had us 20 secs closer and by Mile #4 we were within 10 secs of perfect timing. I chatted with some of the frontrunners in my group, we are behind Pacer Callix and his 2 hour gang. The Galloway 2 hour group correctly starts behind us, almost catches up and then takes their walk break. We do well on the first “out” portion of the course to the turnaround. I remind the group to drink and eat their nutrition before they feel hungry or thirsty. I guess that my group has a dozen people, plus a few of the “followers.” Followers refers to the runners that won’t say they ran with a pace group – but they tail us the whole way until they drop off or zip ahead near the finish.

At halfway, we turn towards home and a few have peeled off. I told folks that we would invariably go through the turn area mile a teeny bit slower than we should, there are porta potties, two aid stations and a run over the halfway point timing mat. We leave there and hit Mile #7 about 12 seconds slow. Hannah is now up front running next to me. Her mom is in the race, too, following a slower pace team. Her dad was at the turnaround, they are Space Coast locals! Today’s run will be a personal best if she can finish in the 1:5x:xx zone with me. Our group is good as a gang of 6-7 in the 8,9, 10 mile areas. We pass a few people, I invite them to join and stay with us but they are already tapped on energy for today. Hannah says at mile 9 that it’s beginning to become a struggle. I fill her with only positive thoughts about how she’s already done all the hard work in training, the majority of the miles are already done, and how soon we will be celebrating at the finish with a group photo! She was so good in breaking through whatever she was experiencing. My chats with her got head nods and positive smiles and affirmations. This was us running down River Rd. one on one, going for her best time ever. So fun!

Well here’s a race day first. At around 10 miles, I reminded my group to use the nutrition they brought. Eat a gel, chew on the gummies, whatever, don’t think that taking anything any later in the race will help your performance. Hannah pulled out a sleeve of Clif Shot Blocks, the same thing I had in my pocket. She futzed with the packaging, and I offered to help her open it so she could focus on the running. She said she was ok and that it was open and ready now. Seeing her eat the gel block, I thought I’d use some of mine – the flavor I chose to carry today was a good one. I keep mine in non-ziplock plastic sandwich bags, so they are easy to reach in and grab. I put one in, chomped down and felt a crunch. Huh? They don’t crunch! I reach in and remove it from my mouth, along with a 35-year-old tooth crown stuck to the gummy. Really? Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.20.12 AMI pulled the tooth off the gel and store it in my Nathan 10k pouch. I’ll be glad I did that vs pay for a new one to be created. I tell my group what happened to many laughs. Seriously, I exclaim – “I will do anything to help you reach your goals, including shed body parts and other essentials!” This lightened the mood for ½ mile and made for a good bunch of laughs as we rolled forward with less than 5k to go.

At 11 miles, I told two of the runners, David and one of the gals to go faster if they felt good. At this point, the bridge at the base of the finish line area was well in sight, I used that to encourage them to really go for it, which they did. Hannah also soaked up these truths, she was a mere 19 minutes from the best time she has ever had, and although hurting some, I kept encouraging her to just run with me, not waste energy talking unless she wanted to, and keep rolling forward. I distracted her and the group back at the turnaround, asking them to “remind me at mile 11.5 to share with you my confession for the day.” That builds curiosity and Hannah was quick to remind me once we passed the 11 mile flag. I told them that our goal as a team was really to finish 30 seconds early – if they were with me and had started in my group, they were definitely going to get a sub-2 hour time if we finished together. I think that realization, with the tall condos and finish area in view, helped Hannah and two other gals significantly. They knew and believed they could!

The final 2 miles had all of us making sure we had good bib placement and smiles ready for the on-course photographers. I told my group the photographers usually sit on the long last straightaway. I also cued them in on the fact that spectators line the road and final finish area and these folks would be cheering for them. “Tingle time” for Ms. Hannah! She was right with me and at 12.5 miles I told her to run for the finish, she was so close, the last 800m was only two laps around a high school track. The rest of my small group did the same. Lori and another gal we had passed lined up next to me and sped up. I explained that I had to finish on time, but they were encouraged to surge if they had energy and felt good. For the final half mile, only I ran in with the 2 hour Galloway pace group leader. He said his group ‘kinda all ran with me, the run pace of a 2 hour run/walk group was pretty aggressive he explained. So I finished at 1:59:27, almost tripping over a rug they put done on the last curve to cover wet dirt. I took good pics with some in my group at the finish. Hannah was clearly the star of my group, she fought hard and really achieved what she hoped for a mere two hours before.space coast

It’s very rewarding to have been a part of that type of personal triumph. I know she was working hard and feeling discomfort. A few of the others met me at the finish line to thank me for the experience. I waited for a few of the girls I started with who finished in 2:02, 2:03 range.




Space Coast Half Marathon

Space-Coast-Marathon pacer

Floating above Earth in the Space Coast race.

 13.1 miles (Pacing the 1:55 group) Today’s race had good temps and a nicely done start area. This was my first time at this event. Thanks to Pacer Kristen, we parked nearby and had no issues getting to the team photo and lineup on time. I met a few of my runners and discussed the course, their goals, shoe tying, water station strategy and the good conditions we had waiting for us. Of note were a young couple, Matthew and Carrie. They had previous PRs of 2:03 and 2:05 and were excited to try for the 1:55. Also chatty were Kissell, Lyndsey, Steve and Bob. They laughed at my jokes, therefore I knew we’d either have a good group – or they were delusional!

A nice space-themed blast off start and we were in two turns running on the river road that comprised 95% of today’s course. Our first mile was done in a 9:15/min pace, ok considering it was a two-lane road with plenty of people scattered in both lanes vying for position. I had told the group we would be slower in the beginning and we’d chip away at the small deficit and be on pace in the early miles. This proved true, at mile two I was 19 seconds off the goal wristband time, at 3 miles we were 11 seconds off, at 4 miles within 3 seconds of the 8:44 pace guidelines. We now enjoyed a less crowded street since we could still run both lanes and slower folks had drifted behind us. A few more runners (some with music) joined our group, I think I got most of their names – Lori, Don, Sylvia, Miriam and Pauline. We now had a nice stretch of road open to us, curving and right on the water.

The sunrise made it easier for us to see the pavement and where the aid stations were ahead of us. I always try to call out what I see left side and right side as far as hydration and porta potties. I let the group know I’ll be keeping pace mostly through the aid stations, they will see me in the middle of the road. I caution them not to zip right back up to me, they can stretch out catching me over 400-600 meters. We talk about how to drink on the run and what I use for chews and salt pills as a Florida runner exposed to plenty of humidity. We are on proper pace to the turnaround, which is comprised of two people in lawn chairs telling us to run across the grass between two trees. No chip mat?

We have lost a few runners that linked onto our group, one girl that was small in height and really sweating hard for being at mile 6-7. I believe at mile 8 we had slowed running through the previous aid station to 10 seconds behind, but I didn’t announce it to my runners. I kept distracting them with stories about Boston Marathon 2013 and 2014 plus asking who had traveled the farthest to run today, etc. I explain how people employ using longer strides and/or quicker turnover to vary what their legs experience over the distance of a half or full marathon. I ask our group about marathons, one guy had completed Ironman Florida just three weeks ago, and another had done a full several years ago.

We make the next two mile splits back on the goal pace, according to my wristband we are doing well. My Garmin watch didn’t charge properly, I borrowed my son’s watch and was challenged to see the small numbers in the earlier, darker miles. It certainly isn’t because I’m getting older, that’s for sure. At mile 10 I announce we have to do the same 5k that we did in the beginning, easy to do if it was the only distance we had for the day. As we cross mile 11 I’m now running down the only hill on the course according to one of our girls – approximately 6 feet of elevation change! I keep talking positive about each person keeping me in sight even if they feel sore or tired, because we are very close now and right on schedule. Once we are approaching mile 12, I now count off approximate distances in terms of laps around a high school track. I feel anyone can gut out running 4-6 laps around a football field if they resort to thinking they only need to go a bit further. My group has a core of 5 runners now, but the rest are within sight as I look back from the last aid station. Lyndsey explains we do not finish where we started, we run just past the only large building we see, into the park and almost to the Intracoastal bridge. IN the park we have music, fan support, and a winding semicircular walkway that passes restroom, picnic areas and under some shelters. I really don’t know where the finish is, some of my group dashes ahead because apparently they do! I stutter step at the 13 mile mark to let Miriam get close to me and I encourage her to keep it going, we are within 100m of the finish. I cross and see my watch display that I am only 4 seconds over the 1:54:30 time goal – I am surprised to see I got that close. Plenty of my runners thank me at the finish, three groups take photos right as we get our towels, this was a good day. Unlike pacing the full 26.2 distance, I had a majority of my people stay with me or close enough to be very satisfied pacing below 2 hours. I later learn through Kristen that her friend Steve and I both came within one second of the goal time – even more unbelievable!



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