So, back to the race. I have waited a year to come back to Jacksonville to run this race again. I was so excited. Unfortunately, I ended up having to come to the race by myself. (issue #1) Life does happen! I was able to go with a friend, Kimberly C. and meet up with another that lives in the area, Jennifer D., so I wasn't like 'alone' the whole time.
I got to the hotel pretty early and Kimberly and I meet up with Jennifer and we headed over to the expo to get our packet. We got our packets and then spent a little while looking around at all the vendors. As I have mentioned the last few weeks, I've been struggling with some aggravating right knee pain.(issue #2) Anyway, we stopped at a vendor that was selling compression sleeves. Of course, their's were the best on the market. Funny thing is, I had just ordered one from Tommie Cooper and it didn't arrive before I left for the run. Anyway, I figured it wouldn't hurt to have more then one, so I bought one for my knee. $54 later I had a compression sleeve for my knee. Surely, that would help me get through this race right?
Kimberly, Jennifer and I went back to the hotel to decide where were going to go eat.(issue #3) Now usually, I don't eat too much the night before a race. I have such a bad digestive system, I just don't like to take chances and mess my stomach up. Usually is the key word here. Jennifer suggested this Indian place. I have never been to one so I wasn't real sure. Since I really didn't want to argue and this pace was literally across the street from the hotel, I agreed and off we went. I ordered some Jasmine Fried Rice and the girls also ordered some rice paper rolled spring rolls. I had one of those and then dug into my meal. I must admit, it was pretty darn good. However, it wasn't long when I realized I should have followed my own advice and had something light. The 'greasy' dish upset my stomach immediately.
After our meal we headed back to the hotel and off to our respective rooms. We hadn't decided how we were getting to the start in the morning. Seems the hotel decided not to do the buses this year. The girls wanted to walk the 2 miles in the morning. I wasn't sure. I didn't want to be with out my bag. Since I didn't have my usual family there, there wasn't going to be anyone to watch it. After much thought, I decided to tell the girls I was going to leave bright and early and drive to the start. The girls didn't want to get up that early and so they walked.
I know, I know, get on with it. Well it all has meaning, I promise you. I went to bed at 10 PM Jacksonville time. That's one hour earlier then my time, Central Time. There was a small chance of storms that night and the wind was pretty strong.(issue #4) I was in a room that had a small patio. There was a door of course to this patio. Unfortunately, the freakin door to the said patio would close tight and all damn night long I heard this banging. It was constant. No sooner would I fall to sleep, it would bang and wake me up. By the time 5 AM came around I was beat. If I would have been thinking clearly, I would have put something up against it to at least keep it from banging closed. Hindsight is 20/20 right?
I got ready and headed to my car. The first thing I noticed was the wind was pretty strong.(issue #5) I wasn't looking forward to that. Anyway, I drove over to the start of the race. I got there early enough that I didn't have any problems parking. I chilled out as I usually do and the started to get ready. The girls called me around 7 and we were able to meet up around 7:30. That's when we realized that Jennifer and I has switched the bags our 'sleeves' where in. She had bought the calve sleeves. She had my knee and I had her calves. Only thing was I only brought one cuz only one knee bothered me. Get this though. Before I meet the girls, Jennifer 'checked' my sleeve at the bag check. Oh my goodness! Luckily we were able to locate it and and Jennifer was ok with having just one for her calve and I had my knee sleeve.
We were ready for the race. The girls had to go 'pee', so we said see ya at the finish and off we went. I tried to get a short warm up run in, but there were people everywhere. It was very hard to find a place to run. I decided I'd better use the restroom myself and got in a line. Once that was done, I did a bit more warm up and then decided to head to my corral. (issue #6) That is a whole nother story itself. I didn't register in time and did not get a seeded spot. So, I was in the general area and way way back. There were so many people that I couldn't even get into the corral. I soon realized I was in the second wave of runners as well. What fun! The crowed slowly moved and I was then able to get into my corral.
The first wave went off at 8:30. Then, about 5 minutes later, the second wave was sent and I was off. Man were there a lot of runners. I felt decent enough at the start. I mean my knee seemed ok. The knee sleeve seemed to be helping. I weaved and weaved around runner after runner, but I never found a clear path. I was constantly having to slow down for slower runners and move around the ones I could. To be honest, I just never felt comfortable in the whole race.(issue #7) There were a few hills here and there. Nothing real serious at first. However, there were enough to make the ole knee start to hurt. I'm not sure at what point I realized the knee wasn't going to make it once again. Maybe around 5 miles. I'm not sure. I did as I had planned and stopped at the water stops when I took water. Finally at the 6 mile, I had to rest the knee. I was so disappointed. I so wanted this to be a 'good' run. From that point on, I did what I had done the past two 6 plus mile races. I would run some and then rest the knee. Run some more and rest the knee some more. Then, around mile 8, we came to the big bridge.(issue #8) Now remember I said it was pretty windy. Well let me tell ya. This is a pretty big, long uphill bridge and the wind on that bridge was brutal! I pushed as hard as I could. Once I was at the top, I knew I only had a short ways to go. Unfortunately, it was all downhill. That, as you probably know, is ever worse for the knee. I hobbled my way to the finish and crossed the line at around 1:35 minutes. Subtrack my 5 minute delay and my time on my Garmin showed 1:30:25.
I was terribly disappointed. That was even slower then the Double Bridge 15K back in February. I made my way through the hundreds of people and headed to my car. The video above shows me finishing. Notice the 'limp' as I slowly walk off camera. At one point, my right calve cramped up on me so bad I bout hit the pavement. I got to the car and hydrated as much as I could. Got myself somewhat cleaned up a bit and then called Jennifer. There were so many people still finishing, there was no way I could make my way back to the finish. Jennifer had managed to turn around when she finished and was waiting for Kimberly. Since Kimberly wasn't suppose to finish until around 2 hours, I had some time to wait.
We were suppose to have another Dailymile meet up, but like many of them, it wasn't looking good.(issue #9) We had said we'd meet at the large Publix blow up grocery bag. Well guess what? No bag! I called Kerry C., a DM friend, and managed to get in touch with her and meet up. She was the only once I was able to meet up with. Once Kimberly finished, her, Jennifer, and I managed to meet up. Like I said earlier, it was a bit chilly and the wind was still pretty strong. The girls were ready to leave! So much for finding and meeting any other DMers.
Begrudgingly, I agreed and we and headed to the car and back to the hotel. That was about it. The girls went to their room and I went to mine. I showered, packed my stuff up, and left for home. I was so bummed. I felt like nothing went right from start to finish with this race. I had to go alone. I ate the wrong food. I didn't sleep well. The wind was brutal. I never felt comfortable in the race. The knee freakin acted up once again. We didn't have a DM meet up. And to top it off, the girls kinda pissed me off when they wanted to 'leave' as soon as the race was over.
It's a 5 hour drive from Jacksonville to Pensacola, so I had plenty of time to think about the whole thing and get over it. Sure enough, the time helped. I mean yes, I'm still upset with how I did, but at least this time I was able to run the race and finish. So, what will next year be? It will be Gate River Run redemption part 2!!