Well it is done, marathon #5 is in the books, Space Coast Marathon. I found the race really nice and it was nice running in flat Florida, the heat was something else.
I arrived in Florida last Sunday, I spend some time visiting my Mom and running in the Florida heat. It was about 15C warmer than I was use too and I am not a big heat fan anyway, flash backs to IMMT and all that. I managed a few runs for my taper week and the running was pretty good. On Friday we drove to Cocoa to stay with Kate. We did our 5k shake out run of Friday at 1pm so we were running in the heat, it was then I knew the heat would be my biggest problem on Sunday. On Saturday we went to the race expo and picked up my race bib. At first they could not find it which was a concern but it all got sorted out and we took some photos and walked around a bit.
Sunday morning went fast, eat, get dressed, get to the Cocoa library to met Kate's friends and then bag drop. It was already warm at 6:30am, yikes but it was fun waiting for the space shuttle to blast off to signal our start. This is a small race, only 3600 for the marathon and the same number for the half marathon and we hit the start line 3 mins after the official start. The marathon started north and there were some small uphills to wake the legs up but as the sun rose it was mostly overcast and not too bad. Kate was doing great as we hit the half way point and turned back to the village. This race is 2 out and backs, the north loop and the south loop so it was nice seeing the other racers as we ran. We slowed our pace a bit on the second part of this loop but Kate finished right where I wanted her too, a 2:20 half marathon.
We then moved onto the south loop and by then the sun was out and it was HOT. I had trained in Ottawa's colder temps and I found the heat hard. Around mile 18 I had to walk for the first time and it was hard to get going again. I told Kate to go ahead, I would catch up and I was only minutes behind her at the south loop turnaround but I never did catch her. By mile 20 the heat got to me and I started to walk more, I kept telling myself to keep moving forward and I alternated running and walking for a bit. Eventually the 5:15 Galloway pace group caught me and I thought I would run with them, there were doing 1 min run/1 min walk. I did this for a mile or so and then the pacer had to stop, he was suffering from the heat as well. He passed the sign to someone else who was obviously fresher and he took off running at a fast pace and slowly the group fell apart and I was on my own again. I walked mile 24 and 25 and then I I started to run, I could do anything for 1.2 miles and I wanted to salvage some pride and finish under 5:30.
I was so happy to make that final turn into the park and finished in 5:24. Other than Disney and Ironman, this is my worst marathon time but on this given day, it was the best I could do. Kate finished in 5:13 and kept going even though she was suffering from leg cramps for the last 6 miles. I am so happy and proud for her, she joined the marathon club and she tells me I kept her going in the middle portion when she was really struggling. I did not accomplish my goal of getting her to the finish line but I was glad I helped and glad we did this together.
I found out they have a Milky Way Challenge for those that do the race three years in a row so I am planning on coming back next year, this time to run the half but the marathon might be on the cards for 2017, I have unfinished business on this course and next time I will be better prepared for the heat.