two weeks ago today, i ran my first marathon of the year, the Tomoka Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k races at Daytona, Frlorida. yes, i said for the year...which means i have a few planned marathons this year. this is my 4th marathon race which coincidentally this is also the 4th time this race is being done (i didn't know until i registered for this race). this race is so many first for me:
- first time running a spring marathon
- first time running a non-world marathon majors (click here to know more)
- first time running a race where the participants are only in the hundreds (my first 3 marathons range from 40 to 50 thousand participants)
|**Bib pick-up a day before the marathon located on a beer storage facility (one of the major sponsors)|
|**Pre-race ritual - taking picture of what to wear; yes, my original plan was no top since it was hot and humid...|
i was impressed with my pace and breathing from the get-go. i was trying to control my speed not to be carried away by the fast group and also the first timers who's big mistake is to start fast. i try to focus on a target person ahead of me to see if i can catch with them while maintaining my speed. i was able to catch up with some of the bigger groups who was running with a pacer (the pacer carries a stick with a sign of the target time to finish).
as the day progressed, it became difficult to find a target person. again, this is a small marathon so everyone started to spread out based on their speed. at one point, i didn't see anyone behind me. i was just hoping to catch up with the few people ahead of me (which i figured half a mile away) since the last things i want to happen to me is get eaten by a wild animal. i'm in florida and inside a national park, it can happen.
everything was doing well until i hit mile 20, which is the entrance to tomoka state national park. first off, i should have read the emails and description of the race. part of the race is about 2 miles of dirt path. i was running with a pave shoes with very little cushion on the sole of the foot. this became an issue with small stones as they tend to prick. this guy i saw at the start of the race with no shoes (yes, there are brave souls who ran races with no shoes) was literally walking on the side where there are less stones.
once i exited the park and back on the road, the unimaginable happened. no, i did not hit "THE WALL" that every marathoners dread. my right thigh started to cramp. i tried to massage and walk it off but it was just not going away. the last few miles was a struggle. to make the matter worst, i know that there is a bridge, YES!!, a freakin bridge between mile 25 and 26.
|**i don't want to think about this bridge anymore LOL!!!...|
after seeing the 26 miler mark, i know that the end is almost there. 0.2 miles left and the suffering is over. i decided to summon all the energy left inside me and run to the finish line.
do i have a picture crossing the line? yes i do but i prefer not to post it. you can see the disappointment written all over my face.
in total, there were 279 marathon finishers (i told you it was a small race). i finished in the very low 100s so i am happy for that. i was expecting to ran faster and get a personal record. but like everything in life, there are good days and there are bad days.