Sunday, January 5, 2014

The HALFway Journey to The Half

I had not completed a marathon since October 2013 and then it was only because it was part of the Ironman Florida.  That marathon was a disaster.  I think I did it in over 7 hours.  Seems I managed to just miss the Boston Qualifier cut off time by a good minute or so. That race also did more damage to me than I thought it would both physically and mentally but that story is saved for another post.

I was also forced to have a new outlook on participating in long distance races without training.  Whether it be running, cycling or a tri, I can no longer just wing the long ones. The older I get the less fun I have.  I want to enjoy the races. Especially the post race festivities whatever or wherever they may be.

So having that in mind, I will not do a distance race just to do it.  I must and owe it to myself to train.  Now whether I train properly is still up in the air but I do need to put forth the right amount of training.  If I don't then I won't show up to the start line. Nuff said.

Now that brings us to the Jacksonville Marathon.  Many of my friends within the Brandon Running Association had signed up for the full or the half.  At about ten weeks out I was still on the fence about signing up for the full.  I still had the lingering mentality of, "I can do that. It's just a marathon."  I had to remind myself that I took a vow to train.  Since I was not in the training frame of mind, I did not sign up then. But I do like a good field trip.

At eight weeks out was when the entry fee would increase.  It was at this time I registered for the full.  It was only $65 which didn't seem like much for a full.  Jacksonville was not that far away and a one nights stay at a hotel wouldn't be expensive.  Especially if I room with someone.  So the full it was with only eight weeks of training.

I was able to find a 16 week marathon plan for beginners online. I just counted the first eight weeks as a base I sort of already had and figured I would take it from there. I was also going to be a 2:00 pacer for the Women's Running Half in that training time frame.  Hey why not. Give it a shot.  It's just a marathon.

Well, well, well.  After a week and a half of training, I got bored.  I just couldn't get my mind into the long runs.  I was just tired of running.  I would wear my iPod and still get bored about two miles into my run.  Whether it was a short day or long day.  I looked at the training plan and knew that I just couldn't, much less want to do a run more than 12 miles.  Hell, even the 5-8 milers during the week were a struggle.  It wasn't the distance that bothered me, it was just the mere fact of running.  I was not injured nor fatigued.  It was still a mental thing.  I guess we all lose and get back our running mojo a time or two.

I also managed to squeeze in the Women's Half with little training.  I was committed to that run as a pacer.  I had done it in the past and it was fun.  I was also the coordinator for the pacers so I had to show and go. People were counting on me. I couldn't let all those ladies down now could I.

At about two weeks out I officially decided to drop down to the half.  It was no love loss for me. So the medal would say half instead of just marathon. And it is not always about the medal.  I have earned plenty of them and to this day not a single damn one has paid a bill or fed me.

And with doing the half, I could justifiable drop back on my training.  My taper time would also start sooner.  Wait, I was actually already in taper mode.

I made an agreement with The Caribbean One for me to drive in exchange for use of the other Queen bed in his room.  P-funk would also be tagging along.  For ease of the madness, I picked up The Caribbean One first.  It started out with me telling The Caribbean One that P-funk had backed out due to some womanly emotional issues that only he would understand. I told him that we could go and talk her into going with us.  He also gave me a plastic container containing two fried buffalo chicken drummettes.  Both of us sharing fried chicken the day before a race goes way back to the time we went to Londontown.

We picked up P-funk from her palace and of course she knew nothing of the emotional issues.  She did manage to pack three bags for an overnight race.  That I couldn't understand.  Now she was, supposedly, staying in a suite by herself. Hmm. Oh well.  Now off to the races we were.

The trip to Jacksonville was fun filled as some would say.  P-funk sat in the front passenger seat and The Caribbean One behind her.  Now I am so glad I was able to take the SUV because that P-funk is a loud talker.  I remember saying to her numerous times; "We are not in a convertible. We are in the same car as you.  I don't have the music on.  Are you angry? What!"

I should mention how crappy traffic is on I-4 through Orlando.  I suppose it is the theme park traffic mixed in with the tourists from all over the world bringing their driving habits with them and showing them off in a matter of four miles on a three lane highway.

Once we made it to Daytona, it was lunch time.  Now it is the day before a race so you should pay strict attention to your food intake.  Shoulda, coulda, woulda if I cared about that.  My passengers decided on some turkey subs from Subway and I got a #1 large with coke at Krystals.  Krystals are great when they are fresh.  The bun is a little soggy from the steam. Yummy. Anyways I am sure there are some carbs in the #1.

Once I got back on 95, I was on the 80/80/80 plan.  What's that you ask.  It's 80 miles to go at 80 mph while listening to 80 stories from P-funk and The Caribbean One.

We  got to packet pick up in no time.  Seems P-funk was also going to drop down to the half as well.  We both had to let the person giving us our number know this change.  When I told the guy that I was dropping to the half he asked me what happened.  My reply was, "life." Packet pick up was a breeze.  We also had a little fun there as well.  But you had to be there to get it.

The Caribbean One decided to buy a new pair of shoes that were on sale. He was happy with the price and the fit. He was going to wear these shoes for the marathon the next morning. Now some say you shouldn't wear brand new shoes for any race. Much less a marathon.  I beg to differ.  If you are a good runner the shoes may not matter.  It is the engine that powers the legs, not she shoes.  For instance, Tiger Woods could get a set of clubs from Jungle Cove Goofy Golf while I use a $2,000 set of Titleist clubs and still beat my ass at Frisbee.  Get my point.  If you suck already then you just suck. Needless to say I wouldn't use a pair of new shoes for a marathon but hey who am I.  I was only going to do the half.

Off to our hotels...

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