Whew. This race was a bit of an adventure, it was a little disappointing but over all not too bad.I started out down to Cape Coral, about 3 hours from my house, on Friday. I dropped the highly agitated dog off at the Vet happily, and proceeded to get my tires checked as the “check pressure” light had come one. The dealer filled the tires and sent me on my merry way.
I drove. About 30 miles from the hotel, just as I got on to Interstate 75, my right rear tire sort of came apart. I think it was because the guys at the dealership may have overfilled it a bit, then with the rising temps (temp rose about 25 degrees…) The air expanded. The funny thing about this was that 2 calls using “411” brought me a guy who lickety split changed that tire. He also told me not to drive faster than 55 on it, and to get a new one. He wasn’t wrong, the spare is not made for fast driving. I was able to purchase a New tire at a Wal Mart. I know…one should never replace just one tire. I told the guy I needed a pair. they had the right tires. He measured the depth and told me I really only needed one. My tires only have about 20K miles on them and none in harsh snow or gravel conditions. So, I figured anyone who would pass up an opportunity to sell 2 tires must be telling the truth. Have had no further tire issues, but I suppose I will need to get them all rebalanced etc, very soon.
After that I made it in to Fort Myers, and found my Hotel. It was as promised, quite nice. The one thing that concerned me was that the concierge kept trying to tell me that Ruby Tuesday was going to be a “very good place to eat”. I ended up at the Number One Wok where throngs of locals were.
On Saturday I took a nice long walk at the Cypress six mile Slough preserve in Fort Myers. I took my camera. Since it as a Saturday various family and scouting troops were there and were very noisy, so not a ton of bird life to be observed. But it was calming and peaceful. I’ll download some images soon.
I then went to pick up my race packet. When I got there they had run out of race bags. Luckily right as I was leaving they came with a new shipment. The bags are durable little backpacks with the logo of the race (seen above) on them. Very nice. The shirts were also of very high quality and had the same logo which I like. The goody bag actually had goodies in it…a rarity these days. Dried fruits, a water bottle, and a few other odds and ends. I’m glad I took the time to go by because on race day they had run out of both.
After that I sort of hung out in the hotel, trying to rest and relax. My friend Tanya and her friend Jan got into town and they called and we decided to go have a pre race meal. We ended up at a small small place called Papa Joes. The food was pretty good, and the place was hopping with what seemed to be mostly locals. I got to know Tanya and Jan a little better and enjoyed talking to two runners who like to run as much as I think I do!!!!
After that I of course went home. Slept. Surprisingly, I slept rather well. I was nervous about the race but really…sleep, I love it.
At 4 am, my alarm went off and I got up. I thought about hitting snooze, but to be honest, the hotels overstuffed pillows were not that comfy to me. Nothing like your own pillow.
The night before my friend had expressed concern that there would not be proper support for her plans for her Marathon. She runs 6.5 hour marathons using the Jeff Galloway Coaching. (I’m investigating The Galloway plans but I can not quite wrap my head around them yet.). I sort of thought meh, they were aware that people were going to take a long time…they would be prepared.
As I drove into Cape Coral at about 5:45 am, I realized with a little bit of shock that I was driving unencumbered on the road that the race was going to start on. I started to feel a little uneasy myself. At that point in time for most events traffic would have been closed to that area.
I got to the race site and there was the usual milling about, changing of clothing, manuvering to get to the bathroom. Oddly this was one race where there really wasn’t a long line for the Port-O-Lets.
At 6:30 the scheduled race time, the race director, explained that the Police were still clearing the roadway… then in about 8 more minutes she explained that the company that was setting out the cones had set them out wrong and they needed to reset them, so we went on a 15 minute delay. I think the race got underway at maybe about 7:05. This was a first time race. So a lot of things were not so perfect about it.
As far as the race was concerned for me, things went along as planned. I was on pace or ahead of planned pace at every pace check I had (written in sharpie on my right arm…) until Mile about mile 12 and a half. From Mile 11-12 I had battling with a coastal headwind that seemed to be smacking my in the face. I kept tucking my head down and running through it but it was very strong and persistent. At mile 12 and a half I really started to flag, I had to start doing some run walk run and I could see my pace gain just disappear. I tried so hard to push through it because I was “that close” to a PR. But I just could not do it. As I crossed the finish line and heard a big beep, for the tag timing, I saw that my time was 2:38:36. I had been hoping for 2:37:50 or so. It wasn’t that far off and I was surely glad to be DONE. Instead of a medal (which I think are a little silly…) I got a dog tag with the name of the race and “finisher” on it as well as the Mangrove Logo. I like that a lot. The beneficiary of the race was the Fallen Heroes Fund so the dog tags motif was appropriate.
The weird thing about this race was that it was so small, and had no spectators, so it was sort of like being on a long run with aid stations. In a way it was good, as I was not jostled around and I did not have to listen to too much inane conversation…but it also felt a little strange.
Even when we finished, I found the finish to be very anticlimactic. The lady sort of handed me my award and didn’t say congratulations or anything! The “music” they promised was not really hearable. But they did have a nice selection of post race oranges (yummers), water and bagels.
So….will I return for next year? Meh. Probably not, but maybe. The problems weren’t that overly horrendous. The problem was that the route to me was a little blah (residential neighbourhood…) and I think I could have had a better “race experience” elsewhere. But then again…it is inexpensive, and the course while blah was not too terribly challenging (minus the damn headwind…).
We are now all planning on going out to eat a Big seafood meal, as we were all too afraid to do so yesterday!!!!! We’ll wear our dog tag medals too so people will know hoe crazy we really are!!!