My schedule seems to be so crazy these days. I mean sometimes I feel like I need to schedule time to even get the simplest of tasks completed. Running and my hectic schedule seem to have fallen by the wayside as of late. But I didn’t let that stop me from traveling to Jacksonville, FL last weekend to run the Gate River Run 15k with a few of my girlfriends even though it was going to be a short and sweet race weekend for me due to other obligations I had back home.
We arrived in Jacksonville late Friday afternoon and headed straight to the Expo to pick up our race bibs. This would be the first year for me participating in this particular race and I, totally and admittedly, did not train for the tough course ahead. It had been several weeks since I ran and my last run was my challenging weekend at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL. To say I was unprepared was a total understatement (which I know better, and that doesn’t make it ok!)
Though the race wasn’t my best it was not lacking in a fun, it was spectator/fan filled, and a very challenging course. We had a late start, as this race begins at 8:30 am, a hot and sweaty 9 miles lay ahead of me (not to mention the Green Monster). I took my place in the Wave 2 corral and waiting patiently for our wave to move through to the starting area. I was excited to see another couple of my Ragnar teammates, Isa and Angela, that I was able to catch up with while we waited.
As we moved into the starting corral I felt good. I was feeling pretty positive about the fact that I had been able to push through miles or races before and even though I was not fully prepared, my legs were strong. But for me, the heat proved to be the straw that broke the runners spirit. We made our way over the start line and down the streets of Jacksonville. There were runners as far as I could see ahead. I knew at no point during this race, would I find myself alone on the course. That got me through. Pushing on, I was very pleased to see that there were live bands along the course and more than one water station per mile. And the spectator support was amazing!
We approached the first bridge and as I looked across I realized just how far we had to go, the Green Monster was on the far horizon. I decided to just put one foot in front of the other and approach this race with the intent to just cross the finish line.
Winding through neighborhoods along the river, it was a beautiful course. I loved that some parts that were shaded kept me from the direct sunlight that was just beaming down on us not to mention the awful humidity. I pushed on . . .
As we approached mile 9, I knew this was it. The last HUGE push to the finish line. I knew if I could just make it up that bridge the backside would be a breeze. A breeze awaited me, but getting up that hill, yeah, not so much a breeze! Lots of us were just pushing to get to the top at this point. Lots of runners stopping to stretch since the intense incline left your legs cramping since it was so warm out.
Finally, the DOWNHILL! I could see the waves of runners making the wind down to the stadium where the finish line was and I was so happy to be approaching the finish. I even caught up to one of our Tallahassee MRTT Chapter members, Ashley and ran with her for a bit.
Crossing the finish line, yes, that was my intent and I made it finally. Way more time that I wanted to spend running this race, but as I said, I didn’t even prepare properly for this race. It was my own fault and I had no ill feelings other than I was burning up from the heat. I was excited that I got to see my friend Robin who had PR’d this race. She’s such an inspiring woman, pushing the envelope and giving everything her all, always.
I knew I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me to get home so I dropped the girls back off at the hotel and hit the road. No time to shower, I stopped at the first rest area to change my clothes and THANKFULLY I had a ShowerPill to wash off until I made it home to shower.
I grabbed the largest of the bathrooms available and proceeded to wipe off the funk of the day. An extra thick cloth product that has antibacterial properties to kill germs and Aloe and Vitamin E to leave your skin feeling soft without the salty residue that the race had left me with. That morning, I was thankful, OH SO THANKFUL, to have that little wipe available to use on my drive home. I’m certain my car mate, Hope, was happy that I had it also!
So this race ends my distance running for the Spring. I have a few local 5k & 10k races coming up and then I’m taking the summer off from racing. I plan to put training in to be prepared for the Fall race season and I’m excited about that race schedule that is already shaping up to be A-MAZING.
Special thanks to the ShowerPill company for sponsoring this post. If you find yourself in a situation that you may not have a hot (or in this case I would have settled for a cold) shower at the ready, head over to ShowerPill and give them a try! Very affordable and effective, I always keep these in my race back just in case.
Until next time, just keep pushing! xo