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    BOILHAM   34,679
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Don't Run A Marathon in Florida in June

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Especially an off road marathon.

I arrived yesterday in my camper to stay overnight for this race. The young guys who run these events are super nice guys. They're always so happy to see me. I'm usually the oldest runner. He happily tells me he has something 'special' for me, walks away and returns with a laser printed plaque. It's for my being a constant supporter of the Masters of All Terrain events. Check it out.

So, about the race. DW wasn't there, so a nice stranger took my picture before the start.The sun was just coming up.

One word keeps popping into my head to describe this race. Brutal. The weather was hot and humid, it got up to 90 degrees at the end.

The first half went fairly well, I was slow, but felt okay, considering the course. There were lots of hills, loose sand and narrow trails. Very difficult course, and 26.2 miles of it.

Here's a worker cutting out part of the path for us:

The course was a double half marathon, meaning we ran the half marathon, crossed the finish line, and did it again. At the end of the half marathon, my watch said 2:37. As it turns out that was way too fast for this course. At mile 15 or so, I started feeling my first leg cramps - in my inner thighs. Then the calves. Eventually the cramps were so painful I had to walk all the time. Each time I started to run, my legs locked up. I was in serious pain. I took ibuprofen, ate lots of bananas and was drinking a lot of water and gatorade as well. In retrospect, I probably should not have run that last 3 miler, in training, 3 days before the race. I should have taken 3 days complete rest. But, I'm still learning, and I underestimated the difficulty of this course.

Sad to say, it wasn't even fun. It's hard to walk ten miles and constantly stop to rub out cramps. At some point I couldn't even stretch, as this resulted in severe cramps, so I walked slower. I was determined to finish this race no matter how long it took. And boy, it took a long time. 6 hours and 26 minutes according to my watch. Wow! That's a long time to be on these old feet and legs.

On a plus side, there were a few other runners that I knew from other races, that were having a tough time as well, so I had a bit of company from time to time. Mostly, I was out there by myself, though. It can be kind of lonely on these trail races, just no crowd support, you're on your own.

I really got concerned more than once, that I might have to drop out. I was afraid my legs would just lock up and not let me continue, but I'd stop, stretch and rub and continue on. Spark friends, this was one difficult race.

Now, hold onto your hats. When I crossed the finish line, I asked the race director, "Dead last?" and he said no, there are still more out there. The awards had been handed out already, but he went and got a gold medal ribbon and handed it to me. Telling me the other guy in my age group is still out there on the course, so, "congrats you won 1st place".

Huh? 6 hours plus and still a gold medal? I didn't really even feel proud winning it, with such a bad time. What gave me pride is that my old body let me finish at all.

Well, this may not have been my best effort, but it is one I will never forget.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KATELJM 7/20/2014 9:11AM

    That is some achievement! You deserved the gold medal for your age class, it is remarkable that you finished. (I would have sat there cramped up, thinking I should quit, and wondering how the heck I was going to get back to my RV!) Going forward, please factor weather into your choices.

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    Message received loud and clear - I am not a marathoner so probably won't ever run one in Florida, but if I decide to do one, I will rule out Florida!! Great for you for doing it
emoticon emoticon

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MASRITE 6/19/2014 7:14PM

    Sorry it didn't go well, but, you did finish!!! And, you take that gold medal. You finished, you deserved it!!

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HILLSLUG98239 6/18/2014 7:55PM

    Ugh. I haven't had a day like that, so I cannot even imagine it. I doubt I have the toughness to push through something like that. Good on ya!

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BA5454 6/17/2014 3:13PM

    I whine about the sun and humidity here, cannot imagine it in Florida. But wow, you persevered and got the job done. Awesome! Such a cool plaque, too--that is something to be proud of, too. Hope you keep going and won't let this experience tarnish the rest. P.S. You look great at the starting line!

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CRYSBROWN1 6/17/2014 1:15PM

    This is still a HUGE accomplishment because you FINISHED! The weather and your cramps were recipes for a DNF and you pushed through. I could not even imagine running a marathon in Florida in JUNE, nevermind a trail one (and I live in RI)! That is brutal and it sounds like it was a tough experience, now time to rest up!

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CAROLCRC 6/17/2014 8:02AM

    Congrats! You made it! And for all you feel you misjudged your pace (ie 'went out too fast') apparently so did the other 'experienced' runner in your age group. So - enjoy your win. (And I'll make sure not to put this one on my personal wish list).

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LEWILL1982 6/16/2014 9:56PM

    Wow! So impressed and inspired. Absolutely amazing, I probably would have dropped out if my cramps got that bad. Congratulations on a great event and finishing th race. It was mental as much as physical and you did it!!

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    You are amazing.

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LISAINMS 6/16/2014 12:42PM

    Great memento plaque! I know what you mean about not feeling that you earned that 1st place. I don't like winning by default. Sounds like you learned some valuable info on this experience. Sometimes fastest isn't the best answer. Especially when it's hot and you already have dehydration issues. Be careful out there!

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BOLEBRON 6/15/2014 4:27PM

    Congratulations! You are hero!

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BIGPAWSUP 6/15/2014 3:59PM

    You finished! Probably when other didn't or couldn't. You also learned from this - that is huge.

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SPEEDYDOG 6/15/2014 8:28AM


You are a machine! Yes, throwing in the towel would have been wise. You do not have it in you to quit! The course looks brutal. The temperature and humidity would have done-in a lesser man. Congratulations on your first place finish. The wooden plaque is priceless. You are an inspiration. Oh man, do you look fit!

Thanks, Bruce

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MWWENSIN 6/15/2014 8:24AM

    Great job. It may not have been your fastest time but it was your best effort. Marathons are tough, trail marathons are even tougher.

It's not the easy ones where we pr that we remember, it's the tough ones that we almost died on or felt like it anyway that we remember. We remember because we can't forget it.

You're tough and have a great mental resiliency to you. You finished even when things weren't going your way.

Take pride in your medal and your effort. The race was tough but you were tougher even if it didn't feel like it.

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MBTEPP 6/15/2014 7:38AM

    love the rugged plaque. That was very thoughtful. You must really make an impression on the younger ones. They all want to be like Vic!

what a challenging race. it became a mental challenge for you. As challenges go, the mental ones are the worst to endure. great job on hanging in there and finishing. Take the first place Medal and be proud that you earned it. Everyone else was experiencing the same conditions.


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NATPLUMMER 6/14/2014 11:01PM


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RUN4FOOD 6/14/2014 10:36PM

    Sounds like a really tough run, but you made it to the end.
Have the feeling you'll be out doing a similar race soon.

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BOPPY_ 6/14/2014 8:16PM

    Sounds like you have an excellent program, and an excellent way of assessing your program.

Your pics look great, too.

BTW, the first and only time I was in Miami, when I got to the hotel, I unpacked in a jiff, threw on my bathing suit and ran out to the beach. The sand and the water were both so hot, that I ran back to the hotel, and swam in the indoor pool (on I think the 20th floor), to cool off! :-| Running a marathon in that climate would be unthinkable to me. However, I have found more pleasant weather in Boca and Destin, however.


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ONMYMEDS 6/14/2014 7:57PM

    I'm rather surprised that being in Florida, with so many retired folks, you are the oldest participant. What the heck are all of those other people doing?

Anyway, well done on toughing it out. I know first hand how mentally tough it is to slog those last miles when you can no longer run. Good going, Vic!

Geezers STILL rule!!

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MARGARITTM 6/14/2014 7:23PM

    OK no more marathons in June in Florida !!!

Even though you were not pleased with the time - it seems that the weather took it's toll on everyone.

Congrats on toughing it out. ..... I know it's hard but DNF is even harder!

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DALID414 6/14/2014 6:28PM

    emoticon on finishing upright.
Be proud of your bling.

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FITWITHIN 6/14/2014 6:22PM

    That is so wonderful to hear how you did a fantastic job. I plan to attempt to run a half marathon later in the year. After reading your blog I'm going to give it a shoot for sure. Thanks for the encouragement to do this race. emoticon emoticon

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STRIVERONE 6/14/2014 5:58PM

    Good advice, but why do I think your going to do it again next year? Take a day off. You earned it.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/14/2014 5:13PM

    Congrats. You hung in there. You did it. Love the determination. Here's wishing you more fun and exhilarating wins in the future!!

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ROXYZMOM 6/14/2014 5:11PM

    I wondered about the heat when you said you were going to run this one.
Congrats on finishing - take care of yourself!!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/14/2014 5:03PM

    Oh my! What a test of endurance. Hope you get some rest in today!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/14/2014 5:00PM

    Certainly it was your best effort for this course on this day! My last one wasn't fun, either, and lasted slightly longer than yours. Because of the hot sun. You'd think walking would be easy, but it can be harder than running if it lasts long enough.

Comment edited on: 6/14/2014 5:01:10 PM

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