After missing out on running any of my planned fall Marathons, I decided that a trip to Florida after Christmas would be something fun and different, particularly with Cheyenne going on a ski trip to NM with her cousins. So I booked the "fastest marathon in the south" for the weekend after Christmas and made plans for a sub-3 attempt, followed by a week of herping, fossiling, and ode chasing in South Florida. On the 26th, we drove from Marla's Dad's place in Cypress to Camel Lake in the Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee (where we camped, to be awakened by deer hunters following their dogs), and then drove on into the Jacksonville the afternoon of the 27th.
The weather forecast for race day started out with morning temps in the 40s. Unfortunately, every day that I checked the forecast, the projected starting temperature kept rising. Race morning dawned and it was a humid 61 degrees F . . . and as the morning progressed, temps rose into the 70s, all with the humidity at around 90%! I should have seriously backed off my paces, but I was intent on chasing the sub-3 marathon.
As the race started, I tried to keep to my planned 7:00/mile pace, but ended up running the first couple of miles in 6:52 and 6:54. I slowed back to just under 7:00/mile for the next 2 miles, then gradually started to pick things back up. I was able to maintain a sub-3 pace until around the half, where I slowly but surely started to fade off my pace. I ran miles 14-19 between 7:05 and 7:10, then fell off into the 7:20s between miles 20 and 25. My mile 26 was run at an 8:00 pace. I did kick it up to about a 6:00 pace for the last 0.2 when I realized that if I didn't hurry, that I wasn't going to PR. I ended up finishing in a one second PR (by my watch) in a 3:06:20
or officially as a tie with my PR at a 3:06:21. I was pretty disappointed, but given the humidity, it really wasn't unexpected.
The course itself was a bit more wind-y than I prefer, meandering in and out of residential streets. For a long-established race through town, the crowd support was actually pretty minimal. Did I say again how humid it was? Might as well have been swimming in the St. Johns River!
Shoes: I ran in Merrell Bare Access 3s, size 10.
Shorts: I ran in my stand-by 3” split shorts from Adidas. They soaked all the way through and I chaffed a bit. Should have applied lots more body-glide given the humidity.
Shirt: I wore a new "healing mandala" print tech singlet from InknBurn. Taped nipples avoided chaffing, as the shirt was pretty soaked by the humidity.
Compression: CWX calf sleeves were worn in order to help keep my twinged calf from November in order. No issues with calf pain at all.
Socks: Injinji medium weight no-show toe socks – same socks I’ve been running in for several years.
Fuel: 3x Apple/Cinnamon Hammer Gels, one taken at mile 7, 13, and 19. I also ate Gummi Worms every 2-3 miles. I took water and Gatorade from aid stations every few miles. I started with every other aid stations (every 2 miles) but eased off in the middle of the course to every third aid station as I began to feel a little sloshy.
Hat: Marathon Maniacs classic hat. Got really soaked with sweat and I took it off and snapped it into my fuel belt after about the half.
Glasses: Custom Oakley Flak Jackets with Red Iridium Lenses that I’ve run in all year. Took them off when it got foggy, then they got really sweaty and hard to see through, so I ran most of the second half with them on my head.
Watch: Garmin 610. No problems.