What started on to be a solo adventure, eventually turned out to be a full-blown gathering.
As I have stated several times in previous posts, the 5 Points of Life Marathon in Gainesville is probably my favorite race. In fact, this would be the fifth year in a row I would be competing in this event (more than any other race I have entered). Despite my affection for this event, it’s been a hard sell in terms of getting my friends to enter and run with me. I originally signed up to do the half marathon this year, but my heart called out to do the full. Out of nowhere, Elaine said she wanted to sign up and do the full with me. I quickly upgraded, and then Terri jumped into the mix! Soon after, both Jen and Pam said they would run with us, but they would compete in the half. The whole mishpukhe was now on board, even though the 26.2 With Donna was taking place the same weekend.
We had been fortunate up to this point to be blessed with relatively warm weather during our races. However, we were going to be in for a cold one, as the temperature for the start of the race was predicted to be around 30 degrees. After learning a valuable lesson from the Donna run last year (as detailed in a previous post), I packed my full arsenal of running attire with plans of multi-layering my wardrobe. I left early Saturday morning and picked up Lindsey around noon. I decided to stay at her apartment for the weekend, since she lives about ten minutes from the start of the race. I picked up the race packets for all of the ladies at the expo, which saved them a trip up to Gainesville. The race shirts for this event are always very nice, but the expo is very small (but not as small as Ocala…no expo is smaller than Ocala). We ran errands for the rest of the day, as the temperature started to plummet.
I met up with the ladies around 6am in the parking lot. It was 34 degrees, but it didn’t seem that cold. I had on two compression shirts, a jacket, tights and gloves. When I saw Pam and Elaine, I felt completely underdressed! We sat in the car for a bit, and then made our way to the starting line. There were 884 runners in this year’s race, which was around the same number as last year. 156 would be taking on the full, with 628 running the half. The conditions were perfect, with no real wind to speak of, and not a cloud in the sky.
We ran pretty strong the first half of the race, with only two bathroom stops (the only two I would take) and a few pictures along the way. Elaine had never been on the University of Florida campus, so who better to have as her running tour guide than me? Of course it’s always a thrill to run through the Swamp as they show football highlights on the screens and pipe in some play-by-play by Mick Hubert.
We ran by Lindsey’s apartment at mile marker 15, so she met us outside to take a photo and to hook us up with some chocolate and peanuts. From a physical standpoint, I had never felt better during a marathon, but I was starting to get a little tired around mile 18.
As the Darth Vader music began to play in my head, we had reached the dreaded Williston Road. To our surprise and delight, the wind was actually at our back. This made the only boring part of the race a little more bearable. Terri decided to take off at that point and leave us in a heap of dust, which of course was very impressive. The last few miles of the race were somewhat of an effort, but we had to make sure that we finished ahead of these two dudes behind us. The finish line was a sight for sore eyes, and we even ran fast enough to get some pizza before they ran out! I felt great after the race, but was not looking forward to the drive home later.
Another day…another marathon.
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON