This was my first time running the Gate river run in Jacksonville. It's been a long time since I've done a race with more than 2000 people so that record number of runners (12,901 to be exact) was very overwhelming. I made sure I got to the stadium very early to avoid sitting in traffic and not getting a good parking spot. I ate my oatmeal on the way to the race site and sipped 20 ounces of water and aminos from 6:30-8am. However, I left 2 hours early for my 20 mile drive and I still sat in traffic. However, I had plenty of time to hit the port-o-potties (without a wait!) and sit in my car for an hour. I didn't see anyone I knew before the race but I did see a lot of people! There were so many people, I couldn't believe it!
Unfortunatly, I didn't get a seeded number because I didn't register in time. I just registered 5 days ago so I wasn't one of the first 2000 people who registered and submitted a 1hr and 30 min (or faster) time to be in the front section. Therefore, I was side-by-side with 10,000 other people trying to push my way to the front.
When the gun went off, I didn't move. When I did move, I walked. And once I was walking I noticed I was slowing down. I then stopped and finally, one minute later, I was running.
I started my watch when my chip crossed the timing mat, even though USATF rules go by gun time (and not chip time).
The first mile felt like 1 minute. I was weaving my way in and out of the slower runners, trying to catch up to the seeded runners. I was running on the street, sidewalk, curb..anything to get by people. I felt a little bad rubbing shoulders with a few people but I needed to get a good pace. After the first mile, we started heading to our first bridge. This bridge connects downtown Jacksonville to San Marco and once again, mile 2 went by really fast. It was miles 2,3 and 4 that were fast (in terms of pace) but I was running on new and unfamiliar roads. I started to get a little tired around mile 3 so I slowed down the pace for 30 seconds after every mile. It seemed to work well because I was still able to keep a good mile per hour pace.
There was no sport drink on the course so I grabbed water at mile 2-7. Although it was a little foggy and cool out (just like last weekend in Albany for the half marathon) I used the water to cool my face down.
The spectators were great and there were so many people on the course!
After I saw the sign for mile 7, I knew what was coming. Since I read the course description in my race packet, I was preparing myself for what was coming at mile 7.5. The HART BRIDGE!
184 feet up in .5 mile. Ouch..it was a nice shock for my quads. I feel all my "hill" training on the treadmill paid off because I wasn't too winded and my legs were only burning from the last 7 miles and not so much from the incline. However, I had no choice to slow down the pace and looking back on it now, I wish I would have pushed a bit harder going up.
Then comes the downhill from mile 8.5-9. Just flying down the hill and quickly making our way to the stadium for the finish. Since I have only done one 15K (gasparilla 2006) I wasn't sure how much I had after mile 9 until the finish. Well, 2 minutes later I was at the finish and ready to walk out my tired legs.
I really pushed hard to run fast and for my second race in a row and still on tired legs, I PR'd! I didn't go into this race as tired as last week because I took off thurs and fri from running. Instead, I rode with Karel on thurs for 40 miles (which was no easy ride!) and swam on Fri (3600 yards). I was happy that I rested my legs.
Well, I'm happy with my 1:07.51 finish time. 2 minutes faster than my first 15K and I finished 29th in my age group (out of 1206) and 717 overall.
Here are my splits (I'm sure you can tell when I suffered up the Hart bridge). I'm really proud of my pacing...I'm SO ready to do a triathlon...is it time yet???