After the Pistol it was time to get ready for my next adventure, Destin Beach 50 miler in Florida. But before this I signed up for Javelina Jundred the night after The Pistol. I woke up at 2 am in my hotel room in Alcona and thought “hey registration has just opened for Javelina”. So I got up and registered and as it turned out, I was the first to register.
No it was 6 weeks or so till Destin and lots of time to recover and then get back at it.
Problem was the weather was not cooperating. Like last winter it looked like this one would be a long one and ready to set records for cold temps.
We were invited to Destin by our friends from Michigan, Sandy and Eric. Joan signed up for the 50k, as did Sandy. The training sort of sucked, no really long runs, just doubling up long runs on the weekend. Longest run being about 28 – 30k.
Destin is in the panhandle area of Florida, so doesn’t get as warm as the more southerly areas. And the initial forecasts didn’t come across as even shorts weather. But it was still better than the Barrie area, or anywhere in the North East. We arrived on the Wednesday night and it was cool, but still shorts weather. The sun was shining and that again was positive. Race day meant an early morning as my race started at 5 am and the girls 50k at 6 am. The race travelled along the beach, on sand, for 15 miles to the east. You then turn around and head back to the start/finish area and then head west for another 10 miles, before turning around again back to the finish.
I started out in the dark, just trying to keep a nice easy pace and avoid any of the soft sand, as well as the water off the gulf as the waves came in. For the most part this was easy, but there were the odd “rivers” form lakes beyond the dunes to forge across. Most were easy, but we were warned of a large one that had just broken through the dunes the day before and could be waist deep or more.
Running into the sunrise was spectacular. And getting our feet wet didn’t seem to be a problem for me. I was looking forward to the turnaround as it would give me an indication of how I was doing in respect to the rest of the field. About ten miles in I started running with Ryan, a young local guy who went to school in Rochester, NY. He hadn’t run an Ultra before so he jumped in with both feet. It was early in the race and he was doing well. At the turnaround he left me as I looked for the washroom. After getting going again I guestimated that I was in about 14 place. Not bad, although there wasn’t a lot of runners in the race it was still rather popular, but not as popular as the 50k.
As we headed back to the start area, I started passing a few runners. It was a long way back and as the sun came up it got warmer than expected. I had to put sun tan lotion on 3 times. A nice breeze helped keep things cool.
For the most part the beach was deserted, but the closer we got to the start are the more populated it was getting.. I had to keep reminding myself it still early in the morning, about 9:30 when I got to the start area. At this point I figured I was in about 10th place, but not sure. I caught back up to Ryan at about 31 miles, and we walked to ether for a bit before I started running again. Ryan wasn’t doing well, but it was good to know that I had another behind me and was probably top ten. Top ten then became my goal. I was well ahead of PB pace, but could see that slipping away slowly. The beach was much more crowded now, but with lots of people cheering us on. At the next turn around I now knew that I was actually in 8th place and was determined to keep that, but I would be looking over my shoulder regularly on my way back. There were a couple of runners not far behind, including Ryan who now had a pacer.
Those last 10 miles were a struggle, but I could feel the runners from behind. I completed the last 2 miles bearfoot, figuring that would be better than having wet shoes for the last part of the race. It was actually harder on the feet.
I finished in 8:33:00 a new personal best, by about 10 minutes or so. I was 8th place and 1st in my age group. A very successful day, but again I was thinking of what could have been. Keeping myself running later in a race is still a problem and I need to work on my mental game. The day was the best day, weather wise, of the whole time we were down there. We went to the awards get together later and I got my age group award.
Joan had a very successful day, with her bad shoulder she un sure whether she would be able to do the race at all, but she started and finished in under 9 hours, using a run /walk plan. She was very happy and enjoyed her day. Sandy also had a good day on the 50k course, finishing in 7:08.
Now I have 2 weeks to get ready for Green Jewel, my 5th year in a row there and probably my last. After that a good two months before O24.
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