For as long as I’ve been a runner, I’ve been told that the one race you want to avoid running in Jax is the Marine Corps Half. Not just from one person, but from nearly every single person I know that has run it in the past. The main complaints are the terrible weather (it’s hot and humid!) and that the end of the course is brutal. You run up a pedestrian bridge, over the rail road tracks, then have to run down a spiral ramp. Then you run, in full sun, along the river. That part sounds nice, but not when it’s 85 degrees in full sun!
This year, the weather was projected to be great. My running group was running the Marine Corps Half in lieu of a long run on Saturday morning, so I had to decide if I wanted to run 13 on my own or sign up for the race. When I saw that race-time temps were supposed to be in the mid-60’s, I bit the bullet and signed up. On Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours pre-race. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?
I was excited about it and looking forward to running with two of my BRF’s, TK and Jess. TK and I met up at the Galloway tent, but couldn’t find Jess. We lined up, started, and I texted Jess that we’d hang out on the right side of the course. She found us within the first mile. TK had a time goal and I told her I’d hang with them for as long as I could, but that I’d probably have to drop back and that it was okay to leave me.
Around 4 miles, I started thinking I wanted to slow down. I decided I didn’t want to run nine miles solo though, so I held on. I told myself to just get to the halfway point with them. Then my hip started hurting. And I realized I was running my mouth and forgot to take my gu. Oops!
I held on ’til the halfway point and Jess and TK kept encouraging me, they didn’t want to leave me and I didn’t want to hold them back, so I kept pushing. Finally around ten miles, my hip was done. I told them to keep going and I’d be fine running the last three on my own. They both offered to stay back with me but I told them to go and promised I was okay. I could tell they felt bad and I hated making them feel bad, but my hip really hurt.
I should probably mention that my hip tends to hurt when I run long when I haven’t been running much during the week. I know this, it’s how I ended up injured last winter. I know better and I learned my lesson – no more slacking during the week. (Someone remind me of this when my alarm goes off at 5:30AM please!!)
I stopped to stretch my hip on a bench then carried on and stuck with our :90/:30 intervals. I really like those intervals, I feel like I can push in the run segments and get a brief recovery, without completely letting my heart rate come down, in the walk interval.
I stopped again somewhere along the river walk to stretch out my hip again. I ended up finishing about five minutes behind TK and Jess, in 2:30:14. Considering I was using this as a training run (where I aim to average 12mm pace) and I was hurting, I’m calling it a win!
I think this may be a one and done race for me. Unless there is some really, really amazing weather, I don’t know that I’ll run this one again. The race was fine, I have no complaints, but I would be singing a totally different tune had it been a typical hot, humid October in Florida kind of day!