Or rather… The Race That Almost Wasn’t.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling very complacent with running. I haven’t really taken a break from it since I started a little over four years ago, & it was starting to take its toll on me mentally. Everyone needs an off-season, right? That’s what I told myself. I’d skip the River Run & take a true off-season. But even then I wasn’t 100% convinced.
I still picked up my race packet, but I wasn’t sure I’d even get up the next day to run.
My morning started off with a Twitter meet up:
& then there was a lot of waiting around for the waves ahead to start:
THIRTEEN MINUTES Stacey & I waited to cross the starting line. THIRTEEN MINUTES. In case you didn’t know, patience isn’t exactly my thing.
But eventually, we were off. The first few miles were very congested, but I stuck to 4:1 intervals to conserve energy.
Every year, there’s always a bunch of Jacksonville Firefighters than run in full gear. It’s like a single runner girl’s dream come true. I passed them just before the 5k point:
& then I turned the corner to River Road:
Last year I was really bummed out because River Road wasn’t part of the course due to construction along San Marco. I was very pleased that the course was once again the old course. River Road is a scenic route along the St Johns River (duh, hence the name) & there’s some pretty cool houses along the run.
The first half of the race flew by. Before I knew it, I was approaching the 10k point. By the time I hit the 10k, I looked down at my Garmin & realized I was easily on track to PR. Not sure how, but I was going to do it. So I made up my mind then & went for it.
But then there was beer:
Cold beer at that. & bacon.
But somehow, I resisted & pushed forward.
I was running so lightning fast, I managed to catch The Gingerbread Man:
Okay, maybe I wasn’t running lightning fast, but I was running faster than him. But in his defense, running in that costume must be a bitch.
& then I caved.
I let the man in the banana costume give me a beer again this year. He offered me a jell-o shot, but I knew nothing good would come of that, so I settled for an ice cold Coors Light. God, it was glorious.
With less than two miles to go, I turned the corner to face the biggest bitch in town – The Hart Bridge:
I wouldn’t let her break me. I wouldn’t let her take my PR away from me. So I kept my head down, put one foot in front of another & trudged forward. I took a quick, scheduled walk break near the top, then let loose as soon as she gave way to downhill:
When I hit the even surface at the base of the Hart leading towards the finish line, I thought I was going to die. I had nothing left. I knew I couldn’t give up, so once again, I just put one foot in front of the other & kept digging deeper.
& that’s that.