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Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon: PR Broken, Beautiful Run

Posted Oct 07 2010 8:11am
11_9A

jacksonville marine corps half marathon

This past weekend my friend and I ran the Jacksonville Marine Corps half marathon, and I have to say that out of the ones I have done thus far (Surf City, Long Beach, 26.2 with Donna in Jacksonville) this was by far my favorite.

If you haven’t run in Jacksonville, you need to. Famous for the Gate River Run, a 9 miler that takes the runner over several painful bridges, Jacksonville is probably the prettiest place I’ve run, and I’ve run in some pretty awesome places. (Okay, Kaui is probably the prettiest, but still, who has time to fly to Hawaii and run?!)

The course started at the stadium (go Jags!) and passed a Maxwell coffee warehouse. If you haven’t smelled fresh coffee during a run, you should. Wow! I wanted to stop and grab a cup, which would have helped the two bridges I had to climb. (I didn’t know about these in advance because I never really study race maps). At bridge two I turned to the girl next to me and said, “Please tell me that’s it for bridges.” Luckily, she answered yes.

We then wound along neighborhoods such as Avondale (think Crafstman homes, gorgeous architecture, right near the water), passing Starbucks and cute, quaint homes nestled between small shops.Around mile 6 we turned and cruised around a park and then came back. The last mile or so we ran along the river, and my only complaint was the pavers — after 11 miles of flat concrete, it was tough for me to switch to pavers.

I thought I wouldn’t want to do the out and back but after years of running I realize it’s not what’s outside of me that counts when I run, but what is going on inside of me. I didn’t mind it a bit, and in fact got to see my friend, who was completing her second half marathon, as she made her way around the park.

I wanted a 2 hour PR this race, but had been battling a sickness the week before. At 6.2 I was hitting race pace and decided to drop back some, fearful of what might happen if I continued to push it for the next half. I finished up in 2:09. I was happy with it, and it is my new PR.

Overall, a great day for a race and a race I plan to run again next year. Marines were out to hand out water, hand out medals, and cheer us on. The race was small, which I love, though I guess it has grown over the years. The after party rocked. I finally got a massage (I’ve never stood in line for one before), and Firehouse came out to supply subs. Budweiser was there, and when my friend got finished we went over for a nice, icy cold beer.

I wish my kids could have been at the finish line, but if I do the Palm Beach half they will be there. Not a bad day for a run, and I’m excited that I’m getting closer to my 2 hour finish goal.

10_8A

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