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  • Writer's pictureKristen W.

Race Recap: 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer

Welcome to my first race of 2017! This race is one that I hold dear to my heart because my Mom ran the marathon six years ago and that is when I decided to start running. I ran the half virtually in 2013 and ran in 2014 in honor of my friend LeeAnne who had been diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.

Since this year was the 10th anniversary of the race my running friends and I decided we were going to run the marathon relay because it was the only race we hadn't done. There are five legs of the relay, and five of us, so it was perfect! We immediately picked a team name, Treasures Chests, and everything seemed to be falling into place. A few months before the race we had to pick which legs of the race we would like to run and I immediately chose the one portion of the race I've never run - through the beaches neighborhoods! So when I sat down to look at the course map I noticed I had the longest leg at 6.75 miles and I started just before mile 10 and ended at mile 16.5.

Now that everything was set the only thing we had to do was wait for race day to arrive. As the time got closer we started to monitor the weather and it was not what we were thinking. For the past several years it has barely been above freezing, but not this year, it was going to be lows in the mid 50s and going to a high of 78 degrees. We already had our team shirts made, so there was no going back, good thing we didn't decide to go with a long sleeve shirt!

Flat Kristen

The race started at 7:30 a.m., but the parking lot opened at 4 a.m. Knowing there were going to be over 10,000 runners Mom and I decided to get there really early to make sure we weren't stuck in traffic. I knew we were going to be there super early, so I brought a pillow and blanket to nap in the car. After napping for about an hour I out in my contacts and decided it was time to get ready for the race. I got to see a lot of my running friends in the runners village, but I knew I needed to get to the busses since I needed to get to my area for the race. We found the bus area and each got on the bus for our legs and knew it was time to wait for the race to start!

Nap Time Before the Race!

Four of the five team members!

The three of us ready to get on the busses!

Arrived at my it's time to wait!

The race started promptly at 7:30 a.m. and our first runner was off and had about 6 miles until she got to our second runner. The morning was beautiful, it was overcast and in the 50s, almost perfect running weather! Hear did an amazing job running our first leg and before we knew it we had a text saying Pam was on her way to me. The one cool thing about our relay location was that we were able to watch all of the leaders come by twice. Pam had a 3 mile leg so I knew I needed to watch for her to be coming. When Pam arrived I grabbed the baton and took off. I was feeling good, my legs felt like they could run for days and then the clouds parted and out came the sun. When the sun came out every cloud in the sky disappeared and it was me, the sun and the blacktop.

I really enjoyed running through Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, but there were points during my leg where I was the only runner around and it kinda got a little lonely. The crowd support in the neighborhoods were great and they were partying it up! The more I ran, the hotter it got, so about halfway through my leg I decided I needed to change up my intervals so I wouldn't overdue it!

As seen in the neighborhood!

About half way done with my leg!

Pretty trees in the neighborhoods!

The last mile marker on my leg!

I can see the next relay stop ahead!

I finished my leg!

To my surprise I finished my leg in a faster time than I thought I was going to. I was feeling good, so I boarded my bus and headed to the finish line. When I got to the finish line area I couldn't find the rest of my group, so I walked back on the course and headed for the bridge. I had told Mom I would help her get through the bridge part of her leg. I found a guardrail at about mile 24.5 and waited for her to come by. When I finally saw her I headed out on the course and could tell that she was struggling with the heat. At this point it was about 80 degrees and nothing but sunshine. I made sure she made it through the last few miles and we crossed the finish line and noticed Lauren and Kevin were waiting for us. We hung around for a few minutes and grabbed some cold beverages and headed for the busses back to the start line.

The view from the top of the intercostal bridge!

Getting Mom to the finish line!

We finished!

The Pretty Medal

The night of the race the five of us started texting about the race. We decided it was a good time, we were glad we did it, but we would rather run the half marathon together. Maybe we will be back for the 15th anniversary?! Time will tell!

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