Monday, February 17, 2014

Daytona Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

Before I get in to my race recap, I wanted to say THANK YOU for your support so far in my fundraising efforts of Kellsie's Hope Foundation!  I'm still about $400 short of my goal would appreciate any further support.  Go to this website, click on my name (Amy Herring), and you can give via PayPal.  Thank you!
On Sunday, I finished the Daytona Beach Half Marathon.
It's hard to believe that just since last February, I've completed four half marathons (with a fifth in just 6 days)!  It's been quite a journey.

Let's talk about the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, shall we?
Image Source
The slogan of the race is "Speedway...Beach...and back," which perfectly describes the course.  I was excited about this race because of my familiarity with the area, and that wound up being an advantage for my mentality during this race.  Here were my personal A, B, and C goals going in to the race:

A: I'd really, really love to PR.
B: Start off with a maintainable pace and finish strong.
C: Finish the race with a better time than my last half (a.k.a. under 3:00).

The start was at 6am and began with a lap around the Daytona International Speedway.  We were able to park in the infield of the track, and I arrived at around 5am.
I'm glad I did, because there was traffic AND I had to take a bus to the start.  Despite being nervous about making the start on time, I was able to get everything I needed to do done (bathroom, bag check, get to corral) in plenty of time.
They started us off with some revving engines and fireworks.  Very appropriate for the race!  The first two miles were around the track, and that was a really cool experience.  I'm not a NASCAR fan, but being able to actually run those inclines on the turns was pretty neat.
Sorry about the blurry pic
Miles 2.25-6 took us down International Speedway Boulevard (ISB for short), over a bridge, and into the "beachside" area (the strip of land between the river and ocean).  This is a flat, straight road, but knowing the area, I wasn't really checking my Garmin or seeing what mile I was on.  I knew the roads and how far from the bridge we were, so I adjusted accordingly.

Right before getting on to the bridge, the outside of my right knee started hurting.  I knew this was due to my tight IT band, and it's the same pain that forced me to walk the last 4 miles of the Lighthouse Loop Half.  At that moment, I knew my goal of a PR was out the window (though I was on track for a really good time before that!).  Instead, I decided to focus on just finishing in under 3 hours.  I was able to stretch every half mile or so and keep the pain at bay.

We got to the beach just after the mile 7 mark.  They had a DJ and some flags set up, and the sun was just coming over the water.  This was a welcome break from the pavement and also very pretty!
My knee continued to hurt a little, but after I got back over the bridge, it was manageable.  We ran back down ISB before taking a little cut through a neighborhood.  Joe met me there around mile 10.5 and thankfully brought two items I requested: a golf ball and Biofreeze.  I rubbed out my IT band with the golf ball and put Biofreeze on my knee before continuing on my way.  Joe rode his motorized scooter with me for about a half a mile before wishing me well on the rest of the race.

We went back on to the ISB before entering the Speedway once more for the finish line.  Looking at my time at mile 11, I knew that I could beat my current 2nd best time if I pushed just a little more.  I did so without pain in my knee and was even able to semi-sprint to the finish!
I ended up with a time of 2:36:55.  Not what I was hoping for, but considering that my knee was bothering me at mile 6, I'm really happy with this time.  I pushed it without causing more pain, and I'm proud of myself for meeting my C goal for the race of finishing in (well) under 3 hours!

Overall Thoughts on the Race
-The distance was marked PERFECTLY.  Every time there was a mile marker, I heard the one-mile beep on my Garmin.  My total distance even showed 13.13 miles!
-All of the volunteers on the course had a lot of energy!  Especially the mile 2 water stop people!  They were still there when we passed by them at the end (mile 12.8), even though it wasn't a water stop anymore.  They made a high-five tunnel for the runners, which just enough to energize me to push to the end!
-Post-race food was GREAT!  They had a wide variety of Jimmy John's subs, Krispy Kreme donuts, chicken and wings, pizza, and fruit.  What better time to eat all of that then right after a 13 mile run?
-Everything was well organized.
-The race was a really cool experience.  How often do you get to run a NASCAR track?

My Thoughts on My Personal Race
-I need to incorporate strength training and stretching into my race training.  The one race that I did that consistently(Rock 'n Roll VB Half) gave me no knee problems AND a sub-2:30 time.  If only I will learn from that!
-This was one of my best mental races.  I knew that I could make it and never doubted myself, even after the pain started.  I attribute that to knowing the course AND knowing that I would see Joe at mile 10.
-I set myself up to finish strong.  I had negative splits up until mile 6, and my stamina at the end of the race was strong.  If I had no pain, this would have been a strong finish for me.  I'm going to go ahead and say that I met my B goal because of that!
-I really enjoyed this race.  Definitely going to do it next year.

Up next: Disney Princess Half Marathon!
I'm hopeful that I'll still be able to run this race despite the knee/IT band pain.  The plan this week is to foam roll and stretch daily, go to hot yoga two times, and do 2 easy short runs to shake things outs.

Question for you: did you run any races this weekend?  What do you do to heal injuries you have quickly?


  1. well done! i run the race every year and saw your blog in my newsfeed. congrats and take it easy this week. you probably don't even have to run again. rest up and enjoy the Mouse.

    1. I've done lots of stretching and yoga this week :) I think I'll be good to go this weekend!

  2. This sounds like an amazing race experience! I'm most impressed that your Garmin only logged .03 miles more than a half marathon. That seems almost unheard of for a race experience!

    1. I know, i was so impressed with the accuracy! I've never done a race that was even CLOSE to 13.1.

  3. Congratulations on a successful race! I was happy with how accurate the course was as well. It makes a difference!

    1. Thanks! You're right, it really does. Glad you enjoyed it, as well!

  4. Awesome race! I liked seeing your pictures, and running on a race track sounds like fun. Sorry to hear about the knee pain; I've had a similar issue and have had some luck by switching regular runs with running in the pool.

    1. Running in the pool? Hmmm good suggestion! I might have to try that.