By Ronnie Godwin
Jay Silvanima and I woke up Saturday a.m. to howling 20-25mph winds and a misty fog, along with temperatures forecasted to rise to the 70’s! So 100% humidity was upon us. Why had I let Tim Unger talk me into this team thing!! Could I back out? With the weather so nasty, the traditional Blue Angel fly over before the race was not as dramatic as past years. Normally five jets fly over in formation so low, that most car alarms are set off! The weather ceiling was so low though that we got a two-bird salute instead.
The race heads west for the first few miles on the Naval Air Station, and the winds were not much of a factor until a turn around at mile five. There a stretch of approximately three miles back past the start/finish area introduced us to the winds that would haunt us the rest of the 26.2 miles. We were doing some serious drafting for this long straight stretch into the wind. At this point there was plenty of company due to the 1/2 marathoners in the race.
Personally, I was concerned with recent low back pain and considered bailing for the half marathon at the 10.5 mile point where the 1/2 runners head back. But I guess stubbornness sent me onward! My pre-race goal was to hit consistent 6:40’s miles, or sub three hour pace, but if my back started acting up I was prepared to bail or slow way down. I hit the half in approximately 1:28:40, and was actually feeling better by mile 15. So I plugged onward. 6:45, 6:51, 6:41, 6:58, 9:20. 9:20? What? Well, the 18,19, 20, & at least 21mile markers had been placed out incorrectly, or the course was way long! I was feeling really good, and was positive I wasn’t running 8-9 minute miles! Or was I? Then I ran 5:58 and 6:14 mile splits, what was going on? I know I didn’t have that kind of leg speed. Had I pulled a Labossiere and gotten lost? No, thank goodness as the pace for miles 23-26 seemed back to reality, and I hung on for a 2:59:22. There was talk that the course was long, but I’m not sure. It would be kind of nice to find that out though.
Jay Silvanima, Jack McDermott, Scott Mitchell, Gary Griffin and I managed to snag 2nd place among civilian teams for Gulf Winds. Also, the FAMU ROTC team placed 2nd among military installation teams. But another great race memory, and I believe we gave Gulf Winds a good showing. I had several comments from other runners on the Racing Team singlets we wore. I had a few people ask about Superman Tim too.