I have already described my experience from this years Cayman Marathon in which I stated that I didn’t really enjoy the experience.
I think the main problem was, I run here 52 weeks of the year. I live on the course, 99% of the runs I do in Cayman are on one part of the Marathon course or another. Just this year alone I have been out on roughly 200 runs on the course totalling over 1000 miles! I know every little rise, bump and hole on the course, which does of course help knowing what to expect, but also means there isn’t much in the way of excitement. Other than there being a few hundred other people out for a run it was just another Sunday morning long run for me. I wasn’t excited and there was no “runners high”.
I am sure people visiting think it is cool to be running on an island in the Caribbean and they think of the sea and beaches, but the course doesn’t go by any of that. You run briefly past the sea by South Sound dock, which is nice (despite being head long in to the wind at that point), other than that though I would say the course isn’t exactly pretty.
I have also been spoilt for the last 2 years, the only half and full marathon races I have competed in have been at Disney, and they have all been different. So not only do I get a vacation out of it, I also haven’t known what to expect. The first year it was all new, then last year there was the Goofy Challenge aspect and then I did the Wine & Dine event in October which was different again as it is on a different course and at night. You are also running with between 15-30K runners not just 600.
There is something that is a bit more exciting about getting on a plane and then putting on your gear in a hotel room and setting off into the unknown. It’s not quite the same when you are unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen right before you walk out of the house and up to the start line!
It will be interesting to see what it is like to go back and do the Goofy again in January as I pretty much know what to expect (the only difference this year is an extra 5K on the Friday), will I have the same almost bored feeling taking part?
I cannot say I didn’t enjoy the race because it was badly organised, there was no confusion as to where to go, there was plenty of water stations, and they were all colourful and offered great encouragement (although that might have something to do with there being a prize for the one voted the best by the runners). The only slight improvement would be to close off the roads at the start for half an hour to give everyone enough time to spread out and comfortably fit on one side of the road.
The conditions were probably the best you could ask for to run in Cayman, low 70’s to start, and only getting to about 80 around the time I was finishing. There was a very strong wind (20mph+), which you get as much help as hindrance from the route being 2 laps, except you have to go into it for the last 3 miles or so. In Cayman you can’t have low temps without wind, so I will take that over no wind but hotter. Despite being cool for Cayman standards it is still warm, which does make it that much harder to run fast in, especially for nearly 4 hours, and although the temperature doesn’t change that much you really do notice it once the sun gets up. I know I felt worse afterwards here than I did running in Disney in January, despite the extra miles I did up there. I am a lot stiffer, but then I did take 2 minutes off my PB, running in temperatures 30-40 degrees hotter than I had set it in previously, so I certainly pushed myself as far as I could go.
I guess the other reason for not really enjoying it was because there is still another challenge to come. Despite feeling like I was going as fast as I could, there was always a little voice in my head reminding me not to break anything that couldn’t be fixed in the next 5 weeks. It wasn’t the be-all and end-all of my year. I have hopes of besting this PB in Disney, as long as I can recover over the next few weeks sufficiently to have a good crack at it.
Never say never, but I can’t say I will be doing this race again, not while I still live here anyway. Of course that statement only holds true until I change my mind (and let’s face it I have a history of not keeping to plans) . Half-marathon for next year is the plan at the moment though.