Cayman Islands Marathon 2010

I've run my first marathon!

With the help of three friends. Technicalities.

Two friends, a husband, and me.
If there is a running bug, I think, by some miracle, I might have caught it. I (almost) thoroughly enjoyed the Cayman Islands Marathon Relay event held last Sunday. Seriously, getting up at 3:30 a.m. was the hardest part. I get an adrenaline rush just recalling the race.

Photos of fellow runners as the sun begins to rise.
To be honest, this was my first "big" race. I had only run in 5ks before, and although they were so much fun, this event brought a lot more to the table. What is surely old hat for all experienced runners/racers reading this was delightful for me. Here were the weekend's highlights:
  • A well-stocked goodies bag. It included (among other things) a commemorative tech shirt (which says "marathon" on it, not "marathon relay", so who will know the difference if/when I wear it?), a nice water bottle, a blinker thing for running at night, and a ticket for Saturday night's pasta party. NS (who also participated) and I attended the pasta party, even though I don't think anyone running a 6.4 miles really needs to carb up. But free food gets me every time.
Me and C&Z (teammates) at the pasta party. The free beads were a nice touch.
  • Timing chips. Apparently, regular runners buy their own to use in every race, but since I'm not a regular marathoner, the event staff provided one chip for our team of four. At each hand-off point, they set up chairs where teammates would quickly sit down while an event staff would swap the chip. How convenient, and much preferable to my assumed method of bending-down-and-removing-your-own, which made me light-headed in one second flat. If it hadn't still been dark at 5:57 a.m. when I finished my leg, I wouldn't have made this mistake.
This sequence shows the transition from Leg 2 to 3: WK running in (a speck on the first photo) at 2:02, then handing the baton (ankle bracelet) to CA while ZA takes her picture in the corner.
  • "Real" bathrooms. Okay, so they were still porta-potties.  BUT. They were as close to the real thing as I've seen mobile bathrooms get. I can't vouch for the ones on the side of the road (as I'm quite thankful I didn't need any of them), but the bathroom trailors at the race's start weren't incredibly skeevy at 4:40 a.m.
  • Lots of watering holes along the way. Apparently, each one had a different theme, which was lost on me since I had the pre-dawn leg. The only one I paid any attention to was the Flinstone-themed stop right after the turn-around - a cute little Bedrock crowd! When running a quarter marathon, I don't really need water, but I was impressed with how enthusiastic all the volunteers at each stop were at such an early hour.
  • A massage tent. I don't care that I only ran 6.4 miles - something, somewhere hurt, and I wasn't going to pass up professional relaxation. And anyway, ten minutes didn't make a dent on my endlessly-tight back and shoulders, so I gladly accepted the masseuse's business card as I left.
  • A bag check. NS and I ran completely different legs - #1 and #4, respectively - and he (God love him) was not too keen to get up at the crack just to see my back disappear down a dark road. To have a place to safely put my keys, towel, flip flops, and camera was genius.
  • Professional stretchers - like at the NBA games! NS always skips the stretch part of his workout, so I was glad to see him utilize this service.
  • Celebrities! Well, at least one. In 2010, Tristan Miller set a goal to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, garnering sponsorships along the way to benefit various charities. The Cayman Islands Marathon was #50 (the day after he ran a marathon in Jamaica). I ran along side him for about 45 seconds before he took off to finish the marathon 10th overall. After the CI race, he was on to Antarctica (slight change of climate) and then home to Australia for his final run.
Tristan Miller in a post-race interview.

As for the race itself, I ran the way I trained, as KD instructed us. Specifically, I ran 11-and-1's - 11 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking. Could I have run it nonstop? Yes, probably. But my 1-minute walk breaks fueled my 11-minute running stints. My final time was 57:17 over 6.4 miles, beating my one hour goal. I'm pretty stoked.

I'm glad my team let me run the first leg (not that any of them were begging to wake up before the many roosters in Grand Cayman). If I can run well at any point during the day, it's the morning. Besides, racing in Grand Cayman will always mean warm weather, so I felt it best to get my leg out of the way before the sun melted the pavement and me along with it. My portion of the course started at Breezes in George Town, into South Sound, following the sea toward Hurley's super market and then into Prospect. A mild sea breeze kept me cool as I ran along the course near the dark, nearly-still water. Every once in a while I'd glance up at the clear, starry skies - my reward for dragging myself out of bed at such an ungodly hour.

This post wouldn't be complete without a huge shout to my teammates: WK, CA, and ZA. Z even took a break from his med school studies (and much needed rest) to get up early and help us finish 23rd out of 69 relay teams, finishing at 3:54:13. Thank you, Team Stars and Stripes! NS and his teammates pulled off 17th place - way to go!

NS and ZA finishing Leg #4 for their respective teams, both under four hours. Well done!

A victory kiss makes it all worth it.

NS and I have already decided next year's race will be a half marathon. With so many charity races on island between now and then, we'll have no excuse but to be in shape for it. It's also one of the flattest courses we'll ever encounter - nothing like running in our home state of Pennsylvania.

One last thing: My chiropractor here told me he doesn't think I should be running. "Too jarring", or something of the like. Pshh. What does he know? (Okay, a lot). I do love expert advice, but here's to beating the odds. (And incorporating a bit of yoga in between runs for good measure.)


  1. that's funny...i meant to ask you what your chiropractor said about running. i hear it's so rough on the joints. but you are so good at it, how can you stop?