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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cayman Islands Half Marathon: race report

The Cayman Islands Half Marathon was my 14th half marathon. You know that saying about being a slow runner and getting your moneys worth? That was me and this race. Hot, humid and hard - it kicked my butt.

What organizers say:
Sure, you could run just about anywhere in the world! But wouldn’t you prefer to run on a safe, beautiful Caribbean island, surrounded by tropical flora and fauna, charming homes flawlessly landscaped and magnificent views of the sea? Well, come run with us in the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon!

Distances available:
1/2 marathon, full marathon and 4-person relay, wheelchair full marathon and kids 5K run run.

Sunday, December 4, 2011(First Sunday each December)

Flat looped course, with the first half of the run through a gorgeous residential section along the Caribbean Sea. The only bad thing is that it's dark and you can't enjoy the view. Marathoners do the loop twice. Locals I spoke with do the half because they aren't a fan of the course.

Aid stations:
The aid stations are amazing! Each station is themed and staffed by oodles of volunteers. Music and costumes pump you up as you go by - their enthusiasm is contagious! Stations are stocked with water, Gatorade and later into the race there are oranges, watermelon, gummies (candy, not sport gummies), cold sponges, Vaseline and ice. Stations are roughly a mile apart.

Packet pick up and expo
Small but very well organized.

Race start
ON TIME! I think this is the only race I've attended that started on time. When organizers say don't be late, they aren't kidding.

from the moment you sign up, you'll receive weekly emails from the organizers with travel and training tips. Their Facebook page is just as helpful.

Here I was disappointed. Some runners posted on Facebook that at this race they had the highest number of pictures taken. In my case, there was 1 finishing chute photo where I stopped to smile and the whole thing is out of focus. Lots of photogs on route and I stopped and posed for them all so I'm let down on this part of the race. Seeing that huge number of visitors that participate in this race, a decent finishers photo should be guaranteed. That said, there is some awesome photography for the marathoners.

Schwag: tech shirt with typical race design (race logos on front, sponsors on the back), discount coupons for activities on the island, rum cakes, towels, water bottles, salt water taffy and sea salt. We were able to make use of it all!

Post race: well organized chute with volunteers that help you unlace and remove your timing chip. Brilliant post race snacks with everything a tired, hot, hungry and thirsty runner wants, including a can of Caybrew beer. For light beer in a can, it wax tasty. Bag drop and pick up moved quickly.

My race
You'd think after running and racing as much as I have, I'd avoid rookie mistakes. But I didn't. I made them all:
- eating a different breakfast. I ate yogurt and granola instead of my usual oatmeal. For the first 7 miles I retched or wanted retch. It was awful. I couldn't keep water down and the water tasted awful (just my stomach, the supplied bottled water was perfect)
- messing around withy music. Instead of having my music ready to go, I horsed around with my phone, head phones and playlists between miles 9 and 11. I wasted so much time.
- forgetting my watch at home. Like in Canada, not even at the hotel.
- dumping water on my head. So my pants were soaked and heavy. So were my socks.
- not wearing my lucky underwear. No, really. Every pair of underwear I own is cotton, except for a pair of tech gitch that I bought specifically for running. I forgot them at home. And water logged cotton granny gitch over 13 hot miles is a death sentence to your lady bits. I recovered easier from vaginal birth than I did this race.

My finishing time was 2:22. Yikes.

But over those awful miles, I realized something. Road racing doesn't fire me up anymore. I love toeing the start line, but racing on pavement is a drag. Even when in the most amazingly gorgeous place on earth. No, I doubt this will be my last road half marathon, but I think I'll be hitting more trails this summer.

About Jen Pinarski

Jen is a mother, freelance writer, runner and cyclist based in Ontario. She is a popular blogger with Today's Parent, where she shares the challenges and triumphs of being a stay-at-home mom. Find her on Twitter.


Morgan said...

"I recovered easier from vaginal birth than I did this race." <- I think this statement just made my day. Not that I don't feel for you, I do, but it's hilarious!

How awesome is it that you got to run a race in the Caribbean?!?!? Totally jealous!

Good luck on the trails!!!

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