Monday, January 23, 2012

Ocala Marathon 2012 Review

Ocala Marathon 2012 Review

Previous Year's Race Review
2010 Ocala Marathon Race Review
2011 Ocala Marathon Race Review

Other Friends Race Reviews
See Kitzzy Run
Out For A Run

The race artwork

I always love this race.  It is a small (about 500 runners), pretty, cheap and always well ran.  You can see my previous years reviews of this race in the links about. 

Before the race on Saturday I met up with Tommy from Out For A Run blog.  He and his son met me at a restaurant/pub to say hello.  I have never met Tommy before so I did not know what to expect.  I was not sure if I was meeting a stalker, a blog groupie (just kidding I wish I had those) or just a cool fellow blogger.  Tommy ended up being a really cool guy and had a really nice son.  It was a pleasure meeting up with him and hope to see him at some later races.  I did feel bad when I told him I expected to finish at 2:15 but ended up passing him at about mile 12.  I can still hear his son saying "Dad it's that guy.  Dad don't let him pass you!! Dad!!"  LOL.  I actually did not realize it was him till just as I was passing him.

Tommy and I after the race

Tommy's pre-race "meal"

Tommy had the “pleasure” of signing up for the pre-race pasta.  He was not impressed.  He got green tea, salad, pasta a roll and cake.  The picture did not look to appetizing so I am glad I did not sign up for it.  This wonderful dinner was served in the local mall.  His review of the food was less than stellar.
The”expo” and packet pickup was not at the hotel conference room this year.  It was held at the local mall.  There were virtually no vendors and looked really low budget.  It was much better when they had it at the hotel.
My friend and I ate at the Horse and the Hounds restaurant and pub.  I had the two 8oz pork chops, grilled and topped with a rosemary, cranberry and port wine reduction ($12), mash potatoes and a cabbage/bacon soup.   The food was awesome!  But I was not sure if pork chops, cabbage soup and a few beers was the best pre-race meal.  I later found out my stomach of iron had no issues with it.
This race is held through the rolling hill, horse country.  It is a really beautiful country race course.  It is also very challenging.  Tommy drove the course and said he lost count of all the large hills.

Before the race I met up with some fellow Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs and fellow bloggers.  I am friends with Kitzzy on the Run and her boyfriend, Jason.  Jason is a photographer and took some great pictures which can be found here.

Some friends of mind.
Kizzy on the Run is on my right
Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs

Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs

The run was great.  I went out strong and stayed that way the entire race.  I met up with some runners from Jacksonville and we talked and paced each other the entire race.  They were great people. 

Having fun with Kizzy's boyfriend

Me being "gangsta"
Jason was laughing when he took this photo.

 The volunteers were a little disorganized this year but were still great.  There was a rest stop every mile with Gatorade, water, oranges, bananas, and power gels.  It was not the buffet of previous years but it was great.
At the end of the race there was pizza, cookies, bagels, fruit, etc.  There was plenty of food and it was all great.
The top finisher medals/trophy’s are works of art.  They are the best awards I have ever seen (see below).
I finished with a new PR 1:52:41 and this was in the challenging hills.  I felt great and I feel great now.  I guess that my new focus on run training is paying off. I now run 3 days a week (about 24 miles).
I HIGHLY recommend running this race.

The race swag was not great
but was much better than Disney
The best swag was the dried plums, Jif magnet and the
1980's yellow Chiquita banana headband
The race tech shirt

The placer medals

The placer medals were in several different designs

Grand prizes

After the race
The Bling

A horse showing us how to run fast.
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"I wonder if they have carrots"
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Pretty race view
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The horse country
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  1. Congrats on a great race! The trophys are quite impressive.

  2. Congrats on the new PR buddy!!!!

  3. PR with hills - I bet that felt great! Good job! Those are the nicest tropes I've ever seen at a race!

  4. Congrats on a great PR Kevin! The pics look like a lot of fun...

  5. Enjoyed meeting you at the event, but not having you pass me near the end!! LOL! Hope to do another together and Congrats again on the PR!!

  6. You do some of the best races! I'm jealous...I need to find some of them around here.

    By the way there is a good chance you have already been tagged for the random 11 but add me to the list. :P