Saturday was a full day of travel. With the limitations on frequent flyer tickets, my itinerary had me flying from DC to Philadelphia to Miami, and finally to Grand Cayman. That’s a lot of flights and airports in one day. I arrived on Grand Cayman at about 8:00 PM, after dark, and had no time for any fun that night. I had to go straight to the hotel (The Westin), meet up with my friend David (here’s his Cayman Islands Marathon race report), who had picked up my race packet, then eat some dinner and get some sleep.
|Welcome sign at Grand Cayman Airport|
Sunday morning was an early one. We had to catch the shuttle at 4:00 AM to George Town, where the race would begin at 5:00 AM. Fellow Marathon Maniac Dawn was staying at the Westin, so we met her in the lobby and got a quick photo. There were a couple other Maniacs at the start, including Bart Yasso from Runners World. He was going to be running the half marathon.
|Maniacs at the start: Sandy, David, Dawn, Amy|
|A few Maniacs with Bart Yasso of Runners World|
|The start corral held mostly half marathoners, with some full marathoners and relay runners mixed in|
|The course map shows the loop we ran twice for the full marathon|
|Only half of the yard of Christmas lights at this house; fun to run past during the dark loop|
|This team of Bees was walking the half marathon|
|A not-quite-light ocean view|
|An aid station with Santa; there was another one later in the loop with even more Christmas craziness, including kids dressed up like elves|
|This is Sir Turtle, the Cayman Airways mascot|
|David running his last three miles, while I still have a ways to go|
|Stopping for a beer on my second loop; "Twisted Citrus" by Cayman Islands Brewery was refreshing!|
|Pretty view from the course|
|The human traffic cones did not let us miss this on-course turn|
My neck and shoulders were in agonizing pain in the last 5 or so miles of my race, which were also the hottest. I think I ran the first dark half with very poor posture, hunched over at the neck. I paid for this later on. I had to keep massaging my neck and shoulders. At one aid station near the end of the race, a medical volunteer sprayed my neck and back with Biofreeze and massaged it in for me. It helped, but I still hurt. During the last mile I was running with another Maniac named Perky. She had come up from behind and finished just before me. She was very upbeat and friendly and it was nice to have someone to chat with for a few minutes when I was in such pain and so ready to finish.
And the finish felt great! I was so happy to be done, and I completed country #4 toward my Marathon Globetrotters qualification. I was surprised that David was still there at the finish line, and in fact there were still quite a few people who had finished well before me. Many of them were waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. After receiving my medal and getting a couple photos at the finish, I made my way to the beer. I drank a cold CayBrew Light and waited my turn in the massage tent. It felt great to have the massage therapists work on not only my legs, but also my neck and shoulders! I was still a little sore afterward, but the massage definitely helped. I was so happy that the beer, the food and the massage were still available for slower finishers like me. As for my time, I finished just a couple minutes past the 6 hour time limit. I felt good about this considering the heat, my two port-o-potty breaks, my long beer break, and my BioFreeze break. Without those stops and my photo stops, I probably would have finished in 5:40 or 5:45. I was the 100th finisher out of 107, and the last one didn’t finish until 7:47!
|David received his first place age group award from a Subway sandwich|
|The marathon t-shirt and medal; the medal is larger than it appears here, and heavy|
|Finisher pic back at the Westin Resort|
|Seven Mile Beach from the Westin Resort|
|Sunset at the Westin Resort|
The next morning I got in a beach walk/wade, sat on the beach for a while to simply take in the ocean, and then finished with another hot tub soak for my sore muscles. Then it was time to get cleaned up, checked out, and to begin my next full day of travel. My return flights were Grand Cayman to Charlotte to Chicago, then finally home to DC.
|My last morning on the beach with Magenta the Road Trip Flamingo|