Reggae Marathon Race Plan - Relax, Race, Relax

Well actually, the title notwithstanding, there are three races, but ONE event – The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K. Things are getting serious now. A week from time of writing I WILL be in Negril, Jamaica ‘acclimatizing’. That is a much better term than goofing off on a beach. Yes, it is serious business to suddenly change your climate conditions and then run a half marathon. You must prepare yourself! I would prefer a couple of weeks of ‘acclimatization’ but will settle for a few days.

The races all start at 5:15am December 7. Between arrival and that time and place (Long Bay Beach Park) I must see to things like picking up my race package, finding old friends, being sure that Ossie’s Jerk Centre is still there, getting in a personal stock of Red Stripe (just in case they don’t have enough at the Pasta Party or Finish), getting a bit of ackee and salt fish for breakfast with a bit of festival on the side, not to mention a feed of curry goat. Then there is the matter of the best pasta party on earth. Seriously, that is kind of what they say on the web site, but in this case it is quite possibly TRUE. Let’s just say I’ve never been to a better one.

Why, I may even try to get in a few strides of running, just to remind myself of how that feels in Negril. I like running in the heat. As it gets colder here in the Vancouver area, (and yes I know there are a lot of places where it really gets cold), I find myself less and less happy about running. In truth it isn’t the running, it is the getting out the door. I’m always fine once I’m out and going, but somehow these days I just don’t like the idea of heading out into a chilly morning (or afternoon or evening). This is kind of new for me. Fifteen or twenty years ago I lived/ran in Manitoba. My rule was no running if it was colder than -25C, or if there was wind. I have become a happy summer runner. But, it will be instant summer when I step off the plane in Montego Bay and I’m going to want all of that I can get.

I’ve described the race start in detail in earlier posts, but starting in the dark early morning when all you need is a singlet and shorts (without trying to assure yourself that you’ll be warm as soon as you get going), is special. I know the temperature will be around 21-22C, which is a pleasant summer day here. I also know that I’ll get through the first 10K before it is light. For the next 30-40 minutes we will be treated to the rising sun, which of course brings to mind Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”  (Rise up this morning, Smile with the rising sun.   Three little birds – sit on my doorstep.  Singing – Don’t worry – about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing – gonna’ be alright!).  Sorry, got a little carried away, but that is kind of how it feels and if you can’t remember the words, somewhere on the route there WILL be a band or boom-box sound system playing it for you. It IS called the Reggae Marathon, you know!

By the time the sun is actually up and things are really beginning to get warm I expect to have made the final turn back toward the finish and “Bob’s Mile” – the last mile, where signs with lyrics and philosophy from Bob Marley inspires runners to make the last push.

From start to finish I know that road is not going to be the often lonely road of distance runners. No sir! Whether it is locals getting into the spirit or other resort dwellers out to the road to give encouragement, we WILL NOT be alone. Even staff from some of the resorts will be on the street cheering us on.

This event has the full range of participants. There will be some pretty quick and serious runners in all three events, including the full marathon which seems to have belonged to one Rupert Greene for some years. If he runs to form, you can expect a time in the low 2:30’s. The 10K will go down in 30 minutes and the half around 1:12.  And then there will be the rest of us. There will be serious runners who want to do a Reggae PB, but stringing out behind will be the happiest running crowd you’ve ever seen. This is where I got the title: One Love, One Race. I defy you to do this event without dancing through at least one of the aid stations or music posts.!  Ya mon! People will be running and walking, or straight up walking, but everyone reacts to the vibe. Some will have returned for years to do this special event. This is my own personal third appearance. Chris Morales, That Runnin’ Guy and official RM Blogger is here for the fifth year running, but there are others who are fixtures at the Reggae Marathon weekend.

I have no great personal expectations for the actual running. I have had a great year of running and coming off seven marathons or more since the end of April, plus a few shorter events sprinkled in, I am not worried about the endurance factor. My last marathon was three weeks prior to race day, so I’ve mostly been ‘tapering’ into the Reggae Half Marathon. From last year’s experience, I know what it is going to feel like as it gets warm in the latter stages of the race, so may hope for an improvement on last year’s time. But, if it isn’t any better – well, don’t worry, be happy!

Whatever, I know what a great party is waiting at the finish. Fresh coconut, spray tents, fruit and that other thing – oh yes, a cool Red Stripe. The special, some might say weird, part is that this will all happen (for me) between 7:30am and at latest 7:45am.  Holy Cow! Most races I do, wouldn’t even have started at that point! And naturally, there will be the post-race ‘dip’ in the Caribbean which is always waiting just there, close by that finish line.

I won’t bore you with more of this, but clearly you can’t just jump on a plane home. Well, you could, but why would you? Quite a few of us already have our post-race plans forming, notwithstanding that you shouldn’t really try to plan too much on a beach in Jamaica!

5 responses to “ONE LOVE, ONE RACE”

  1. ReggaeMarathon RunninGuy
    11.28.2013 - 11:54am

    Hi Dan:

    Great post. You could also call it, “Coming in from the Cold!”. See you next week in Negril. Cold Red Stripes will be waiting…

  2. Reggae Marathon to the World! - The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
    11.28.2013 - 12:05pm

    […] the Cold”, here is how he plans to get used to the warmer temperatures in Negril next week:  One Love, One Race. […]

  3. RITZadmin
    11.28.2013 - 5:10pm

    I COULD call it “Coming in from the Cold” but then all my friends who KNOW I live in Vancouver would just heap scorn all over me! Soon come for Negril.

  4. Jen
    11.30.2013 - 5:25am

    Thanks for the post! It definitely calmed my nerves a bit! I too will be coming in from the cold of northern Minnesota and have been nervous of the extreme climate change (not to vavation in but to run in!) but you’ve eased my mind! I’m so looking forward to being part of this experience!! Hope to see you there!

  5. RITZadmin
    12.05.2013 - 10:31am

    Looking forward to seeing you in Negril! Race is getting close and lots of runners around now.