Cassandra

Cassandra

Why did you sign up to do this race?
I saw it — The Sandspur — on my Facebook feed and the venue looked like a fantastic place to run. I had run 20 or so half marathons and feel like a full is in my near future so the 25K was the next obvious step. I’ve never been very fast. I don’t run races to beat paces. I run for the fun of it and the adventure!

How did you feel once you crossed the finish line?
I was 15 minutes over the cut off but there was such a cool laid back vibe at the race that I knew they wouldn’t sweep me, being that close to finishing.

The crowd had diminished. There were just the volunteers left basically. The weather had been unpredictable all day and the rain started as I was running the last few miles.

I’m not sure you can call what I was doing at that point running but as fast as my legs would carry me I headed to the finish line.

My RBF (running best friend) had finished just before me and was there waiting for me.

I cried tears of joy. My body was wrecked but at that moment, I felt invincible!

What would you say was the hardest challenge in this race?
The toughest element was either the terrain or the weather!

The terrain was awful – it was sugar fine white sand for 90% of the course. Yup, sand.

There was about a .25 mile of pavement and boardwalk – a challenge of its own to visually disabled runners like myself. But it was nice to give my ankles a break from the constant rolling they were doing on the sand.

There was also quite a bit of elevation on the course. When you think Florida, you typically don’t think elevation, but these rolling sand dunes had my legs burning before the completion of the first loop and we had to do four!

The weather conditions were also a bit of a challenge since it torrentially rained all night. The clouds broke up and we ran in overcast, humid conditions all day. It was brutal.

What was the most rewarding thing about completing this run?
So for me, the most rewarding part besides completing my first ultra was the fact that my older brother came out to show support and see me finish. I have never had a member of my family show up to a race before.

I had recently gone through some family tragedies and life changes. My family relations had been somewhat strained. To come running around a corner on the boardwalk and see my big brother there melted my heart!

Was there anything or anyone in particular that helped you throughout your training?
A lack of common sense? I probably would have thrown in the towel after lap one. My feet hurt, I was chafed in all the wrong places.

My RBF, Jodi, is crazy enough to sign up with me on all my crazy running adventures. I am quite positive her husband dislikes me and my need to run all the races.

Jodi and I are about 4 months apart in age, both from New York and want similar things from our race experience.

It’s not about the speed of the journey for us. It’s the journey of the race itself.

We always make new friends at every race we run. Yay for new running friends — the best kind of friends!

We run trails and roads from 5Ks to 25Ks. She has also become invaluable to me when running on trails and I have dubbed her my seeing eye human. If you follow along with us, you can hear her calling out every rock and root on a trail or a divet on the road that could potentially cause me to fall.

We have two dreams at the moment. The first is to run the New York City Marathon this year as it’s the 50th anniversary and we are both turning 50 this year. Hopefully we are lucky enough to be selected in the lottery so we can run our dream race together in November.

The second dream is when we become independently wealthy, we will travel the country to various running events and be a stand-up comic relief duo on the course. We may not be fast but we are terribly entertaining!

Any final words of encouragement and thoughts you’d like to share?
As a heavy set or bigger runner, I am constantly looked down on for my size as a runner.

I was actually made fun of in a race midway through by a fellow participant who I proceeded to beat. I stayed at the finish line to watch her finish and let her know she was beat by the hefty runner she made fun of.

Sure, negative splits are fine and dandy but my mile or 13.1 miles are the same distance as your 8 minute miles. The only difference is I stopped to take a crazy picture at mile 5, 7 and 11 and enjoyed every crazy, stinking moment of my run.

Some of you just run to run and you don’t have the cool pictures and memories that I do!

What are you guys waiting for? Sign up for that ultra or marathon — do that thing that everyone is saying you can’t do or you’re nuts for attempting it.

Just run and have fun. Don’t let anyone steal your joy!

You can connect with Cassandra on her FB page.



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