Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Itty Bitty Race Recap

I'll start with a photo which may say it all.

Near the end... a grimace, not a smile.
It was horribly hot (though not as humid as recently around here).

When setting goals, and therefore my initial pace, I failed to take two things into account.
  1. While I had trained to cover this distance I had not been training to race it, this race was just tucked into my marathon training. (Yes, these distinctions do make a difference.)
  2. The temperature at 6:30 a.m. was not the same as at 7:35, approximately halfway through.
The last five miles were brutal for me. And while friends congratulated me on finishing as well as I did, I know that I could have done better, by starting off more conservatively and taking more walk breaks to compensate for the increasing heat.

By finishing better I don't mean faster, though I'd certainly take that too. I mean stronger, enjoying myself more, able to feel that in the last miles I was actually racing, as opposed to just trying to run (not walk) as much as possible and keep from overheating.

Ah well. I promptly signed up for a second half, in August (when it may well be hotter and more humid). I've made adjustments to my hydration/nutrition system which seem to be working out well. (No more heavy bottles on my chest - I have graduated into full runner geek mode and now have a bladder for my race vest.) I have adjusted my training to better prepare for this next one and also rethought how I'm going about the marathon. I feel good.

I do love this distance. It is long enough to be challenging, to require strategy, to have to be smart about it, but I don't really worry about my ability to finish it. Even if I do have to stop and walk more than I'd like sometimes.

One very cool thing that happened: After the finish a young woman tapped me on the shoulder and told me that she'd been following me the entire time, I had set a very steady pace and it helped her. I don't know what she'd been doing those last five miles - perhaps walking as well? - but it was a real kindness of her to tell me that.

Bring on the miles!


  1. Doing a half in these heat is crazy and awesome. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it very much, but it's really cool that you helped pace someone without knowing it! You look great in the pic, even if you say you're grimacing!

    1. I realized afterwards that I made the whole thing seem grim. I did enjoy myself, really, it was just really really hard and I was disappointed that I broke down so much in the last third of it. I did manage to bring myself back from the edge of overheating and was able to finish the last mile running the whole way with an extra little push at the end, so I'm proud of that. Just always thinking about how I can do better the next time.

  2. We are all a big family and help each other. Even in hard times. Running definately shows the type of people we are. We face diversity and push forward. Even the slightest gesture of kindness from strangers can help us get along. Great job finishing and god bless you for doing it in this humidity.