Well, I crossed the finish line. It was quite a day and I realized I wasn’t quite prepared as I should be for running 7 miles. Especially in 90+ heat. But I kind of knew that before starting, when my training came to a grinding halt two weeks before the race.
I also knew it when I couldn’t sleep the night before the race. Lots of “what if I’m the last person to cross” or “what if I have so much pain I have to stop?” I kept telling myself that good tactics like taking it very slow and easy the whole way would get me there. I calculated an estimated time of arrival of 1 h 30 thinking I would have to walk some intervals.
Ugh. It was 90+ degrees, and even though I had drank gallons of water for two days, I was pretty dry when we got to the race start. They had us park down by the brewery and then bussed us up to the race start on old school busses. No a/c. And my IronCello friend and I chose the wrong bus; the one that got held up for stragglers. You can imagine the complaints as we sat on a hot bus. Never do that to serious runners who are already nervous about getting dehydrated and want to “warm up.” I’m thinking:” I’m really warm. My warm up will be running down the first big hill from the Dam. And then the big hill back up to the main street we were running down.”
We got there on time, and I thought I had turned Runkeeper on but somehow it stopped when I put my music playlist on.
The music was nice, though, and kept me going. There was a great moment when Talking Head’s “Burning Down the House” came down (I was literally overheated then).
There were no mile markers in the race, but I knew when I got to the beginning of the 5k start. That part of the race went just fine, as I passed many people who chose to walk intervals. The next part after getting a big hug from Candy Ass and Ballet Boy who met me at the 5k water station was not so pretty. Apparently someone had passed out right before I got there.
I was careful to drink at every water station, and used two Cliff Gel shots from my new handy running belt that had room for that and my inhaler. But around mile 3.5 my ankle started sending some pain, and I had to reduce my stride. I did keep trotting along, but the miles seemed longer and longer. Maybe it was better to not feel demoralized by Runkeeper telling me how slow I was going.
I almost cried when somewhere near mile 6 there was a steep, long hill leading up into a residential neighborhood. A nice volunteer told me there was water at the top, but I was so hot and my legs just couldn’t do it, so I had to walk. That is when a group of college girls behind me caught up and passed me. They had been walking most of the race.
My competitive spirit surged. That really depressed me, and I took off at my little trot. I got ahead of them for only a little bit, but started recognizing my surroundings. That almost made it harder as I knew I had a ways to go and my body was screaming that it couldn’t.
Usually I tell myself that it’s better to get to the end sooner in that case, and so I pushed myself to jog intervals, but had to walk some. The last quarter mile had a gravelly, rocky area that was unpaved and to save my ankle I walked a bit. The walking girls passed me and started jogging the last 1/8 mile. They eventually passed me, and I bit my pride and told myself just to finish the job. I tried pitifully to jog to the end, with the help of Ballet Boy and Candy Ass.
I wasn’t quite last, but you can see from this picture that I’m very alone. I kind of like that with the ambulance right there in case I might keel over.
There was some great swag, like a Scratch Cupcakes truck that was giving away 3 per person and gave Ballet Boy and Candy Ass 3 as well just for being there. They ate mine since I’m gluten free. Then I went in search of my beer glass and a cold drink. Candy Ass was very concerned that I would drink beer and get sick for a week, but they had cold cider on tap that hit the spot. My son took a funny shot of me enjoying that!
Last night I think I drank 5 24 oz bottles of water before my pee ran clear. That’s my hydration gauge…pee color! I’m sore going up and down stairs today, but Ballet Boy and I took turns rolling around on our foam roller (the best investment ever)
Lessons learned: I rocked on nutrition (pasta the night before, oatmeal for breakfast and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch). No cramping.
But I was maybe only ready for a 10k, and not really in that heat. My first 5k was similar and felt just as difficult. I know with determination I will not have to be out under the hot sun so long the next time I do a long race. 14 min miles do not cut it when you’re running long distances…I would like to get closer to 11 or 10.
And kudos to IronCelloMan who got 4th in his age category, even in that heat!