Monday, April 20, 2015

And She's Always Gone Too Long Anytime She Goes Away

There are quite a few occasions where sunny and 70 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky is a most excellent weather forecast. Outdoor wedding? Bring it, sunshine! Picnic? Game on, clear blue skies! Park time with toddlers? SPF 50 here we come!

And then there are those occasions where maybe sunshine and 70 is not so good.

When one is running a half marathon that starts at 8:45AM, that kind of beautiful spring day isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

I was prepared, don't get me wrong. And it was certainly better than rain. At least, initially. Not sure if I felt that way by Mile 10.

Martian Half Marathon Race Review

Packet Pick-Up
In comparison to some larger events I have run, the expo for this one was short and sweet.  We were emailed our bib numbers so I had mine going in to the expo, which was held on Friday. This particular racing company always organizes by bib number, so I took a screen shot of the email so I would know mine, and headed to packet pick-up.

It was super fast, super easy, and I was in and out in about ten minutes.

Race Day
The night before the race I set up my racing gear.  There are a couple of things missing from the below picture because I was doing wash, and also, I don't need pictures of my giant sports bras floating around the Internet.
What you see is my shoes, Garmin, hat, Galloway timer, Body Glide, bib, fuel belt, ponytail holders, sunglasses, and Crocs to wear AFTER the race.

Not pictured, my racing skirt, running shirt, and sports bras.

I woke up about 6:45AM on race morning. I got dressed and slathered myself in sunblock. Then I drove to the race location with plenty of time to spare and picked up a coffee and bagel. I enjoyed those in my car and relaxed until about 8:15AM when I walked to the start. The half marathon started at 8:45AM.

I knew things were going to be bad when I realized I was sweating just from walking around the parking lot before the start.

By the time the race started it was 72 degrees out (Hubs let me know after the race).

We started with a nice uphill. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting my phone out of my fuel belt so I only took ONE picture during the entire race. I wanted to get one of the stupid uphill start, but seriously, I struggled with my damn phone.

The first half of the race went really, really well. I was feeling good. I was taking a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade at every water stop, which were about every two miles or so. I had good tunes on Pandora and my times were great. Right in the low 12 minute mile marks. I even remembered to fuel, and had gummi bears at Mile 3, and a fruit leather at Mile 6.

I saw my Guys and Hubs at the turnaround and they were so cute and I waved and they wanted to run with me. And all was good.

And then, out of nowhere, the Heat Monster got me. My strength was sapped. I know it wasn't improper training, I trained for this bitch! My legs still felt great but I could feel my body slowing down. "Meg," my body said. "You need to stop running. This is bullshit."

Just to give you an idea of how sunny it was:
There was zero shade on this course until Mile 12. MILE TWELVE!

I slowed from a 2:1 run/walk interval to a 1:1 run/walk interval. My PR, which was looking SO GOOD from the first half of the race, slowly melted away, along with half my face and the blacktop on this road.

The water stops were manned really well, and every stop had Gatorade and water and people offering to fill-up hand held water bottles (which I did not bring because GENIUS). But the heat was strong in this day, and relentless, and those of us who were maybe not so fast, were taken down.

Thankfully, when I was sure I was down and I was just going to walk the rest of it, I hit Mile 12 and the shady part of the course. Well, sorta shady, it was early spring so the trees didn't have many leaves on them. It was still better than the direct sunlight on most of the course.

I used the shade to recharge and found myself actually able to finish pretty strong. Hubs and the Guys were there at the end.

I collected my medal, and watched the Guys play at the park for about thirty minutes. We ended up walking back to our cars and getting lunch.

Post-race car selfie:
An hour after the race and I was STILL flushed.

And now for the details:
I ended up with a 45 second PR.

When I checked the results there were 20 half marathon participants who started but didn't finish! I know I passed a guy who chatted with me and said, "Man, it's not the hills that got me, it's the heat!".

Overall Experience
This particular company, Running Fit, puts on an excellent race. There was plenty of race support, the water stops were fully manned, the swag was fun (tech shirt and medal), and the course was interesting. Obviously, no one from the race company could predict an early heat wave in the middle of April.

Personally, I wonder if I am done with the half marathon distance. I was hurting by the end of the race and even today, two days later, my quads yell at me if I get up from sitting for too long. I'm debating sticking to the 10K as my longest distance. We'll see how I feel when fall approaches and the Detroit Women's Half Marathon nears.

I finished strong and I finished with a smile on my face. Not much more I could ask for.

Now what do I train for?!?


  1. Wow that pic looks brutal with no shade! Congrats on your PR though! You really pulled it out! Great job!!!!

  2. The 15K distance is also a lot of fun and shorter than the half. Oh, AND GREAT FREAKING JOB!!! A PR is still a PR and especially under rough circumstances. Way to go!

  3. AWESOME!!! You definitely rocked it!! 70 never seems hot until you exercise in it :)

  4. You are seriously so inspiring! I'm so glad you were able to pull out an awesome PR, even when it got tough! You rock!!

  5. Great PR!!! Congratulations overcoming the Heat Monster :)

  6. Nice work!!! My one and only half marathon (in early May) surprised me with 70+ degree weather too. Stupid mother nature.

  7. GREAT job!! I remember last year being crazy warm as well when I ran my full, and that looooong stretch with no shade truly was a killer. But you PR'd anyway--awesome!

    Sweet medal! :) Congrats!