Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couldn't Beat the Heat: Race Recap

My second half marathon was this past Sunday.

As you might know from my previous posts, my goal was to finish in under 2 hours.  I'll cut right to the chase and tell you I did not meet my goal.  I'm pretty disappointed, but I still feel like I ran a pretty solid race.

One of my favorite pics from the day...I feel like I'm looking strong.

For starters, I slept horribly the night before.  For my first half, I figured it was a total fluke that I slept OK.  I must have been right because this sure was not the case this time around.

However, I did keep reminding myself that I was racing on the little sister's lucky number.  Had to make the biggest cheerleader proud, especially on her number!

So, I got up around 5 am for the customary PB toast and banana breakfast.  Yum!

Then, I met up with the family to head to the race.

The race sent out warning e-mails days earlier about the predicted heat.  I figured that, since I was running the half and not the full marathon, that I would beat it.  Not the case.

Started off in the shade...this was good.
I started getting warm in the first mile.  Unfortunately, a lot of the course was in the direct sun, which made it a struggle.  Plus, I realized I forgot to re-tie my shoes, which made me all sorts of nervous.  Yay for mental roadblocks.

The race was a little tougher than I expected to start, but about two miles in, after I tackled a big hill at the 3 mile point, I started to get "comfortable" in my pace, which was right where I needed it to be.  Ashley, the BIL, and my mom stationed themselves at mile 8, which was an excellent pick-me-up.

Giving Ashley the time update..."It's gonna be close!"
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the spectator excitement to wear off.  The next mile or so was in the shade, and then full sun.  I felt myself slowing down.

Then, the 9:10 pace group passed me.  I knew I needed to be in front of them.  I admit it; I cried.  I felt totally defeated and almost walked.  Then I told myself that I should at least run it out as best I could.  Maybe I wouldn't make my goal, but I was still determined to PR.

Then came the dreaded hill...again.  This hill came just before mile 11.  I powered up without walking, relaxed on the way down.  Then I hit the bottom and decided I would give myself a slightly longer walk break at the water stop.

And this is where trouble insued.

I started walking and got the shakes.  Fingers and knees.  Not good.

Started running again...and knew there was a problem.  I was not going to be able to run this thing out.  I stopped again.

And I panicked. 

None of my training involved heat like this.  I had never experienced shakiness like this.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that I might not be able to finish.

I allowed myself some more walking, ran a little, walked again, and couldn't stop thinking of how much I would disappoint my cheering section if I walked across the finish line, and how much I would disappoint myself if I didn't PR.

Then, a girl passed me who I know from work.  I saw her at the start, and I was, I admit, excited when I passed her.  I made myself start to run again.  I considered asking if she wanted to run together, as I knew I needed something to get me to the finish.  I was straight-up scared.

Just as I was about to ask her, she stopped to tie her shoe.  Here was my opportunity--a goal to beat.

So I kept on running and did not stop until I crossed the finish line.

2:03:21.  I didn't meet my goal, but I did beat my previous time by well over three minutes.  Let me tell you; I don't know if I've ever been so releaved to be done with something.  That was scary.

This post is getting long, and I will definitely be touching on this subject again soon.  For now, I have to say that I am disappointed, but still proud of myself for making it through, and still loving running just as much as on race morning.

Before I go, though, I have to give a large shout-out to the most amazing cheering section.  These people are fantastic supporters for me, and I really, truly could not have finished this race if I didn't know I had this people waiting for me at the end.

I am one lucky girl.
Anyone race this weekend?
Any tips for hot weather racing?

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