The one thing about this weekend was it seemed like someone flipped the weather switch. We went from 50's to high 70's in a matter of two days. Most of my running has been in cool weather and now I am tasked with running a 10k in the heat and humidity. The weather people were reporting 79% humidity for Sunday with temps in the 70s. If you run, this is not good. And if you haven't been running in heat, this is really not good.
The alarm went off at 5a and I went straight to the kitchen to eat breakfast. I kept thinking about going back to bed and skipping the race. But I really had no good reason to skip it. So I hopped in the shower and then got dressed. Now I was feeling ready to race. I grabbed my water bottle and bag, said good-bye to the Wingman and headed out to the race. I got there, found a good spot and walked to the starting area. I was looking around for the Warrior crew (Teresa, Wynn, Ian and Joan) when I heard my named being called. I thought "That doesn't sound like Wynn". It wasn't. It was actually my P&O professor. He started running this year and signed up for the half. I wished him good luck and set off again to find my group. A minute later I found them. I asked Teresa what time she was aiming for. I knew it was a little too ambitious for me but I told her I would run a few miles at her early pace and then tail off at some point. The start was very anti-climatic. We were chatting and I said "I think that was the starting gun". Seems like everyone on the 10k side missed it. No one was moving at first.
Finally we got going and I followed Teresa's pace. I could tell when she would speed up a little but she quickly would catch herself and slow it down again. I could feel the humidity immediately. The air felt really thick and difficult to move through. I suspected by mile1 this would not be a good race.
For the most part it's flat with the exception of the small overpass at the start. We cruised easily down the road. We didn't chat much because that would take more energy than I wanted to expend. Teresa had a time goal, I had a survival goal so I told her to stick to her pace and if she drops me, don't look back. Keep going, save yourself. I've lived a good life. Sorry, I get a little carried away.......
It was here where we noticed the cops gawking at the women as they passed by. Quite frankly they looked like perverts staring. Or perhaps we were just jealous they weren't staring at us. It was here that I told her I was dropping back. I already felt like I was suffering badly. At the water station the drinks were cold. I grabbed two cups - one over the head and the other to drink. I only had 4 more miles to go, but it felt like 40.
I kept convincing myself I felt a breeze. I was desperate. I tried to think frozen thoughts to try to keep my body temperature down. I thought about slurpee's, italian ices, ice sculptures, etc. Nothing worked. I came upon the 5k marker and saw another aid station. Grabbed two more cups. When the cool water hit my back, I could feel my pace quicken. Problem was it didn't last long. A short while later I was dragging my ass again.
Is that a breeze I feel? Why yes, it's a slight headwind. And I mean slight. But it was welcome. I started to cool down a little bit but I was still on fire. I kept looking for the entrance into the park. The route here is not quite scenic. It's the jail and lot's of barbed wire. I can't imagine how someone would be able to scale that fence without ripping their limbs to shreds. But the bright side is, that thought kept me busy for 1 mile.
Back into the park. Whoo hoo. Almost home free. Just gotta run 1.2 miles and this nightmare is over. Just run carefully and in no time I'm done. OUCH!! I thought I said run carefully. There was a wide crack in the path and I thought I landed my foot strike to miss it. Nope. The ball of my foot was in the crack and I felt a lightening bolt shoot up through my foot - like the pain from a neuroma. Oh, man. Now I had a hot spot in my foot when I ran. The same hot spot in my foot from the last race. I gotta get new sneakers. I notice the photographer up ahead. I quickly check my hair, make sure the shirt looks good, and I took Sinead's advice and made sure to wipe the snot from my nose. I even picked up the pace as I approached so I would look like I was running at a decent speed.
Oh man, the park is so disorienting. There are so many twists and turns that you can't quite figure out where the finish line is until you're close to it. People are cheering and I'm thinking "where's this timing mat. I want to go home."
I finally crossed the finish line in what has to be my worst 10k time. I was so disappointed in myself. I had been running well up until this race. I know the weather was part of the problem, but I didn't think I would be that slow as a result. I am still ashamed that I actually ran that poorly. I had a hard time staying positive while waiting for the warrior crew to finish their races. I really wanted to go back to the car and cry.
After everyone was accounted for, I bid the crew farewell and went back to the car. I called the Wingman and told him of my misery. I drove home and he took me out for an omelet. Then I came home and passed out on the couch.
PS - the race organizers really went over the top with the post race food bag. It was a really nice cooler bag with the following items:
- large bagel (300 calories)
- apple slices (40 calories)
- banana (100 calories)
- pudding (100 calories)
- peanut butter crackers (180 calories)
- cinnamon raisin danish (336 calories)
There were more calories in that bag (1,056) than I burned off in the race. I stuck to the apples, banana and my recoverite and brought the rest home.