Monday, April 27, 2009

Beat Down II, Race Report

or, how 77 degrees punched me in the face for almost 13.1 miles.

My Half was about an hour and a half away from Lansing, so I was up early to allow myself time to get there, pick up my packet, stretch and begin the race at 8:15. As I was driving to the race, I was watching with dread the temperature monitor in my car. Like a game of hot and cold, the closer I got to my race, the higher the temperature got. When I arrived, the temp was 70 degrees.

Now, I knew it was going to be warm, but this was higher than what they had predicted. I had tried everything I could to hydrate, but I knew I was in for a long race. I do not run well in warm temperatures. Oh, and the huge storms they were predicting, well not a cloud around to obscure the angry sun.

By mile three, I was tired and the temperature had hit 75 degrees. By mile five, I was praying for a car to swerve and hit me (an honorable DNF). I had assumed this course was flat because the webpage didn’t have an elevation map…I assumed correctly for the first seven miles. At mile 7, I found hills and I lost hope. By mile 10, I was cursing out loud at the hills because it detracted from my agony. Mile 12 was, simply put, the worst mile I have even run. Every step hurt, every thought screamed ‘give up,’ and the sun was delivering its devastating final blows. A kind guy, in his 70s, passed me during mile 12 and said “going great, keep it up!” In response to this act of kindness and encouragement, I wanted nothing more than to break his hip (I'm kidding, sorta). I uttered, “thanks, you too.” I have never been more envious in my life.

But, I never stopped running. I’ve run long enough to know that these types of runs are going to happen. It’s a part of the game we all know about but don’t like to discuss. When it happens, it is awful, deflating, and humbling. But it is only one day, one run, one race. Driving home I promised myself I would regroup and improve at Sunday’s 5K. Also, while driving home, it poured rain and the temperature dropped significantly.

On Sunday, as I was preparing to leave for the race, I seriously considered not racing. It seems Saturday’s beat down was still tugging at me—including very sore and spent legs. But, you get past an awful run by getting back out there and running again. There were over 7,000 participants and over 1,300 racers at the Race for the Cure, and some of Lansing’s finest runners were there.

The temp was in the mid sixties and a slight breeze kept things feeling somewhat cooler. Lining up with such a huge crowd is awesome, and I was excited but anxious about how I would respond. I ran a fast first mile at 5:49, but then the soreness and toll of the 13.1 the day before began to weigh heavy on me. Not to be defeated, I fought through, going 6:22 for mile 2 and then 6:21 for mile 3; and kicked hard the last tenth. Although they were pretty big drop-offs from the first mile, they were the best I could summon. I finished under 19:30, a pretty good response and AG award worthy.


Amy said...

Hahahahahaha. Sorry. I cracked up at the part with the old dude passing you with words of encouragement. That has happened to me too many times, that I just had to laugh when you mentioned it.

At least you have a good perspective on the race. And congrats on the AG award!!! Hopefully you got some sweet bling with that.

Viper said...

Wow, an AG award the day after a half marathon? A nice finish to a brutal weekend. Great job getting through it.

The Laminator said...

Yeah, how do you deal with guys at mile 12 shouting encouragement as he passes you by...say thanks? Punch them in the face? Trip them? Aarrgghh...i never know.

Two runs in two days in crappy weather and one AG award to boot. That's a great job in my book. (Sigh...I'm still looking for my first AG award ever...)

Irish Cream said...

Congrats on both getting through the half-marathon (I am SO not good in warm temps either; so I seriously respect that effort!) and the AG award! What an amazing accomplishment the day after a hellish half-marathon!

You should be really proud of yourself!

Nitmos said...

Well done. If I read between the lines correctly, the bigger picture here is the Bayshore and you are in great shape for that! The rest of this is just warm-up (literally in the case of the Half.)

Running and living said...

I laughed out loud reading about the 70 y old passing you. I absolutely love the old runners. There is one in New England who started running in his 60s, and now, in his 70s, is establishing records left and right!
Congrats on surviving the hot 1/2. An age group award after running a 1/2 the day before? V impressive! Ana-Maria

Ms. V. said...

Ok well I was laughing at the honorary DNF.


dirtdawg50k said...

That early summer heat sneaks up on all of us, so don't be discouraged, especially since you came back on Sunday and Kicked Ass. Keep it up.