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.