The Too Hot to Handle 15K lived up to it's name this year. Temps started around 85 degrees, and I'm guessing it was over 90 degrees by time I crossed the finish line in a very slow 1:53. But hey, who's counting? My goal is always to finish. If I happen to PR, then that just makes for a brighter day. Fortunately, this is my only 15K run, so you guessed it, I will be claiming that I PR'd at this race. I take my small victories where I can get them!
My good friend, Elaine, picked me up just before 6:30. I was already feeling "off". I couldn't even finish my normal pre-race meal of a chocolate chip and oat Clif Bar. But I hopped in the car and we were off. We arrived with plenty of time, so we checked out the tents. There were lots of goodies and samples - bananas from Jason's Deli, watermelon, tons of Clif bar samples, Muscle Milk, and some other things. I particularly enjoyed sampling Clif Bar's MOJO bar. It's more like a trail mix. It's very salty, but was quite tasty. I'll be getting a few of these for my running box.
Then to one of only 2 real downfalls to the race... potentially the worst bathroom line I have ever waited in ever... it took us 25 minutes to get through it. If the race had started on time, we would've missed the start (which really doesn't matter since they are doing chip timing, it's not like I race at the front of the pack anyhow).
Almost as soon as we left the line of folks needing to empty their gut, pre-race (niiiiiice, I know), they announced the race was delayed 15 minutes. Now, I know you're probably thinking, hey, what's 15 minutes... well in mid-July in Texas... 15 minutes can mean 2-5 degrees more of heat during the race. But we edged our way to the middle of the crowd and waited for the start (which was a tad narrow).
Then I was off... watching my pace, because I already know that I am sluggish in the heat, and my goal for this race was just to not let my body give out in this heat. The 5K runners broke off to another course pretty early in the race, and that thinned the field really quickly. I never really felt crowded on the course once we passed that point. It was lovely to have occassional overhead sprinklers. It was slightly annoying to have bikers whizzing by at 20mph (some who were quite rude and yelling at runners to get over NOW - yes, I get that they are still allowed to ride around the lake, but clearly we're in a race, and the other 2/3 of the lake isn't touched by the race course, so a little patience goes a long way especially with people who might be new to racing).
About 3 miles into the run, I was actually feeling quite good, and was happy to see a familiar face, Libby, on the sidelines cheering people on. Libby grabbed this photo as I passed her...
The race was pretty typical at this point... feeling fine, but general thoughts of "ok, this hurts", or "gee, I'm thirsty", or "hmmm, I hope I can make it to the finish line before I have to pee." (One of the downfalls of hot runs where you overhydrate to make sure you don't have other issues.) This was an out and back course, so I hit the turn around feeling good and started heading back (and immediately ate a chocolate GU since I was feeling hungry). There weren't a lot of people heading the other direction after I turned around, but I'm ok with being in the back-of-the-pack. I'm just here trying to stay fit and happy. I continued to feel good until about mile 6, when I was starting to feel slightly sluggish, but knew I could push through another 5K.
I continued on and got to see Libby again who was still hanging out and cheering her friends on. Thanks again Libby for being an amazing support to runners! As you can see in this photo, the lady next to
me is walking... she was next to me almost the entire run. She was a run-walker and she'd pass me when she ran, and I'd pass her when she took her walk breaks. It went back and forth like that the entire race.
At mile 7, the heat was getting to be unbearable, I needed to "release" some fluids (to put it nicely), and the water stations couldn't come fast enough. When I hit the water stop at mile 7.5, my legs didn't want to start again, but I managed to push through it. The next stop was at 8.1 miles. I slowed down to sip the water and the revved the engine again, but it just wouldn't start. I slugged through until about 8.7 and literally tuckered out the last half mile or so. My body just ached to walk. Knowing what the heat can do, I listened... and I let myself walk the next half mile... until at the very last tenth of a mile, an older gentleman came up beside me and said "I'll run in with you, let's go." ... and I found that last bit of energy and ran it in. I honestly don't know if that guy was finishing too, or if he had already finished and had come back to cheer others on and decided to run in with me... whichever... THANK YOU, whoever you are!
I finished at 1:53. My garmin claimed 9.5 miles. I was just happy I finished and wasn't in pain. I headed straight for the restroom. ;-) And then the only other thing I didn't like about this race, was having to walk into the vendor area and wait in line for a cup of water. It was so stinkin' hot, that I was hoping they could at least have 1 bottle of water per runner out at the finish.
Afterwards, we went back through the vendors... watermelon, more Clif bar samples, pizza, Elaine and I both skipped the beer. My eyes were stinging from sweat rolling into them. We walked up near the stage area for the ultra cool prize drawings, and I managed to scoop up some awesome vitamins and a free personal boxing session at the Cooper Fitness Center. I hope I can find the time to use it up!
All in all, a hot and exhausting, but well-done race... and yes, I will be back next year.
When I got back home, I headed for the shower and felt ridiculous stinging on my back. I hopped out and grabbed a mirror and notice 4 abrasions where the tag that was in my Nike Tempo shorts had chaffed me. Now, in defense of Nike Tempo shorts, which I could live in daily if I could afford more pairs, they are, generally, tagless. These were a special "team" version (University of Virginia) and they did have a traditional tag. But they won't have the traditional tag next time I wear them!!!
After a nice shower and some relaxation time, I went to log my run in on my spreadsheet and realized that it was exactly 20 weeks to countdown to my first marathon. The real training starts NOW... and this was just the beginning!
TODAY'S WORKOUT: Nada... rest day... I earned it.