Only a HALF but it took a WHOLE Lot Out

There are races where everything works out perfect

There are races where you have to dig down deep to get the desired results

There are races where you start second guessing yourself but in the end turn out to be unwarranted

… and then there are races where you have some concerns and they turn out to be all that and then some.

Today’s race  falls into the latter category.  This morning IVS held their Half Marathon in Springdale Cemetery.  This was my third running of this particular race but unlike the last two I was a little worried for a number of reasons.  First off, the training had not been going to my liking.  This was the first year I did not get a full 13 miler in before race day.  I made it up to 12 twice over the last month, but that left myself with a mile of uncharted territory.  Add in the trip to Vegas in the midst of my ramp up wasn’t ideal (although I did get in an 8 and a 6 in the dry heat).  Probably more concerning was dealing with some major problems with my calves as a result of the new running mechanics.  Turns out I migrated to the new form quicker than normally seen which left my calves unable to handle the stress of the new style beyond the 6 to 7 mile mark.    I thought I had those problems mitigated with a  battery of deep tissue massages and a few chiro visits.  What I wasn’t expecting when I woke up this morning ended up being the one element I didn’t want.

A quick rain last night and the rising temps left a very muggy morning.  Our porch thermometer showed high 70’s and the air was already thick yet I was 1.5 hrs from start time.  Not what I wanted on a day I was going to be battling all the other issues to get through 13 miles in the hills.  I can’t control the weather so the best thing to do is suck it up and do my best.  As always, I was blessed with my own personal photographer – thanks to Linda for giving up her dog show day to take care of me – and I was definitely glad she did!

The traditional pre-race shot

You know I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity this statue left me with….

Heheheheh – I crack myself up.  Humor is always the best way to deal with stress.

Hit the jump to find out how this race went .. hint.. not well

The start time was approaching fast so got down to the business hydrating and getting the body limbered up.  Things were actually feeling pretty good at this point and was thinking at least the legs were under control.

As you know, I rarely take the start of the race too serious – hell, there were 13 miles to the finish leaving plenty of time to get serious.  My mission… make sure my personal photographer finds me in the crowd.  Note, these start of the race pictures always provide loads of fun for me.  I like looking at the expressions on everyone’s faces and their body language.  A lot of serious faces in the middle, but obviously the lady in purple on the far right was appalled at my complete lack of seriousness.

For the next half mile I was pretty happy.  Everything was feeling really good and the heat didn’t seem to be bothering much.  Even the first steep hill went well leveraging the new running style to quickly ascend with minimal energy.  At the top of that hill is when the concerns started to rear their ugly head.  I took water at the top (~2 mile mark) and something didn’t seem right.  It just kinda laid heavy in the stomach instead of processing it.  Eeesh, this was not a day to have hydration issues.  The next couple of miles were okay and the 4th included a chit chat with a lady about the weather and her incorrect understanding of the course layout.  I am not a big talker during races but it was early and it gave a nice distraction from the pending water issue.  The next station had Gatorade so chose that option to see its affect.. again, seemed to hit heavy, but truth be told I think more went up my nose than down my throat – hate that!  Two more hills later I was starting to have some stomach issues and starting to perspire more than usual.  The good news is that only left one long downhill and some run out to close out the first loop.  Here I am coming out of the woods to put a stamp on the first loop.

By now I was totally soaked in sweat and the stomach was starting to complain.    Linda caught me coming around the boulevard as I headed out for the final loop.

Surprised Linda caught this on camera, but I motioned to her that I was not feeling the best.  After the race she asked me why I didn’t just stop at that point – That is a question that should NEVER be asked – this race was 13.1  and that means to the best of my ability I was going to finish 13.1.  Bravado that would eventually put me in a very bad state.

The next loop was second only to a hot Bix 7 day for sheer exhaustion.  My calves started cramping and no matter what I did at the remaining water stations nothing seemed to address the issue.  Assumption was the fluids out was greatly exceeding the fluids in but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  Had a similar experience at the last Steamboat, but that happened pretty late in the race making it easier to deal with.  This had started earlier in a much longer race.  The good news is if I made it to the 10 mile mark I would be able to fuel up with some Chomps I was carrying in my belt.  This had worked wonders in the previous race so just needed to make it up the first big hill again and make it to the Mausoleum on the back side of the course.  This was accomplished with a lot of effort, but bad news on that front.  After eating the first one I nearly gagged it out.  There would be no refueling today – put the rest away and committed to gutting out the remaining three miles – by this time I was a running pool of water.

Here I am coming out the woods for the last time – the remaining two hills were conquered but there wasn’t much left of me.

This race had taken its toll on me and the only thing keeping me together was the sight of the finish line.  Probably a good time to point out that this is the first race I could feel the heat of the pavement through the shoes.

My streak of PRs’ was officially over.  About 10 minutes slower than last year’s PR (link here) and about 5 minutes slower than my first race (link here).  Both of those races had significantly cooler days and nowhere near the humidity!  I still wanted to beat the 2 hour mark if at all possible.  Note, That is gun time showing – my time was actually closer to 57 if not slightly under it.

Big thanks to Linda for getting me back on my feet after the race – I was totally dehydrated and probably not looking the best.  She mentioned she was considering getting some medics but all I needed was to get the fluids back in and get the core temp back down (steady supply of ice to the back).  Not my best showing by any means, but given the situation I’ll take the results.  Every time I look at this medal I’ll remember what it took to get it.

Yep, I shucked the shoes – they were way too hot and somewhere along the way I picked up some blisters and I’ll be adding a couple more black toenails to the collection.  The oddest thing about the race is during the second loop where I was struggling the most (and going much slower than the first loop) only about 5 or 6 people actually passed me – in fact for most of the race I was looking around trying to find anyone close to me.  Assumption was everyone must have been battling the conditions.  For the record, there were three people down at the finish area being treated by a Fire Rescue team and Ambulance personnel who were on the scene.

Although not the results I wanted I’ll take it – had to dig deep today and managed to talk myself out of every time my body wanted to stop on the course.  The silver lining in all this is there’s another testament I can use to get me through bad races in the future.  The scary thing is I get to do all this again at the end of October – time to get some things fixed before then and since it is a night race the humidity should not be a factor! (fingers crossed)

Now to enjoy my day off tomorrow!

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