Oh Mother Nature. You're such a bitch!
In all honesty, I've had a rough couple of months of training. I go to work before people should be at work all so my husband can go in at a normal time - we work at the same company and have found a way to make it work so we do not have to put the baby in child care. I spend the rest of my day at home with the boy. By the time Dave gets home I'm just exhausted and have little energy or patience to start a workout. There have been weeks where I have good intentions and before I know it, it is the weekend and I haven't done a single workout. Consistency has not been my friend. I've missed two important long runs and really felt like I needed to do one before my "A" race in May. (Let's be real. I will not be going for a new PR but this "A" race is the one I've been training for.) A week ago we were in Kansas and I looked all over for a half marathon to incorporate as my long run. I couldn't find one. So Coach let me run one this past weekend. I had initially planned on running the Athens Half Marathon but all the hotels were booked. Dave found a different one, in New Philadelphia. The race started at 1:00pm so I wouldn't have to find a hotel room.
One o'clock should be a great start time for a race in April as the weather can be a little cool in the morning. But wouldn't you know it was hotter than BALLS! on Sunday? The low was about 70 degrees and the high was going to make it into the 80s. I've spent all winter in the freezing cold or on the treadmill. I was not prepared for 80 degrees. Nevertheless, I pre-hydrated, pre-salted (yes it's a word), and was ready to go.
The plan was to treat this as a training run - couple miles of warmup, couple miles of building, most miles at race pace, and one mile all out. I started close to the 1:50 pace group to keep myself accountable to slowly building into the pace.
Those first couple of miles, though, were a little faster than I had planned. I was settling into a comfortable barely sub-8:00 pace. By mile 3 I was super hot and already feeling dehydrated, I knew this race was not going to go as well as I had hoped. I walked my first water stop between miles 3 and 4. I was still running in the low 8:00s and doing alright but miserably hot. I walked up a small hill at mile 5ish. We went passed a timing mat at mile 6 and according to the tracking I was still averaging 8:18s. By this point I was toast and really, really, really wanted to drop out. In my head I said, "nope. Do this for Anderson. Run for the medal. Small steps. You're fine." I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I drank at every aid station, I poured water over my head, I used the kids' sponges they had, I let people with water gun squirt me. Around mile 8 there was a relay exchange near the stadium. I *thought* this was the stadium we finished at. I was mad that Dave was not there, but it was probably a good thing because I definitely would have dropped out then. (I found out after the race that it was not the stadium we finished at and it's a good thing I didn't drop out because I would have not known where I was.)
I struggled those last couple of miles. I walked and jogged. I was heartbroken when the 1:50 and 1:55 pace leaders passed me. Note, there was nobody with either of those pace leaders. I kept chugging along though and soon enough I was finished.
I was hot and yucky and sat down on the pavement to get my hot calf sleeves off. Dave found me and told me he thought I was the 10th female finisher. What??? No way. I ran a 1:55. He told me the first woman finished in 1:30 and the next didn't finish until 1:40. This was a big race, y'all! We went to the pavilion to look up the results. Would you believe it? I finished 2nd in my age group and 9th female overall. I got the coolest trophy too.
This was a great race. It was super organized, the price was decent, there were tons of volunteers, the awards were amazing, and the park that the race started and finished in was super cool. I would definitely do it again, but next time I hope the weather is at least 20 degrees cooler.