Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Racing in the Heat

When I first began training for the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole Half Marathon, my goal was to finish in 1:54-1:55. Things were going well and I was pretty confident I would be able to make this time without a problem.

Then the arch pain started, which affected my final few weeks of training. I was still able to run, but not as long or fast. I adjusted my goal to finish under two hours, which I thought was fine for my first half marathon.

Too hot to handle

About two thirds through the actual race, I knew I wasn't even going to make my two hour goal. Before the race, I thought the Hoan Bridge would be my biggest race hurdle, but it turned out to be the scorching heat and humidity. Despite proper pre-race fueling (a bottle of Ensure, 32 oz of water, 10 oz Gatorade) and regular water and Gatorade intake throughout the race, I was forced to slow down. Way down.

The Hoan Bridge was actually one of the easier parts of the race, maybe because I went into it expecting the worst. The next two miles following the Hoan Bridge, I was still on pace to make my goal time. From there, it fell apart. I had to walk through the next few aid stations and slow my pace. The heat really affected me and suddenly my goal was just finishing the race. I slowed my pace for the final third of the race, only upping my pace for a final kick during the last .2 miles. I love a good sprint to the finish line!

Several hours after finishing the race, I learned about the aid station issues and how the heat affected so many other runners. I feel very fortunate that all of the aid stations were fully stocked when I went through. Knowing an aid station with cold water and Gatorade was just ahead helped keep me going during the later stages of the race, so I can't imagine how terrible it was for the runners after me who came upon stations that were out of supplies.

Race stats

Here are my race results:

  • Overall time: 2:10:51
  • Overall place: 1000/2954
  • Gender place: 385/1616 (top 25 percent!)
  • Age group place: 83/341 (top 25 percent!)

Updated race schedule

Needless to say, I'm eager to better these results and can't wait to race another half marathon. Here's my revised race schedule for the upcoming months:

What are your race day strategies when temps hit the upper 80s or 90s?

- ST

1 comment:

  1. That's a really good result for your first 1/2, especially considering the issues with heat. I always carry my own water - in a 2L backpack - and snacks. That way, I don't have to slow down at aid stations where everyone seems to take a rest, and more importantly, I can drink when I need water and don't have to run a few more miles when I want it. Also, I can pre-test the nutrition for the runs and don't have to search for what might agree with my stomach on the run. I never had a stomach problem that way, and always enjoy the after-race meal.