Sunday, March 18, 2012

Too Hot for The March Madness Half (Race Review)

Well, my 2012 March Madness Half Marathon adventure did not go as I would have liked.  First off, my perspective of the race.  Here is a list of things working against me:

1) Temps were in the 70s in March, okay, that's not 90s but since this is really my first long run in the scorching heat in over 6 months, I really wasn't prepared.  It felt like 90 to me.  Hottest half marathon I have ever run in!
2) The fact that I crammed 57 miles in Sunday thru Thursday, left me drained of energy
3) The course is a hilly beast, relative to my flat training
4) Race was way out in the boondocks so I had to get up way too early, to make sure I could get a spot in the parking lot

I did a warm-up mile, which may have been a mistake, because the temps were starting to soar and I got hot during my warm-up.  I tried cooling down before the start, but the sweat had really started.  The start of the race was okay, and actually the sun was not completely overhead so there was shade and a breeze, but I was hot nevertheless.  I was averaging about 6:45/mile until about mile five, quite suddenly, with the sun starting to beat down on me, I realized that my lungs and legs were not in the mood to run a half marathon fast today, and that I had better slow down.  I gazed up at the first really steep hill and decided then and there to walk it.  In fact, at that point I made a deal with myself to walk up every hill.  I think that decision early on, saved this race from being a 2+ hour disaster.  Most of the time, when I crested a hill, it started downhill again, and I was able to run relatively fast for another .75 miles until the next uphill climb when I would walk again.
(Pic post race)

At about mile 10, they announced that it was the last water station AFTER we passed it.  Luckily, I had a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water, which I handed off to a guy I happened to be running with at the time.  This guy had run passed the aid station without grabbing water thinking there would be another aid station before the finish line.  He was very grateful to me, even though he had to drink my used water and Gatorade!  About one mile from the finsh, a random female runner, noticing that I was struggling in the heat, encouraged me to keep going.  I replied to her that I was definitely not looking forward to summer.  She told me that even though I wasn't going to p.r.,  I was still doing something that 99% of the world was unable to do, so to look on the bright side.  With that, I sucked it up and made a dash for the finish.  I stumbled across the line and a gentleman from the race grabbed my arm to hold me up and walked me to an area where I could lay down.  I told him I would be fine and he left.  Luckily, I was laying by a cooler of ice, so I made an ice pack and put it on my forehead.  I was fried.  I noticed other runners down, strewn around the parking area.  A lot of mumbling about the heat from those able to stand as well.

Unfotunately, I was parked in an area that was closed until 11am.  So I had to wait in my car for 1/2 hour until enough runners cleared, so I could leave.

I don't know how I will calculate my Boston pace now, maybe I will do some Yasso 800s or something.  At least I know that if Boston is hot, I will have to pace myself!

Splits: 6:45,6:41,6:27,7:01,7:01,7:34,8:09,8:10,7:20,9:40,8:50,8:44,8:15,6:02

Summary:  Hills+Heat+Tired Legs+Tired Body+Hurting Lungs = Semi disaster.  Time: 1:41:36

As for a review of the race itself, it is fabulous if you like hills.  I guess it is good prep for Boston and its hills.    The water stations were well-manned and stocked, however they should not have told us that the last one was at mile 10.  There was actually another one at around mile 12 (unless that one was an unofficial aid station).  They even had a gel station at about mile 9, which is nice for such a "mom and pop" run.  The personnel at the finish were very caring and made sure I was okay.  No chip timing, but I would say my official finish time was only 2 seconds different than my watch time.  The parking was okay, but it stunk that I had to wait 1/2 hour to get out of the lot, even though there were spots in the main lot when I got there.  Plenty o' porta potties and there were several bathrooms in the school as well.  However, the lines in the school were longer than the outdoor porta potty lines. One guy couldn't believe how long the lines were inside and kept asking "is this the urinal line? Is this the urinal line?"  So all in all, I may be back next year, and may do well (if the heat holds off)!

See video below (shot post-race near the finish line):

Ran 1.3 mile recovery run when I got home.

15.45 miles total for the day.

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