I ran my 20th half marathon! I haven’t mentioned this race on the blog (or Facebook or Instagram) since I wasn’t really training for the race, and knew it wasn’t going to be one of my better ones. I’ve been keeping up long runs of about 10 miles each weekend, and of course running throughout the week, but I haven’t been doing the mileage or quality workouts that I like to do if I really care about my performance in a race.
And then … there’s the Texas summer heat. Man, they weren’t kidding when they named this race The Hottest Half! (picture source)
I’ve always known that I am super affected by heat (and especially humidity) when exercising, and even though I follow my tips for exercising in the heat, I know that my body doesn’t handle it well, and I just need to slow down to be safe. There’s a difference between pushing yourself harder when your legs hurt and pushing yourself harder when you feel dizzy and lightheaded … and I only support the former! Incidentally, after I got over the hump of my first few half marathons (my first was 2:18 in 2007 in Miami), my fastest half marathon (1:39, October 2012 in Dallas) has been the coldest (37 degrees at the start), and my slowest (2:04, June 2011 in Chicago) has been the hottest (97 degrees at the finish).
So how was today’s race? Well, it fit pretty well with the trend I laid out above! (It was 83 degrees with 65% humidity when I started, and 87 degrees with 55% humidity when I finished.) I’ll be honest, it was a struggle. I went into the race thinking I’d keep a nice, steady, relaxed pace and go for a 1:50 half … but by mile 4 I knew that wasn’t going to happen! The heat really got to me, and I ended up taking several walk breaks towards the end. I finished in 2:01:58 according to my watch. And I was hot!
Even though it wasn’t one of my better performances, I love races so much, and it was a great experience (as they all are). I love looking around me and seeing people of all ages, genders, races, body types … and knowing that we’re all working towards the same goal. You never know if the person next to you is setting a PR, completing his/ her first race, has overcome huge obstacles to get there, or is completely bonking. All you can do is smile and give a little nod – the universal runner’s sign for “hang in there! way to go!”
Aside from just enjoying the people around me, I reminded myself several times how grateful I was just to be able to run. (Hey, I had to keep the thoughts positive, otherwise I may have very well dropped out because I was so hot!) I love remembering that a “bad” run is better than no run at all. No better way to spend my morning! (picture source)
This post was supposed to be about “7 Things I Do to Prepare for a Race.” I documented a bunch of them yesterday, and have a great post that I hope you’ll find informative all ready to go. But since I’ve rambled enough today, I think I’ll save that piece of it for Workout Wednesday … come back then to hear my tips!
I’ll leave you with this … I read in a Runner’s World article (from February 2013) that 40% of survey respondents didn’t consider themselves a runner until they completed a race. I have to say, I think I do fall into this 40% … it was after my first 5K that I really felt like a big shot :). And my love for running only grew from there … Half Marathon #20 in the books!
So tell me in the comments … If you’re a runner, when did you start considering yourself a runner? Do you prefer exercising in the heat or the cold?