It has been ridiculously hot hasn’t it? Somehow I’m managing to stick to my marathon training plan with a mix of gym and outdoor workouts. I have yet to resort to the treadmill for a long run because of the heat. Honestly running in the heat has been a bit easier this year for some reason.
This past Sunday I had an 18 mile run on the schedule. I have yet to miss a long run, but the thought of heading out on an 18 miler in the heat after working all night was not exciting me at all even though temperatures were expected to be a little lower (80s) with less humidity. I received an email from Active.com a week earlier with mention of an inaugural half marathon in the town where I work. My only race in July so far was the Run or Dye 5K I did the day before this scheduled 18 mile run. Considering the fact that we walked most of it and it is not a timed race I was reluctant to count it as my July race in my quest to run at least one race a month.
I set a tentative plan in motion in my head. I booked my Mom to watch Carlos on Sunday if my husband had to work. I decided to play it by ear and just go with the flow on Sunday. On Saturday night I packed up all my gear for a long run, prepared fuel, hydration and food, and charged my Garmin. When I left in the morning the air felt more comfortable so I decided to go with a nontraditional approach to my long run. I hit the ground running right from the parking lot at work after putting my things into my car. I ran a rather effortless 5 miles in my opinion. I really felt great despite working all night. I was very pleased with my pace and how my legs were feeling.
After 5 miles I hopped in the car and hightailed it over to the half marathon location about a mile and a half away. I had about 45 minutes to register, stretch and hydrate. However, when I handed over the registration I learned they were only accepting cash or check. I’m the queen of no cash and I definitely don’t carry a check book on me. I zipped out of the line and drove to the closest ATM. I actually became anxious about missing the half marathon. At times I don’t even recognize myself or my actions anymore.
I made it with time to spare. I returned to my car to put my bib on, drank a small coconut water, and ate a few dates. I also started chatting with a couple of guys parked next to me. I’ve also become less shy, much more friendly and certainly more eager to discuss running and racing. We all discussed our upcoming marathon plans which made me feel insanely proud as they were both very fit and long time runners. One of them is registered to run the Big Sur Marathon in California next year, a challenging race with incredible views I’ve heard. I loved hearing the energy and enthusiasm in their voices. We wished each other luck and finished preparing for the half.
Because I was using the half marathon as part of my long run I had no time goal. I was not at all concerned with a PR. The course was different than originally planned due to police concerns about traffic. We basically ran a couple of loops around the college where it started, then down to my favorite reservoir, two loops around the reservoir and back to the college for a loop and a half. Although it was not the most exciting course the race atmosphere added an element of fun to my long run. I often think it would be great if all long runs were races because then I wouldn’t have to worry about carrying water on me. I usually use my Camelbak, but I would much rather run without it.
As I neared the finish I could see the time clock and I nearly died from amazement. The numbers I saw showed an hour and thirty minutes. That would be a 30 minute plus PR. There was no way! Then the course veered around a tennis court and I lost sight of the clock. We made our final lap and the clock came into sight again. I almost laughed out loud when I realized I had been looking at the time for the 5K that began a half hour after the half marathon! So no I did not finish in 1:30. Instead I came in at 2:05:46, definitely not a PR, but more consistent with the second part of an 18 mile run. Honestly I felt great about my time and about my 18 miles that morning. Here I am after the finish, all smiles…
Am I the only goof who wears my medal all day? Yes I do! Since I went to the race alone I had to get a photo a little later at my Mom’s with Carlos.