There are a million different ways to run a race. I’ve tried a bunch of them — running solo, with and without music, running with a buddy, pacing someone else, walk/running, steady running, running in the cold, the heat, the most awesome spring weather. Really, in my 23 road races, I’ve seen a lot!
Today’s race experience was no exception. I ran the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon (my fourth half!) on one of the hottest days of the year.
Going into the race, I was a little nervous about keeping hydrated. My 41-mile trek on the Appalachian Trail earlier in the week left me dehydrated, causing me to play catch-up all week. I’ve been downing water, Gatorade, watermelon, grapes, celery and salt – anything to help rehydrate me. Knowing that today’s race would be hot (87 degrees) and humid (75%), I knew it would be a test for sure.
I ran the race with my dear running partner G. This was her first half! We’ve been running together since last August and have found a great rhythm and groove in our running (we’re both super obsessive about it and willingly get up at 4:15 a.m. to run a long distance before work). I’m so glad to have shared this half marathon experience! We split about 5 miles into the race–I thought I could push ahead and maybe PR.
I’ve been training for distance this year — 2012 was all about adding races, running fast, and learning to build distance. The focus in 2013 is on marathon training. So my hope of having a PR for the ZOOMA half was a little far-fetched, but go big or go home, right?
We started the first couple of miles at our normal training pace – slow and steady, in no rush, just trying to get our bodies into the running zone. Around mile 3, I started feeling the adrenaline of race day. I was ready to gun it, but talked myself out of it since mile 3/13 is hardly any distance at all. I need to reach mile 5 or 6 before really starting to book it.
At mile 5, there was a water station, and I wasn’t ready to stop yet, but G wanted to, so we parted ways here. I ran miles 5-8 at a steady 8:15 pace–a little fast for me, but I was feeling so great, even with the hills (including the crazy steep Severn River Bridge).
Just before mile 8, I thought for sure I could PR. I wanted to–I could taste it. But then the heat caught up with me. I decided that keeping cool and hydrated far outweighed a silly personal best race, so I slowed my pace and made a point to stop at each water station from miles 8-13.1, even walking through each of them to make sure I could drink enough water.
I finished at 2:19, not my fastest half marathon, but not my slowest either. For a hot day following a 41-mile hike, I think I did a pretty amazing job! Plus, the race was in one of my favorite race towns, how can I beat that?!
The swag for ZOOMA races is always top notch. We got cute reusable bags, a female-fitted race shirt (seriously, these are the BEST), a water bottle, and a yoga mat. Not too shabby, ZOOMA!
Usually at the end of a race post, I detail my next race, but I don’t have a near-future race lined up this time. I have the Philly marathon on November 17, but until then, my race schedule is open. I’m looking for some fun races (maybe the Ctown half, maybe the A-10?), and would even consider some short distance travel to race it. Any suggestions? What races are you running this summer?