Dear America’s Finest City Half,
You were half marathon #6 and after 5 half marathons, I thought you’d be a breeze. I could not have been more wrong. There are lessons to be learned though.
Lesson #1: Heat + humidity + race day = no bueno
Heat and humidity can drastically change your stamina/energy. Heat causes your body to sweat and when that sweat evaporates, it cools your body. However, in humid weather, the sweat doesn’t easily evaporate and so cooling is hindered.
Lesson #2 Train in similar race conditions (with regards to weather)
If the race is supposed to take place during the hottest month of the year, you should probably train in similar conditions. That way, your body knows what to expect. I, being such a noob, trained in cooler temperatures like in an air conditioned gym. *Shakes my head* I know, I know. Rookie mistake, but now I know. 🙂 I had prepared for weeks, months even, but when it came down to race day and temperatures were expected to be around 80C and there was ~75% humidity, I didn’t do so well.
Lesson #3 Train in similar race conditions (with regards to your running equipment)
My ipod nano crapped out on me the week before my race and so I had to use my iphone for music. I quickly ordered one of those arm bands and didn’t get it until 2 days before my race and by that time, I was in rest mode. I didn’t have a chance to try running with it, but figured it’d be fine. It wouldn’t be too different, right? This isn’t like wearing new shoes to a race. That’d be silly. Yeah, I was wrong. The arm band did make a difference. I didn’t feel like it made a difference during the race, but next day, my shoulders were really sore.
Lesson #4 You will have bad runs
During parts of the race, I felt like my face was on fire from the sun blaring down on me. There was no shade in sight and I was struggling even at mile 6. So I did what I didn’t want to do. I walked and admittingly, I cried a bit. I felt like I let myself down by walking so early on in a race. I typically can run 10 miles before succumbing to walking a bit, but this was at mile 6 and I had already started walking. So I walked and poured lots of water on myself to keep from overheating. When I felt better, I jogged. So I kept walking and jogging and just pushed forward. I even ate a quarter of a cheeseburger at mile 10 offered by a group of volunteers. A cheeseburger never tasted so good. At mile 12, I started getting blisters and it was harder to run, but I finished and as I crossed that finish line, I felt a million times better. It was not my best finishing time, but I finished. I toughed it out and that’s all that really matters. I made it a goal to complete the Triple crown challenge this year and after 8 months of working towards it, I finally got that triple crown medal. Isn’t it pretty?