At 5:15 the alarm went off and I stumbled out of bed to start the day. First on the agenda was food. This is the true reason why I get up so early on race day. I’m one of the sticklers who had to eat at least 2 hours before a race. After finishing off my initial meal I went back and forth between getting my things in order and lying back down on the bed. I was in no rush because I as up so early. My only worry was not waking any of the four people who were sleeping in the living room. Finally ready to go I made my way to where the race shuttles were taking people to the starting line and waited for the race to begin.
Things were running a few minutes late, but finally the gun went off for the ½ marathon to start. There were over 2000 people running the half and I was stuck a bit back from the pace group that I wanted to run with. I spent the first few miles getting through the slower pace groups until mile 3 when I finally cleared the 2:00 hour pace runners and settled into a good rhythm. I knew it was going to be a hot day when by mile 2 I was already had a pretty good sweat going. The first half of the race went by without much incident. After mile 5 I saw Chris and Britta. It’s always good when the people you know see you early in the race. At that point you are still feeling good and have a smile on your face.
Shortly after the half way point I was starting to feel the heat. I ran sub 8’s for the first half of the race, but that was soon to change and the temps climbed into the upper 80’s. I also was having some foot issues after the half way point. My left arch was starting to really hurt. This was new to me because I’ve never had an arch issue before so it was a little alarming. One thing to note was that my swimming injuries on my right food cause me no issues during the race, which I was very thankful for. So my pace started to slow as the miles increased. I’m sure the extra time I was taking through the water stops played a role as well. It was just too hot to not make sure I was getting as much water as I needed at each station.
Around mile 10 things really started to break down. My foot was really starting to scream and the whole why am I doing this sunk in a bit. As I progressed I would see more people walking and a few lying along the road getting medical attention. I had stopped looking at my watch a while ago. At this point it was all about finishing. I popped my last Gu right before mile 11 for the last kick home. Hitting the 12 mile mark was a big relief. I adjusted my mindset for the last mile by continually telling myself to finish strong. Miles 10 and 11 really sucked but they were over and it was time to wrap this thing up. I pushed on toward the finish as I wound my around the last bends and curves. Finally I could hear the crowd and my pace picked up a bit trying to give it all I had. I made my way down the finishing shoot and gave out a big sign of relief after crossing the finish line. It may not have been pretty but my first race of 2006 was in the bag.
The heat really affected me during the race and it showed in my times. I main goal was to be under 2 hours, but I was hoping to run about 8:30s. That of course didn’t happen, but overall it was a good race. The volunteers were great as well and all the local people who brought out their watering hoses to spray the runners down as they went by. These people were my saving grace with the temps pushing 90 by the time I finished. So the stats for my first race of the year are as follows:
Halfway time: 51:52
Final chip time: 1:55:54
Final pace: 8:51 min/miles (stupid hot temperatures)
Overall it was a great weekend down in Madison. I’ll have to post more about the non-race events later. Plus I have to get through the 70+ posts that you all have written since Friday. You people have been busy. I hope that means that everyone had a great weekend. Until next time…