Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rock N Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

I had a really really lofty goal for this race as you all know. I was aiming for 1:45. I put in the work and it was time to see the fruits of my labor. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for my PR hopes. I tried my best not to focus on the weather and adjusted my goal to be around 1:50-1:55. After a zombie apocalypse dream the night before, I wasn't off to a great start to the day. I met up with Maggie, Amanda, and Kim to carpool to the city for the race. I could sense that things were warm and humid, but I tried to focus on what I could control--my pace. We parked in a discount $2 lot that is a little bit of a walk to the start so we were late for the pre-race blogger meetup. There were a few other stragglers so we grabbed a quick pic.
L to R: Maggie, Markemmanuel, Kayla and me
We did make it in time to see lots of FN runners before the race too.

(Thanks for letting me steal your photos Maggie!)
I then headed to the corrals. I was going to start in corral 7, still aiming towards my lofty goal. I ran into Gingerfoxxx so we said some hellos before the gun went off. I started out and felt strong. I was starting to get into a stride and passed Susan and Wayne from the FN runners around mile 2. I felt great and was still smiling. This was my goal race!!

And then at mile 3 I had cotton mouth. I was so thirsty but I knew I shouldn't have a lot to drink. I always get a sloshy stomach when I drink too much during a race. I watered normally at the water stops and took a few small sips from my handheld. At mile 4, the singlet came off and I had to switch my bib from my shirt to my shorts. That bib was massive to begin with so it was a little cumbersome to do while still trying to run. At this point I hadn't seen a single misting station, we were out in the sun in the middle of no where and I was HOT. I grabbed some ice, at the next cooling station, put it in my sports bra and slowed down my pace. At this point, things were looking more like 2:00 than 1:50. Around mile 5, when Wayne and Susan passed me with a friendly wave and I knew I was in trouble. Around mile 6 I knew my pace was slowing even more and I just could not cool off. I was so hot and we still had a looong way to go on the course. I felt completely defeated and my Garmin kept beeping that there was a low battery. I decided to turn it off and just try to finish. I just wanted to stop running. I was so hot and there was nothing I could do.

I picked up some more ice around mile 8 (after shedding some tears at mile 7) and grabbed 2 cups. I put some in my sports bra and ate the other cup. Yet again, I hadn't been misted and I was still sooooo hot. Why was none of this stuff working??? At mile 9 I finally got misted and that felt nice. At mile 10 there were sponges but by that point, it was so late. Some folks with a 2:00 pace sign were passing me at this point but I couldn't muster up the energy to ask them what corral they stared in. They seemed to be moving so fast, I just couldn't keep up for more than a half mile. There were a few small hills that I just walked up. Some of the coaches for Team In Training and American Cancer Society were cheering through the hills "What hill?? You can do this!" I just said to myself some expletives about these "hills" and kept walking. I was miserable, was no where NEAR my goal, and just wanted to be done. Who's bright idea was it to have a goal race in July?? Haha. More misting and icing somewhere between mile 11 and 12. When I finally saw the mile 12 sign, I felt relief. I was almost done with this sh*t show of a race and I could be done. Once I saw the finish line, I just started to move my arms as fast as I could. I once heard that if you move your arms fast, your legs will follow. That is what I did and that is what happened--except the finish line seemed to get farther and farther away, no matter how fast I ran. I was picking up some speed as I was so excited to finally be DONE. I threw my hands up in the air as I begrudgingly crossed the finish line. IT WAS FINALLY OVER!! I was dyyying when I was done. I couldn't breathe. I was so hot and there was no water in sight. I finally found some water and started down the path grabbing lots of foods as I went in an attempt to cool off... Chocolate milk, popsicles, Jamba Juice smoothies... nothing was working. I still felt so hot. I took a "finisher photo" and so far, this is the only photo showing up on the website.

Considering how crappy I felt for 90% of this race, I would be happy if this is the only photo. I slowly made it over to the gear check area for Ups for Downs (Amanda's charity that graciously let us store our stuff at their spot). I still needed water. After I got some, I felt better and headed over to the VIP tent to interview Dr. Andy Baldwin. He was a really great guy to interview and I was happy for the experience! (I'll be posting more on the interview later this week!) 

After my interview with Andy, I met up with Coach Britt to talk about the race and how disappointing it was. Her husband ran the race too and he didn't meet his goal either. It seems like a lot of people didn't meet their goals during this race. After talking with Britt, I felt much better about the state of things. Although I didn't meet my goal, I still put in a lot of hard work and great workouts that no one can take away from me. I have been building a strong base during the hottest summer of my entire life. I guess that can only lead up to an EPIC fall and winter race season once these ridiculous temperatures start to cool off. I have to stick with the positive takeaways!

Once the endorphins from the race and the Andy Baldwin interview subsided, I felt light headed. I was having trouble putting complete sentences together while talking to Britt so I decided it was probably a good idea to stop by the medical tent. They laid me down, put some more ice on me and gave me some salt water (yes, it tastes as gross as it sounds). I just laid for a little while and tried to cool off. Maggie, Amanda, and Kim met me there and kept me company while I was waiting to feel a bit better. (I was supposed to drive home and didn't want to feel loopy on the highway.)

Thanks to Maggie for reminding me to capture this moment. :) Maggie was also able to look up my official finishing time while I was "chilling" in the med tent... 2:05:28. Not too bad considering all the walking and how horrible I felt... After I felt better and not like I was going to throw up, we headed home. (Thanks again Amanda for driving my car home!) This wasn't my day and I'm okay with that. There is always another half marathon I can do. I'm still going to try for that 1:45. I just know I can do it! I plan on running the Zooma race in Lake Geneva with several of the other Chicago area bloggers. Maybe that will be a goal race? Temperatures in October should be cooler than July. :)

Overall thoughts on the Rock N Roll race:
Pros: lots of cool stuff at the expo, well organized race, great swag and post-race party, love that it runs through the streets of Chicago, early start time for a summer race
Cons: the expo being at McCormick place (the most inconvenient place ever), the course itself (lots of "psych-outs" and turns), a white race shirt (can see your sports bra, gets dingy fast, not great for people with hard water)
Overall: The pros outweigh the cons and I will probably run this race again next year!

And I just want to say again, thanks to everyone for all their support through the blog and Facebook. I am so lucky to have such great readers and friends to cheer me on, regardless of the end result. I really do appreciate it so much. 

33 comments:

  1. Ericka @ The Sweet LifeJuly 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    When it's hot, it's HOT. Good for you for soldiering on. I'm sure you can 1:45 as well -- and you will! Nice recap :) --Ericka @ The Sweet Life (sweetlifeericka.com)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last year this race was super fun, but it was overcast and in the low 60s. This year it was of the toughest half marathon conditions I have ever experienced. Around mile 10, I had the same thought as you: "I just wanted to stop running." Can hardly wait for fall....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so sorry that this warm front of suck came in to ruin your goal race day. I really believe that we are going to be a group of unstoppable super runners come fall. I'm glad your ok - i had no idea you ended up in the med tent! You didn't quit when things got bad, and then when they got worse. That is way harder than any PR. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry to hear you didn't have the race you trained for :( Summer races, especially this year, are always tough on the system and you can never be really prepared to battle the hot, angry sun. I'm glad you were able to see the big picture, that you do have a 1:45 in you, and will gear up for another 13.1 soon!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even in this heat, that's a good time! One day I want to hot that goal time too. But for sure Sunday was not the day lol Good job pushing through!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a crummy day for a goal race! :( Ugh! I wish the conditions would have been better. I was thinking about you all week, hoping Sunday would not be a suckfest. You still rocked it. I am happy you did not have to spend too much time in the medical tent and I hope you feel better now! And another goal race is a great idea! I hope you do ZOOMA!!!!! It's hilly, but my PR is from a hilly course! YOU CAN DO EET!!!

    I keep having zombie dreams too. WTF. They are kind of interesting but scary.

    What a good reminder about pumping your arms to have your legs follow. I think that is true and I am going to keep that in mind. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to hear it didn't work out. It was hotter than hell, so Zooma might be more realistic there. And if you don't reach your goal then, just remember that there's a private beach and fire pit waiting for you at the vacation home :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Private beach? How did I miss that awesome detail???? So excited for ZOOMA!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It was a tough morning for everyone, plain and simple. I got a headache during the race and I don't remember EVER getting a headache during a race before. And once I got home, I felt like crap. I think even despite drinking water all day Saturday, and carrying my own water during the race, and eating shot bloks with extra sodium, I was still dehydrated. BUT all of this heat and humidity is making us stronger! And you have been doing some awesome training. Once is cools off we will be SO FAST.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice finish despite the hot weather. I'm wondering how I'm going to feel in a couple weeks at RnR Providence. Last year it rained which saved us from the heat, but I don't know if I want to do that again ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Britt @ Chicago Runner GirlJuly 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    pros totally out weight the cons ;) i'm proud of you for pushing through when it simply wasn't your day. some races we just aren't "there" and the conditions wreak havoc on our bodies, and sunday's weather sucked. plain and simple. but like i said earlier, you worked your butt of like a champ this summer! all of these hot races and training temps have made you that much stronger and have helped you build a solid base that can withstand really crappy weather. when things got challenging for you, you still pressed on and reassessed the situation to get yourself as safe as possible across that finish line. thats really what matters because there will always be another race and another goal to hunt down.

    so keep setting your sights high girl! if every goal and adventure our heart chased down turned out the way we planned then life would be dull and there wouldn't really be a reason for a steady pursuit. so proud of you chickey-poo! and the fact that you didn't vomit or pass out post race when you were looking white as a ghost makes this day a 100% success!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is comforting to know it wasn't just me struggling out there! Thanks! Fall will be EPIC for all of us crazies that have been training in this heat.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks so much! I was feeling light headed and didn't want any of the food in the VIP tent. I also didn't even want a beer. That's when I knew something was up and I should visit the tent. They were helpful and it was more precautionary than anything else. This fall is going to be amazzzzing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hehe thanks Kim! I sent an email to the folks at Zooma about possibly being an ambassador so we'll see what happens. Either way though, I'm going to sign up. It will be a fun time for sure!

    The scariest part about the zombie dream was waking up at 3:45am and it is still pitch black outside. I kept thinking I was going to see a bloody face in the window, but that obviously didn't happen. :)

    It really did work. I thought I had nothing left in me but I kept moving forward. I even chicked a few dudes! Those arms got me moving when I didn't think I could go any further. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was so tired and exhausted all day Sunday and Monday. It was tough but that just makes us warriors, right? When do you graduate to the next age group again?? :P

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wishing you lots of cool thoughts for your race in Providence! Hopefully the heat can stay at bay for just a few hours that day... :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Seeing you after the race and talking about it really helped me put things into perspective. I can be a bit hard on myself so I think it was really important to focus on the positive which you helped me do! Like you said, I've done some tough workouts and met my goals. The base is there and I'll continue to build on it and succeed... when it isn't 1,000 degrees outside. It is the small victories sometimes that matter most. :) I'm still going to chase after that 1:45!! It is within my grasp... I can just FEEL it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks Luz! You'll get there, I'm sure of it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. for a super hot day the fact that you even were able to finish is an accomplishment in itself. i have learned that PR's happen in the spring and the fall only, especially if you are a hot weather hater like myself!

    ReplyDelete
  20. LaurenLaurenRunsJuly 25, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    Congrats for a hard day's work! It didn't turn out as you planned, but hopefully you learned a lil' something! I'm proud of you for sticking toward your goal- I didn't even want to consider the race given the heat!

    ReplyDelete
  21. You did great in that heat! Ugh! Bummed I missed you. Eagerly awaiting your Bachelor interview! : )

    ReplyDelete
  22. That race sucked big time. At mile 6-7 I just wanted to quit. I was trying to keep my pace a half minute slower than usual because of the heat, but apparently that wasn't enough with the heat & humidity. Around mile 11, I got passed by the pace group that I had been 2 minutes ahead of earlier in the race. The saddest part of my race was watching them fade away into the distance.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My heart breaks for you because I know exactly how you feel (about 10x over). Race day conditions are what they are, we have no control over the weather, what our bodies will give us that day or any other random thing that just seems to "happen" on race day. It ALWASYS amazes me how much random stuff can heppn on race day. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  24. J (Morning Runner)July 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Great job on the half marathon! I am sure you will run faster in October when it is cooler! I honestly hate racing in the summer - it can just get too hot and then I feel sick.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks! I don't do well in hot weather so I'm not sure why I decided to plan a goal race in the middle of summer. Oh in retrospect... Lol :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks! There is always lots to learn in every race... the bad ones are no different but the lessons learned are usually the focus instead of a time... :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Typing it up has taken longer than I thought! I'm more than half way. I hope to finish it up for tomorrow! I guess we talked longer than I thought. :) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh yeah, when I saw the 2:00 people pass me, that was how I felt but I just couldn't do it. I was spent and just wanted to be done! No more goal summer races! This fall and winter we are all going to be sooo fast!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks Amanda! Race day is always a crap shoot on conditions, temperatures, and everything else. I tried my best to prepare and the weather got the best of me.... THIS TIME! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. There is no crying in running! Sorry Kelly that it was so miserable for you. That is never fun! But you finished and did a great job!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hеy There. І discovered уоur weblog uѕіng msn.
    Τhаt iѕ аn еxtremely ѕmaгtlу wrіtten artіcle.
    ӏ will bе sure to bookmark it and гetuгn to learn eхtra of your
    usеful infοrmatiοn. Тhanks fοr the poѕt.
    I'll definitely comeback.

    Check out my web blog :: pbn services

    ReplyDelete