Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recap

Hope you all had a great, long weekend! We enjoyed lots of grilling and good food, time with friends, and L’s first blueberry picking outing this morning.  I also enjoyed struggled through a 10k race on Saturday… here’s the recap!

On a whim last week, I signed up for one final 10k before summer was in full force- the  Astros 5k/10k.  We left our house at 6:45am, and it was already 80 degrees and humid.  I knew it was going to be a tough run, but had no idea what to expect.

My goal was to maintain a sub-7 minute mile pace.  McMillian predicted a 42:56 based on my recent 5k, and I was hoping for anything under 44 minutes.  But things didn’t exactly pan out.

In retrospect, there were a number of things stacked against me: I didn’t taper, I taught a hilly spin class the day before and, obviously, the full sun and hot temperatures.

The race start was delayed ten minutes to 7:45am.  We were already sweating just from standing around,waiting for the race to begin. I warmed up with an easy mile, and felt a little sluggish, but okay.  Finally, we were off!

We started up over a few bridges, and I felt strong.  I was trying not to think about the fact that we would also be finishing over these hills on the way back! Mile one beeped: 6:52.

I maintained my pace for mile two, and found a nice rhythm.  6:53.

As I watched the 5k runners heading back, I was suddenly doubting my decision to sign up for the 10k and was feeling hot and tired.  My pace began to drop.  Mile three: 7:03.

Mile four was a struggle. Without the 5k runners, the course felt empty.  We were in full sun, and I started feeling wiped out.  I had slept well and fueled well, so my only guess is that it was my body’s reaction to the heat.

Three more miles felt like an eternity.  I was no longer having fun, and wondered who in their right mind would race a 10k…in May… in Texas!  Beep! 7:22.

Mile five was worse.  We were headed back up over the bridges, and I was losing the mental toughness battle, with a series of negative thoughts.  I felt like I was working hard, but my watch was not reflecting the effort I was putting out. I wanted to go lay down on the side of the road.  I’ve never had such a strong urge to quit! Maybe the heat was messing with my head?  Mile 5 (with small hills that felt like mountains), 7:49.

Hitting the mile 5 marker was encouraging-  1.2 miles to go.   I knew my sub-44 goal was now out of reach, but I no longer cared.  A few people passed me, which was discouraging, but I just wanted to get to the finish.  I felt a little nauseous, and focused on the guy in front of me and his bright yellow shoes.  I watched each shoe hit the pavement: right, left, right, left. Mile 6- 7:39.

The race finishes on the Astros field, so the final stretch is down a ramp. I was so happy to be close to the end, I let my legs fly down it with the final quarter mile clocking in at 5:55 pace.  Final time: 45:12, average pace 7:15.

What an experience! I found myself thinking a lot about the Boston marathon this year- similar temperatures, but I was only running a quarter of the distance! I am amazed at the physical and mental strength it took those marathoners to finish.

It was disappointing, especially because it’s my last 10k for awhile, and I wanted to go out with a bang! But I did learn that my body does not like hot weather racing, and I’ll be avoiding this run in the future, at least in terms of a “race” with a time goal! It was still a fun family morning.

After all my complaining, I was shocked to learn late Saturday night that I was first place in my age group, and will get a $50 gift card and the opportunity to be involved in the pre-game ceremony at an Astros game next week.  It’s my first “cash” prize, so I’ll stop whining. 🙂

Side note: The online results are divided into first half and second half average paces, and I was encouraged to see that nearly everyone averaged a full minute slower in the second half (like me), so I’m relieved to know I wasn’t the only one struggling!

Have you ever raced in the heat?  How do you handle a disappointing race?

75 thoughts on “Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recap

  1. Laura! I was out in this heat too on Sat. just slugging along for 5 miles and it was awful hawt! I started having chills and was over a mile from water. I am beyond amazed at your determination to race so well in this heat. Unfortunatly I will be training over summer…sigh…It’s not going to be easy. Congrats on a first place AG win!
    Terri recently posted..My Running Partner has the Etiquette of a DogMy Profile

    • Oh, no – the chills are scary! I didn’t get to that stage, but my body was not happy. Sounds like lots of early morning training runs for you! Do you have access to a treadmill? As much as I dislike it, I’ve been dreaming about a/c runs on my morning runs lately! 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recapMy Profile

  2. I wish my times were that bad, lol! Sounds like it was tough but you pulled through! Way to go! Like I said, an age group award is my next goal!! Congrats!!

  3. Wow! I just don’t perform well in heat – add humidity and you’re guaranteed to find me sitting on my couch.
    I am so impressed with your run. It’s not about the numbers but the difficulty here – as you can clearly see by everyone else’s finish times and splits.
    You did GREAT!!! And top AG to boot – no less than you deserve!!!
    Kathy R recently posted..Less Noise and More GreenMy Profile

  4. Congrats on the fabulous results on the 10k! Just think, I read from Runner’s World that on average, most people experience 30 sec/min slow down per 5 deg F above 65 deg F. You have done incredible!

    But I can totally relate to how you feel. I ran the 5k a week ago and while mentally I wasn’t expecting a PR, I was still feeling disappointed and wished I could push harder. I think we are our own worst critics! Then my coach was kind enough to remind me that not every race is a goal race (and we shouldn’t race in the mindset that every race is a PR setting race).

    In all seriousness, thanks for being part of my Memorial Day Weekend!

  5. Ouch! That doesn’t sound like a fun race. I can’t say I have much experience in the heat. Usually I’ll plan my runs super early to get it down before it’s too unbearable.

    Don’t beat yourself up too much! That’s still a great time and HELLO! You got first! Great job! I’m running my first ever 10K in a couple of weeks. I don’t think my time will be even close to yours, speedy! 🙂
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Marathon Training Week 1My Profile

  6. Great job and congrats on the AG win! 🙂 Running in the heat is so tough, don’t be hard on yourself for that time, it was what your body needed to slow down. My husband said it best after our race on Sunday “racing is all about the 3 C’s: conditioning, course and conditions/climate. 2 of the three you have no control over.” So true, you only have control of your body’s conditioning and the factors of race day are beyond your control no matter how hard you try!
    Jen recently posted..Med City- The ever changing race goalsMy Profile

    • That is a great point, Jen… I come to expect certain results from a race, but it’s helpful to remember that the course and climate are also part of that equation! Congrats on your race this weekend, too!
      Laura recently posted..Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recapMy Profile

  7. Great job Laura!! Those conditions do not sound conducive to racing or having any fun, you did great with what was handed to you! I have not raced in the heat, although I used to love running in hot temps but that was before I had my little one and now I’m a little more resistant to them (at least last year I was since I was still 40 lbs heavier!, this year may be different). When I have a disappointing race I just try to focus on the next one being better and as long as I gave it my all in the race then I know I did my best for the day 🙂 by the way I ended up doing the half yesterday and hit my goal even though my first 2 miles were with my sis in law at 9+ miles!! I’ll have a recap on it sometime this week 🙂 it made up for the last 2 disappointing races I had!
    Kris recently posted..Thirsty Thursday – Oh How He Loves UsMy Profile

  8. I recently read in one running book that a 10K is won by the middle miles (3,4 &5). I think this is very true. 10 k’s are a different beast- they are very unique. They are fast like a 5K but long enough so you have to pace it just right and not go out too fast. I’ve only raced a few 10 k’s and I’ve only raced 1 of them well. (The rest of them were pacing DISTASTERS!)

    I tend to race better in heat than in hills. Maybe because I do a lot of training in heat. Hills are much more challenging to me because I rarely run them.

    Anyway, winning a $50 gift card for 1st in AG is pretty sweet! You will get your 7 minute 10K when the time is right, I am sure of it! 🙂
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Port Fest 5K- Race Report {AKA- The Race I turned Pro!} ok, not really!My Profile

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Tia! I was trying to figure out if I went out too fast or if it was the heat, and I’m guessing it was a bit of both. It makes sense that miles 3-5 are key. I was just hoping for consistent pacing, but next time I think I’ll go in with a little more strategy and try to hold back more in the beginning. I’m impressed you can handle the heat so well! I’m hoping after living here a year, my body will adjust a little more… we’ll see!
      Laura recently posted..Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recapMy Profile

  9. Wow first place in your age group that’s amazing!!! I do hear you on the heat, though. My first duathlon was the first hot day of the year (this was a couple years ago) and I bonked SO bad since I wasn’t used to the heat. Not much we can do but try to learn something from the experience.
    Carrie recently posted..Another Trail Run: Joseph D. Grant County ParkMy Profile

  10. Great job! And a cash prize…even better! Dude, you are getting so fast. Even in the heat, you put up a pretty darn good time in my opinion. I wilt in the heat. I ran my last 10k in Florida, so it was hotter than I was used to but at least it was pretty early in the morning, I think around 8. Boston this year may have been better, had it started earlier, but that late start is a killer!
    Travel Spot recently posted..Food Firsts (3)My Profile

    • Thanks, Carrie! Yes- I don’t think we’ll be here long term, we’d love to be closer to family (and cooler temps) in the northeast. But the year round warm weather was nice this winter! Of course, you probably don’t have much winter where you are, either!
      Laura recently posted..Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recapMy Profile

  11. I’m sorry it wasn’t the finish time you had hoped for but you still ran a really impressive race! Great job! 1st place and a cash prize is fantastic!!!

    Love all the pics!
    Kimert recently posted..when you can’t run…My Profile

  12. Well you know how my 10 miler (training run) went in the heat, it wasn’t pretty! Our Polar Bear (nothing polar bear about it!) half marathon was in 75 degree temps at 1pm and that did not go well at all. The heat just takes its toll on me, more so than most people.

    You still did great and that’s very exciting about the age group award!! Fun baseball pics at the end of the post too 🙂
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..What Do You Need?My Profile

  13. Wow, 10k in that heat YUCK! I have been backing off from doing one and sticking to 5ks so you’r braver than me! Don’t worry about the time, there’s nothing you can do in those kind of conditions apart from survive and you did and well! Well done!

  14. You won a gift card!! That’s awesome!

    Boy, we are so lucky not to have heat here. It gets hot, but not usually until in the late afternoon, usually it’s 50 in the summer mornings. You went out at a reasonable pace, you just weren’t heat acclimated. Definitely give yourself some grace for this race. Each one you do has a whole wealth of learning to be had. I liked Tia’s strategy talk. Usually I aim for even paces in a 10k- but it depends on the course. If I know there are hills, i have learned that you have to plan to slow on them a bit, and that you’ll have more energy in the downhill to push hard. But there’s really nothing you can do about heat, except lower your sights and work for placement- which you did well in.
    Love the pic of your hubby ha! Glad you still had a fun family time. 🙂
    Raina recently posted..Contentment and The CompetitorMy Profile

    • Thank you, Raina! I am very envious of your nice temps! 🙂 Yes, I was aiming for even splits, but didn’t realize I should take the heat into consideration. It was a quick warm up, that took everyone by surprise! I also didn’t know there were any hills, as Houston is generally flat. Next time I’ll be more careful to check out the course, and I think I’ll stick to 5k’s in the heat of the summer!
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw race fuel + Carrot-beet saladMy Profile

  15. Pingback: Wiaw race fuel + Carrot-beet salad | Mommy, run fast!

  16. You did amazingly under those conditions! Congrats on the AG win! Heat totally unhinges me, mentally and physically and yes, I’ve had more than my share (I think) of really hot races. Beautiful pics as always!
    Marcia recently posted..Holiday Weekend RewindMy Profile

  17. Laura! Great job in the race! I know it was a little slower than you expected, but your body definitely has to adapt to running (that fast) in that kind of weather and you probably haven’t really had a chance to do that yet. It is awesome that you won your age group though!! I also think it is so cool that your hubs and L come and spectate all of your races 🙂 Best fans ever!
    Corey recently posted..USA Cycling ChampionshipsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Corey! I think I need to pull myself out of the pr mindset and just enjoy these runs! But it’s tough because I know my speed has improved from my old pr’s so I’d like to prove that to myself. 🙂 But for now, no more hot 10k’s!
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw race fuel + Carrot-beet saladMy Profile

  18. congratulations on placing!! i realize that it must have been a bit disappointing to miss your goal time, but it sounds like (particularly in light of the conditions) you did an incredible job!!! i’m running my first 10k this weekend, i also registered on a whim and to be honest i’m feeling totally unprepared!!
    bekkah recently posted..the beachMy Profile

  19. Solid race, Laura. You know… You just can’t beat the heat and times are going to slow. Nothing you can do about it. Just think how STRONG you’re going to be at summer’s end! That being said, I’d rather you be pregnant by then. 😉
    Allison @ Johnson Jocks recently posted..Mixed BagMy Profile

    • Aww, thank you, Allison! I’d rather be pregnant by then, too! But I’ve been thinking that on my runs these hot mornings… doing the heat-calculations in my head and reminding myself I’m actually going faster than I think, and will be stronger for it. 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw race fuel + Carrot-beet saladMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment! Yes- I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought it was awful… no more 10k’s in the heat for me! 🙂
      Laura recently posted..May recapMy Profile

  20. Pingback: Triathlons and baseball | Mommy, run fast!

  21. Pingback: The secret to running in the heat |

  22. Pingback: Calculators for running in the heat |

  23. Pingback: May recap |

  24. Pingback: 2012 Running Recap Link up |

Comments are closed.