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!
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?