Monday, March 19, 2012

Polar Bear Series Half Marathon Race Recap

Now let me just put it out there and say that there was nothing, other than the name of course, Polar Bear about this race!  While I enjoyed the mild winter we had this year, I did not enjoy the weather conditions yesterday and in the end Mike and I both had less than stellar performances.

Similar to what Adam Richman would say on Man vs. Food, yesterday Mike and I put up a good fight but in the end weather won!

The race didn't start until 1pm, which in normal March conditions would have been fine since the race was 2 hours away from Rochester.  It was nice to be able to sleep in and just take our time getting ready.  I had planned on wearing knee high socks with clovers on them but I decided against it since it was going to be so hot out.  I did wear green socks though!

Yep, those are my legs and feet

When we got to the Olean YMCA we weren't exactly sure where to go, but quickly figured it out. After picking up our bibs we did a warm-up and then got ready for the start of the race.  We actually ran in to Ali right before our warm-up and it was fun to finally meet her!  Her dad was running the race too, they are training for a marathon together, and he was pretty nervous (but he finished in 1:55 and beat all three of us, go Ali's dad!)

After a few announcements we all lined up and just like that we were running our second half marathon!

 There we are in the middle (behind the yellow shirt guy), photo courtesy of the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

I didn't really have a plan for this race since it wasn't an "A" race, but I did want to try to get a PR.  I knew that if I could hold similar paces to our recent training runs that it would be possible.  I had wanted to start out slower than I did but I figured the first mile would be faster and then I would calm down a bit.

During the first mile, Ali and I ran together for a little bit.  She told me that her track team in high school would run down one of the roads that we were running along, so some of the course was familiar to her.  Plus, she ran the race last year and it was much colder that year!

After the first mile clocked in at 9:00 I knew that I needed to slow down.  I slowly backed off from Ali and I saw her put her headphones back in and she went on her way.  I knew I would see her and Mike later on since it was an out and back course.

The first three miles went fine with all of my paces under 10 minutes and then everything went downhill from there.  Since the race started at 1pm and it was 70-75 degrees out, the sun was right overhead the entire time.  There were probably only 10 to 15 minutes that we got a break from the sun the entire race!

I tried to keep up a good pace but in the end it was just too difficult.  At 5 miles I took one of my energy gels (which was really warm from the sun) using my new handheld which actually didn't really make things much easier for us.  Mike and I each bought one since Ali said that last year they ran out of water on the course.  In normal temperatures that wouldn't have been as bad but in 70 degree weather I knew I would need water.  Mike later told me he dumped half of his out at mile 3 (because it was boiling hot) and then the rest out at the turn around.  The handheld did irritate my hand a little bit and I had to take it off a few times to give my hand a rest but overall I was happy with it.  

There were plenty of water stops, but I still drank out of my bottle just to try to prevent dehydration.  I would also just take one small sip from the water stop cup (because it was colder than my water) and then dump the rest on my head to try to cool off a little bit!

I saw Ali and then Mike before the turn around and kept on my way.

After the turn around, things just kept getting worse.  At mile 8.1 I actually stopped and walked.  I was so disappointed but almost everyone else around me was walking and I later found out that both Ali and Mike walked a few times, too.  I walked another 3 times (no more than .1 miles at a time) until I reached mile 12.  (I had taken my second energy gel at mile 10, but it didn't really do anything for me).

Once I got to mile 12 I didn't allow myself to walk and I just focused on getting to the end.  I knew that a PR was out of the question and at that point I just wanted to finish.  I saw Mike on the sidelines and kicked it in to the end.

Mike coming in to the finish, photo courtesy of Ali

Finishing up a hard race, photo courtesy of Ali

I finished in 2:26 and Mike finished in 2:11 (unofficial times, I didn't feel like waiting for the official times anymore).  Both of our times were worse than our first half marathon, the Fall Foliage Half Marathon, back in October.

If the conditions had been better, or if this was in the summer and we were used to running in this temperature, I know we would have done better.  The course was relatively flat with a few rolling hills here and there.  I didn't mind the out and back route, it actually helped me mentally this time.

After we were done we got some Gatorade (I wish there had been some on the course, oh well) and pizza.  I was actually able to, after a few minutes, eat this time!  We then went into the locker rooms to change.

While I was changing I noticed that I had lines on my legs from where my shorts (oh by the way those were new too, and it worked out just fine) and my socks had ended.  I thought, wow I either got some color or I am really, really, really dirty!  Well, we both got sun burns!  Seriously, in March!?

The only positive thing from this race, other than meeting Ali of course, was that I am going to recover SO MUCH better than after our first half marathon.  But, if I had been honest the first time, I was actually injured before our first half marathon but I had worked so hard that I didn't want to DNS (did not start).  I can actually walk around pain-free this time!

After that slightly disappointing race it makes me even more determined to do well at this weekend's relay in Canada.  I am hoping to get a 10K PR, hopefully close to 55 minutes, and have a fun time running with Ali (yes, I know lots of Alis) and her cousin.  I also want to get a half marathon PR at the Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon on April 1st.  Oh you didn't know I am crazy?  Yea, 3 races 3 weekends in a row.  Rena (and her boyfriend) and Jenny will be running the half so I can't wait for that race!

Updated to add: Our finishing times were 2:26:43 (me) and 2:11:32 (Mike).  Pretty close to what our Garmins said that our times were, I guess we are getting better at starting our watches at the start!

I also used this race as my half marathon for Detroit Runner's "I Just Felt Like Running" virtual race, although I didn't feel like running in the heat!

Does a bad race make you just want to do better next time or do you feel disappointed for awhile?

34 comments:

  1. I think you did great, regardless of all those problems :) So excited to hear about your relay this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heather! Looking back I definitely start too fast, but overall it wasn't the worst possible result ever. I could have had another DNF under my belt.

      Recapping the relay will be so much fun!

      Delete
  2. I made it in the picture at the start too! :) What a tough race! I know we would have done so much better had the weather not been so hot! I'm so glad we got to meet though - and I know that in 2 weeks you'll get your PR! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw that and your dad (just barely) is in it too :)

      Thanks Ali, I'm glad we got to meet too!

      Delete
  3. That sounds like such a tough day! Oof! It's funny how the weather can make all the difference. At least you toughed it out! Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meghan!

      I already know I don't do well in the heat so I kind of expected it but I was trying to have a positive mind in the beginning. If it was cloudy it might have gone a little bit better than it did!

      Delete
  4. Running in the heat is HARD. You did really well despite the conditions! And, yes to both of your questions. I'm still pissed about the marathon and it's 2 weeks later. But, not every run can be spectacular - that's why we have goals, right? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I will definitely get a PR soon and get my sub-2 half someday!

      I think some anger is good because it fuels your drive to do well, but it just can't take over all the other emotions tied to a race! You'll have your redemption race :)

      Delete
  5. Great job on the race considering the heat! Kind of stinks it was so hot but you still did well and got the run in which I am sure will help you in the future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanna! I think that getting through the run will definitely help me mentally. If I can get through that I'm pretty sure I can get through almost anything!

      Delete
  6. You might be less than thrilled with your experience but I think you are a legend :) I can only dream of a half-marathon time like that! That said, I hope you have a much more successful run at the relay this weekend and the half-marathon the next weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you! You are going to do amazing at your half marathon too, though!

      I think this weekend will be better the temps are going to be much more March appropriate!

      Delete
  7. oh, I hate running in weather that is warmer than I've trained for! It's 100% a guarantee that I will slow down. Way to get through it in some tough conditions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! I wouldn't have minded 50s-60s and some clouds. I think the sun was worse than the heat.

      Delete
  8. It was hard but you didn't give up! That is strength! Well done for a tough race, girl. You're going to rock the relay!! And Skunk Cabbage? It doesn't stand a chance. Just sayin'. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenny!!

      I hope that Skunk Cabbage (or Skunky as I've been calling it to Mike, yea I'm weird) is cooler. If it is, I'm going to try for sub-2:10!

      Delete
  9. Those are tough conditions! Nice finish! 3 races in 3 weekends - WOW! I look forward to reading about all of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I hope my legs can handle it!! I think that I will be able to though, so far so good :)

      Delete
  10. The great thing is that you kept going and you finished despite the heat and everything else. For that be proud! Seriously! It's funny it was called polar bear even though it was hot, there should have been a jump in a cold river or something at the end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      Well in normal Western New York March weather it would have been probably between 20-50 degrees outside and it is the last race of their winter series (called the Polar Bear Series). But since we've had such a mild winter the weather is completely messed up right now!

      Delete
  11. That was a good time in that heat...sometimes it is more about the experience than the PR (easier to say than accept, I know). I have no doubt that your upcoming half will produce a different outcome...I think you'll surprise yourself at how good you do. I don't know about running a race a weekend for three weeks (you are a bit on the "crazy" side), but you're resilient so you'll probably just shine right on through. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael!

      I wasn't originally planning on doing all three races but I couldn't pass up running with Ali :) We've already changed our training plan this week (split up our 5 miler for today between two days) so hopefully that will help too!

      Delete
  12. I am back reading blogs!

    But I'm sorry that the weather wasn't working out for you. Hopefully, Skunk Cabbage weather will be nice.

    I always feel bad after a bad race, but I try to think about how it's the experience that matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I've missed you!

      Yea I've been stalking the weather, but you can't see April 1st yet. But it looks like next week will be in the 50s, fingers crossed! I can't wait to run a race "with" you guys, you'll be way ahead of me I'm sure!

      Delete
  13. Oh, I'm so sorry it didn't go as planned... we've all had those races. I am definitely bummed for a few days, but then I let it fuel the fire for the next race. Racing at 1pm would be really tough... and it sounds like you know you went out faster than you wanted to... we learn from it and try again! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura!

      The time didn't bother me, although we did wonder how we were supposed to eat like normal at first but we figured it out haha. The heat was HORRIBLE though!

      I'm planning on starting out quite a bit slower (around 9:45 pace) the next time. So far so good on the weather for the next two weeks too :)

      Delete
  14. Having the sun beating down on you is a killer. Sorry it didn't go as planned, but you will rock it next time! The course should have had some type of electrolyte drink due to the heat. Way to finish strong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's alright!

      I agree, the Gatorade at the end was nice but it would have been good to have it during the race too. We also both bought Gatorade for the drive back in the car (although it was the low-calorie kind and that tastes gross!)

      Delete
  15. I think you both did great! It's different to run a 5K or even a 10K in the heat than run a half. I'm looking forward to hearing all about your upcoming races! Good luck this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suzanne!

      I could have handled a 5K but I died the same horrible death in our 10K last summer (it was probably 80 degrees that day) so I just know that I do not do well in the heat. I'm glad that RnR Chicago starts at 6:30am!

      Delete
  16. That sucks Jamie :( sorry that it didn't go as planned and was that hot!

    I think your times are amazing as far as I'm concerned!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bad races do bum me out but they really do push me to work harder. That's a really late start for a half - I know that would have been tough on me. Crazy March temperatures - and a sunburn to boot!!! Holy cow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea I couldn't believe the sunburn, good thing it is basically gone now!

      Delete