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?