Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon

Woke up at 4:00am. That right there should tell you how the day was going to turn out. Got dressed and grapped a cup of coffee and out the door I went by 4:30am. Stopped by WAWA and picked up a bananna nut muffin. If that muffin doesn't guarantee a PR I don't know what will.

Made it to VA Beach I good time. Found a parking lot on 25th and Pacific that was $7 to park. Decided to walk to the convention center.
Meet some people from NC and Charlottesville and walked with them.
Arrived at the Convention Center at 5:50am. The porta-jon line was short so that was good news. I headed over to the start and found a good place to sit down and just watch the people as they went by.

The start was right on time. I was in the second corral so I went off at 7:02am. Last year there were a lot of slow people in the front corrals but not this year. I had a good first 2 miles. The pace was fast but I felt relazed and strong. Was breathing was comfortable and controlled.
During the 3rd mile I could tell that the temperature of the engine was climbing rapidly. I was sweating profusely now and could tell that it was just too hot. I crossed the 5k mat at 22:20 and began to have serious discussions between Actual Mike and Mike 2.0. Mike 2.0 wanted to try to push on and hold the pace for two more miles. Actual Mike didn't think it was going to happen but agreed to hold pace till the next water stop and then they would decide what to do.

Warm or even hot Cytomax just doesn't work. I couldn't even get a mouthful down. I grabbed 2 waters and slowed to drink them all. That was it. It was over.

My heart rate was racig due to the heat so the plan quickly became to finish and live to fight another day. I decided to hold between 7:50 and 8:00 pace and walk all of the water stops. If I didn't get 2 to 3 glasses of water in I figured I wouldn't make it. By mile 5 I was literally dripping wet. But so was everyone else. Even the girls were soaked. I saw girls holding their shorts up for miles because they were soaked and kept falling down.

I hit the 10k mark at 48:06 or 7:45 pace but the heat was getting worse.
There was no breeze at all and you could cut the air with a knife it was so humid. Honestly if it wasn't for the hot chicks in spandex I would have stopped. But they just kept bouncing ahead and I kept following in a stupid heat induced trance.

By the 10 mile mark, I was and 1:20:46 seconds into the race and my pace had slipped to 8:05 miles, mainly because the walking breaks had lengthened to get in more fluids and try to get my heart rate down.
Mile 10 was right before the Rudee Inlet bridge.

By mile 11 the carnage began. Nearly everyone was walking the water stops now. The entire field would get to the station and just stop as if Joe's happy noise went off and we all had agreed to stop. About a
1/4 mile further I started seeing people sitting on the curbs. Medical people were running around now. I saw a woman with her boyfriend that was completely out of her head. He was literally holding her up and she was just mummbling gibberish. What a romantic weekend those two were going to have.

We turned onto the boardwalk at mile 12. People were dropping like flies. I saw a lady fall down about a 1/4 mile from the finish. She was out for the 10 count. The medical guys were running like mad now.

I finished in 1:48:28 with an average pace of 8:17. I was 1129th out of
16336 total finishers, or in the top 6.9%. I was 145th I my age group out of 1129 finishers, or in the top 12.8%. Last year I finished in
1:44:23 with an average pace of 7:59. Last year I was 1366 out of 17025 finishers, or in the top 8%.

This year I was 4 minutes slower and finished 1.1% higher in the standings. The heat and humidty affects the whole crowd not just you.
Running distance races isn't just against the clock. It's a race against the heat, the humidity, and the terrain. Times don't correlate against all courses. You've got to know when it's your day and when it's not. I was disappointed with my time but it was all I could do that day.

The Rock-N-Roll is a great race to run for a cool experience. It really is a huge crowd with tons of spectators. The bands are fun but I find them distracting. And on the glass is half full side of things, the heat makes all of the hot chicks come dressed in the coolest outfits. I think this was probably my last Rock-N-Roll, it is just too hot.


Kathleen Lisson, CSW said...

Great race report! I ran a super humid 5K last weekend too, with similar results.

Kathleen Lisson, CSW said...

oops, 15K. 90 minutes of Kathleen vs. Kathleen 2.0 arguing about pace, too.