I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous for this race. All week I constantly checked the weather to see if it would be nice or rainy and stormy. The whole time it appeared that the race would either be cancelled or postponed and honestly….I was hoping it would be! It was expected to be 85 degrees and humid, which of course is not ideal for a long race.
All morning and afternoon my nerves began to get to me, as the forecast began to clear and it was becoming obvious that the race would happen. I got there super early to get my race bib and goody bag. As I was sitting in the car I noticed the sun came out. And of course, I had no sunscreen. Crap. I decided to ask a lady a few spaces away from me if she had some, unfortunately she did not. But a few minutes later, a nice gentleman in a truck let me borrow some of his. While this is not exciting at all….there is a point to me telling you all this. About 30 minutes later, the woman I had initially asked, pulled up and handed me some sunscreen! This lady, who I had never met before race day, went home and got some for me to use! It was amazing to me! That this woman would go out of her way to help me, a complete stranger. Apparently there is still a few good people out there! I couldn’t downplay what she had done for me, so I graciously applied a second layer of sunscreen. 🙂
The race started at 5pm, in all the hot and humid glory that I was expecting. Honestly, within 2 miles I felt like I was suffocating and I desperately wished that either 1)It would have been cooler(duh!) or 2)That I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place. Going into the race I had hoped to keep around an 11/min pace.(Just 2 months ago I held a 11:06 pace for a 10k, so that sounded reasonable.) Well, after 2 miles around that pace, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I adjusted my expectations and told myself to push for a 12/min pace. Every time I looked at my Garmin, my HR was SKY HIGH. Now, most of the time my HR usually stays around 170, which is still high, but during this race it was 180+ even though I was running slllloooowwww. By the start of mile 4, I seriously wanted to quit. I had no idea how I was going to finish this thing. It felt like 1,000 degrees, no lie.
But then I heard the lady beside me, her watch was set on run/walk intervals. I asked if she cared if I tagged along for a little while. Her name was Sarah…and she was super nice! She was probably in her early to mid 50’s. She told me she had completed 46 or 47 half marathons! What an accomplishment! I stuck with her for 2-3 miles doing the intervals with her, it was 90 seconds run, 30 seconds walk. It seemed to help me mentally, but eventually all the walking…it made it hard for me to start going again. So I thanked her and told her I was going to try to keep a steady jog for awhile and I went ahead of her.
Just as I hit mile 8, it started to sprinkle. The school bus came around and asked if I and other runners wanted a ride back to the finish line. Of course at this point…heck no! Its only sprinkling and there is only 2 miles left! So I waved him by. Well….that was a mistake. Within 4-5 minutes it began to pour, which was actually welcomed since it had been so dreadfully hot! But….the thunder and lightening was not welcome. The storm was right over us and the lightening was extremely frightening! I began to pray that the bus would swing back around and pick me up. I prayed HARD. I was extremely scared. But the bus did not come. And then I hear someone scream… “Do you want a ride?!!!” And to my left was the lady who had been at the last water station. That volunteer seriously was a God send to me! As soon as I heard her, I sprinted through the ditch and into her vehicle! I had made it 8.64 miles, but fearing for my life…I “quit”. I really did want to finish, and I most definitely would have, but that lightening was just too close for comfort. After picking up another girl who accepted a ride, we made it back to the pavilion where the awards were about to start.
Even though I didn’t technically complete the race, they still allowed everyone to collect their finisher’s medal. I took the screenshot of the storm that had been over top us during the end of the race. Pretty intense looking, huh? Yeah. I was pretty discouraged when I looked at my average pace, which ended up being 12:47/mile. But after looking at my HR(179 avg during race) and calorie burn(1,292!), I could see that I did in fact give an amazing effort during such a hard, hot, and humid race. So I will think back at this race and be proud, DAMN PROUD.