I had a horrible time trying to sleep. I always expect that the night before a race, but that was a bit excessive. I woke up around 3am to some sirens outside. Soon, one of my crew members sent me a random text (I had to miss a squad shift for the race). And my alarm went off at 03:30am…. I wasn’t necessarily rested, but I was awake.
I got up and did my usual pre-race thing… Food, coffee, pee about a thousand times. I decided on a sleeveless top and shorts for the race because it was going to be chilly at the start and close to 80 degrees by the time I finished. I finally headed downstairs around 5:15am, tired of waiting around. I neglected to grab a heat blanket and pretty much froze for the next hour waiting to start.
They had the half marathoners and the full marathoners start together in the same corrals because we would run the first 9ish miles together. That got old real fast because, nothing against half marathon runners (I am happy to run those too!), but it’s become the “everyone can do it” distance and so you’re surrounded by people that don’t know race etiquette or how to seed themselves…
Anyway. They took their time starting each corral with fireworks (which was kind of cool), and I finally passed over the start line around 6:40am. I was trying out a new running belt (the FlipBelt) and was surprised I didn’t need to adjust it constantly for the start of the run (more on that later).
The first mile was, as any race is, energizing as there were tons of people cheering. We soon went across a bridge into Kentucky and completed a few miles there before returning to Ohio. Then we hit the hills. OMG. I had heard about the hills, but I was not prepared for them. These were STEEP hills, ones I could barely walk up. I didn’t even try to run them.
Soon, my left foot was throbbing. I had never had problems with it before, and I was starting to wonder if I would be able to finish. Walking breaks helped, but I couldn’t run for very long without the pain returning.
I don’t remember much about the middle part, other than getting bored. There were some pretty areas, but nothing terribly special. Around mile 18, the sun was fully out and it became extremely hot, with no shade available. I stopped sweated and just kept thinking “I’m so hot. I’m so hot.” I was so hyponatremic that my hands were too swollen to make a fist. Gatorade wasn’t helping and was downright sickening.
I had been pacing earlier to PR, but I crashed and burned. Not so much from hitting the wall, although I kept bouncing against it, but I just felt dejected. Unprepared, undertrained, overweight, unenthusiastic (about things beyond running), and just really, really hot… The last couple of miles, my Garmin died, and I lost all knowledge of my pace. The mile marker for 25 finally passed, and then… More hills. Seriously. I cursed the race course makers and trudged up them. I told myself that once I could see the finish line, I would just keep running, no matter how slowly. But man, that final half mile or so felt longer than the rest of the race.
I passed over the finish line and into the dirty (seriously, it was so gross) finisher’s chute, waving away anyone who wanted to take a picture. I never buy them anyway, and I certainly didn’t want a reminder of this race. I finally made it to water and food and plopped down near the river…
I had the “coveted” Flying Pig medal, and a tired body. I was glad I did it, but I was also really glad to restart a training cycle. I’ve got some plans and ideas, which I’ll explain soon.
Overall, I think it was a good race, but not the “amazing” race other people have called it. Richmond has it totally beat on crowd support. Seriously. Richmond is the best. Run it, thank me later.