If you look at the time 1:32.29, you might think: “Woah LOLZ, didn’t have a good race”. But that is far from the truth, last weekend I had one of the most enjoyable races I’ve had in a long time. One of my personal worsts, but one of my most fun.
So how did I even find myself back home in the Virginia Beach area?
I had completely other plans which changed several times. My husband got called to go on a trip which canceled plans we had been looking forward too for a long time. I had the entire weekend off for them, but that is what happens with military life. Instead of moping around, I thought about various things I could do: fly to Chicago? Spectate friends? Go through with our original plans without my husband? Or go see my family, whom I haven’t seen in several months. Plus, a bonus for that was the J&A Crawlin’ Crab half marathon was that weekend. J&A races (including Shamrock) are some of my favorite. I love the atmosphere, the race is always well put together, and despite unfortunate weather for many, I’ve never had a bad experience. (I’ve run Shamrock 13.1 5X, Wicked 10k, Virginia is For Lovers 14k (no longer exists), Surf and Santa, Harbor Lights) but until last weekend I had never run Crawlin’ Crab.
So with that, I made up my mind that week and drove down. Since I wasn’t planning to run the Crawlin’ Crab, I wasn’t tapered, in fact, I was at my highest mileage week since before my burnout.
I woke up Sunday morning and went outside. Immediately, I realized just how hot and humid it was. I added four layers of hair gel, decided to wear as little clothing as possible, and together with dad we left.
We got there around 7 am, and I found good friend Kris. Kris asked if I wanted to warm up and I didn’t have the heart to tell her: In the 35 half marathons I’ve done…I’ve warmed up for 2. Plus, when legendary Kris asks you to warm up, you say…ok. I didn’t have any goals for the race but to use it as long run and get rid of my tan lines.
We caught up a bit and headed to the race start. At the start of 8 am, the temperature was 75 degrees and 95% humidity. I had already sweat through my clothes, but you can’t do much at that point.
The race started, and I saw a large pack form ahead of me including Kris. I gathered it was somewhere between 1:20-1:25 finish time and didn’t think twice about trying to push about holding myself there. I needed to run my own race.
The first few miles were relatively boring. I ran each mile just a bit slower than the previous: 6:44, 6:48, 6:50. I thought my body might be able to work itself into feeling better. Not just because it was hot, but I also didn’t feel overly good either. My legs felt zapped of energy. I had already disconnected from time and was just running my own race. My primary and most important goal was to cross the start and finish line healthy. Adding a 5k into a week isn’t as big of a deal as a half marathon.
By mile 4, I was just hot. I was running alone. I contemplated dropping out, but I didn’t want to do that. Nothing hurt, I was just tired and hot. The thought of running 9.1 (yes that .1 haunted me), was overwhelming. Never the less, I started thinking about the race in smaller chunks. I told myself: Think about making it to the halfway point. By the time I knew it, I was approaching the halfway point. I saw the relay exchange and my friend Jess was getting ready. She said good job.
I grabbed both water and Gatorade at every stop during the race. Even with the heat, there were plenty of stops, and the volunteers were lively about it.
Around mile 7 we ran along the water. To be honest, I was hoping we would get a tailwind. I had contemplated the options: headwind would cool you off, but tailwind would push you forward. Ultimately, it was a headwind, and my miles crept up at 7:19 and 7:21. I’ve run hot marathon miles faster, but I wasn’t sad or upset. No one controls the weather, and you have to run the mile you’re in.
All of a sudden I heard a familiar DJ on the course and it was Jon L. Jon was actually my wedding DJ, as well as a fast local runner, and friend. We exchanged a few words and continued on.
After getting off the water, I saw the race director, Jerry on the golf cart patrolling the race and cheering for runners. He said: glad to see you back in VA, and it really put a smile on my face.
Around mile 10, my good friend Andrew caught up and blew by me like I was standing still. It was nice to have someone to chat too for a second because I had been running most of the race alone.
For the last three miles, I focused on finishing. I was counting down the seconds because it was hot, humid, and only getting hotter. I divided into running 2X1.5 miles. My first goal was to make it to 11.5. During mile 11, there were crab joke posters which kept my mind occupied. I’m always up for puns and kept myself occupied with that.
Finally, I saw mile 12. One more mile. I can do that. I can run up the overpass and bring myself home to the shoot. Suddenly, as if I hadn’t raced, I found myself with a surge of energy, and I just charged. Then around 12.2, I realized…woah too early Hollie, simmer down, just make it to the end.
The last mile went by quickly and all of a sudden, I saw the giant finisher shoot. I stared longingly at it. As I approached the finishers shoot, and final strides I saw several friends and made it a point to wave to every single one.
I crossed the finish line in 1:32.29 and as fourth female and 9th person overall. One of my slowest races but I finished healthy, and in that weather, you can’t think about PRing. (Not that that was ever the plan, considering the week before I thought I would run another local NJ 5k). Kris won, and was also the 2nd place finisher overall!
I did a short cooldown with Andrew and then cheered for runners.
I’m happy with the race and my effort. The weather was not conclusive for anyone to have a fast race, and I had not planned to run. I enjoyed the Crawlin Crab a lot and on a good weather day, I see it as a fast course. The course was rather flat, with only a few hills (which is running over the freeway).
Questions for you:
Have you ever raced in the heat?
Have you ever signed up for a long race (13.1+) within the week?