The Crawlin Crab had similar conditions to last year and the Air Force half marathon in Dayton. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was really hoping for a good day to test my fitness but you can’t control the weather. I raced for the day and 1:30.02 is what happened.
The race started at 7:30 am. My dad and I thought it was 8:30 until the day before, so it was a pleasant surprise. I got there around 6:30, chatted with friends and then headed to the start line. I saw Mollie, and we talked for a bit. All of a sudden we were off.
It was a hot, humid, day. Online the weather said, 79 degrees but it was extremely humid. I struggled to get into a groove the first 2 miles. There were several people in front of me, and I just felt like I couldn’t get going. I saw my good friend Andrew, and we chatted for a few seconds.
Then he was gone, and I found myself listening to a conversation between runners talking about a recent Ironman. I had nothing of value to add to the discussion so I just listened. I hit the first 2 miles around 6:45 pace. I was happy with that but also knew what happened to my race last year.
(Essentially I ran that pace for 9 miles and then bonked because the humidity got to me). I didn’t think with the weather, it was a pace I could hold throughout the race.
Around mile 3, it was just me and a female triathlete chatting away and just talking about life. The mile clicked by.
I hit the 5k in 20:54 which was fairly fast considering the heat and the 5ks I’ve run this training cycle.
The next section was lonely, and I ran most of the rest of the race alone. I could see people in front, which gave me motivation but no one around me to commiserate with. I grabbed water and Gatorade at every stop. It’s too hot not too, and because I don’t carry anything with me, it was the best option.
I saw the race director Jerry (J from J&A), and it was nice motivation. Jerry is out at every one of the races from Shamrock to Crawlin’ Crab and the rest (most of which I’ve done).
I hit mile 4 and 5 around 6:55 and I told myself, just stay calm. If you go out too hard, now, you will suffer from humidity. I didn’t feel bad, just hot.
We turned and ran along the coast. This section, of course, can be beautiful if it’s not hot. Since I’ve only run Crawlin Crab when it’s hot, it’s one of my least favorite areas. You are running and just baking in the heat along the water. It’s hot, the air is still, and there is zero shade.
I hit the halfway point around 44:30. I didn’t really think under 1:30 was doable. It wasn’t even on my radar. Last year, I ran but suffered a lot from dehydration and heat in the last 4 miles. I was at a similar pace and ended up running a 1:32 and “crawled” to the finish line.
I kept clicking along, and mile 7-9 were the most difficult for me. I just kept focusing on the mile I was in and not what else I needed to get done. I grabbed water and Gatorade, and every water stop was welcomed. To be honest, I could have used more water, and I drank a lot.
Mile 9 went back along the streets towards the Coliseum. This was the section I was dreading. I distinctly remember the moment last year that Ithe humidity hit me. My only goal was to continue feeling strong.
I could see a couple of women in the distance, and it gave me the motivation to run faster. I knew I was somewhere in the top 10 but no idea where. At mile 10, I looked down and realized I was right on a 1:30 half time. Could I break 1:30? I also knew two hills were coming up at mile 11 and 12.5. The last 3 miles is the hardest part of the course. It’s a very flat course except for two hills towards the end.
Having something to keep me engaged in the race, seemed to take my mind off of the weather. I passed one woman and kept going. Around mile 11, I found Andrew again, and we discussed how unforgiving the course was with no shade.
I charged up the first entrance ramp and coasted back down. I don’t mind running up highway ramps because I think they make the miles go by faster. I’m good at uphill and terrible at steep downhills.
Since highway ramps are a nice, comfortable, coasting downhill, I feel like I can get moderate speed on them. I passed a female and pressed forward.
By the time I knew it, I was at mile 12. My body was toasty, and I grabbed water and Gatorade from the last stop. I knew it would have no effect on my race, but mentally I wanted it. Then I just charged. We went over the previous and surprising overpass.
I saw some friends who recognized me from Instagram. They shouted, oh I know her, go LOLZ! It made me smile.
As I came down the last .5, and into the finish, I knew a 1:30 would be close. I saw the clock at 1:29.40 and just sprinted. I didn’t have it in me for the last 3 seconds, but I did finish strong. Maybe if I didn’t talk or I cut the tangents better…oh well. I have no regrets of the race.
After I finished, I tried Maurten Gel. It’s the same gel Eluid Kipchogue uses. I was not expecting it to be so thick and I felt as though I slurped some ultrasound goo. I went on to run another 7 miles to get to 20.
After I finished 20 I met dad at the car. I was hot, tired, and probably in the twilight zone. By the time I was done, it was 85 and humid. Not the most ideal conditions to run 20 miles in but I’m proud of myself for getting it done. It was one of the mentally toughest things I have done in a very long time. The marathon will be the same, so I’m glad I did run the extra miles.
I have a lot of lingering doubts about myself after this race. First, I am proud of myself for my efforts in the weather. I’m pleased, I was fairly consistent, drank appropriately, and fueled appropriately that the heat didn’t cause me to bonk like last year. But, I am very doubtful for New York right now. Many people have told me “sub 3” is easily attainable but if it were easy, I would have done it. It’s not a goal I have for NY. My last 3 half marathons have all been around 1:30 which shows I’m not ready to maintain that for a 3:00 marathon. New York is a hard course and my goal still remains to start and finish the marathon healthy.
Questions for you:
What is the hottest race you’ve done?
How do you hydrate and fuel during a half marathon?