The heat and humidity really prevented any PR conditions (and created much worse situations for others). I was thankful to be out there after injuries in training, and scooted into the top 25% for the finish at 2:13:49. It was a hard run and I was thankful to have running family on the course. 2.75 hours into the event, the race was called and those left on the course were diverted.
At 5 AM we all piled into the van – TH, RBM’s mommy, RBM, and my parents-in-law. The family had traveled from New England to be with us.
We waited in the van in traffic.
We argued about traffic short-cuts.
We waited for the port-a-potties.
We waited in Corral 9 for our wave to reach the starting line.
Y’know, the traditions of big races. 15k in this one.
We spent time coming up with a team cheer (and failing) and encouraged each other to stretch.
It was nice to have family to hang out with, rather being all by my lonesome.
The start of the race was foggy and cool.
My first goal was to finish sub-2:15. My distant goal was to PR (2:10) if things just went fantastic on the course. My strategy was to start 10:30 for the first mile, work my way to 10:17, and then start pushing after mile 8.
My group started together.
I tried to capture the thousands of racers on the bridge. They looked like they were just disappearing into the fog.
I followed them.
Mile 1 10:48 – too slow.
Mile 2 10:06 – too fast.
Before our corral reached the start, I already had to pee again. I should have ducked out because there were no lines but I was scurred. So 2 miles in, I see one with a short line and stop.
1:47 – yes I timed my pee break.
Mile 3 9:47 – trying to catch up to my family! I’m going to lose!
Mile 4 9:58 – I found my parents-in-law. RBM has picked up speed. There is no way I’m going to catch him.
Mile 5 10:45 – Found TH and RBM’s Mom (RBMM?). TH handed me a water bottle. It’s an hour in so I start eating my Gu gel (Salted Caramel!).
Mile 6 10:38 – not coordinated enough to keep speed and eat Gu. The roads narrowed and spectators were in full-force.
Mile 7 10:05 – it was getting really hot and the humidity had remained. I was not sure I could speed up after mile 8.
Mile 8 9:45 – Felt a bit of energy, but I started to see several runners down. When I ran the full marathon last year, I was out there for 5 hours and saw maybe 1 runner being helped on the side of the course because they could not make it to a medical tent. This year, I saw so many being helped by paramedics, two ambulances en route, and busy medical tents.
Mile 9 10:45 – I took a walking break. So much for pushing after mile 8.
Mile 10 & 11 19:19 – I missed a mile marker. I was pushing. I knew the math to PR, but also knew that I did not have it in me. My body was expending too much energy per mile due to the heat and lack of training.
Mile 12 & 13.1 20:06 – I had finished my water from TH, a couple Gatorade cups, and my Gu, so I felt balanced electrolyte-wise, but felt spent and wanted the race to end!! There were small rolling hills and no mile 12 marker. I would run too fast, take a walk break, then repeat which is a bad strategy but I was too tired to care. I had a massive blister on my foot. Can I go home now?
I turned the corner and saw the finish. I sprinted and prayed I didn’t trip in front of all the people.
I finished 2:13.49.
I averaged 10:13 pace, if you haven’t finished doing the math yet. 🙂
Overall: 2858/12170 (top 23%)
I finished first of the family, but was not sure if that was the case because I hadn’t seen RBM since Mile 3. I grabbed a bunch of snacks and drinks and retrieved my free beer.
We EVENTUALLY all found each other, despite having a plan and a back-up plan.
We listened to Rascal Flatts in the park.
And I had denied myself tacos for the last two days, so I got tacos and beer.
Poor Weather Conditions
It was “unseasonably warm”, 80’s and high humidity (followed by wonderfully cool, perfect running weather the next day). The race officials warned about the heat and gave tips and advice. They attempted to create additional support on the course, but it was not well executed (offering restaurant salt packets not near the water station; a small PVC sprinkler on a sidewalk; temporary cup shortages at some stations).
The Savannah neighbors stepped up. They put coolers of ice in their yards, ran their hoses, anything to help runners catch a break. The medical support system was completely taxed, so they decided to end the race early. Unfortunately, two people died – one during the race, and one at home shortly after.
I’m glad I stepped down to the half marathon. They would have pulled me off the course anyway, so I would have tried a risky training cycle for nothing. I am thankful for RBMM and TH for supporting us throughout the course – they were in that hot weather too! I am thankful my running group was smart and educated – we were able to stay healthy and run good runs despite the challenges.