I was scheduled to run 22 miles this week. But I also wanted to run in a local Half Marathon that runs along my normal Sunday long-run trail. So, after consulting friend and coach, Lisa, I decided to run 3 miles before the race, then run the race, and then do a 3 mile warm down.
The weather was dadgum cold: 27 degrees when i did my warm up. The three miles went smooth, no issues there. I had been feeling a little something in my right achilles during long runs, but I chalked it up to general wear and tear of al the miles. The feeling never stayed with me for more than a few hours and actually appeared late in runs, contrary to what achilles issues often do, which is appear early then disappear as the leg warms up. There has been no swelling, so I am not very concerned about it.
Lisa was, though and our plan was to play it by ear and see how I felt. Since the warm up went fine, I went into the half with confidence. the problem is that this half is a point-to-point race and each year it swaps start and finish lines. This year it started in Piedmont and ended in my hometown of Jacksonville (AL). So after the warm up, I had to check in, then wait for a shuttle bus to take us to the start line, then wait for the race to start, which it did 15 minutes late. So my wan up had cooled down.
The race was fine, if you enjoy ill-equipped water stops, water stops that run out of cups, and water stops that shut own in mid-race. This was a flat race and knowing that I had to run farther after the race, I held back, but it wasn’t easy. Since it was so cold, few casual runners showed up for this event. Most of the people were seasoned runners and kids on local High School track teams and the University’s track team. So they left me in a hurry!
I got a little water and Gatorade at mile 3, but the water stop at mile 6 had water but no cups! There couldn’t have been more than 100 people in the race. How do you run out of cups with a field so small? The water stop at mile 9 was shut down by the time I got there. So I had no water for 10.1 miles! No water, no gels, no energy. I was irate. Here’s a tip, if you want to pick up your pace in bad circumstances and feeling the early effects of pre-dehydration, run angry. The only thing that fueled me for 6 miles at the end of the race was my anger at the race organizers.
I got across the finish line in 2:48, shaving 11 minutes off my old Half-Marathon time. Trouble was this course is not certified and was actually a little long. My watch was off a bit, but a reader of this blog who was in the race had a Garmin and said it ran slightly long. I doubt I’ll run this event again. There has to be better organization at water stops. There were a couple of kids behind me and I can only imagine how they felt.
I only mustered about 1.5 miles for the cool down run and called it a day. Ran about 18 miles in all. One more long run of 21 in two weeks, then the taper.