Run Smarter, not harder: the SR half marathon recap

Today I ran The Santa Rosa Marathon, half marathon.  I wasn’t going to register to run the event this year because it was so close to the San Francisco half but they offered me a really nice discount so I ended up registering back in April. Felt appropriate for my 10th half Mary to be at this event. When I registered, I had high hopes of PRing at this event. It’s flat, it’s my own territory, and I had months to train for it. As the event drew closer and I didn’t drop any weight, and I threw a vacation and the SF half marathon into the mix, I realized that wasn’t in the cards for me. I really need to lose some weight. It’s slowing me down, but I digress. 

I picked up my packet Friday night at the expo and returned on Saturday to help out at the CIM booth. It was hot. Like really hot. I knew that wouldn’t be good for the following day. But I’m stubborn and usually oversleep and end up running in the heat anyway, so I wasn’t worried since I wasn’t trying to PR.  I don’t love running in the heat, but I’ve trained myself for it. 

The half started at 7:30 and the marathon at 6:30. Mr. FtoF agreed to drop me off and pick me up so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking, which ended up being a good thing. (More on that later). I got to the race about five minutes before the marathon start and got to watch them take off which was neat. I spent the next hour saying hi to people, stretching out, and finalizing my playlist for the race.  

Coach Patrick reminded me Saturday to start slow and push if I felt good, especially because it was going to be hot. And hot it was……

The first mile went through Downtown and I felt hot already. I was sweating and I was hardly wearing anything – just shorts and a tank and my hair up high in a bun and I was SWEATING. Pouring sweat. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy day. 

At the aid stations I forced myself to fill up my water every time and stay and drink water and pour water on my head. I was doing okay til about mile 7.5, but even slow as it got hotter I saw my mile splits getting slower. I couldn’t will myself to go any faster. It was just too hot.  I know myself though, and I knew once I took a walk break that was going to be the end of me so I forced myself to keep running, albeit slow, for as long as possible. Finally the amount of fluid I lost finally won and I had to start run/walking. I was hot and I was uncomfortable. I was losing a lot of salt – my face was caked in salt and I could taste in my mouth I needed salt but there wasn’t anything salty at the aid stations. My gu and Gatorade helped but it wasn’t enough. 

Towards the last few miles of the race I was in a bad mood – and I was letting myself be in it. I was getting frustrated with the narrowness of the path and trying to weave in and out of people. Marathon runners were bolting by, and as I was trying to run past walkers, the fast marathon runners were trying to pass by me. It was too narrow for that. And it was just hot and I was getting grouchy because I could feel my energy getting low. I decided it was ok to be in my grouchy mood but I couldn’t be too grouchy until after the race. I had to finish and didn’t have time to think about things to complain about. Finally, after a few swear words and knowing I was close to being done, as though an angel from Heaven opened the clouds, and I saw the street to turn down for the finish line. 

And all of a sudden my bad mood was gone. People were ringing cow bells, people were cheering, people were screaming, and suddenly I was crying. I was running and crying. I mean I was CRYING HARD. I was crying because despite terrible conditions in the weather, despite rubbing elbows with way too many people on the trail due to close quarters, despite not seeing many cows, and everything in between, that I had toed up to that start line and I had gotten it done. And for that, I had to remind myself that the clock didn’t matter, today. Somedays it will but today it didn’t. I ran smart despite the heat. It was something like 80 degrees when I finished. My face looked like I had bathed in a salt shaker. I still finished in good spirits. Mr. FtoF caught me during my teary eyes moment. I had finished once again, a half marathon. 

As soon as I crossed the finish line and got my medals energy and mental capacity  started to go down hill because my blood sugar was low and my brain was starting to feel exhausted. This hardly ever happens to me after a half, which meant the heat really must have gotten to me. Because I was crying so hard the medical staff asked if I needed anything. I just told then I was fine and it was hot and they told me where to get water.  Mr. FtoF found me and told me good job, and then I had to will myself through the food line. He brought me some salt tablets which helped.  I was so hungry my words were a little slow and didn’t make much sense. And then I was laughing at my own jokes because I was so loopy. It was a good thing he came to pick me up cause the thought of driving home just sounded appalling.  Food helped. 

Hey, I love running but I never said it was glamorous. 

Despite the heat I didn’t blister over which is great, like the last two halfs I’ve run.  My feet do feel really sore though and my legs swollen, likely from the heat and poor blood circulation. 

This race was literally nothing I expected it to be. I think this may be my slowest half marathon to date. Maybe I had too high of expectations after running the marathon as my first 26.2 last year. I had a great time though and love the energy of hometown races. 

I am glad to have a little break for eight weeks til my next half. Between now and then I have a 5k, which will be fun. Other than that, I think some mental recovery time will be good. But I had a great event despite the heat.  My last few halfs this year have been brutal with the heat. I openly welcome some Fall running. 

Just because it wasn’t a fast race, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a tough race. This one was tough but I felt tougher. But I’m also glad to be done. My little legs are sore. Rest day tomorrow and then some easy days this week then back at it. After all, CIM isn’t going to run itself in December!

Cheers to running!

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