Sunday, June 2, 2013

covered bridges

One evening last December, I signed up for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon. I had heard from multiple sources that this was the most beautiful race they had ever run. A race through the winding country roads of Vermont, across multiple historic covered bridges and at a perfect time of year. 

The only problem is that the race usually fills up in about 15 minutes. 

In December 2012, it filled up in 12 minutes. But I got a spot. 

Fast forward to April, I run a marathon (or attempted to, at least). Fast forward to May, I run a half marathon. I'm feeling good. I'm in fine shape to run a half. The course is rolling hills, but overall they go down. I trained on nearly identical terrain. Everything was in my favor for a Personal Record. 

Then comes race day and the 90 something degrees and humidity that came with it. 

I can honestly say that I have never, in my life, been so hot during a run as I was while running this half marathon. I rarely drink water while I run (I know, that's bad, I've heard it all before...) and I had no choice but to drink at every water stop. In fact, I grabbed one cup to drink and one to dump on my head. That was also something I had never done while running. 

Miles 1-8 weren't awful speed-wise (they definitely were heat-wise), but I was steadily getting further and further from my PR goal. At mile 8 there was a significant hill. And by significant I mean most people have to stop and hike up the hill. I was one of those people. It's not long, but it's steep. And it hit me at the exact wrong time. By the time I reached the top, I knew I would never reach my time goal. 

And that's when my brain kicked in like it often does and says all sorts of mean things to me and I basically give up. I walked so much during the last 5 miles that I didn't just miss my PR, I missed it by a good 13 minutes. Yikes. 

I did, however, spend the last 5 miles enjoying the scenery (even though we only ran across one covered bridge, thank you Hurricane Irene), smiling at the locals (how many drummers ARE there in Quechee, Vermont?) and commiserating with my fellow runners. I did feel a lot better when one gentleman running next to me said he was running this particular race about 20 minutes slower than he had ever run it - and he runs it every year. If I go with those statistics, I beat my PR by 7 minutes. 

I like that story better. Let's go with that. 

And, as a great surprise, Ryan was waiting with the girls at the finish line. Which, can I just say, was a huge sacrifice. It wasn't just hot for the runners. It was hot for everyone. And they were definitely a welcome sight to see at 13.1 (at least what I could see of them when the sweat wasn't stinging my eyes).

So, with that, my 16th half marathon is in the books. Not my slowest, not my fastest. Definitely my hottest. I'm beginning to think there's a reason they have you sign up in December...

 At the start with Claire, a fabulous fellow Tuck Partner. Her first half!
 At the start with Leah's incredible occupational therapist.
I debated on wearing a hat that morning. I think I made the right choice.
Lots of people for a small town road in Vermont!
 Approaching the finish line. If it looks like I'm dying, it's because I am.

1 comment:

Amy said...

This was the situation with my first half - sooooo hot! I might even say the marathon was better than the half, because at least it wasnt hot. I need to do another half just to see how much better it could be. You're an inspiration!