Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blood and Sweat but No Tears

I shed blood and sweat today but did not shed tears. Although I was close with the tears. Seeing a row of pictures with names and dates and ages of people that have died in combat really sucks the happy out of you. And seeing it after you've struggled through nearly the whole race doesn't make it any easier. But I kept it together. Somehow. Then I was emotional the rest of the way to the finish and nearly lost it again at the end. I mean, this is just a half marathon, right? *JUST* a half marathon. I don't know what got into me but it hit me hard today.

Rae day started at 0400 with a shower. I greased up my undercarriage and a few other strategic spots, made a coffee, and headed out the door. I made it to my parking spot in plenty of time and almost went into the WalMart, my usual place for pre-race dumps. I wasn't feeling it so I walked to the Start/Finish area and headed into Wegmans instead. The other stall was occupied so I got the big room to myself. And it was, quite literally, the best crap I've ever taken before a race. Nearly perfect on so many levels. Once I did my deed I headed out the door and through the security checkpoint. This is the first time I've seen a checkpoint at a race so it was actually a bit unnerving. It was quick and easy to get through but it made me feel less safe than in other years where nothing like this was present. Seeing the guys under a canopy using binoculars made it worse.

But the race went off without a hitch. Or at least it did for me. For the most part. I knew the heat and humidity would be a factor so I knew I needed to take it slow. I was so *NOT* in a rush that I hit the porta-pottie with 10 minutes to go before the race started. I knew I had plenty of time and sure enough, it took me about 8 minutes to cross the Start line.

Once across I promptly ignored my battle plan and cranked out a few fast miles. I pulled in the reins around Mile 3 when the sneaky hill snuck up on me. I was glad it did because it was getting damn hot outside. Once through the sneaky hills and the 5k mark, it was a fairly easy cruise through town. I had enough room to run the tangents and easily saved a few minutes doing this because there were plenty of turns. I saved probably another 5 minutes by skipping all but two of the water tables. I had my pack and I was good to go.

Once through town, I hit the lowest spot on the course, geographically and mentally. Lots of self doubt was creeping in and I knew that damn hill was coming. And the ones behind it. So I slowed a bit and tried to conserve some energy to get up the hills. I really should have had more fuel on hand but I made due with what I had. Which was nothing.

By the time I reached the bottom of Hospital Hill, I was overheating. I could feel the chills set in when the wind picked up and knew I needed to take it easy. And of course I ignored that and promptly attempted to run up the first section of hill. I made it about half way and then started walking. My heart was pounding so I kept the walk going until I felt recovered enough to run. Then I'd run a few paces and stop to walk. Pretty much my game plan for the whole race but on a smaller scale with the steep hill. I made it to the last little section of hill and made my second and lost stop for water. This was mostly to rinse my hands and douse my legs. I was a little surprised that it was the last water stop on the route but I had enough fluids on hand to make it to the end.

After Hospital Hill, it was the hills on Cowan. Nobody tells you about those shitty things but I know the course well enough to plan for them. Lots of walking later, and a near sob-fest, I made it over the interstate and to the home stretch. It's still uphill a bit but much gentler and easier to crank out a bit of a shuffle. I had enough gas to push the last little bit to the Finish but not anywhere near enough to do my usual kick at the end.

Once across the Finish, I got my medal, cold water, and headed to the beer tent. I made a pit stop to cool off a bit and have a picture taken. I drank my beer and made my way back to my car. I should have stayed at Wegmans to eat lunch but wasn't thinking until I was halfway out of town. So I caved and stopped at Burger King.

Then I pulled over on the way home and ate then watched the big motorcycle rally go down the road. Kind of neat. Not as moving as seeing the faces of the dead but cool to see so many, and I mean many, people stand behind a cause.

Before shot.

After shot.

Money shot (yes, that's blood).

These guys were at the front of the Some Gave All ride.

The bikes went as far as the eye could see (and then some). The red arrow is pointing to the road about a mile away. I'd guess about 3-5 miles of bikes passed me.

Looking in the other direction.


Temps before sunrise were 70F with a dew point of 70F. Temps climbed to 80F by the end of the race. Humidity stayed at 100% and there were even a few rain drops here and there. Sky was overcast with very little sun. When there was a breeze, it was very light.

Fluids and Fuel:
Coffee on the way to town. I forgot my applesauce so I was left with a serving of GenUCAN mixed with their Hydration mix at the start. From there I continued with the GenUCAN Hydration and some water. Recovery was water and beer at the finish then part of a frozen mocha followed by a Whopper, fries, and iced tea.

Aches and Pains:
Yeah for graphic crotch talk! I somehow missed a few spots with the A&D Ointment after my shower and it became extremely apparent where when I took my second shower. But no bloody nipples, no blisters on the feet, and no dick chafe. Legs and feet are sore but nothing I didn't expect from pounding the pavement so much. Aside from that, I feel fine.

Wore shorts, t-shirt, hat, and hydration pack. Wore my sunglasses some of the time but in certain sections I had to take them off because they would fog up. I think my bladder is leaking so I'll need to swap that out with my other one. My small Amphipod bottle worked great. May need to try it as a handheld to see how I like it. Everything else worked as expected.

Today's Motivation:
It was a race. I paid for it. I was going to do it even if I had to walk.

Naughty Neil:
The Whopper. I'm still kicking myself for not eating lunch at Wegmans. At least it had onions, lettuce, and tomato on it. That's healthy, right?

Waiting to cross - 7:57
Mile 1 - 12:51
Mile 2 - 12:57
Mile 3 - 13:16
Mile 4 - 12:29
Mile 5 - 14:09
Mile 6 - 14:25
Mile 7 - 13:06
Mile 8 - 13:12
Mile 9 - 13:28
Mile 10 - 13:43
Mile 11 - 15:52 (Hospital Hill)
Mile 12 - 14:45 (hills on Cowan)
Mile 13 - 14:24
Finish - 2:58:43

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