With several strong weeks of training behind me and a half marathon coming up I was cutting back a bit on the training this past week with low, slow mileage and a day off as well as cutting back a bit on the cross training. Well, I was taking it easy up until Fun Friday ! If I had been in shape and planning to go all out at the race I would have skipped the run with Laura but since I was going to just be using it for training I didn't want to miss out on the chance to get in my run with her. As always we had a great time. No speedwork this time but the 4 miles we shared were at a bit faster than marathon pr pace ! Never an "easy" run with her !
When I had planned on racing at Holden Beach I was expecting to be in great shape and having a chance to go for one of my fastest times in many years but of course now I am barely back to just running 13 miles, let alone racing it so as I prepared for the run my new plan was just to get in a good workout and hopefully a decent time. Well, when I walked out Saturday morning at 5am to drive to the race any hope of a decent time was gone as it was already 78F and a dew point of 73 making it miserable and sticky just standing around.
After checking in I went for a slow one mile warmup and by the end of that I was already sweating so I ditched the singlet I was planning to run in and went to line up. It was a narrow starting area and I was a bit of a ways back. Not too much of a concern since I had no plans to run hard. But it did turn out to be an aggravation as it took me about a quarter mile to work my way around a lot of very very slow runners. And as soon as I had clear running we started up the bridge over the waterway. This one is a bit steepr than most of the other bridges along the coast because it has to reach the standard height for boat clearances in only 1/4 mile where most climb for about 1/2 mile. I felt good and relaxed over the top and then coasted down the otherside. Got to the mile in 8:14 which really surprised me. with the slow start and climb and the effort feeling so easy I expected it to be 9 or slower .
A short turn around and then back over the bridge to the island where the remainder of the race would be much different. The next 5.5 miles were straight as an arrow down the beach road directly into a 11-14 mph headwind. The good thing is that the breeze was at least giving the illusion of a bit of coolness but I was still sweating profusely. Each mile was gradually slower as I tried to keep the effort relaxed. As much as I appreciated the winds cooling effect I was having to use just that much more energy and after just a few miles I could feel it's draining effects and every mile my pace was getting slower.
I made the u turn just before the 7 mile mark still feeling halfway decent but my shoes were already squishing with every step from the rivers of sweat pouring out of me and now with the breeze at our backs we now feeling the full nastiest of the humidity.
By mile 8 I was toast. The weather and my lack of training had done me in and shortly after I packed it in and began adding walking breaks every half mile. It was a long slow miserable last 4 miles and I seriously was ready to just quit and walk it in at mile 10 but I decided to just keep going and taking it easy and get the finishers medal.
I have to say that I have actually felt better and run at a faster pace the last 4 miles of several of my 50 milers than I did in this one. Too bad it wasn't held on Sunday instead. We had the temperature about 15 degrees cooler and a low dewpoint making for excellent running compared to anything in several months. I was going to take a rest day but it was so nice I couldn't resist getting in an easy 4 miler. That gave me a total of 39 for the week. I plan to take it fairly easy for most of the upcoming week and then get into some real focused training for racing this Fall. Time to get serious again !