Yesterday marked my fourth half marathon of the year and with it came high aspirations. We were going to run the America's Finest City Half Marathon. My husband and I trained hard for 12 weeks. We both overcame injury, which derailed our training for a short while, but we were able to jump back and continue strong. We fueled and hydrated all week. We picked up our packets, packed our race bags and were in bed before 9:30 p.m., eagerly awaiting our 4 a.m. wake up call.
Despite all of our planning, we both fell victim to high temperatures and sticky humidity. Our fast pace melted away to what felt like a crawl. At mile 5, I knew I wasn't going to set a new personal record. At mile 6, I almost gave up. My legs ached and my skin was hot. My water bottle was almost empty. The sun raged on and proved a challenge to all the runners. Many runners stopped to walk. Race officials were telling people it was all right to walk. Aid stations seemed like more than two miles apart and with each station came a herd of runners crowding around trying to get a cup of water.
What an awful day to run 13.1 miles.
The course, however, was lovely. It started at Point Loma, inside the naval base. From the staging area of the race, I was able to watch the sun rise over the mountains and cast its light over the city. The first four miles were all down hill, giving me an advantage when the heat eventually slowed me down. The course wound through the city and had us running around the airport. I can see where the race got the name.
Despite clogging up the roadways and making traffic a nightmare, it was probably real neat for air travelers to look down at watch the runners go by, like tiny ants.
The race ended in Balboa Park and seeing the finish line was one of the happiest moments of my life. I grabbed my husband's hand - we finish all of our races holding hands - and we sprinted.
Our time was awful. Our legs were aching and our bodies were hot. Dehydration had set in. All we wanted were some bottles of cold water, bananas and bagels.
Unfortunately, the post-race festivities were located nearly a quarter mile down from the finish line. Hot runner's don't like that. To add insult to more injuries, bagels and other carbs of that nature weren't offered. Recovery foods included chocolate milk, bananas, fruit snacks and sample sizes of coconut water, Cliff bars and Naked juice. Post-recovery foul. Let me tell you, nothing sounds worse after a hot, sticky run than a bottle of chocolate milk.
One day after the run, my legs are sore and my ego is still bruised. As I type this, my husband is signing us up for our next half marathon. We have a 10K in two weeks. Why we keep putting ourselves through grueling training, early wake ups and rough circumstances, I'm not entirely sure. Runner's have thrill issues. I wouldn't have it any other way.