This is the halfway point between my two races. I finished the Kona half-marathon exactly 2 weeks ago, with a pretty respectable 4h 10m 19s. Yeah, not under 4 hours as I’d hoped, but still not the very last person to cross the line. (Close, though, LOL!) And in exactly 2 weeks, I’ve got the Napa/Sonoma race to finish.
The Kona race was definitely an experience for me. First off, I’d never walked in humid weather. Hot weather, yes, but never humid. As one of our race coaches said “We can’t really train you for humid weather in California!” So true. The air just feels heavier as you breathe in and breathe out. Temps on race day were in the high 70s/low 80s. I was quite lucky that it remained somewhat overcast for the duration of the race. If it had been full sun, I think I would really have wilted.
I did OK, but not great, on the first half of the race. It was all pretty exciting. I really hit a figurative wall at mile 7, though. When I look back at my mile splits, I see that my slowest mile was mile 7. From there, it was a real trek to keep myself going. I knew I couldn’t stop anywhere, because if I stopped moving, it would be so hard to get started again. I also became “one of those people” who gets water at every aid station and dumps it on their face, over their head, etc. I even took cups of ice and threw them down my shirt, front and back! I did stop once to use a restroom and had my “Ross from Friends” moment. After all the water I’d been dousing myself with, my clothes were soaked. Now I wear compression running capris and there are normally quite tight. Imagine if they’re waterlogged … and you’re sweaty … and you’re trying to put them back on. LOL! I thought for sure I’d be stuck in a port-a-potty for hours, trying to get those darn things back on!
Soooo … after that little adventure, I kept walking but I was getting so tired. My music wasn’t interesting anymore so I stopped listening. I couldn’t eat my snack that I’d brought (tasted like sawdust) so I was just plugging away. Then … oh then … I hit mile 12. The course designers put a HILL on mile 12. From my POV, it could have been Mt. Rainier. My coach was such a trooper. He walked it with me, after having walked and/or run that same hill with at least 10 other people before me. And then we hit a gravel section that was quite slippery. It wasn’t a good path for running or walking, because you were constantly taking care not to slip on the loose rocks. Phew! Then I got to the hotel, which was the finish line. Oh but not at the front of the hotel. Oh no. The course designers sent you through the maze of the hotel, up and down steps (you know, even a 5-step little staircase is brutal after 13 miles!) and then finally, finally I crossed the finish line. I had done it. I finished my first half-marathon!
I really felt a sense of accomplishment as I sat there with my feet in a small pool with ice water. My whole body ached, my mind was rather “drifty” but I’d finished! Now I just had to hobble up to my room to shower before going to get a massage. Let me tell you, that massage was the best decision I’d made in a long time. I was able to walk normally after the massage (well, in comparison to before the massage!) and all my muscles were relaxed. I was still sore in many places, but by the next morning, I was actually quite fine. I think my worst “souvenir” from the race was blisters on my feet, which ticked me off because I’d taped up my feet, especially my heels before the race. So, lesson learned: taping doesn’t help me with my heel blister issue! I need to find a new solution.
The Napa/Sonoma race is just around the corner. I’m a little worried because the race starts an hour later (at 7AM) and generally, the Napa/Sonoma region is hot in the middle of summer. I can only hope we’ll start with an overcast sky. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!