Sunday, July 4, 2010

Race Recap: Red, White & Boom Half Marathon

I received the latest issue of Runner's World on Friday, and one statistic stuck out to me when leafing through the pages:

Running the Numbers: 60 -- The temperature (Fahrenheit) above which every five-degree increase can slow your pace 20 to 30 seconds per mile. In short, trying to set a 5k PR on an 85-degree day isn't such a hot idea. (p. 27)

So when I woke up to see we were going to be starting the Red, White & Boom half marathon at 84 degrees (and at 6:30a.m., no ness), I chucked my plans for a half marathon PR out the window. Okay, so I actually chucked those plans weeks ago (and then stomped on them a few times) when I saw my metronomic abilities deteriorate during my back-to-back marathons. Regardless, it was going to be a painful, slow half marathon in hot, sticky heat. And to top the heat off, the forecast was calling for thunderstorms all morning. What's more, I was not feeling up for running in general, even despite the weather. Luckily, I had a few friends who were feeling the same way. I don't think I've ever talked so much in two hours at any other point in my life than I did with my friends during this morning's race.

The Inaugural Red, White & Boom Half Marathon

My Team Ortho training buddy, Pablo, asked me to join one of his two 5-person teams for the first-ever Red, White & Boom half marathon. Being on a team ended up being so worth it! All of the runners who teamed up for the race had special access to a VIP tent: we had private Biffys, costume contests, slowest/fastest team contests, our own bag check, before/after race pictures, and plenty of fun drinks and treats waiting for us at the finish.

I really wish my team had worn these sweet pink costumes.
I haven't been sleeping lately, so after logging a restless 3 hours last night, I woke up 2 hours before my alarm and decided to stay up. I left for the race much too early to be sure I had a place to park, and ran into Julie (who was also running on a team) at the VIP tent. We exchanged a few words about our recent personal/health/running/whathaveyou issues, branched off into our respective teams for photos, and vowed to meet up with the 10:00 min/mile pacers in the starting corral. Sadly, I never saw Julie in the corral, but luckily we did catch each other during the race.

The First 5 Miles (9:16, 9:09, 9:42, 9:37, 11:30)

I ran with Pablo and a few of our team members, all of whom I recognized from the Team Ortho marathon training group runs but had never officially met, and we decided to take it slow and easy from the start. We exchanged race stories, kept each other company, and melted away in the heat. I can't tell you how much we sweated during the first two miles -- it was miserable. We were already pouring bottles of water on our heads when the gods answered our tears and dumped buckets of rain on us from above ... for the next two hours.

It's amazing how much a little suffering allows you to open up to strangers. I learned a lot about Pablo's life in Columbia, his family, his job, his travels, and I'm sure I shared far too many details for him as well. By mile 5 Pablo wanted to take his first walk break so I joined him. Once we started back up again, along came Julie!
The Second 5 Miles (10:55, 11:09, 13:59, 10:57, 13:26)

According to running messiah Mark Remy, one of the cardinal rules of running in a group is to never leave a member stranded. Unfortunately for Pablo, his wheels fell off early during the race and he needed to take a number of walk breaks, almost per mile. Pablo was definitely not feeling this race and was struggling with overheating and nausea. I wanted to stay with him in hopes it would make him feel less ill, and Julie was also open to walking with us as well.
While normally I run and train alone, I was actually having a good time talking with both Julie and Pablo. Julie also has had her share of amazing jobs. I'm envious of everything she's done! And both Julie and Pablo, who had never met before today, even managed to find some common connections between each another. I really liked running leisurely and having people to talk with, which I never thought would happen to me while running. Pablo didn't bring his Garmin today, so he asked me to time him for 2 minutes every time he needed to walk. I figured walking with him was actually doing him a service, and Julie and I were giving our bodies some much-needed rest as well. :)

By mile 9, Pablo felt terrible for holding us back, as even when we were walking he started trailing behind. He sincerely urged Julie and me to continue on without him, so I broke His Highness Mark Remy's rule and let Pablo go. I made my way to a Biffy for the longest 4-minute wait known to any runner, and Julie went ahead. While waiting in line, I managed to watch Pablo pass me by, still smiling through his pain. He gave this race a good fight.
The Final 3.33 Miles (8:14, 9:05, 9:33, 2:48)
I was bound and determined to find Julie and I zoomed through the runners (including Pablo as I slapped him a high-five) as I kept my eyes peeled for her. I never did find her until we met back up in the VIP tent for watermelon slices, when I learned she finished about 1 minute ahead of me. I tried! I swear I tried! :)

Julie: I'm SO GLAD we got to spend so much time together! Thanks for taking this course easy with me. :)

So ... Inaugural Red, White & Boom half marathon. Pros: fun course, a few good hills, great post-race concessions (Popsicles, watermelon, and hot dogs?! What is this? The 4th of July?!), and the team perks were definitely worth the extra $10 on our registration fees. Running with my friends made this race extra fun. Cons: running a race in the middle of a Midwestern summer sucks, no matter who is suffering with you.

And now I really mean it when I say I'm going to rest.
Average Pace: 10:39 min/mile
Overall Place: 1582 of 2375
Gender Place: 745 of 1321
Age Group Place: 161 of 299

Happy Independence Day!

13.33-mile splits (2:19:22)
1: 9:16
2: 9:09
3: 9:42
4: 9:37
5: 11:30
6: 10:55
7: 11:09
8: 13:59
9: 10:57
10: 13:26
11: 8:14
12: 9:05
13: 9:33
.33: 2:48
Air Temp: 84F, humid, rainy


  1. Hi A,
    I had a blast today! It was so nice to have a nice and relaxing half marathon for a change. Thank you so much for the stimulating conversation and company:) Pablo was so nice and it was nice to have met him. It is so amazing that we were able to find that common connection. Also, thank you for taking a few pictures for me. If you don't mind could you e-mail them to my home e-mail address. I post from home and I am not working tomorrow.

    Even though we did not have our ususal half marathon finish time, I felt that it was a great day! I am so glad that we were able to share this race together A!

    Lets keep in touch:)

    Hugs and love!

  2. You and Julie are the only people I have ever heard use the term "biffy." LOL Must be a Minnesota thang!

    I got my RW Friday, too, but I haven't cracked it open yet. I'll definitely have to check out that article! That makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER about my 10:40something 6-miler yesterday morning! It was cooler than it HAD been, but it was still about 75 degrees.

  3. Nice one! I've run many social races like that and use them for "time on the legs" training. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Any race that leaves you with a smile on your face is well worth it. Love the bling you got! 84 degrees at the start probably would have meant a DNS for me, excellent job slogging through that!

  5. 84 degrees? That's ridiculous! Still a strong finish and a pretty cool medal! Congrats!

  6. Wow, that's some pretty intense heat for a race.. awesome you had some people to run it with! Don't feel too badly if you're not that enthused with running for awhile... I did a bunch of halfs & a 5k last summer and I was really "meh" about runs by late October. And those were halfs, not fulls, and separated by like 6 weeks each--not all back-to-back! Racing is awesome but too much kind of takes a toll mentally. Some recovery time will hopefully help. :o)

  7. Glad you had fun A - not every race has to be "competitive", right ?

  8. Nice run - especially with those temps & humidity!

    You should do the SOWL (if needed, that is)! It's the blogosphere, we're ALL lurkers, aren't we? I'm hoping it helps me be more accountable. I've GOT to lose my last bit of baby weight otherwise I don't think it will ever come off :(

  9. You know, I would have TOTALLY been on your pinky team, TOTALLY...

    Great time for bazillion degree weather!

  10. Hey! I'm glad you found me! It's fun finding other brooks ID members. i was going to email you back but no email with your account. congrats on the maniac status. i missed out on mine because i was sidelined from one marathon with the achilles injury. it never got better so now i'm missing my ultra next week. but hopefully i'll be back out there soon getting ready for the fall!

  11. Hey! Great race recap! I love running with friends and chatting it up during races. Are you doing anymore races around the cities this summer? I am trying to pick out a couple more to do. I am thinking about the Urban Wildland half.

  12. Nice work out there!! Sorry I missed you!! You came in right around Pharmie, and I didn't see you out there... boo...

  13. Hi A,
    I am totally game for doing a Wednesday night MDRA Run:) I think that sounds so much fun....and we could both finally meet the other Julie! She ran the Team Ortho half with us too! I usually have Wednesdays off so I just need to make sure that my hubby can take care of my little guy:) Let me know what nights you are free and lets work something out! It would be great to run with you at least one more time before you move!

  14. Way to go!!! How fun to run with Julie :)