The chronicles of 30 half marathons before my 30th birthday...
I’m back to being a delinquent running blogger, even after a kick-ass half marathon in Ft. Collins a couple weeks ago (huge personal best of 1:56:53, Crossroads Half Marathon). But, no time to blog about that AWESOME race (though it was, and I definitely want to run it again next year) — I am back with more running lessons, this one which I learned the hard one.
DO NO RACE IN 90 DEGREE HEAT.
Let me say this one more time.
DO NOT RACE IN 90 DEGREE HEAT.
And well, if you ARE going to run a race (or just run) in 90 degree heat, make sure you are UBER hydrated. I think of myself as a hydrated person… I like drinking water, I tend to drink a lot at meals and throughout the course of the day… but 90 degrees is really hot. Need I repeat it again? …Ok, you get it.
So for those who haven’t be privy to the chronicles of my running career this weekend, I will recap.
Russ and I had a bet. It didn’t really have a lot riding on it (something like the winner gets a “surprise adventure”, an idea attributed to our friends Loren & Laura), but mostly we both just wanted to win. It was for a race called the Skirt Chaser 5k, where the women get a 3 minute head start and the guys try and catch them (hence the “skirt” chaser, and the company makes really cute/comfortable running skirts). I reallllllly wanted to win. 3 minutes was a good amount of time to even things out for Russ and me… and I really wanted to win.
The race was downtown (near Mile High), at 3pm on Sat. Now, I know they didn’t plan it this way, since October 1st isn’t *normally* 90 degrees, but I heard we hit 90 downtown and broke some sort of century-plus old record. It was H-O-T. We also went berry picking beforehand, and rushed a bit to get ourselves downtown for the race. Probably didn’t drink enough water, but I don’t think I felt like I was really dehydrated.
I remember the starting line, and I remember it being really really really really hot. I started out fast, bc I was up near the front of the pack and didn’t want the elite runners to trip over me. It was really really really hot to be running. Did I mention that it was 90 degrees? I remember dumping water on my head at the aid station (foolishly didn’t drink anything), and I remember walking for 30 seconds a couple of times before mustering enough energy to run again. IT WAS SO HOT. I have a hazy memory of thinking I crossed a finish line (when in fact I had passed a speedbump on the road), stopping, having my friends yell at me to keep going, realizing I wasn’t actually at the finish line, and then bolting off to the finish. That’s the last memory I have of the race.
What I was told was that I wasn’t acting very normal at the finish line, looked a little like I was going to fall over… luckily Jennie/Jared/Elyssa/Russ were there (ok Russ was there a few minutes later - I actually beat him without the head start), and the on-site paramedics took a look at me. My next memories are of being confused hearing Russ tell them what we ate that morning, agreeing to be taken to the hospital and giving my parents phone numbers to be called. Then I was in an ambulance, still feeling woozy and not processing everything correctly, and asking the paramedics a lot of questions like “what’s the best possible outcome” and “what’s the worst possible outcome”. Apparently no one was really worried about me, they all knew I was just really dehydrated, but I didn’t know that, and I just knew I felt really weird and disoriented.
The scariest part was being asked really normal questions and not being 100% sure I knew if they were right - like: “what year is it”, and “who is our president”… both of which I answered correctly (whew), but I am not gonna lie… I had to think, and I wasn’t 100& sure I had them right at first. I knew I should know them though, which was what was so scary. In the ER they got the IV in and started giving me fluids, at which point I started feeling a MILLION times better and functioning more like normal.
Of course, I had to ask the nurse if she thought I was crazy to still want to run the NYC marathon in 5 weeks. She said I had to ask the doctor that, so they sent in a different doctor, who was a runner too and was able to talk to me about how to prevent this kind of thing. Apparently one of the biggest things I should be worrying about is electrolytes - since I don’t like the taste of gatorade / other sweet sports drinks, I need to experiment with tablets and other things that have electrolytes. And trust me, running-doctor-man, I will.
So, being crazy and competitive landed me in the ER, luckily with nothing more severe than dehydration and after many hours waiting for test results (which all returned to normal after they gave me *three liters* of fluid) they finally sent me home. It was a pretty surreal experience… you always read stories of people at marathons (especially hot ones) passing out or getting sick, but crazy ol’ me managed to do it at a 5k. Indeed.
Need I say it again? DO NOT RACE IN 90 DEGREE HEAT. EVEN FOR 3 MILES.
Also, for those of you keeping track, my time was 23:49 (7:40 min/mile pace), and Russ’s was 24:58 (8:02 min/mile pace). I looked up some stats on running in heat today and it said that in 80+ degrees you should expect your goal pace to be 20% or more higher than normal… So really, Russ’s was probably not too far off, given that he did a 5k last summer at a 7min/mile pace. Mine, on the other hand, is CRAZY.
Signing out now, crazy Sam.