Yesterday, I ran the Veterans Haven 5K with Tim, Hollie, and Chris, aka #Team5K. It was scorching hot and insufferably humid, so you know I got a great workout. I also had a fantastic time.
113 Words on the Heat: I think a lot of runners are having a hard time adjusting to the higher temperatures (it was in the upper 80s all week), especially after last winter’s extreme cold. I recently read an interesting article about how it might help (in the short term) to “pre-cool” before your hot weather runs, either by drinking an icy beverage or throwing your running briefs in the freezer. I haven’t tried the latter (yet), but I always drink several cups of iced coffee before my afternoon runs. (I don’t think this does a very good job of “pre-cooling” me.) I should probably be running in the early morning or late evening during this kind of heat, but, for some reason, my body is just ready and raring to go in the afternoon.
There’s a neat information bite in this “couch to marathon” documentary (worth the watch if you’re into running documentaries) about how early humans gained an evolutionary advantage by running long distances in the peak heat of the afternoon. We weren’t as fast as our prey, but our superior endurance/temperature regulating abilities allowed us to quite literally run much faster animals into heat stroke. I’m not sure how far our ancestors had to run to chase down their next meal, but I have a feeling it was more than 10 kilometers, which is unfortunately where my “long” run maxed out this week.
I ran extremely easy mileage in the days following Monday’s Memorial Day 5K. I’m talking all 9+ minute miles. It was so hot that I didn’t feel like I could run any faster if I tried. So I was a little nervous I wouldn’t feel up to speed going into my next 5K. There was a plethora of local races to choose from this weekend. I picked this particular race because 1) it fit Team 5K’s schedule, and 2) I love running races that honor our military. The inaugural Veterans Haven 5K was an extremely small community race (30 runners in total). Several guys in military t-shirts personally shook our hands and thanked us for coming out. It really meant a lot to me that it meant a lot to them.
I’ve run quite a few races around the Cooper River, so I know exactly what to expect along the course (hissing geese, geese poop, bikers, walkers, joggers, porta-potty fumes). I like going into a race knowing there won’t be many surprises.
Chris and I arrived at the river around 8:30AM, which gave us just enough time to sign up and jog a .5 mile warm up before meeting Hollie and Tim. The race got off to a late start so we had time to chit-chat a bit before we took off.
Since this was a small race, only four runners (including Hollie and Tim) ran out ahead of me. During the first mile, I ran behind a guy wearing a Marine t-shirt. He was setting a perfect pace and I was thinking, “This is awesome! I don’t even have to look at my watch!” We hit the first mile in 6:19, which was 10 seconds faster than Monday’s first mile split. I got a little extra adrenaline boost when I realized how well I was running, so I made a pass and settled into fourth place overall, where I stayed for the rest of the race. Nothing much happened after that, aside from a baby goose darting across the running path around mile 2.
I hit my second mile in 6:50 and my third mile in 7:03. I really suffered during my third mile. The heat was so overwhelming that I kind of wanted to rip all my clothes off and dive into the river. Somehow, I managed to keep clothed and running. The course was long, so I finished with a time of 21:21. I think everyone on Team 5K has seen faster times (and shorter courses), but I’m pretty sure we were all just happy to finish without incurring any heat stroke. We grabbed some water and jogged a two mile cool down before collecting our awards.
For finishing second woman overall and second in my age category, I won two $25 gift certificates to the local running store, which is so much better than a medal!
This race was small, with no frills, but I’m so glad I did it. I set a new 1 mile split PR and felt relatively strong and confident the whole way. I really believe racing every weekend is slowly but surely beginning to pay off. I feel much fitter. I think it’s just a matter of time before I’m able to sustain that 6:19 pace throughout an entire 5K.
After the race, I napped hard. When I woke up, I ate this pretty little pizza:
Questions for the Internets:
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?
Do you prefer running in the morning, afternoon, or evening?