Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Pulled into town around midnight the night before and managed to find a nice rest area to park at – it wasn’t that obvious at first though. Woke up the next morning and drove to the city office to park our car. Unfortunately we couldn’t park at the sports grounds so we had to take the free shuttle bus to get there.
It was already pretty “warm” when we got there and not a lot of shade or cool places to sit. The whiteboard said it was 31 and I didn’t doubt it. However not being used to running in hot weather, I didn’t drink nearly as much in advance as I should have…
The course also had a three hour limit. Most races have a two and a half hour limit. I didn’t investigate why…
Two big mistakes!
Anyway, the race started at 9:45am and it was HOT. And then…from about 2.5K we started to climb…and climb…and climb. I hadn’t run enough hills and I didn’t drink enough in preparation so I got tired quick. As did a LOT of other people. It was brutal!
The first water station was at 5K and I drank several cups of water there and continued. I usually drink half a cup at best. I was lagging badly, but I was still three minutes ahead at the first cutoff point at 6K. At about this stage the first person was lying passed out in the ditch. Fortunately there was staff on hand to look after her. Lots of people were to be picked up by the ambulance service during the race…
So anyway, we kept climbing in the heat. And climbing. I was taking walk breaks very early on, but we just kept going up. Just couldn’t get on top of it! We hit a sponge station at 8K. Didn’t help much, but I was hanging in there.
Eventually got to the next water station at 10.5K. Very much appreciated, but it wasn’t getting any cooler. Another water station was directly opposite it so I figured we would run to the turnaround point at the halfway mark then get another shot at the water station very shortly. They even had watermelon!
It was a major downer to find out the turnaround point was actually at 13K, although there was a sponge station at 12K. I must have looked exhausted as a guy gave me a whole jug of water to drink. I pretty much drank all of it too.
Anyway, the next cutoff time was at the turnaround at 13K. I was five minutes ahead. Man, never have I been so close to being cut off in a race! My fault totally though. Just bad preparation. The guy there was calling out times to let the other runners know they had to speed up etc. At least it gave people a chance.
Looking at the map of the course now, I see that it climbs from 2.5K all the way to 12K. Really got to check the race details in advance!!!
The heat was intense, but I struggled on. No energy at all… Felt I was going to make it though. Just getting to the turnaround point at 13K seemed like a marathon in itself!
Got back to the water station, which was actually at 15K, but there was no more watermelon. GONE. Spent a bunch of time drinking water, ate something (can’t remember what it was now though) and had multiple buckets of water tipped over my head. Felt I had my times worked out and there had to be a good downhill section coming up. Saving up for a strong finish.
From the water station at 15K to the sponge station at 17K there was a slight climb so I took it easy getting up there. I had plenty of time and there was that big downhill section coming up, right?
WRONG. I got up to the 17K sponge station after taking my sweet time at the 15K water station and was the FIRST person cut there. There were people running a little in front of me who were allowed to continue. I was gutted.
Admittedly, I should never have gotten myself into this position. I should have investigated the course, run more hills in training, checked the weather forecast and drank more water in advance…
But I really wish someone at the 15K water station had told me to hurry up. Or I wish they had the 17K cutoff time posted at the 13K cutoff. The cutoff times were written in the program admittedly…but who really takes note of the cutoff times?!
What is most frustrating is that I had almost 40 minutes to cover the final 4K (with a big downhill section). I could have walked that! Yet I wasn’t allowed to continue…