My race Sunday didn't go as planned at all. Of course, I already posted about the weather situation: warmer than expected, but worse, incredibly humid. After I got my hopes up Saturday when the temperature forecast dropped a little, I woke up to 100% humidity. Yes, that's right, 100%. At least up until 11 am, when it dropped to a cool 98%. What a relief, ha. It was 62 at the start, rapidly rising through the 60s and stabilizing, for the duration of my race at least, at about 68. So actually, cooler than I thought - but oh, dear me, the humidity was killer.
And then I threw my race plan out the window. Purposefully. Because sometimes, you just have to take big risks.
Early on, I knew I was one of the top women. As the pack sorted out, this biker was hanging out by me...I realized, I had a pace bike! It turns out I was third. But by mile 7, I was second. And by ten, I couldn't help but pass the woman in first, who was already fading in the humidity. I made the choice to try to go for the win, but in doing so, I gave up on running a manageable pace. I was feeling the humidity, but a strong, dogged woman was right behind me (she'd moved solidly up from fifth or sixth to hanging a few seconds behind me). It was a huge risk - I knew I was at a pace I couldn't maintain, so my only way to win was if the second woman faded as much as I probably would! But she was a better racer and runner than I. At mile 21, I hit the wall, and gave up first to fall back to second. I struggled terribly, dealing with the heat, humidity, and the hole I dug myself. I ended up missing both my time goal and the win, although I was very happy to take second place.
It was a rough way to race. I would do it again, though. The last few miles were really, really hard: the sun was out behind the sheets of fog, heating the course like a steam room; I dropped my gel; I was mentally drained (leading a race with close competition is TOUGH, hard work!); there was oddly one less water stop than I thought?!; and I was totally exhausted. Hitting the wall is the worst! But I had to respond to that chance. I ran 3:12:07, even slower than this fall, and a much more poorly-run race. Next time I take a risk like that, I want it to pay off!