|Racing to the finish line. I use the term "racing" loosely because I was actually STRUGGLING.|
What do you get when you mix a 90-degree night with a 5K race and toss in a too-fast first mile?
You get heat exhaustion, that's what. At least that's what happened to me.
I was really excited to run the Partywith a Purpose 5K in Hoboken tonight. It's a local race that I've done a few times, they have a post-finish beer garden, and it's on a Tuesday evening, so it's a fun way to break up the week. Going into the race, I told myself to just take it easy and see how I feel. If I could push the last half, I would. No expectations. When the gun went off, I went out in what felt like a solid but relaxed pace. I left my Garmin at home and wanted to just run on instinct, a la Ryan Hall (except I don't have the voice of God telling me what to do). So that's just what I did.
Turns out I should have tuned those instincts out. Because I ran a 6:20 first mile. Ugh. A few months ago, this would have been the perfect pace. That was when I was cranking out speed work and intervals three times a week in preparation for a half-marathon...one that didn't go so well because it was HOT. (Sensing a pattern here?). Since I just started incorporating intervals and tempo runs into my workouts again, I've kept my expectations realistic. A 6:45 pace would have been ideal tonight.
Which is what I ran my second mile in, and as for the third, who knows, but I'm sure it was way over 7. I could hardly get my legs to move towards the end. My total time was way off any recent 5K finishes, which is super frustrating, especially considering what happened next. After dousing myself with one bottle of water and chugging another, I could not shake this feeling that I was going to pass out. My heart raced, my eyes were heavy, and I could not concentrate. Then, my arms started to go numb and I could hardly stand. All this after a mere 3.1 miles of racing. I sat down, ate some pretzels, drank more water, and willed myself to stand and shake off this feeling. It worked, sorta. Now, almost four hours after finishing, I'm still a little woozy. (Yes, I should be sleeping, but I'm a night owl with or without heat stroke).
Maybe I should have stopped after that first mile. But I had M, E, NC, and my good friend R all waiting for me at the finish line. Maybe I should have gone to the medic tent after finishing. But I thought I would be OK on my own. Maybe I shouldn't have even attempted to run given that I basically melt down in any race over 80 degrees. Who knows. One thing's for sure: I should not have gone out so fast. It's a lesson I reminded of over and over yet never seem to full grasp...even after over 15 years of racing.When will I ever learn?