The whole family raced in today’s event! I am home visiting my family in Fort Meyers for a few weeks, and I came home earlier than usual in order to be there for my Mom as she raced in her first half-marathon. She never ran a day in her life until just a year and a half ago. Then she started running, began to enjoy it, and started to race in some local 5Ks and 10Ks. She had been training for this half-marathon for a while now, and to see her cross the finish line today was amazing! She is a completely different person since getting into running, and it has been amazing to see her transformation.
My brothers also finished their first half-marathon today as well. This was only my third half-marathon. Despite running to a new PR, it wasn’t as great of a day as I was hoping for. My recent long training runs back in Phoenix were consistently in the low 7:00’s, somewhere between 7:05-7:15 min/mile pace. I was excited to get out and race at the half-marathon distance for the first time in a while as my previous best was a 1:45:00 (roughly an 8:00 min/mile pace). The only thing I was nervous about was the humidity factor with Florida being so humid year-round. I have never done well with any kind of heat, but especially the humidity. Once the humidity starts to climb, it affects my performance and my ability to stay cool massively. Unfortunately, when the race started at 7:30 am, the humidity was pushing 90%. I figured that it wouldn’t affect me too much as the air temperature was only 65-70 degrees. I assumed wrong!
I started the race exactly how I wanted to. I ran the first 6 miles around 7:10-7:12 min/mile. I felt comfortable through the first 5K, but began to notice that this pace seemed harder than usual around the 5-mile mark. My breathing was becoming more labored, my legs were beginning to become heavier, and my shirt was absolutely soaked and dripping with sweat. I knew this feeling all too well as I typically experience it any time I visit my family and go for a run in the humid Florida climate. I knew that I was well on my way to overheating and having to slow my pace. I tried to hold on as long as I could and dumped tons of water over my head at each aid station, but to no avail. Around mile 7, my pace began to drop into the mid 7:00’s. Pretty soon my pace was hovering around 8:00 min/mile. I trudged along in agonizing discomfort until I crossed the finish line in 1:40:54, or a 7:42 min/mile pace.
I was hoping to finish in under 1:35:00 based on my previous training runs leading up to this race, and so I was a little disappointed with my performance at first. But in the end, it was a new half-marathon PR. I knew that it would be a hit or miss for me with the potential for the humidity to be high on race day. Unfortunately I walked away from the race feeling as if I could have covered that distance much faster. Despite a sub-par performance, I did manage to finish 26th out of 489 participants, and 1st in my age group. Next up is the Arizona Rock “n” Roll half-marathon in mid-January, which should go much more smoothly as I won’t have to worry about the humidity! Looking to go sub 1:35:00 for this race, and so it’s back to work for now, with much of my work over the next month or so focused on getting my pace as low as possible!