Pre-Race: For those of you who have never heard of it, Rio Vista Park is on 88th Ave and Thunderbird, in Peoria. It’s about as far away from my home as you can be and still be considered part of the Valley. Just getting to the park took us an hour – and felt like a mini-road trip! I picked Lilac up at her man's Dad’s house down the street at 4:45am. Let the record show that when I passed the church sign on the way, it said that the temperature was 94 degrees. Let the record also show that the sun did not rise until 5:24am this morning. Which means it was still pitch black out at 4:45, and 94 degrees. This will become important shortly. We had discussed the temperatures the day before and wisely decided to bring our camelbaks. It should also be noted that I have been suffering from double ear infections, and a sinus infection for the last 10 days… and so the race was about week earlier than I would have preferred.
We found Rio Vista Park pretty easily, got our numbers, heard the news about Flag Shorts Guy’s knee, and found a bathroom before the race. The place was pretty packed, and there were a lot of kids on hand. ARR was also sponsoring a barbeque post race, so the charcoal was lit and making it smell like the 4th of July!
The Race: As I alluded to with my commentary about sinus infections and the heat, the race was… pretty much abysmal. It was Hot HOT HOT!!! My breathing was out of control and I knew right off that this was going to be more walk than run. Thankfully my running buddy never cares what the pace is. I’m so grateful to Lilac – she made the race enjoyable! It was an out and back course, which means that on the way out we got to see people really struggling, sweating, and gasping to get through their way back. I don’t know about anyone else, but that never gets me excited to go run harder. I still look at them and think “Look at those fools killing themselves out here on a holiday!! Where’s the fun in that?” I think it was much more fun to do the race the way we did it – cheering on all the people on their way back – especially kids and people who looked like they were struggling – and there were a lot of people struggling out there in the heat!
According to recent studies, for every 5 degrees over 65, you have to add 30 seconds to your mile pace to keep your heart rate working at the same level. At the 95+ degree mark, that meant adding 3 minutes to each mile. Since we are already so blazing fast, that means running about a 16 minute mile… which means we could pretty leisurely walk the same pace! Of course there’s nothing leisurely about the temperatures. It was so hot that I was actually having a hard time drinking - and it was bothering my stomach. It wasn’t all bad though – there were several lessons to learn:
1. Don’t get up at 4am on 4tH of July to go run a race in another hemisphere when the temperature is 95+ degrees. No, just kidding…
2. Make sure you drink a lot BEFORE the race… so you don’t have to depend on the camelback as much during the race – because you frankly can’t drink what you need to during the race.
3. The best part of a summer triathlon is at least you get into a pool first, and get to be cool and wet for the rest of the race. :)
4. Sometimes you have to re-evaluate your expectations, and roll with it – without hating yourself for being “weak”. Yes, I’ve been talking about doing well at the summer series since LAST summer, but I have trained as hard as I could, and I can’t run through a sinus infection. And that’s ok. The race is the celebration of the hard work, training, and overall wellness.
The fact of the matter is that Lilac and I were out there (before the sun rose, on 4th of July in another hemisphere and in debilitating heat) and we were enjoying our health, and our friendship. The time is irrelevant. We went, we ran, and we conquered the same 3.1 miles as everyone else out there. And, let the record show that I walked away from this race without a stress fracture like last year’s SS#3 race – that means I must be a little wiser this year too!
Post Race: 47:39 (15:20 pace), 657 out of 679, 27 out of 29 for 25-29 year old girls. 13 out of 48 for the series!! WOO HOO! My goal is top 10 by the end of the series. Oh, and the church sign on the way back at 8am said 104 degrees. :)