Well, that was interesting. This morning I set a new personal worst in the half marathon with a 2:42:24 finish in Surfside. The reasons are many, some due to my crazy body reacting to a week of <6 hours per night of sleep, but some due to the course. I admit that I may have underestimated the difficulty of running 13.1 miles entirely on sand. Now, this beach is very hard-packed, and so at first it didn't feel difficult. But later in the race, my legs felt very heavy and I could almost feel the sand sucking my energy with each step. But mainly, it just wasn't my day. I woke up with a headache, and though an Advil got rid of that particular problem, I never really felt 100%. Within the first few miles I started feeling slightly nauseous. At the end of mile 6, I ate a gu hoping it would help to get something in my system, but unfortunately that just made things worse. (I've noticed a couple times lately that when I'm tired, my stomach begins to act a little funny. Incentive to get more sleep, right?) The wind wasn't too bad, but it seemed to slow me down a lot more as I got closer to the turnaround at mile 9. And there, while it was nice to not have the wind in my face anymore, without the breeze to cool me down it got downright hot out there. My goal pace was 11:30, and I ended up averaging 12:15. For the first 8 miles, I walked for one minute at each mile marker. 1 - 11:39 2 - 11:14 3 - 11:04 4 - 11:31 5 - 11:02 6 - 11:23 7 - 11:58 (slightly longer walk break to eat the gu) 8 - 11:38 I was right on pace through this point, but it was now two miles after eating the gu, I still didn't feel any better and the nauseousness continued. I decided to switch to a run 5 / walk 1 pattern instead of just walking at the mile markers. 9 - 12:24 10 - 14:13 Ugh. At mile 9, I'd turned around to head back to the finish line, and as I mentioned already, without the wind it was just plain hot. I started to overheat. I felt bad. I was frustrated. So I decided right then to walk the next mile. Just walk the whole thing. Worst case, I'd end up with a decent 9-10 mile training run plus a nice 5K walk on the beach, right? 11 - 16:31 After walking a solid mile, I felt better. I'd managed to cool down, drink some water and Gatorade, and the nausea had finally disappeared. So I decided to try running again, and did the last couple miles in a nice-n-easy run 2 / walk 2 pattern. 12 - 12:59 13 - 13:04 0.1 - 1:39 (Garmin read this as 0.16 miles) Total time: 1:42:24 I got my medal, drank some fluids, and grabbed a banana from the pavilion. They had barbeque for lunch, and I've heard that it's quite tasty, but the thought of eating barbeque at that particular point made me feel a little sick all over again! I decided to head home, and didn't stick around much longer. I did look for JD and Jaclyn (both of whom I'd seen earlier -- Jacklyn running and JD cheering) but didn't find them. I headed back to my car (which was parked a half mile down the beach), walking along the shore with my feet in the water. The water was cold, but it felt good.
By the time I got home, I finally felt like eating again, but it’s been 8 hours since I finished and my cheeks are still very warm to the touch. The warmth of the day definitely affected me.
I’m not sure if I will do this race again, but we’ll see. I may have to do it again next year just to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth from running a personal worst! But the race itself is well-organized, the schwag is good (tech tee, coaster, mug, and cool medal), and running on the beach was a fun experience. There were some cons — primarily the mental strain of being able to see for miles but not really have any idea how much farther I had to go — but overall I enjoyed it. Even in the last miles, when I was feeling tired, sick, and just generally crappy, I could still look to my side and think “well, at least I’m at the beach! Look at those waves! See that sunshine!” It was pretty.