Today was the Race Around the Cape 25K and it was a hot one. Not only was it hot, it was humid. And the sun….oh that sun. I love the sun, but it was just too strong and served as the icing on the cake – the kind of cake that falls mid-way through its baking.
I don’t really bake much anymore (since my market has the best cupcakes and cookies), but I do remember what happens when a cake “falls”. The middle of it starts to sink inward, slowly imploding on itself. It’s not even yummy to lick the pan after. It’s just a mess. (Bear with me, this analogy will make sense eventually!)
Today’s race had all the ingredients for a fallen cake. My goal for today was to practice my marathon pace, which I’d recently determined was approximately 8:50. As a reminder, today’s race was chosen for its hills. Period. Since I’m training for the hilly Cape Cod Marathon, today’s race fit in well with my ultimate marathon goal. So why not use it to also practice my pace? Sounded great on paper. Then the sun rose. And the cake fell.
|Fallen cake...not too appetizing|
OK, it didn’t really fall (figuratively speaking), but it could have. I started out on pace for the most part. An 8:48, a 9:10, a couple of higher 8’s. By mile 7, I knew I had to readjust my goal and my strategy on completing this race. My readjusted goal was now to try to stay steady – at whatever pace I could manage that at. The race began at 9am, so most runners were exerting the race effort during the hottest part of the day. The sun made an early appearance and never ducked behind the clouds. I had some dizzying moments that had nothing to do with my being blonde. Later, there was a stretch of oceanside running that blessed us with a refreshing ocean breeze, so you know I promptly cursed Mother Nature in one labored breath, and thanked her in the next.
Some really good stuff that happened out there today:
The course/race logistics –It’s a really pretty course that loops around Gloucester and Rockport, giving us ocean views, marsh views, and....
....did I mention, lots of hills?
Post race found a truck bed filled with Gatorades and waters, amongst tons of ice. If I were volunteering for this race, I would take THAT job for sure! A couple of us overdosed on what seemed like an endless supply of popsicles as we watched the awards ceremony.
My stats –
Finished 2:26:20 @ 9:26 pace
It’s not my marathon pace, but more like marathon training pace. I’ll take it. With a smile. Quick side story: My 60+ neighbor came up behind me on the course. We exchanged hello’s, she complimented my cute shorts, and then she steadily broke away from me. For the life of me, I could NOT catch her. I honestly wasn’t trying to catch her, since my readjusted goal (if executed) would allow me to finish this race. She went on to finish a few minutes ahead of me and placed 2nd in her age group. All the power to her. She owned that race.
Race support –
Scott was absolutely amazing! He brought a cooler filled with waters, Gatorade, Coke, and a face cloth. That face cloth become my best friend. Each time I was lucky enough to see Scott, he would have that face cloth saturated with ICE cold water. He’d drape it on my face, head, elbows, teeth…..whatever was sweating! I found out later that he did this for our other friends and running neighbors he saw along the course.
In addition, neighbors along the course set up their sprinklers, while others set up extra water stops, and one lovely woman handed out (gloved, I might add) ice cubes. I wanted to kiss her. Instead, I thanked her, stuffed one in my mouth, and the rest down my shirt. Aaaahhhh.
I can’t really label anything as bad about today’s race. Other than cramped toes on BOTH feet at the SAME time at mile 14ish, I can’t complain. The cramps were a first for me and a very odd sensation, but I didn’t panic and just let them relax so I could finish.
So as much as I love cake (vanilla with vanilla frosting for all of you who don’t know me well enough yet), I passed on a big heaping slice of fallen cake today. I’m very satisfied with how I ran, but more importantly, how I adjusted my mid-race strategy to ensure I didn’t implode. Just as a fallen cake is messy, a fallen Lisa would have been even messier. And that face cloth Scott brought would’ve been way too small to clean me up off the pavement.