Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mid-Race Adjustments (a race report)

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
AG                 25/70  
Overall           270/516

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.


  1. Congratulations on your run! You are definitely an inspiration!

  2. Thanks so much and thanks for following me! I'm looking forward to getting to know you :)

  3. Great job! The heat and humidity today were definitely tough today!

  4. Great job! The course sounds beautiful, but very tough.

  5. Always a good finish when you can adjust during the race and adopt a new strategy. Been there and for the most part done that. It certainly does make the difference in running the rest of the race. Happened recently in Jacksonville- for the marathon there- rainy, misty conditions and each mile looked the same! Decided that the race pace I had picked was not going to happen at about mile 6. That meant one very long 20 miles to go! Very few spectators. Never once saw my family or friends. I readjusted things in my mind though and decided I needed to finish and finish feeling happy with what I had accomplished. What pace could I do the rest of the race in? Just stinks when it happens so close to the start of a race though. Oh well, there are always more races and more strategies to try out I figure. That does sound like a tough race!!! You did awesome!!!

  6. Ah, Jacksonville! I didn't run it but I was chief of support the year my husband and friend ran it. It was also a rainy day that year.

    Readjustments are what all the cool kids are doing :)

  7. It sounds like a tough race. It reminds me of the Kona marathon because of the ice (I stuffed my face with it and let it melt in my mouth and held it in my hands as I ran) and I had a cramp in my foot in the last miles. Yay for finishing!

  8. Ice is the best thing ever during a warmer race! It also saved me during one race a few years ago, when I had poison ivy all over my hands.....

  9. Congrats on your race! I ran this one a few years ago....the hills are CRAZY!!!

  10. Hey thanks Nancy, for the congrats and for following me :) Glad THAT race is in the history books.