Monday, May 28, 2012

Ringing In Hope 5K: Heat, Hills, Humidity

This morning I ran my 4th Ringing In Hope race (I've run both the summer and the New Year's race ever since the Inaugural race on New Year's Eve, December 2010.) They always offer a 5K and a 10K, and this year I chose the 5K. Last summer, I ran the 10K and it was a truly miserable experience because of the heat. My pace slowed by over a minute per mile during the last two miles and it took everything I had not to walk. Afterwards, I was really out of it and kept feeling like I was about to pass out.

I didn't want a repeat performance, so I decided to stick to the 5K. With a start time of 9:00, I knew it was going to be brutally hot once again, well before the forecast even came out.

I just had to laugh when I received an email on Friday with a subject line of "Weather Looking Great for Monday's Race."  Ha! It was 80 degrees and very humid at the start line. Not exactly great, but I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up.

Going into this race, I was worried about dehydration. Although I had drunk plenty of water the day before, I had either food poisoning or just a really upset stomach. I was in serious pain for several hours and all my hydration work went down the toilet, literally. This morning, the stomach pains were still there, and I just had to hope that my stomach would behave for the duration of the race.

When Greg and I arrived at the race, there was a very long line for getting our bibs. We got there just before 8:30 and it took about 20 minutes to get through the line and pin our bibs on. I still needed to go to the bathroom again, so there wasn't much time to warm up.  We ran for about one minute, and considered ourselves warm. We didn't get shirts because we didn't have time to wait in the shirt line and then go back to put them in our car. Oh well.

At the start line, they announced that the start would be delayed by five minutes due to the number of people still in line to get their bibs. Seriously? UGH. I was getting so hot just standing there. And then when 9:05 rolled around, that's when the pre-race rituals started, meaning the actual start didn't happen until 9:10.

My strategy for this race was to go out slowly and not push until the end. I didn't have a time goal-- I was more hoping to win an age group award of some sort. I figured just getting sub-23:00 would be a nice achievement, given the heat.

It was hot!
The race starts on an uphill, and I am very familiar with the course. My first mile was 7:21. I told myself that if I could hold on to that pace, I'd be golden. Well, it got really hard after the first mile marker. I was so hot, and there was no shade anywhere. High humidity, 80 degrees, rolling hills-- the 3 H's that can really test a runner's mental resolve! I decided not to look at the Garmin and just keep the effort level constant. I don't know if I could have pushed harder, or if I just didn't push harder because I was afraid of passing out in the heat. Either way, the tempo effort was as much as I could muster, and I told myself just to keep going, and the race would be over soon. Mile 2 was 7:39.

During the last mile, I came upon a 10-year old being paced by a woman who looked to be in about her 40's. I wasn't sure if she was the mother or the coach. I was about 10-15 seconds behind them. Normally I would try and catch up, but I thought "neither of them in my age group, it's okay if they stay ahead". All I cared about during the last mile was maintaining my placing and not letting anyone pass me. I had slowed down significantly, but it looked like a lot of other people were, too. In fact, I saw quite a few people walking during the last mile. I remember the one time I walked in a super hot 5K. I wasn't pleased with myself afterwards, so I told myself to just keep running no matter what. I ended up with an 8:01 for that last mile, which included a long uphill at the end. I didn't let it phase me, I just focused on keeping the effort level up and hoping that no one would pass me. I had a super fast downhill finish to 23:39. Far off of my time goal, but I finished in one piece without stomach problems or feeling dizzy at the end.

This is the second 5K in a row that a 10-year-old has beaten me by 10 seconds. I need to watch out for those little ones!

I was the 8th overall female out of 382 and I won 2nd place in my AG. My award was a gift certificate to a local running store. Yay! This puts me in the top 2%, so even though my time was really slow for me, my placing validated how tough it was out there.

It's hard to believe that I can run a 10-miler at a faster pace than I ran today's 5K. Heat is serious business!

Afterwards, Greg and I were chatting with our friend Chad, talking about the potential for age group awards. While doing that, I nearly missed getting my award! I noticed they were giving them out, so I ran over there, and the announcer (who knew me) said "Elizabeth did you get your award?" Ha-- I feel like I crashed the whole order of things. Turns out she thought I was in my 20's and had won first place age group, but then quickly realized I was in my 30's, which was a more competitive grouping.

Anyway, I'm happy about the award, pleased that I didn't stop and walk, but obviously not thrilled with the major slowdown and slow overall time. Is it fall yet????

Chad (won 2nd place AG), me and Greg.


  1. Heat and humidity are also my kryptonite! Which is why I rarely do any races after early May until late Sept. Good job toughing it out and congrats on your AG placing!

  2. Congrats on your race and AG award!! It was so hot that morning!

  3. Great job!! Humidity & heat kills me and you roughed it out like a champ! I wouldn't feel bad about the slow down at's expected in those conditions. I want your stomach, lol. ;).

  4. Congrats!!! And watch out for those 10year olds. they are sneaky.

  5. I think that in this kind of weather, your place is a lot more significant than your time. So using that measure, you had a great race!

  6. hills heat and humidity is the triple yuk for me! congrats on pulling out a decent race and AG award!

  7. You still did AWESOME despite the heat, hills, and humidity.


  8. You're right, heat is serious business! I've started to training mid-morning to get better acclimated to the heat.
    But congrats on the age group placing! That's fantastic!