Sunday, July 17, 2011

Longmont Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Longmont, CO
Saturday, July 16
Half Marathon #39
Weather - Sunny, HOT

I sort of have a goal of also completing every half marathon in the state of Colorado. Longmont is pretty close to where I live, and when I heard about the Longmont Half Marathon, I knew we had to run it. This was also our 9th weekend in a row of racing, so I was feeling TIRED and a bit BURNED OUT.

As always, the race REALLY begins the night before with our carb load dinner. Surprise, surprise, we did NOT go to Applebees! Instead, we went to Sweet Tomatoes. Yum!

Even though the race was pretty close to where we live, it started EARLY to avoid as much of the heat as possible. The week before the race we finally noticed that there was a shuttle that we had to SCHEDULE to get us from the finish line where we parked to the start. Why wouldn't we have done that when we registered? No emails were sent out about it, we only saw it because we were verifying where to go. OK...

We were scheduled for the 5:50 bus, and L thought she had seen somewhere that the packet pick-up was at 5:15. So I had to get up ridiculously early. Alarm went off at 4:10. 4:10!!! Crazy! Got dressed, ate breakfast, and we were out the door around 4:45. Obviously there wasn't any traffic at this hour, and we arrived just after 5:15. The first set of buses (for walkers and those that waited too long to schedule) were STILL there. They were supposed to have left for the start at 5:10. OK... we are wandering around and there is no sign of anyone with bibs. We find a volunteer and discover that we are actually picking them up at the start line and goody bags after we are done. In other words, we could have slept a half hour longer. Sigh.

There were supposed to be bathrooms open in the park (signs said they open at 5) but they were closed. Only TWO port-o-potties while we waited for the bus. It was already feeling warm, I knew this race was going to be tough. I wilt  in the heat.

Waiting for the bus
The busses were supposed leave for the start at 5:50. They didn't even show up until 6:11. WTF!! (We could have slept EVEN LONGER). By now we have been waiting around for an hour. The bus drops us off at the start with 90 seconds until the race is going to start. Obviously it isn't going to start on time. We cycle through the bathroom line again and by the time everyone is ready to go, we are starting 25 minutes late.

There is no "start line" (not even chalked on the ground) and no timing chips. I don't even care. The high for the day is predicted to be close to 100 degrees, and by the time we set out I was already roasting. We once again started too far in the bag and ended up in this uncomfortable jog/trot because I couldn't get around people (lake on one side and a ditch/fence on the other).

Start Line
Immediately decided - I DON'T CARE. I am so not feeling this race. It's actually pretty decent sized field for a new race - 239 people. I figure I'll do a slower and steady pace and try to not overwork myself since there aren't very many aid stations and it's already so hot out.

The first two miles are running on trail around the lake. The course itself is very pretty, but this race should NOT be held in mid July (too hot) and there really needs to be more course support. But more on that later.

The first aid station was at mile 3. I had already decided I'd need a water break before that, so I planned my first walk break at mile 1.5 so I could drink some Nuun. Holy crap. How am I so tired and hot already? It's only been 15 minutes. Grrr....

After we finish running around the lake, we finally get some pavement. We are running on a sidewalk parallel to a busy street. At least there is a teeny tiny amount of shade. Also a slight downhill and for the moment I am feeling ok. The aid station is just after we pass mile 3, and I take an Apple Cinnamon Hammer gel. We make a turn and we are back into the blazing sun.

I had planned on taking my next break at mile 4, and I barely made it there. This heat is just draining all energy out of me. Drink more Nuun and then start jogging again. Next aid station is about mile 5. Take some water and Powerade. Have I mentioned how hot and tired I am?

See the hot air balloons on the horizon?
My strategy of a quick walk break every mile is gone. It is not enough. I stop again at mile 5.6 to use the bathroom. I have to wait about a minute to get in, but I feel better (for a minute) after I get out. We are running by the river and again there is a little bit of shade, so I make it to mile 6 feeling decently ok. Man, I am TIRED.

Next aid station is mile 7. I was hoping to make it to the next stop without a break, but nope. Just can't force myself to do it. Blah!!! There was originally supposed to be an aid station at mile 9, but because some volunteers backed out, they moved it to mile 8.25. Although it was actually right after mile 8. So the only aid station after the one at 8 was mile 11. Do they know it's a bazillion degrees out??!

I have never looked at my watch so many times during a race. Am I even moving? My walk breaks are even more frequent, every 4-5 minutes. I am just so hot and tired, my heart rate should NOT be this high during a race that I'm not even "racing." (My watch would later tell me an average of 175!)

Am I hallucinating? Am I back in Iowa?
Mile 10. More walking. NO shade. Dying.

Hottest I've been. Ever.

Mile 11. Last aid station. SO THIRSTY. I am drinking too much for running, but I am so parched and I feel dehydrated. I have never sweat so much in my life.

Mile 12. WHY ISN'T THIS OVER YET??? Still no shade. !!!!!!!!!!! A lady I had been playing cat/mouse with starts talking to me around mile 12.5. Another super happy person who tries to cheer me up "we are almost there." Not close enough...

We cross a bridge and turn the corner and... there's L???? How is that possible??? I lost sight of her in the first mile. She is walking. I catch up to her while we are climbing the biggest hill of the course. She is struggling BIG TIME. Glad it wasn't just me.

Just before the mile 13 marker we decide to "run" the rest of the race. Our first finish together EVER in a half marathon.
See us SMOKIN' that chick? Bahaha.
SO. HAPPY. TO. BE. DONE. They are out of water at the finish line. Of course they are. They do have some Powerade, but considering how thirsty I am, I just want water. No food that I am interested in, I just want to leave so I can shower and forget this ever happened. But wait!!! My stalker is here!!

Finally a pic of us together. Only he doesn't know he's in it.
We collect our finisher award - instead of a medal it is a pint glass. I can live with that. Pick up my goody bag, and ONCE AGAIN, even though I registered months ago, they are out of my shirt size. NOT HAPPY.

Official Time - 2:22:27
Official Pace - 10:52
Gender Place - 80/101
Division Place - 28/36
Garmin Time - 2:22:04 (No chip timing, remember)
Garmin Distance - 13:08
Garmin Pace - 10:51
Mile 1 - 10:03
Mile 2 - 10:04
Mile 3 - 10:09
Mile 4 - 10:09
Mile 5 - 11:02
Mile 6 - 11:59 (bathroom)
Mile 7 - 10:09
Mile 8 - 11:12
Mile 9 - 10:47
Mile 10 - 11:11
Mile 11 - 11:53
Mile 12 - 11:04
Mile 13 - 11:38
Mile 13.1 - 8:43

Pint Glass - Finisher's Award
Things that annoyed me

  • Lack of communication with the shuttles
  • Buses being 30 minutes late
  • Not enough bathrooms
  • Not enough aid stations
  • Not enough water at the finish line
  • Not having my shirt size. Again!!
Things that were good
  • Liked the pint glass - better than nothing at all, and it will get used
  • The race shirt was a pretty cool t-shirt, but would have liked to have my size
  • Nice course (but NOT for July!!)
I am SO ready for my month off from racing. Nine weeks in a row of racing seems to be more than I can handle - especially during the summer. I cannot seem to adapt to the heat.


  1. Yeah, sounds like you need a break - when races aren't fun for me anymore I know it's time for a few weeks off. Of curse then I go overboard and take like months off! Ha!

  2. Man you gals are crazy busy! Seems like just last weekend I almost met you in Missoula! Great job on hammering out another one!

  3. Well, at least the pint glass is nice.

    Enjoy your break from racing!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hey Becka! Glad you and L got to finish together and have your waiting committee. Fun since that does not happen often.

    And glad you thought it was HOT too! Only my second 1/2 and I struggled, but as much from miminal training (decided WAY late to do this one and was not ready for 13.1) as from the heat. But we wanted to do this one since it was the inaugural and we live in Longmont.

    I was super bummed the race starting 25 minutes late. That was UNACCEPTABLE in July with no clouds and hot temps expected. They said it was communication problems with the bus provider. IMO that should have been double and triple checked as the whole race hinged on that. And no water at the end, are you kidding me??

    I was planning on introducing myself to you and L at the finish, but I was pooped and not feeling too social. Maybe at Georgetown!

    P.S. I was the person you had to wait on at the bathroon at mile 5.6(I was trying to be fast, sorry you had to wait). You passed us a few miles later and we finished about 4 minutes behind you and L. :)

    ENJOY your down time!!! You earned it!!

  6. I'm really impressed with your pace and finish time in the heat. Where do you and L put your iPods? Looking for a better idea than on the neck of my shirt when I have to bring the clip-on Shuffle.

  7. You have exhausted me! I mean I think I am sweating just reading about the heat. And now I have to do a half on Sunday around a lake in the heat..... I hope I will survive as well as you did!

    Congrats - now take a freaking break and a cold shower!

    **I love your stalker photo!

  8. I think that there just shouldn't be races period in July, ugh!

    So I may have missed out on the whole 'stalker' story. Saw the photo on facebook other day as well, you've peaked my curiosity

  9. The heat is so hard! and what the hell being out of water at the finish line? Bummer about your shirt size being gone, once again WTH? Great job finishing though and I love the skirt!


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