Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Naples Half Marathon Recap

Fiasco? Disaster? Disappointment?  Failure?  All of the Above?
Technically I finished - here's the medal I "earned"... 
Yup, that just about sums up the Naples Half for me.  But, hey, you win some you lose some, right?  This race's training was pretty much as up and down as you could get.  I fluctuated from having great training runs [my fastest 10 miles yet!] to angrily wondering why I couldn't finish a simple 6 mile run.  I also fluctuated weight - 9 pounds in 3 weeks, to be exact - presumably a result of following the low Fodmap diet to help with my um...trottasticness?  So, I wasn't entirely sure what would happen at this race - I tried to be optimistic, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be great.

Let's start this recap by saying that I thought I was going to get lucky with some cool weather when the 80-something degree forecasts started dropping to the 60's.  Little meteorology (?) lesson here: don't forget about humidity.  When I looked up the weather the night before the race, there it was, lurking in a small font below the seemingly reasonable 60ish degree forecast: 100% humidity.  Yeah, so, safe to say I felt like I was running while wrapped in saran wrap.

As I walked from my parents house to the start line, though, I was trying to focus on other things.  Like, how freaking cool it was that some world class runners were warming up jogging right by me on 5th Avenue.  One of the benefits of running a race with good prize money, but less than 2,000 entrants?  Getting to exchange "Good Lucks" with some pretty awesome runners like Hellen Jemutai and Ernest Kebenei.

Another plus was that though the lines weren't short, per say, you could definitely get in a nervous trip to a porta-potty or two pre-race.

By the time the National Anthem was sung [with the help of the runners when the speakers gave out], the sun was beginning to rise and the sticky air was hugging us hello.  I started out happy enough, thinking that the heat would be no problem, just as long as I made sure to hydrate.  Water stations were about every 2 miles so I made sure to get water or Gatorade at each.  The first few miles I was trying to just enjoy running in my first race in a while, how cheery everyone around me was, and the fact that the several out-and-backs meant that I would get to wave hello to my faster friends who were running the race.

Around mile 4 I even made a friend.  An older gentleman who asked me if I knew how to dance several different types of dances - all of which I did not.  "Then how are you going to dance at your wedding?" he asked me.  "Ha, I've got to work on getting a ring first," I replied.  At that point he told me that if my boyfriend was in town for the race I should put them in touch so that he could guarantee me a ring soon, "and I'll make sure to let him know it should be 6 months worth of salary," he assured me.  The company and laughs were welcome, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with the pace for much longer, so I pardoned myself.

The pace the first half was clearly part of my problem.  I crossed the half way point around 1:07, which would have taken 3-4 minutes off my PR if I could have continued on at that pace.  Big IF, people.  By the halfway point I was already annoyed about the out-back nature of the course and feeling the humidity get to me.  Not long after I decided to entice myself with a Power Gel.  It may have been too late.  A few miles later, around mile 9.5, I decided I'd walk the water stop - no harm in that.  In fact, I think I even walked a water stop or two during my best half.  Sadly, this was the beginning of the end for me.  By mile 10 my tummy troubles started flaring up [how is this possible?! I hydrated! I've been diligently following a Low Fodmap diet! I drank about 1/3 of a bottle of Pepto before the race!], and the next thing I knew I was coming out of a porta potty around mile 10, reading a sidewalk chalking that said "The Universe Has Got Your Back," - yeah right, I thought.

I had been run/walking for a few miles when I caught up with a nice guy from Indiana who was doing the same - apparently following me the last few miles, as he said.  I told him we should try to jog it home when we hit the 12 mile marker, but that lasted about 2 minutes at best.  He told me he'd walk with me for a bit, which was very sweet.  So naturally, I felt really bad when we turned the corner to where my parents house was coming up and I took off - I thought we'd run together but I had a little more juice than him at that point and knew my parents and their friends would be cheering - I had to at least put in whatever I had left to not look too pathetic for them!

When all else fails, smile and be thankful you have a cheering section :)

My mom & dad and some of their wonderful friends cheered me on and held a sign saying there was a 1/2 mile to go.  I decided that if they could hang around outside for hours cheering I could put on a good face and run to the finish.  The extra support definitely helped - if nothing else than to remind me that they could probably still see me on the straight away if I walked!

Wishing the finish line closer - unsuccessfully
A few minutes later I crossed the finish line with my dismal, worst finish time ever - just under 2:28.  Yeah, Paula would have lapped me if she had been running the course twice.  But, you do what you can, you know?  I absolutely wish I hadn't stopped to walk, but I honestly didn't feel like I had anything left to keep going - even super slow.  And sure enough, when I got home, my body let me know that I had certainly not left anything in the tank - by giving me a traditional post-run nausea and vomit fest.  Seriously - how's that for capping off a bad race?

Fortunately, I had my mama to take care of me while I was sick and my dad to cheer lead me through the tumultuous training, and to rally up a team of cheerleaders for me on the course, and an overall great weekend with my parents.  So all in, maybe the race itself wasn't the best experience, but I'm glad for the good that came with the bad!


  1. the good thing is that you had amazing supports and there are always more races, way to stick with it!

  2. That sounds rough, but humidity is no joke. I'm lucky we don't have it much around here. Good job finishing that beast!

  3. ah, i see the point of the "sometimes you get the bear..." quote now! humidity is the absolute worst. way to stick it out.

  4. Sorry it wasn't the best race, but it is definitely a great learning for future training/races... I definitely do not do well in humidity so kudos for powering through!

  5. Just reading this now -- I was in the race as well, and living down here in SWFL, can say honestly that the humidity was pretty bad on race day. I walked a fair amount of the last 2 miles too!

    Next time, try the Hooters to Hooters Half (1st Sunday in March, in Fort Myers); it's usually more PR-friendly in March -- this year, it was mid-to-high 40's and, though it rained up until the race started, not as thickly humid -- and the course has fewer out-and-backs (only one, miles 7 & 8 are up and down the Edison bridge), but it's still easy to have a cheering section follow you. Plus, you can watch Spring Training at the same time, as the Twins and BoSox train in Fort Myers!