Sunday, September 25, 2016

Surftown Suffering '16

Westerly, RI
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Not my best day.  Here is a brief recap.  I've run Surftown since its inception in 2011.  We had a streak of a few nice cool dry Surftown years, but alas nothing can last forever.  Last year was a bit humid, and this year was a meltdown.  I was fretting about this in the days leading up to the race, and this was the forecast that unfortunately was true:
Overnight low of 72 degrees, and humidity of 95%!  Ugh.

Strategy:  In the days leading up to the inevitable humidity sufferfest, I was Googling various sites offering insight into racing in the heat, racing in humidity, etc.  I had already suffered through a number of races this summer, but this one was a half-marathon.  The best advice I found was "Don't try to beat the heat. Pushing too hard despite the heat is one of the biggest causes of heat-related illnesses. Don't expect to run a predicted race time that might be possible in better conditions. You'll need to adjust your race plan based on the conditions."  OK, back off I got it.  Was targeting to run early miles in 5:55 - 6 flat, but let's drop that back to 6:15 - 6:20.

First Half:  Mile 1 was my best mile in 6:12.  By the end of Mile 1, I was already completely drenched from my own sweat, head to toe.  Between the humidity and the 10mph wind on the way back from Weekapaug, every single one of the next 7 miles would be progressively slower.  Where I was running 5:55 on Atlantic Avenue westbound just two years ago, I was running 6:40s!  Felt awful.  By Mile 8, I had slowed to a crawl at a 7-flat pace.

Drenched, feeling and looking awful.

Second Half:  My miles down to Watch Hill were unenjoyable and hovered right around the 7-flat mark.  Seeing BLS, JV, and JH in Watch Hill was helpful, but I just wanted this to be over.  On the way back from Watch Hill, I got passed by two more guys and was pretty sure one was in my age group.  Do I even care?  Picked it up the final mile for a 6:18 and was so glad to be done with this race.  Promptly went through three bottles of water, and then jumped in the ocean.  Hung around for awards and to catch up with Tommy, Mike, and a few other locals, and was glad to call this a day.

Final results:  1:28:01, 6:43 pace.  8th out of 1,418.  2nd in age group.  My slowest Surftown to date, and more than 7 minutes off my 2014 PR.

So glad to be done with this race
(Photo by Matthew)

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