It was pretty hot - around 105 at the start and 108 at the finish. However, had they waited one more weekend we all would have been in for a real challenge - the forecast for this upcoming weekend is 117 degrees! It's not so much the temperature that I struggle with though, but rather the position of the sun. At 3pm, the sun directly pounds your skin and there is no escape. Brenna always demands that I park in the shade when we are looking for a spot in a parking lot...those shrubs do not produce much shade.
Arizona is a dry heat though. When the air is dry, your sweat cools down your skin, as designed. My plan for this race was to stop at every single water station to 1) drink water, and 2) pour water on my head to stay wet. There were 12 water stations, so nearly one every half-mile.
Before the race, we were all squished into a horse stadium. This stadium was air conditioned but squeezing 1,000 people into such a small place negated any cooling effects. There was a pre-race yoga class though...it was not very popular but I jumped right in.
The race started inside the stadium and we quickly ran into the bright sunlight. It felt like a normal race and I constantly caught myself cautiously reigning in the pace. At 3pm, I always have my kids, so I was not able to train to run this race fast - it was more like an experiment. How much would it suck?
It didn't suck at all for Miles 1- 3. In fact, I felt great.
There was a girl in front of me that I desperately wanted to pass, but I played the patient card and stayed at a comfortable pace. Right after Mile 3, I passed the girl. Mile 4 was in a headwind, and on a golf course filled with small but steep ups and downs. This is when I started getting tired.
Mile 5 is when I started getting hot. I had to adjust my water-station pattern from:
stop - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - run (5 seconds)to:
stop - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - walk to next cup - pour water on my head - walk to next cup - drink water - run (10-15 seconds).I still think that adding 10-15 seconds at the water stations was a lesser evil than not properly hydrating and slowing my pace by perhaps minutes per mile.
I never found any additional girls to pass and zoned out for a few miles. I arrived back in reality at the last water station and realized that I was very hot and thirsty. But I could see the finish -- I just had to slosh through a sprinkler-soaked grass field first. I tried to gracefully leap over puddles but as always, I landed right in the middle of each one.
At the finish, reporters asked me questions about the race. No one offered me water.
I staggered around for awhile, looking for water or, even better, watermelon. I did find snow cones, which would be AWESOME if you had $2.
Post-race refreshments were replaced with a water slide.
The top 10 finishers won prize money. This attracted a large professional field. Unfortunately, the four professional women could not contend with the men. Oddly, there were no overall women's awards so they were lumped into the age-groupers. And, us age-groupers did not win money - we won Arabian Horse Show tickets! Which, I think is pretty cool because my kids will like it. I was 5th female.
At the finish, a reporter asked me if I would do this race again.
I told them, "Maybe."
Maybe if they provide watermelon.