In honor of the Skirt Sports #REALwomenmove campaign, I am sharing my most “REAL” race experience. I chose to share about a race that didn’t go as planned, because sometimes in life that happens. You pick yourself up and move on, and you don’t let it hold you back. Just like #REALwomenmove, we also have some “real” experiences. When I started this blog, it was important to me to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about my running (and the rest of my life!). So here’s my “real” race story…
Flash back to 3 years ago, when I decided once again to run the Falmouth Road Race. It was a rainy morning–the rain had been falling most of the morning leading up to the 10 a.m. race start. I wore a trash bag to keep myself from getting soaking wet while walking to the shuttle buses and standing in the corral for the start.
The start time was delayed about a half hour to pump water off one of the roads on the course–that’s how much water had fallen! It was crazy! Shortly before the start the rain stopped, but it was still ridiculously humid. I started off feeling okay for the first mile or two. The first tip off that it was going to be a tougher race was seeing one of the elites already walking off the course after the first mile.
I powered through the first few miles somewhat uneventfully, but with each step I felt worse. I hit the stretch of the course along Surf Drive, and the sun came out. Now all of the stagnant humid air got hotter, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My face started to flush hardcore. I usually get pretty sweaty when I run, but it was unbearable how hot I felt. I looked to my right and saw one of the Kenyan masters runners jogging slowly next to me.
It was probably unfortunate that my house is very close to the 4 mile mark on the race course. I moved myself to the left hand side of the road and started to walk to cool down. I looked at my phone to check the temperature and found that it was 92% humidity!
I may have been able to power through another few miles, but instead I chose to listen to my body— it was screaming at me to stop. I found out later that a number of people had to be taken to the medical tent for heat stroke and one runner was actually found unconscious along the course with a very high temp!
While that year’s Falmouth Road Race wasn’t what I had hoped for, it was a learning experience and it helped me feel better about listening to my body. Finishing the race wasn’t worth my health. In my book, running is a lot of peaks and valleys and it’s just as much about the crappy experiences as it is the PRs and memorable races.
The subpar experiences can teach you a lot about yourself and what you need to focus on to improve. We all have #REAL race experiences that we might rather forget, but that’s a runner’s life and it makes the standout races that much sweeter!
The moral of the story is, keep it real mother runners. #REALwomenmove.