After last night’s decent performance in the mile, even though I missed my goal by seconds, I was a little too confident today. On the taxi to the start area, Thom Gilligan of Marathon Tours and one of the people responsible for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, says this is the toughest 10k course he’s ever run. There are some monster uphills. It’s not the uphills that killed me and made this one of my most embarrassing efforts ever. I have to run a marathon tomorrow and I barely made it through this dinky 10k. It’s barely worth the time it takes me to write this. I got beat by a guy in a full on bear costume, as well as almost everyone else.
The sun didn’t even come out today. It was overcast, which is normally the sign of fair weather for running. It almost burnt through the clouds before the start.
Almost some sun
Bermuda may sound like a paradise, but it’s not this weekend. It’s overcast and windy, and as pretty as the beaches might normally be, they are completely unattractive in this weather.
There are some hills
The race started at the sports stadium and went downhill for two miles. I ran these at my usual 10k pace, somewhere just above 8 minute miles. At the two mile mark I realized I was in some serious trouble though. I was overheating. It’s warm here, but also very humid. I’m not at all acclimated. I needed some water. I slowed my pace, but the problem with overheating is that even a slow pace is still generates heat. Once that happens, my respiration rate freaks out. I wasn’t even three miles into what should have been a leisurely run and I was walking.
The course, flat on the east-west lines and hilly otherwise
I wasn’t that concerned about the 10k. It’s embarrassing to walk in any event, and the shorter the more embarrassing it is. If this were just a 10k, it’s not a big problem. With a marathon the next day, it’s a big problem. However, I have to remind myself that I had to walk part of a 5k two weeks before my Goofy Challenge. Sometimes you just have bad days, and when you have bad days you know there will be more of them. The more you have the more you know you can survive them and that they don’t necessarily mean that the next day is going to be bad too. I thought about Graeme Obree, who didn’t break the hour indoor cycling record on the day he booked the track. He only missed it by a single kilometer. Instead of going home, he drank lots of water throughout the night, stretched every couple of hours, and came back early the next morning to try again. But, I also have to remind myself that I’m not Graeme Obree, or any other sort of athlete at that level. I’m barely even a runner.
I got to the first water stop at 3 miles and chugged a couple cups of water and some Gatorade. I got myself running again. Or, I was shuffling. I wasn’t recovering as fast as I wanted. I made it past Mile 4 and walked some more. I alternated running and walking, feeling really warm. Around the Mile 5 marker, a guy in a bear suit passed me. He had the head and everything. I was dying from the heat in just shorts and a shirt, and he was doing better than me.
The hill at mile 5 was a killer. It was moderately steep and long. There was another hill just before the finish, and I could see the Bear guy start to walk. I thought maybe I could catch him, but after a few steps he was back to running. He finished ahead of me by a couple of minutes.
I got beat by this bear.
I finished in a pace that I wouldn’t be satisfied with in a very slow recovery run. I like that the medal says “Finisher” explicitly. I finished. I also ran, as they say. I merely made it from one line to the next before the organizers went home.
Now I need to regroup, refuel, and plan for tomorrow. I’m going to need to take it a lot slower and manage the heat. The time cut-off is seven hours, and I hope I don’t need all of that. I’m going to set a maximum pace on my watch and try to keep to that no matter how I feel. Under these conditions, I’ll be satisfied with anything under 5 hours. I just don’t want to pass out from heat exhaustion.