Alexandria Half Marathon Recap

I’m so sorry I’ve been M.I.A. all week! The funny thing is that I have sooooo many things to post about but I just haven’t felt like taking my (already limited) free time to spend more time on the computer. You guys understand, right? Some weeks I love to blog everyday and some weeks I need a few days off to watch trashy tv shows during my free time πŸ™‚

But I definitely wanted to get my act together and post a recap of the Alexandria Half Marathon that my sister and I ran last Sunday. I did a mini-recap earlier this week where I mentioned that it was HOTTER than hell out and my time suffered. Definitely strange going from a 1:40 half PR in February (when the weather was perfect: 50s and sunny) to a 2:14 in May. But my sister, who has been documenting her return to running in her Back in the Saddle series, pulled a good time despite the unfavorable conditions. We both probably would have shaved at least 10 minutes off our times had the weather been cooler (like it is this weekend UGGHH), but c’est la vie. We had so much fun running the race together and we finished!

**I have tons of pics from this race because we had great “course support” (the bfs) out on the course and the pics from the official race photos are pretty good!Β 

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? On Saturday we slept in a bit because the race expo didn’t start until 1pm. You know i’m all about the sleeping in so this made me really, very happy. We made our way from my house (well, the house I am living in part-time this summer as I work in D.C.) in northern Alexandria to downtown Alexandria to pick up our bibs and t-shirts

I seriously thought about running the Kilimanjaro Marathon for a good 10 minutes. I’m still considering it because how awesome would that be?

Once we had our swag we went out to an amazing brunch in Foggy Bottom at Founding Farmers (weekend recap post to come) and had a nice, relaxing day. Sunday morning we woke up bright and early around 5:30am to get something to eat and prepare to go to the race start. The temps were in the mid 70s at that point but they climbed pretty quickly

Crowd at the race start

We waited around for about 30 minutes, just enough time to use the porta-potty once and stand around in the crowd feeling anxious (actually for some reason I didn’t feel anxious at all even though I normally do. I don’t even think I realized I was running a half marathon, it just didn’t register for some reason). The race start was pretty good for a smaller race. They had some fun music and plenty of porta-potties, which as we know always makes things easier. And then in no time we were off! Becky and I decided to take it slow in the beginning and run at least the first half of the race together. We were running a 9:45 and it didn’t even feel like we were moving!

Us approaching mile 2, where our “course support” was πŸ™‚ We passed this point 3 times (mile 2, mile 5, mile 11) so it was a perfect place for our bfs to stand. They were really the only ones out there so it was nice to have a personal cheering section, not to mention my frozen water bottles, which turned out to be a lifesaver

Course support!!!

Approaching mile 5

Bottle drop at mile 5 . Like I said before, the frozen bottle was amazing but it didn’t last me past mile 8 because it was sooooo hot. The water they had at the aid stations was luke warm and the whole race was basically in the sun…

…so by the time I got back to mile 11 I was feeling awful. I knew I had to be careful because I had already thrown up my Gu at mile 8 and was feeling very light-headed with a headache (definitely symptoms of heat exhaustion). I kept pouring water over me, but it was lukewarm so it didn’t really help much.

Finally got back to mile 11 and even though I got a fresh, frozen water bottle, I was feeling awful.

heat exhaustion

I basically walked/ran the last 2 miles. I thought maybe I’d pass out I was that hot. If there is one thing I know, you don’t want to mess with heat exhaustion/stroke. I saw a girl on the final mile completely passed out with 4 medics around her. So. Not. Worth. It. I’ll take my 2:14 thank you very much.

While I was struggling with the intensity of the heat and humidity, my sister was pushing on. We got separated around mile 8 when I started to feel sick and she just cruised to a nice 2:02 finish. Yay Becky!!!!!!!

A little over 10 minutes later I finished feeling (and let’s be honest, looking) like crap. Don’t think I’ve ever felt that sick during a race but I also don’t think I’ve ever run a race in such hot weather (sure I’ve done triathlons during the summer on really hot days, like the Mission Man Tri I did last year when the temps were in the 90s, but you don’t get as hot during the swim and bike portions).

I had to rest for a minute inside the air conditioning…

And I finally got my act together to look semi-normal.

So the race was hard. The course itself was pretty fun, even though there wasn’t much shade (definitely a con). There are some short, steep hills throughout the course plus one long one up and over a bridge. The first 4 miles are on a pretty boring road but after that you are on a bike path and cross some bridges so that was nice. Plus, the course allowed us to pass our support area 3 times, which is always nice (to see familiar faces, get pics, and for me new water bottles since I like to run holding a bottle…strange I know).

So far this year I’ve had 2 age group medals (Colonial Half and WV Strawberry festival), run a bunch of different distance races (1 miler, 10k, 15k, 2 half marathons) and there will be better races in the future, I know it. We finished and were smiling so that’s all that counts πŸ™‚

I’m gonna take my mediocre time and just move on to the next goal. You can see that I updated my race calendar on the right sidebar to now include a few more 10ks this summer and a 20 miler in September that will help me prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I would like to do another half marathon in there somewhere but know that the hot summer months probably aren’t the best for distances longer than a 10k. There aren’t any half marathons even offered nearby in the next few months probably for that reason!

What is the hottest race you’ve ever run in? How do you cool down during a run?

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16 Responses to Alexandria Half Marathon Recap

  1. MAJOR PROPS TO YOU! I can’t even imagine running in heat like that. Plus, nothing is worse than luke warm water on a humid, hot day. Congrats on finishing for sure! You played it smart too by not pushing yourself to the point of passing out like that one girl. I hope she’s okay! But you did an amazingggg job πŸ™‚

  2. katiemoves says:

    None of my races have been that hot, but just running my normal 3 or 4 miles can be bad in the heat so i can only imagine! good job for playing in smart..no one needs any heat related illness- not fun!

  3. Idlehide says:

    Interesting race recap! I agree with you that it’s totally not worth it to get a great time. I saw a few people down on my course and I just kept going at my snail pace because I wasn’t going to push it! I like the pictures of your bf supporting you, so cute:)

  4. kaitwatts says:

    Heat sucks! I ran my marathon almost two weeks ago. It was 70 at the start and 85 in the shade at the finish, with heat in the 100s in the sun. I had to do the walk run to finish as well. It was brutal. I too saw someone collapse in the last mile and thought it’s not worth it. Congrats on playing it smart.

  5. Amy says:

    Congratulations for finishing and not passing out! (Cute race outfit too!) It seems like every race recap I’ve read this spring has involved ridiculously hot temperatures. And yeah, I guess pouring water on yourself isn’t too helpful when it isn’t cold.

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