This past Saturday I met five other runners whom I had never met before to form team Six Degrees and run the 63+ mile Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay in Indiana. All of us knew someone in common so the team name made sense. Sixteen teams of six runners as well as six ultra marathoners took off at various times Saturday morning to complete the course. For the relay teams the course was ~63+ miles and the ultra runners took on a 50+ mile course solo.
Our team consisted of Jen, Liz, Donnie, Jessica, John and me (Brian). I was designated “Runner 1” for the team and ran the furthest distance (only by a few tenths of miles though). We each took three legs of the course with me running legs one, seven and thirteen. I got lost for about 10-15 minutes on leg #2 due to a lack of signage coming out of a wooded area, but otherwise I had no trouble on my three legs of the journey. The final leg had me and another team’s runner racing to the transition area at a dead sprint with both teams cheering us on til the next runner on our teams took off. It was a great way to end my part of the relay!
The weather while sunny and clear was also very hot! The first few legs were relatively cool, but as soon as the sun was above the tree tops the heat climbed quickly and reached the daily high of 90 degrees. The sun beat on us all day, but we found a little comfort in the AC of our support vehicle (Thanks Donnie!). Overall, it was a great day even with the extreme heat. If I don’t do the relay again next year then I may do the ultra as my second 50-mile race. For now though I’m back to focusing on training for my first 50-miler!
There are certain things in life you will never be able to out run. Some would cite death and taxes as the inevitable, but to add to this short list I would also say you cannot outrun time, police radio and the heat during any length marathon as many discovered on Cinco de Mayo this past Saturday for the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
According to the local paper the men’s top finisher this year had the slowest time in two decades due to the heat at 01:05:08. The women’s top finisher came in about 10 minutes later at 01:15:22 and then was removed from the finish area by stretcher due to heat exhaustion. My own experience also saw the effects of the heat. I was feeling fine 5-6 miles into the run and then realized my pace had slowed drastically around mile seven on the Indy 500 Motor Speedway 2.5 Mile Track. Overall, I am happy with my time of 02:19:52 which was still good enough to get seeded for next year’s race. The heat slowed me down by 14 minutes as compared to my 2011 PR.
This year I started in Corral D. To give you some perspective the Indianapolis Mini Marathon is the largest half marathon in the United States selling out the last 11 years. The 35,000 runners come from all 50 states and quite a few other countries to run the flat and fast Indy course. I started the run at a good pace hoping the heat wouldn’t bother me as much as I actually like running in the heat, but while the heat wasn’t so bad for me ranging from the upper 60s to upper 70s the humidity was over 90% with a dew point of 68 making it difficult to dissipate heat from your body. Otherwise the day was very nice and I even felt comfortable on the run once I slowed my pace to a speed that was more manageable for the day’s weather.
After the race I continued drinking Gatorade and water, ate a banana, a cookie, and two fruit snacks offered at the finish. I knew I needed to keep nutrients and fluids flowing to my system to combat the effects of the heat. Once I got back to my car I had my traditional EAS Chocolate Myoplex Shake. My family had a BBQ that afternoon and I indulged a little for a race well run and to kick off the summer right! I kept drinking fluids the entire afternoon to work on rehydrating my body. Many people stop because they already have had a bottle of water after the race. Please don’t make this mistake. The best indicator that you are rehydrated is when you finally urinate a light yellow to clear color after the race. For me that didn’t happen until over 11 hours after the end of the race. This tells me that I was very dehydrated after the race. It took over 11 hours to even feel the urge to go! Once I got home I wore my Zoot Compression Socks to help the blood flow back to my heart and to assist in vacating any lactic acid build up in my lower legs. Planned recovery efforts can make a big difference between enjoying the days after a race and suffering for several days. I’ll take Sunday off and then do a light workout on Monday most likely hitting a short 2-3 mile run and a light full body weights workout.