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Running 13.1 at 90F

July 29, 2014

Since I last wrote, we

stayed in France (and lived in the house and ate wonderful food and saw Paris and Reims and Troyes and a champagnery and and and…), and

came back (the long flight home was a dream, with individual in-seat entertainment screens), and

got back to work (including actual work plus cleaning up the house and such), and

I ran a half marathon.

I’ve run 13.1 miles once before, in training. But usually my long runs are 8-10 miles. The half is my next step on the road to a full marathon, which is a step on the road (maybe) to an ultramarathon. But for now, the 13.1.


What’s it like to get ready and run a half? I spend 3 or 4 mornings a week running – 2-3 shorter runs and a long weekend run. I take my camelback and dried cherries with me, because it’s hot here and I need a lot of water anyway. I like my regular runs, a lot. I run TO someplace, even if it’s “that bridge just past the spillway” or “the little parking area with the port-a-potty”, and then I run back again.

I did 5 miles on a treadmill once this last month, and hated it. Even with a movie on my Kindle, I hated it.


Saturday everybody got up early – Sean and the boys went with me for support, the sweeties – and headed up to Denton for the Wildfire Half. I got registered & got ready. 7:30am, they said Go.

It was really hot already.  (Heat index 88-93 during the race, 70% humidity.) There was some scant shade along the first 3 miles of the route – we were running along Loop 288 – and then there was no more, EVER EVER AGAIN.  They had water/Gatorade stations every 2 miles. After one or two stops, I started downing the Gatorade and pouring the water on my head.

Aside from the Camelbak and the water stops, which were essential, I had two saving graces: First, I made sure to bring along a change of socks for the halfway point. The volunteer and police officer at the turnaround were rather concerned when I plopped down on the side of the road and started removing my shoes. “I’m fine, I’m all good, thanks.”  Yeah, in future I’m going to change socks every 6-10 miles. My feet had zero damage, no blisters.

Second: At the last moment, I’d brought along a bandana, for wiping sweat from my face. That thing became the thin line between me and a slow death at the hands of Texas heat. I wet it, wiped my face and arms with it, draped it over my hat for extra shade and air conditioning, let it catch the runoff when I poured water on my head, held it in each hand to cool them down…I wish bandanas were some sort of living being so I could dedicate myself to them. I wish I could contribute to a bandana charity. I’d like to set up a little shrine in my house and set the bandana next to a container of Body Glide. I love that damn bandana SO. VERY. MUCH.

Sticking it out

So the last three miles were a weird kind of hell. I have this thing I do, where my body tries to shut down, and in turn I evaluate and then say “You’re not hurting, not sick, not hungry…you’re hardly even tired. Shut up and keep running.”  It’s true.

I’m lazy at heart, and I’ll imagine I’m in pain when I’m not.  But heat is different…heat is this primal thing to me, something that says, as strong as hunger or exhaustion or thirst, “You need to stop now. This is no good, you have to stop. Stop. Stop right now.”  That’s a real limitation, not imaginary, but it’s also something that’s blown up in my mind. I COULD finish the last three miles, and DID finish (albeit, sometimes running and sometimes walking).

I can run forever, I really can. But that heat is a true beating.

The guys met me right before the finish line, Eric running up and handing me a bottle of water, shouting “GOOD JOB! I can’t believe you did it!*”  Stopping was wonderful, laying down in the shade heaven.

There followed coconut water (IT WAS THE NECTAR OF THE GODS), hummus and pizza at Mellow Mushroom (OMG OM NOM OMG), and ice cream at Beth Marie’s on the square (AUUUUUGHHHLL…)

It was a good day. Now, running more and more and more, for some marathon. Some marathon in cool weather.


Results: Wildfire Half Marathon, July 26, 2014

  • Chip time 2:40:07
  • Pace 12:17/mile
  • Overall 264/436
  • Gender 124/244
  • Note to self: Go here for photos when they’re ready…

*In that impressed way, not a doubting way.


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