Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snapple Cloud Half Marathon Recap

I was really excited to run the Snapple Cloud Half Marathon for my second time this morning. So excited, in fact, that I hopped out of bed at 5:30 am, instead of pushing snooze and cursing the beeping 500 times.

The race was about an hour away,  but I declined all offers of carpooling, because I am an audiobook addict.

There was limited parking, so the race director had begged everyone to carpool and meet at this satellite parking lot a few miles away from the race start, but it seems like Kara, myself, and about 6 other people read that email. I hopped in her car, and we headed over to the race start. 

Can you spot our third race buddy in the back?

That's right, I ran an entire half marathon with a dog! And, I was not the most unhappy runner about Peanut participating.

It was below freezing at the start, but supposed to warm up, so I just wore tights, a t-shirt, and my arm warmers. Kara got crazy and just wore a running skirt.

We were supposed to run in wave two, but we couldn't hear the announcer, so we just went when everyone around us started moving. The race was on  a canal path of crushed rocks and gravel. There were some huge puddles, and we even saw a girl slip in the mud and nearly fall into the canal! Her friend had to grab her to pull her back onto the trail. Wild stuff.

I wanted to PR in this race, although my recent runs haven't really led me to believe it was going to happen. After just a few minutes of running, I could feel myself wheezing, and unfortunately knew that meant I was going to have to stop for an inhaler break - so annoying. I had considered using it before I started, but I tend to get really light-headed if I do that, so I vetoed it. Once the crowds thinned a bit around mile 2, we pulled over to the side so I could puff away. I had a feeling that meant the race wasn't off to the greatest start. 

That seemed to set the tone of the entire race - my legs felt great, I was enjoying it mentally, but my lungs felt terrible. I was huffing and puffing and after a few miles had the horrifying realization that I was THAT PERSON - the annoying, loud breather. 

The race was supposed to be 6.55 miles out and back on the towpath, so when the turnaround came just after the six mile marker, we had a feeling this wasn't exactly going to be the "half marathon" we'd planned on. Shortly after the turnaround, Kara took a bathroom break and I held Peanut while using my inhaler again  (for real this time, not taking a quick puff and then taking off running again). Clearly, this meant both of us had basically given up on our time goal. 

Usually, runners seem to make friends with other runners during races, even if it's short lived. I've never encountered so many complete jerks while racing before. Right at the start, some girl rudely asked Kara if her dog was allowed to be there, and then muttered something like "I doubt it" while racing away from us. Now, no one despises the entire dog species more than me, but I would never be that rude to someone who's dog was clearly well behaved and not bothering me in the slightest. We also got cursed out by a guy we passed while he immediately passed us back, and Peanut got attacked. TWICE. The second time I came to a skidding halt in the mud to avoid falling on top of the snarling dogs, causing the runners behind me to slam into me. People follow Maryland's leash law about as well as they follow the no texting while driving law.

When we passed the leashless dogs (still roaming free!) on our way back, Kara prepared to inform the owners of the leash laws, and I eagerly yanked out my headphones in anticipation of the return Inner Race Bitch. Unfortunately, the offending dog walkers must not be English speakers, because they just continued on their merry way without even giving Kara a glance for all her angry shouting.

As we ran back towards the start/finish, all of the mile markers were nearly a mile off, so I wasn't sure which was wrong, the course or the mile markers, but I tried to mentally prepare for the full distance. We suddenly saw a big group of people shortly ahead of us, and went through a confused dialogue  "is that the finish?" "it can't be the finish, we're not even at mile 12" "there's a big crowd of people, they don't seem to to be moving, and they are blocking the trail".

It was the finish indeed, and 12.14 miles after we began, we were done. We'd been shorted on our half marathon. If I'd been on track to PR, I would have been devastated, but since neither of us were having a great race, we laughed it off. I'd been hot as hell and jealous of Kara's bare legs during the race, but, as usual, as soon as we finished, and I was standing around in 40 degree weather in nothing but a soaking wet t-shirt and thin arm warmers, I nearly died of hypothermia on the half mile or so walk to the car.

We were cool with being shorted, but Peanut was pissed.

I was pretty surprised and disappointed when I checked out my mile splits. I could have sworn we were going something like 7:30 at least during a few miles, but our times were all pretty slow (relative to race pace) - the fastest mile was only 8:22. I guess all that huffing and puffing made it seem harder than it was. Of course, according to my heart rate monitor, I should be dead, since my maximum heart rate was 213! I've never seen anything over 200 since I got a HRM nearly 3 years ago. My average heart rate was 183 - still pretty high. Still, seeing those times when I thought I was pushing so hard was pretty defeating. I guess that explains why Kara was barely out of breath.

Totals: 12.14 miles, 1:46:46, average pace 8:47 (according to my Garmin). Apparently the course is USTAF certified, so I can officially say I ran a 1:46 half marathon.

I did survive being in a car alone with a dog, so that's an important first. Not sure why the picture was flipped, I was in the passenger seat. 

We are going to "Action Movie Sunday" tonight, a party where a bunch of friends are all watching Diehard (and some other movie, but one action movie is more than enough for me). According to the emails, there isn't going to be anything for me to eat there, so I'm pretty sure I'm showing up with Subway in my purse.  Luckily I'm pretty sure everyone attending already knows I'm a weirdo.


  1. I saw this on daily mile and it kinda made me laugh (sorry!) Who mis-measures a half by more than a mile?!

    Wow, people bring dogs to races all the time out here! In fact, it happens so often that each race specifically states whether they are allowed or not. I'd just be proud of a dog for running 12 miles!

    Nice pr ;)

  2. the first race I did last year, some kids moved all the signs around the night before. Someone saw them and knew to contact the race directors, who scurried out pre-dawn to put everything back where it belonged... as best they could. The 5 mile race was spot on according to my GPS. Everyone crossing the same finish after the half complained the course was long.

    Not saying that's what happened here, but if a course is certified someone measured it at some point.

    Who has a party without food?!?

  3. Peanut's gonna get you!

    Those racers sound like dicks. I'll admit that I get frustrated with dogs during a race, but that's only when they are out of control or on too long a leash. Kara needs to start punching asshats in the back of the head. Especially that guy. Sounds like it hurt his feelings to be passed by women.

    So, has the race commented on the course issue? How the crap is it USTAF certified and that short?

  4. SO sorry you had asthma issues to deal with. but great job riding in the same car with Peanut and even holding her leash!

    Bummer on the course not being a full half marathon.

  5. There is so much that I love about this recap.

    I love that you said that you were jealous of my legs (at least that's how I choose to read it)

    I love that you added the part about the chick almost falling in the canal and screaming like a rape victim.

    At least now you can do that tri at a 20% discount now. :)

    Also, I wasn't out of breath because I was trying to not poop my pants so hard that I was holding my breath. :)

  6. the last picture with peanut in the background is hysterical. i would have been so pissed if i PR'd. what a crappy race.

    asthma sucks. i have been in your situation so many times. your legs want to go but your lungs want to sit on the couch.

    look at it this way, you got an incredible tempo long run in today!

  7. You three look so cute! Congrats on your race. Sorry people were such A-holes. I have participated in a couple of that race director's races and they attract weird types.

  8. Congratulations on the new maximum HR PR. That's taking that "suicide pace" thing more seriously than I expected (or would expect of anyone).

    Congratulations for running 13 miles with a dog nearby.

    Maybe you could run a race actually holding Peanut sometime, as a next step up -- we allow dogs in our trail races :)

  9. Maybe they'll make a Die Hard 14 sequel with vampires in it, one of these days, for you....

  10. Congrats on the half! How did you fair with the unleashed dogs?

  11. Loved the whole recap, but the best part "...according to my heart rate monitor, I should be dead..." Classic !

    As purpletoenails said, congrats on the HR PR. You three do look like you had fun though, and sorry about the A-holes out there. You would think people could be just a bit nicer since its all in fun..right?

  12. Good lord. I don't even know what else to say. That race sounds ridiculous. As always, I'm jealous you got to see Kara's righteous rage and I didn't.

  13. Wow! I so enjoy reading yours and Kara's race recaps back to back - I get to feel like I'm actually there. :)

    I completely sympathize with the breathing issue! Congrats on the race!

  14. So sorry about your breathing issues and the nasty people at the race. What a bummer! I hope your breathing continues to improve. I am always the annoying loud breather because I have nasty allergies that lead me to breathe like a pack a day smoker, but there isn't much to do about it since no meds seem to help.
    Way to survive alone in the car with the dog, if you're not a dog lover that is a big deal.

  15. Nice job on working through the breathing issues. The husband was recently diagnosed with cold-induced asthma, which makes his training pretty interesting out here. Hope training for Myrtle Beach is going well!

  16. Wow. Short course and rude runners? Not a great day, but sounds like you made the best of it!

  17. Regardless of the distance shortage that is still an instant PR. Wasn't that your first race with a dog. See instant race type PR. heehee

    Even if it wasn't your running day, ya'll still look like you had fun. And at least you are racing!

  18. Wow, they were off by a mile? That's a lot! I feel bad that Peanut got attacked. Leash laws are laws for a reason, duh!


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