Sunday, September 7, 2014
Diva Half - Running in the Rainforest
What about the race. It was a mixed experience. First the start was tough. Here is the thing about these travel races, meaning they just go from town to town. They are different than local races because they don't know the little nuances that make a place a place. One thing about Atlanta, never choose a parking location with only one way in and out. My husband and I were on the road accessing the parking for 50 minutes trying to get three miles. We ended up getting there about 25 minutes before the race and had to catch the shuttles to take us 2.5 miles to the start. I had about 15 minutes before my wave 1 started to use the porta-potties. With 1500 5K runners and 2300 half marathoners you can imagine that did not happen. Also they had no one manning their social media to give updates about if the shuttles would run longer or start times would be held due to the parking disaster. Yes the shuttles ran longer; no they did not hold the start times as I was running down an embankment as they yelled "last call for Wave 1." I had no prep time. I was trying to start my Garmin find my music while catching up to the tail end of my group. I finally pulled off to get my technology straightened out. Turns out I did not need to worry about that since we self seeded and let me tell you a number of people self-seeded themselves in the wrong wave as I caught up with my group at .25 miles and many were already walking.
I tried to shake off the start. I mean I had to run 13 miles might as well try to enjoy it. The first 5 miles were pretty good they were on a tree lined street, wide enough to accommodate the number of runners, easy to pass those that maybe should have been in a different wave. Then we entered onto the golf cart paths. Peachtree City has 100 miles of Golf Cart Paths it is the Golf Cart capital. Who knew, right? The good, my Friend Laura was working that water station I had not seen her since college. So super fun to see her and get water from her sons. The bad, did not know the next 8 miles would be on narrow, winding, poorly maintained golf cart paths. It was clogged with runners so you really could not pass anyone. For awhile I was following this girl, but she was getting more frustrated and more rude, yelling "move over! Let me through!" Since I was afraid folks thought we were together I backed off and just reminded myself this was supposed to be a training run. Who cares about time. Just relax. It was a good reminder, especially as I continued running and encountered several runners who fell because of the torn up path or were passed out or hunched over because of the heat and humidity. Yeah, you really aren't living unless you run 13 miles in 100% humidity with 2300 people. I myself had to slow down a couple of times and take a little walk break around mile 10 because I could feel that I was too hot.
Diva had plenty of water stations with porta-potties and Gatorade about ever 2 miles. We needed it. They did not have enough medics for the extreme weather and the varied running experience of their participants. I was at mile 12 when I passed a woman sitting on the ground. Several people ran past her. I stopped to see if she needed help. She said she fell and thought she broke her foot. Could I send help from the next stop, which happened to be the tiara and boa stop. I sped up, because finally I had some room and also I wanted to get her some help. I finished the race in 2:16 number 362 of 2300 runners. My slowest half, but I finished, and for the conditions I felt pretty good.
The fun, they did have tiaras and boas for your photos as you crossed the finish line. They also had champagne and the biggest heaviest medal I have ever seen. They had plenty of shuttles to take us back to the field where we were parked. I was surprised by the experience. I had thought it would be this hugely supportive women's running experience, but most of the women I met were pretty standoffish and I saw a lot of folks blow past people who needed help and none of the racers really lending each other any support, may have been different further back.
The toughest thing for me personally was the heat. I was soaked through with sweat head to toe. My wet shorts and tank caused some vary uncomfortable chafing even with Body Glide. Also my shoes were so wet from sweat that the extreme downhills on the golf cart paths I felt like I would lose my balance. I did check getting completely naked in a field off my bucket list. My clothes were so soaked I had to change, had no idea we would be parking in a field. Hubby used the sun shades for the car to block me while I wriggled out of what was then a wet suit but started as a running outfit. It was great to see my husband standing cheering when I rounded the corner to the finish. I never get tired of that, even if it was pretty slow for me. I still think persevering in the heat and humidity will pay off for me at Silver Comet. The shirt is a dry fit hot pink which I love. Ultimately I would not do this race again, but I was glad I got to experience it. Maybe the heat and humidity just made it too hard to have a girl power kind of experience. My chafing is healing and took a short two miler with hubby today to shake things out. Flying to Florida tomorrow for work.
Grateful that I could make it through 13 miles! Hope you had a good weekend!