THE HEAT IS ON…
My love affair with summer running continues.
Last Monday I laced up my shoes for a race with Run Social Atlanta… The Monday Night Brewing 10K. Now “Monday Night Brewing” may sound familiar to you because back in December I was scheduled to do the Monday Night Brewing 10-Miler. But that event was snowed out.
Cut to six months later and snow was not a factor in this race. Actually, I would have given various body parts for some snow (or a snowcone) because at race time the temperature was a very steamy 87 degrees. Now couple that with high humidity (it had rained just a few hours earlier) and you get conditions that approximate running on the surface of the sun.
It was one of the hottest races that I’d ever done.
I went into this 10K with very moderate expectations. It was already an evening race on a Monday (not the norm for me) so I figured I’d take it nice and easy. That turned out to be an understatement. I found myself gasping for breath far far earlier than I had expected.
And then things go a little weird at the 5K turnaround. The race was an “out and back” 10K/5K combo and had several hundred participants. Now I expected a good percentage of people to run just the 5K, but when we hit the 5K turnaround arrow it seemed like the entire race did a 180. The whole throng of runners that surrounded me did a seemingly synchronized about-face and headed back to the brewery (and awaiting beer).
I was almost entirely alone.
I looked ahead on the running path (we were on the Atlanta Beltline) and saw just a handful of people still running the longer distance. Perhaps the 5K runners knew something we didn’t. Was there a heat monster ahead waiting to gobble up the unfortunate souls foolish enough to attempt the 10K in this weather? Were they afraid that if they ran the 10K they would return to the brewery to find it completely drunk dry by the thirsty 5K runners?
Whatever the reason, we 10K runners were in clearly in the extreme minority.
I guess in hindsight I’m glad there weren’t too many witnesses to watch me gasp and gulp for breath in the sweltering conditions. When I finally hit the 10K turnaround, I came to the harsh realization that I was almost totally gassed. And I still had over three miles to go.
What followed was what we like to refer to as a “character building” run. Like a car with a sputtering engine, I alternated between running and walking trying to make it back to the brewery before I melted into a puddle with running shoes.
There was a saving grace to this race as I soon found myself nestled amongst a quartet of fellow floundering 10Kers. My misery did enjoy their company. It was a funny slog as each of us was following a different run/walk ratio. So one of us would pick up the pace and take the temporary lead, only to fall back once they took their foot off the gas. For most of the last two miles we shifted positions more often than a three-card-Monte dealer in mid hustle (I kinda like that analogy).
I must have had a little extra gas in the tank as I pulled away from my new found flock in the last half mile. But after the run I met up with them and chatted away over our post-race cold brews (they didn’t run out; it was a brewery after all).
Looking back, in regards to my performance this was definitely not one of my better races. But it was still a fun time as I got a cool tech shirt, neat pint glass, some good beer and made a few new friends. Not a bad way to spend a hot Monday night.
Don’t melt… and Run on!