Let me start off by saying it has been exceptionally hot and humid lately, and if you follow me on Facebook you will know the heat has really been messing with my performance in training. Last Saturday was no different. The race started at 8:00am and it was already in the mid 80s and very humid.
Usually at this point I am regaling everyone some crazy story about running late, or moving, or the wife getting a concussion; not this time. We actually left the house on time and arrived at Beach Park with time to spare and time to get ready. The park was a great place to start and end the race because of the ample open space to warm up and socialize but also because of the very nice playground to keep the kids occupied. Getting registered was no problem (getting parked without getting hit was more of a challenge, but the nice racer did offer his apologies). Due to the city not opening the park on time there was a bit of a frantic feel to the registration process, but it still went very smooth. I got Molly and myself our racing bibs and our race shirts and we were good to go. (2 quick side notes the shirts were perhaps the least ugly shirts we have gotten so far, however the overall "registration packet" I have grown accustomed to did not exist. There were no sponsor coupons or freebies, not a big deal, just a note.)
After a brief course description and some instructions the race officially started at 8:07. The Course was a large loop that went along the beach and then through a very nice neighborhood. I must take a moment to admit, I am not a lifelong "Coastian", I have been to Pascagoula many times but I did not realize that the city had such beauty. I always thought of Pascagoula as the industrial area with the ship yard and the refinery. However the beach was beautiful this morning and the houses through the neighborhood were splendid.
There were some elements of the race I really liked. The course was very well marked and there were 2 water stations set up one at the one mile marker and another at the 2 mile marker. I also liked that at the one mile marker there was a larger digital timer set up that showed what pace you were keeping.
Unfortunately I started farther back in the pack then I wanted to and I felt sort of blocked in after the race started, I think that led to a little bit of a slower start. I finally got up to a good pace and I was keeping pace with a young man who worked at the local refinery for quite some distance. We were keeping a good steady pace and were even able to exchange a bit of dialogue. As I glanced at my watch as we were passing the 2 mile marker I noticed it was 8:24, we were making good time; However, the heat was starting to get to me. It had been at about the 2.5 mile point on my last couple of long runs that I had "bonked" and I could feel my body starting to give out again. The young Man I had been pacing with began to pull away from me, but I still kept running, just not with much gusto.
As we were coming back along the beach to finish the race I caught up with my nephew Gavin who had Started way ahead of me, and had blown up down the back stretch,. As I pulled up beside him I slapped him on the back, reminded him that I was more than twice his age and told him not to let me beat him. I was hoping the competition would fuel both of our fires and we would finish strong. I was half right, Gavin took the encouragement and took off I searched my tank and had nothing left. I finished the race, and I finished the race running, but my Time was back to 27:46. This is 1:20 slower than my last race. Gavin finished 4 positions and :17 seconds ahead of me. The young man I paced with for the first 2.25 miles or so? He finished in 26:50.
I am not as discouraged by this as it may sound, I knew how I had been responding to the heat and the humidity, so I was not surprised, I was pleased that I finished running and did not let it get the best of me. Next time I will be stronger!
All in all a good course and a good race. A good day!
One more side note before I sign off... I respect the older runners out there who have achieved the senior citizen status and can still run for miles and miles, However, at some point someone who loves them needs to tell them they need to run with a shirt. There is nothing quite like an old man running shirtless (being fit doesn't help!) So Please if you are reading this and someone you know is over 60 and likes to run, please do us all a favor and kindly suggest to them that they wear a shirt.
That is all for now the next race will be The Wesson Memorial 2 mile race here in ocean Springs on July 4th.
Until then don't stop moving... even if you are moving slower due to the heat!