Monday, 16 March 2009

Race Report: Bath Half Marathon

I had a lovely weekend in Bath. Walked around a lot, took photos, relaxed. Sadly, my camera battery died on Saturday evening and I forgot to bring my charger, so no race day pics.

The proprietor of the B&B I was staying at was also running the half marathon along with her daughter. The three of us walked to the start line together and then hung out. The race started 30 minutes later than expected. We didn’t realize this until we were already packed into our starting corral, so by the time we did start I had to pee again. Junk.

The course was basically a double loop. The only truly scenic bit was the start/finish area. The rest was through suburban residential and commercial areas. Having said that, there was great crowd support the whole way, something I haven’t experienced in a race before. The race was touted as being flat. Eh, not so much. Half of it was. The other half consisted of annoying inclines, most of which I had to deal with twice because of the double loop situation. There were also no pace leaders for the race, so once again I was left to my own shoddy pacing.

The day was beautiful. Dare I say too beautiful. The sun was out in full force and there was nary a cloud in sight. I didn’t think to bring sunglasses with me because on Friday when I checked the forecast for race day it said cloudy. Oops. So, I pretty much burned the hell out of my eyes leaving me looking like I’d overindulged in the wacky weed for the rest of the day. Always classy, that’s me.

The race started out well. There were well over 10,000 people running, so I was engulfed in a large crowd the whole way. Unfortunately, I got shin splints in my left leg in the first mile and had to back off the pace for a while. Then, at mile 2 I burped up bile and came very close to vomiting on myself. Gross does not cover the taste I had in my mouth for the next couple of miles.

Thankfully the shin splints went away around mile 4, but it was replaced by intermittent arch pain for the remainder of the race. Truly annoying, but what did I expect with my half-assed training for this race.

Halfway through I realized how dehydrated I was when I noticed my lips were super dry and I wasn’t sweating anymore. I brushed my arms and salt would flake off, but there was no moisture. The sun was really doing a number on me, so I made sure to grab a bottle of whatever liquid was being passed out at every aid station from there on out and kept it with me until it was emptied.

And, as I am quite familiar with by now, I was passed by everyone and their mother. The race had a staggered start and I was in wave four out of six, so there were a few thousand people behind me who zoomed on by me at some point. They included, but were not limited to, people old enough to be my grandparents, a woman who was as round as she was tall, guys in drag & tutus, a guy in a cricket uniform and a cow. Real morale boosters, let me tell ya.

Being tired as hell, I’m pretty damn proud that when I saw the 11 mile marker, I pushed my dead legs for the remainder of the race. During almost all of my training runs I run the last mile plus at a faster pace and I was happy to see that I could do the same during a race. I even sprinted the last 200 meters. My time was a disappointing one and a half minutes slower than my previous HM. Eh, again, what did I expect with my lackluster training.

The goody bag was pretty good. I got a decent cotton race t-shirt, a medal, various drinks and snack bars. Also, there was a jar of cranberry sauce. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

I realize I’ve just whined like a little bitch, so let me take a moment to point out some things I’m really grateful for about the race.
  • I finished.
  • I’m now sporting a kickin’ farmer’s tan.
  • My bib number was 12345, which was also the combination to the air shield on planet Druidia in Spaceballs.
  • I laughed at myself when the ultimate musical trifecta played on my ipod—Gonna Make You Sweat, Move This, and Rhythm is a Dancer. Nic, I hope you’re proud of me. [Editor's note: Because I'm outside the US, YouTube will not let me access some of the original videos for these songs. A-holes.]
  • I did not require the assistance of the paramedics like so many other racers did. Seriously, it was actually quite scary how many fit runners were dropping like flies out there.
  • I did not lose control of my bowels.
  • I did not puke.
  • I wasn’t rained on.
  • I wasn’t freezing.
  • I was not passed by the guy in the rhino suit.
  • My compression legging things worked wonders. I just wish they had thigh-high versions as my quads are a bit sore today.
  • Did I mention that I finished?
So, how have I celebrated finishing my second half marathon? This morning I went for my annual exam at the doctor’s office. Nothing like spreading your legs and knowing you’re going to get absolutely no pleasure from it. It’s what I assume marriage must be like for most women. (Ba-dump bump ching!)

Actually, the whole experience is just super awkward no matter what the doctor does (i.e. not talk to me, talk to me about the procedure, talk to me about anything other than the procedure). Every single time, that stupid speculum is freaking freezing when they violate me with it. Jebus H, people, can’t you have a warming pad or something for that thing! Give a girl a break here.

Anyhoo, that’s about enough TMI from me today. Hope you all have a great week. And congrats to all the other weekend racers!


Marcy said...

CONGRATS CHICA!!! YYAAAAYYY!! Hey, you got it done and that's all that matters. Don't feel bad about the old people. Those b@stards will give you one hell of a fight towards the finish.

Ewwwhhh sorry about the annual. There have been so many OBGYN's all up in my business the past 5 years it's like having coffee with friends now :P Anyway let me tell you a nice story . . .when I first when to my OBGYN's (I had switched Dr's after I had Keira) this "new" Dr did the whole exam and whatnot and then I'm thinking the exam is over and he's going to let me get dressed. Nope. He sticks his finger in my dayum butt. I yelped. Dude did NOT give me warning and I'm feeling violated because I've never had that done before in an exam (I guess some Dr's do a rectal exam and some don't. But now I know, mine DOES. Gross) Anyhoo yeah a truly mortifying experience. Aren't you glad I told you? :P

Theresa said...

Yay for finishing and not being passed by the rhino!

And you got your annual smear as they call it up here. Which just makes me twitch as that's a word I associate with cream cheese on a bagel.

tfh said...

Great job finishing and not collapsing in a pool of your own bodily fluids. (Sounds like you didn't have many left with that heat, anyway.) Cows can run FAST; never be dispirited by getting passed by one.

And-- hooray for not having to have another exam for a whole year.

Vanilla said...

Congrats on finishing, and on putting together a race report that made me feel awkward at the end.

BTW I've been to Bath, and I seem to remember it being a pretty cool place, but it's been a long time.

Marci said...

Congratulations on finishing your second half marathon. Don't fret over being passed by so many people, there are so many people that don't do anything at all!

X-Country2 said...

Everytime I read "Bath" I have to pronounce it like Keira Knightly. Not sure why.

Nice work on kicking out a half marathon in less than ideal conditions. A finish is a finish!

Merry said...

Yay Xenia!!!

Glad you got smeared by the doc rather than the competition (passed by a rhino might be a bit awkward).

Good work!

RunningLaur said...

Good work on making it through the half, getting really close to your previous time, and not puking everywhere. The farmers tan has to be a nice reminder of the race, like a medal you can wear all the time.

Lily on the Road said...

OMG, you should have put a warning label on this post, I'm cracking right UP!!

Good job on your run, you did really well! As for the rhino, we'll everyone has a place at a race!

Good job Chica....

Anonymous said...

Nice job with 3 mile weeks for training. I'm personally looking into a full body compression legging; a girdle to hold it all together, so to speak.

You forgot to add in your grateful list that you didn't die.

Seriously, good run. I have good friends who are terrific athletes and are scared of the half distance.

Mike said...

Yeah, that salt crust is really disconcerting. Did you feel like Lot's wife?

Great job on the half, though it sounds like the endurance test was really this morning. A cool doctor would have peered through the speculum and exclaimed, "I can see a world-class runner in there!"

Karen said...

Congrats!!! Wow. Good job finishing. The salt thing is kind of weird. LOL about the Dr/marriage thing. oh my!

The Laminator said...

Congrats on finishing, Xenia! Sounds like you kind of did alright for yourself. Nice job!

But honestly, the images conjured up as a result of the last two paragraphs are a bit disturbing! (Should have just stopped reading after you mentioned you finished...)

Jamie said...

Congrats on the HM finish! And thanks for the reminding me that I need to make an appointment...

Melanie said...

Congrats on your HM!

nwgdc said...

I can only imagine how sweet your running stride looked as your head bobbed to 'Rhythm.'

Congrats on the finish!

MCM Mama said...

Congrats on finishing! I hate hot races, so I'm quite impressed with you.

Ugh on the dr's appt. I have one coming up and I'm sooo not looking forward to it.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

You're in BATH, you get your annual "Spread 'Em" done, you even make a joke about wives ... but no Wife of Bath joke? Way to hurt Chaucer's feelings, Xenia. What, did you have your head up your arch? (<-- Which I assume is just another quaint Brit way of spelling and saying "@$$". Sorry about the @$$ pain you had during the race, btw.)

Good job on the half-marry! Good thing that rhino didn't pass you because it is a long-standing Bath tradition that, if he does, he gets to perform your annual "Spread 'Em". With his horn. Which is not as bad as it sounds.

It's worse.

Because it sounds like this:


So it's worse than that.

Why is Marcy talking about her butt all over the Intertubes today? (She did at my site, too. It still smells like @$$ over there, so wait a while before you check to see what I'm talking about. Geez, Marcy, what have you been eating lately?)

Anyway, nice job on the race, sister!

Roisin said...

Congrats on finishing!!! Most days, that is pretty damn good enough!

I hate the gyno, more than I hate pretty much anything on this earth. So, I feel your pain. Literally. The only thing worse is arguing with the hospital over the bill afterwards. Bastards.

RazZDoodle said...

I shoulda stopped reading right after the finish.

Nice job!

Nitmos said...

Congratulations! Nothing ends a spectacular race report like a discussion on speculums I always say.

Well done...on both counts.

joyRuN said...

YEAY!! Congrats on the HM :) You done good keeping that bile from spewing out. Next time if you really want to go all out, read GP's latest penis post first THEN go for the race. That'll tip you over.

As for the annual... yeah, they really really really suck. Try that speculum 6 weeks after delivering & you got a whole mess of scar tissue down there. Gross, I know, but I just wanted to grab that thing & bitch slap the good doctor with it.

Anonymous said...

Great run! No matter how many tu-tued men came running by, I think you did a great job.

I love the bib #! There is no coincidence when Spaceballs is involved.

Have a great week!

carpeviam said...

Yay! It's over! Did I catch something about bile in that post? To me, bile is synonymous with grapefruit juice. It tastes like bile! And vice versa! Sorry you had to run with that nasty taste in your mouth...

Ah, the dreaded annual. Again, yay! It's over! Sadly, no finishers medal, cotton tee, or snacks for that. What would the tee say? "I survived another speculum attack."

Irish Cream said...

Congrats on surviving both the half-marathon AND the annual!

And hey, rhinos can run up to 25-mph according to wikianswers (which is clearly the source of all truth). So I think you did pretty damn good! ;)

Anonymous said...

You did not get "rhino"-ed, nor did you lose control of your bowels. Sounds like you did an outstanding job.


Ms. V. said...

"And, as I am quite familiar with by now, I was passed by everyone and their mother." HILARIOUS!

Then, the thud of the speculum. Oh. That is so not what marriage is like. If it is, I'm never going back in.

Great report. Way to finish!

Calyx Meredith said...

Yay you finished! (Slower than the cow maybe but faster than the rhino. That's good.) And now the annual is over with too. Woo hoo!

Mel said...

Congrats on the race. I hope to one day visit Bath. My mother ranks it as one of the best places she has been.

Meg said...

Congratulations!! You weren't too far off from your last HM without training much, so that's really great! Post some more pictures of Bath if you can, I'd like to see what it looks like.

The Happy Runner said...

Congrats on the race!

At least you can get some vitamin c from the cranberry sauce. I ran three races in a row where I got tiny bags of rice. I would've preferred cranberry sauce!

aron said...

CONGRATS!!!!! yay for finishing :)

The Running Knitter said...

Yay! You did it! Congrats!

Run For Life said...

Congrats! Sounds like you did great considering the lack of training and that is quite possibly the best race number EVER.

Vava said...

Love the Spaceballs reference! I'd totally forgotten about that.

"Funny, she doesn't look Druish." - Barf

chia said...

I'm so jealous of your bib number! Wish I was there, great job!!