The heat demons are still following me around and Saturday’s 32km race was a lot warmer than the one of the previous week. The temperature was 33°C (91F) when I finished and went up to 35° (95F) after that. Needless to say it was not the fastest run.
I’ve never run well in the heat and don’t think I ever will. I used the race as a long training run so in that way it was good. I certainly got time on the legs! Nearly 4:30 hours of it! I planned to run between 3:50 and 4:00 but at some point a few of us on the road decided to rather be safe and backed off completely. We walked most of the last 7km in a merciless sun. “This can’t be healthy” went through my mind all the time. There was no shade on the route, not even a little spot for some relief.
Apart from the heat the race went well although I had to make an emergency bathroom (bush) stop just after 3km. Luckily I found a perfect spot under a railway bridge and the necessary numbers, which felt like all numbers 1 – 18 could be accommodated. When I emerged from the bushes under the bridge I was stone last! In the end this was a good thing as I could just relax and run at my own pace, overtaking runners the whole way.
I felt extremely good up to the 20km mark. Hey, only 12km to go! Well, that thought didn’t last very long. Between 20 and 21km the heat started to bother me. There was a really tough and long hill up to 23 or 24 km. This is where everyone started to suffer. It was just too hot! The organizers were brilliant and extra water was off loaded at all the water points. These were 3km apart from the start to 30km. Ice cold water was available at all the water points. There was also more than enough Coke and the helpers really did their best to make us comfortable. They must have been cooking in the sun…no shade anywhere!
There was a silent type of agreement between all…just make it to the finish, regardless of how long it will take. We were all there, sharing the experience and there for each other. No one questioned anyone else for walking or taking it extra easy. We all just carried on to the finish.
I actually recovered almost completely with 2.5km to go. I was feeling good and not tired at all. This was a very good sign. The last 2km I ran most of the way and my legs felt as if they didn’t run at all. Even Sunday and today I feel completely recovered.
So I suffered in the heat again, but I still take only positives from the race. I recovered before the end and finished feeling good. I definitely got good time on the legs done. I did some good conditioning for running in warm weather. I completed my 124th 32km / 20miler. I can carry on with my build up for the marathon on 20 March tomorrow with my legs feeling 100%.
Oh yes…and I had these two waiting for me at the finish, both proud finishers of the 4km fun run.