Vermont City Marathon 2016: Feelin’ the Burn.

meme

I would like to preface this piece by stating straight on up front that the 2016 Vermont City Marathon and Relay was the hottest race I have ever run. EVER.

How hot?

It was soooooooo hot….

That they cancelled it. 

Yup. Cancelled it. Black flagged. As it was in progress. Done. Finished. Over. Stop, drop and melt.  Or, find a lovely Vermonter to hose you down and pad you with Popsicles whilst you wait for a school bus to drive your desiccated ass back to the finish. The news was trending on Twitter on Sunday. Vermont was trending on Twitter. How the hell often does that happen? That’s how hot it was. It was no joke.

It was the first time in Vermont City Marathon history that the race was halted. I ran the marathon as part of the 2-Person Relay and for those quoted with saying “it wasn’t THAT hot,” to you I say LIAR, LIAR, RUNNING SHORTS ON FIRE!!!  Because they goddamn were. You know it. I know it. We all know it. It was hotter than Hell. So unless you swiftly tucked your horns under your visor or jammed your forked tail into your running shorts, YOU, Overheated Devil Runner, are full of hot baked beans.

Brutal. All I kept thinking about as I watched the course warning move from moderate to HIGH, was that I felt like I was running a half marathon in a Bikram yoga class. Only add direct sun. There was no shade. No breeze. Nothing but heat. And it was radiating up from the lava field  we were running upon. There is a section called the Beltline which was easily the hottest spot in the North East that day. I can’t even explain how I felt. Cooked? Braised? Slow roasted?  All of the above!?!?  That was by mile 4. Within an hour, the warning had moved up to HIGH HEALTH RISK. I saw a runner down around mile 4. And from there until mile 13.1, I saw at least 5 more. It was horrible. The sounds of ambulances were becoming frighteningly common.  No bueno.

burlington free press image

Source: Burlington Free Press.

It was roughly 90 degrees by noon, which is not the only reason why the race was halted. There is something called the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature which I didn’t even know was a thing until I read about it on the Vermont City Marathon website. They did an outstanding job of keeping runners abreast of the heat situation via messaging and posting. Having run the full marathon a few years ago, albeit with a black eye, I can’t tell you enough how much I love this race. I’d run it every year. They do a great job. Besides, I love Burlington. And it’s vibe…and craft beer….and tacos…..and did I say beer?

A photo posted by Colby (@runcolbyrun) on May 28, 2016 at 3:17pm PDT

 

So. Back to the WBGT. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is a composite temperature determined by measuring ambient air temp, humidity, wind and solar radiation on humans.  It’s used by athletes and even the military, to determine a person’s exposure level to high temperature. On Sunday, the WBGT exceeded 82 at 3 consecutive readings along the course. Because of this, officials were forced to halt the marathon due to the extreme heat. Tough choice? You bet. But I believe it was a smart, responsible one made by the Race Director and folks at Run Vermont. Would I have thrown myself into Lake Champlain if I was this close to finishing and it stopped? You bet.

I would have had such conflicted emotions. That’s a lot of training and sacrifice lost. Such time and effort. But let’s be honest, even in the most perfect training conditions, anything can happen on race day. With regard to the weather, it’s a total crap shoot.  I’m not sure who was going to bust out a personal best in extreme temperatures in light of the complete lack of extreme temperatures in the week’s leading up to the race. At least in this part of the country. Other than an 80 degree shake out run the day before, I hadn’t run seriously in the heat since last summer. Expectations definitely needed to be tempered. Or, completely thrown out the window. Among the runners I chatted with, they certainly had altered their goals. I know I had. It was so unfortunate for them. I would have been devastated if I were running the full. No doubt. But at the end of the day, it was the right thing to do. They called off the race at roughly the 4 hour mark. My heart breaks for all those who didn’t finish. Darlin’ Rae especially. I feel you, Girl. 😦

And me? My race was a hot mess. Literally and figuratively. I am happy to say I finished with my all-time slowest half marathon time, chafing in places that will go unnamed and 2 serious heart palpitations that made me stop in my tracks and walk. What. The. F*ck. And I was salted, trained, hydrated and Skratch Lab’d up.  See why I think it was smart to stop it?  That’s scary stuff. Fortunately, I was absolutely fine. I was just overheating and overexerting myself like 1000s of runner’s that day. I am also happy to report that my running partner and I finished in under 4 hours. Right before the Black Flag unfurled. We were lucky. I’m proud of our run. I’m even more proud of the gracious Vermonters who stood out in that heat and cheered, hosed, iced, Popsicled and orange sliced their way into this hot runner’s heart. Thank you! It was a tough choice, but a safe one. One hot run does not a bad race make.  Run Vermont. I know I’ll be back. 🙂

A photo posted by Colby (@runcolbyrun) on May 29, 2016 at 1:24pm PDT

 

Have you ever run a race that was stopped due to weather? How would you have reacted? Hot weather runner or cold weather runner? GO!

30 Miles and a Turtle

  

There I was this morning, tuckered from yesterday’s Half Marathon We Should Have Just Left Forgotten, yet determined to get a solid ride in before the rains came. Never fear. The Half Marathon Amnesia recap is coming courtesy of Tina. I’d do it, but I’m still dehydrated and goddamn exhausted from the whole hellish affair. Sit tight, Poodles. Spoiler Alert! It was just as bad as they said it would be. So back to my bike ride… 

I limp out of bed, grab a cup of coffee as big as my head, make myself a bottle of Skratch labs and pad around trying to find all my gear. That’s the thing with bikes. There’s Gear. More REQUIRED gear than running. Let’s be honest. All you NEED to run are kicks, shorts and a sports bra. That’s the bare minimum if you are a chick. Pasties won’t do it for ya. Unless it’s that kind of run. Which I won’t be doing. EVER. Cycling on the other hand requires STUFF. Which I never seem to have all in one place requiring a: Hey Babe! Where’s my {insert expensive cycling item here}? You hear that a lot in this house from both of us. 

 

Henrietta Pussycat

 I find all my stuff, grab my phone and head out. There was an inaugural Half Marathon going on in a neighboring town for a local BADASS inspiring broad, Elizabeth “Liz” Shuman.  She and her best friend formed, OutRun 38, an organization created to raise funding and awareness for cystic Fibrosis. The OutRunners have become an amazing community of runners, led by their inspiring muse Liz, who is living and RUNNING a with cystic fibrosis. #FUCF! They are two incredible women.  This is the half we WERE going to run but my dear friend Tina persuaded me to run the Nightmare Half instead. A ton of my friends were running and I wanted to ride out along the course and cheer them on. Off I went. Like a bat out of hell.

About 5 miles into my ride, I round a blind corner (because shit like this ALWAYS happens on a blind corner) and I see this beast, on the yellow line.  

Oh Snap!

 He was apparently heading out for his morning stroll and was NONE TOO PLEASED to see a cyclist grab his ass and scoot him on his way. This was of course after the cyclist stopped traffic and swore at some punk driving like a toolbox. YO! SLOW DOWN! I GOT A REALLY OLD TURTLE OVER HERE!!!! I might as well have channeled Carmella Soprano. My tirade was more colorful than that. Trust me. So far this is Turtle Save Number 2. I keep an annual tally. Last year it was double digits between My Other Half and I.  They’re not all angry snapping turtles.  

Jazzy Turtle

 Sometimes they’re beautiful eastern box turtles like this pretty little critter I rescued. Not today.  The pre-historic creature from the La Brea Tar Pits I found today was so not cute. Maybe it was all the hissing?  He had a face only a mother could love. Regardless, he still needed to be saved. They all do. 

Regarding Turtle Rescuing: 

  • Do NOT grab a snapping turtle by its tail. It hurts them. 
  • DO move him in the direction he is going. Or she. They’re walking with purpose. They’ve got places to go. And turtles to meet. 
  • Do NOT think that because he can jam his fat little head in his shell that he can’t snap his pissed off face out and bite you to bits in a nanosecond. Because he can. And will. He has cat-Iike reflexes. And a bad attitude. Don’t let him fool ya. 
  • Do BE CAREFUL. Turtle Rescueing can be dangerous. Especially on blind curves where turtles are wont to be. Becoming roadkill is not on anyone’s bucket list. Proceed with caution. 
  • Do NOT mistake him for a dinosaur. He might look old as dirt, but he’s not extinct. 

Well. At least not on my watch….

Happiness is saving a turtle.

 

Have you ever saved a turtle? What’s the most exotic roadkill you’ve ever seen while out on the roads? 

Half-Marathon Amnesia

So this happened.

Unless they are Colby and Tina.

Yup. This actually happened. Tina and I BOTH forgot we were running a half marathon TOMORROW. How the hell does that even happen? To be fair, the thought crossed our minds late last week, but I honestly thought it was on Sunday. Which makes sense, because I had the “Today is Monday” feeling all goddamn week. I have zero idea what day it is. Although I was just informed (to my absolute delight) that it was Friday. WINNER! That’s what happens when you come off of a FANTASTIC vacation filled with copious amounts of beer. I blame it on the Heady Topper. Relive the fabulosity here.

Apparently we are running what has been billed as “The 2nd Hilliest Half” in Connecticut. Which begs the question: What the hell is the 1st Hilliest Half in Connecticut? Where is the ranking? Or is it a weird marketing ploy? Second Hilliest Half my ass. We’ve run two in particular that would make a billy goat puke. This one will be at least 3rd Hilliest by our standards. So as you can imagine, our touch of Half Marathon Amnesia has us both mildly concerned. So does tomorrow’s humidity. And the allergies which have suddenly crippled me. In all of my years on planet earth, I have never so much as batted an eye at pollen. This year? I am a wheezy puffy sniffy hot mess. T-Bone ain’t feeling so hot either. Should be a Classic Colby and Tina Shit Show. (Sadly, pun intended.)

What jogged my memory, you ask? This text from Tina bright and early this morning: Half Marathon AmnesiaFollowed by a string of expletives, an arched eyebrow and a CAN’T WE JUST MEET FOR BLOODY MARY’S AND BAG IT FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?!?!?

No, Poodle. No we can’t. We can give up Bloody Mary’s, but we’re not quitters.

Have you ever forgotten about a race? Have you suddenly developed allergies that have left you in a sneezey wheezy heap?

Reality Check: Running GPS vs. Course Length

I just uploaded months of running from my Garmin, including data from the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Call it a year end data dump. There I was, leopard jammies on, massive coffee in hand, excited to check out my stats from the past few races. So I looked. Then I squinted… Britney is ConfusedWhat the hell?

How does that happen? How does a half marathon turn into 13.33 miles instead of 13.1? Not that huge of a discrepancy, but it’s still not the advertised-sticker for your car-stinking-13.1 miles. What’s the damn deal?!?! My marathon was 26.5. COME ON. You train all those miles, sweat gallons, lose toenails, wind up in the damn ER (Oops. That’s just me.) and your Garmin shits the bed?!?!

Don’t blame it on your Garmin.

Our friends at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series shared this info graphic with Tina and I and it is our duty as Responsible Running Bloggers to share this with the Blog-o-sphere. It’s a good one, in my humble opinion. Your GPS device may not read the official length of the course.

Why not?

Because GPS devices are not as precise as certified course measurement which is done by bike. (YEAY! Bikes!) It simply takes a bicycle, a “Jones Oerth” counter and a few hours of time to ride the course. That was a new word for me, Jones Oerth. I plan on using it in a sentence at least once this week. “Certified” means a course has been measured to exacting standards and is at least the stated distance. Thats the key – standardized. So take a look at this graphic. And, don’t ditch the Garmin. :-).

Read more here!

Running GPS vs Course Length Infographic

Has this happened to you? Have you thrown your Garmin in disgust? Did you know how certified courses are measured? Not me. Until now. 🙂