It was a lovely humid 90 degree day in eastern Pennsylvania today. Juuuuuust lovely. And by that, I mean that it was actually awful. As soon as we stepped outside our front door this morning at 5:15 am, I felt the wave of heat and the heaviness in the air from the humidity, but no worries! I didn't have to deal with the humidity for long! The scorching sun seemingly burned off all the humidity by about mile 3 of the race. I wanted so badly for this race to go well. I was looking forward to another Amish Country run because the scenery is beautiful and this race is very interesting because of the Hot Air Balloon race that takes place on the same day, and there are Amish kids manning the water stops, and I needed a recharge for my marathon training, and I was running with my weekend running partner, Kristen, and I just... I just... I just wanted to have fun and run well. Why is that too much to ask?
If I haven't clearly conveyed this yet; it was stupidly hot. Now, I asked my friend Mark yesterday, "should I take my hydration belt?" "No!" he says. "They have water stops," he says. Mark gets angry when it is in the 60's and he has to do a long run!!! MARK!!!! IT WAS HOT AND I HAD NO WATER!!! I was shaking my fists at Mark for a while during this race today. That's the last time I listen to you, Mark! They did set out coolers of ice for the runners between water stops, and there were several kind Amish families who brought their garden hose up by the road to spray runners as they ran by, but there was no shade on the course, and it was HOT (in case I haven't mentioned that), and it just didn't go well.
I told Kristen by about mile three that she should just leave me behind. I seriously felt like I wasn't going to make it already at that point, so I kind of gave up most of my hope. I noticed at one point that I was even starting to hallucinate, or at least I thought I was. Remember last week when I thought I saw an ambulance, but it turned out to be a horse trailer? Well, I thought I saw a camel standing by an ambulance. Yes. It was so hot I saw a camel....but thankfully the camel was real, and so was the ambulance, which means that I hadn't completely lost it. They also gave out Rita's Water Ice at one point in the race, and it was amazing.
The best thing to come out of this race was that I met another kind person while running. When a race is going terribly, I usually try to find some other person around me who will carry on a conversation, and then help push me till the end. Today, I met Donna. Donna is an amazingly kind woman who seems to find the best in people and situations despite the fact that many other people in her situation would probably be very unhappy people. She cheered me on, and she cheered on other strangers as they passed us or as we passed them. She even SHARED HER STINGER CHEWS with me!! That is a big freaking deal in the running community! For real! This woman gave me some of her chews! We both agreed that one of the best parts of running is finding that throughout the running community there are so many different people, each with their own stories about why they run, and I am thankful that she reminded me of that because that will hopefully be my fuel to kickstart my marathon training back up for real!
Lastly, I just want to do a short rant about how the finish sucked most of all. You would think that after such a terrible race and the punishing heat, that I would just be elated to be done, but no. I cross the finish line, and a young girl smiles and says, "Congratulations! Here's an ice cold MILK!" Now my first instinct was to punch her in the face, but I didn't go with that first instinct, so no worries. I looked to my right, and a different girl hands me a bottle of water that she took right out of a cardboard box sitting on the ground, not in a cooler full of ice. It was 90 degrees!! Who wants freaking ice cold milk?!! I don't care how cold it is!! I want ICE COLD WATER!!! I just ran a freaking half marathon!! UGHHHHHHHH. Well, I survived anyway. And I got my Road Apple Award, so I guess it's all fine in the end. I just wish I'd had a better experience.