"Can You Handle the Heat?"
Too Hot to Handle, is the perfect name for this July Texas race with the race starting temperatures beginning in the 90’s. The race advertisement poses the question, “Can You Handle The Heat?” To answer this question, you must complete the race ( 5k; 10k; or Half) because how do you prepare for such temperatures outside of training in the heat which is not the usual routine of Texas runners.
Most runners know that running will take care of itself if you complete your training program by running the prescribe miles. The biggest concern is the rising temperature. The answer is proper hydration, running effort, and runner gear.
Race packets could be picked up across the DFW area in various Lululemon stores which offered a 25% discount on running gear. I took advantage of this perk and picked up a white running skort, which was fabulous. The under tights had side pockets perfect for running fuel, a small hydration bottle, phone or keys, in addition to the standard running pocket on the back of the skirt. Unable to pick up your packet before the race? No problem, packets could also be picked on the morning of the competition.
It’s race day, and I’m feeling ambitious or half crazy, so I’ll be tackling 13.1 miles. The sun was high in the sky, and the pre-race atmosphere was sizzling with music, a variety of vendors and over 2000 runners ready to battle the heat and the pavement.
I had developed my run strategy, which was to run a slow and consistant long run training pace. Starting slower can be quite a challenge for me because I tend to start fast, and fade towards the end. I was so happy to see the Half Marathon Maniacs race Pacers to help me reach my race goal and to see if I could “Handle the Heat.” When the countdown begins, and the gun sounds, the runners take off.
The out and back route from Norbuck park feeding into White Rock Lake is a familiar route to runners who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but ordinarily doesn’t mean easy with the rising temperatures and humidity.
I stay close to the 2:45 pacers with one other runner who has also chosen to join the group. Being mindful of hydration, we stop at each water station, in addition to our hydration belts. The half marathon course offered water and NUUN every 1-2 mile, which was perfect because it doesn’t allow the runner to over or under hydrate. As I approached the 7-mile water station, there was an added treat, water-soaked towels, just what I needed with the rising temperatures.
I was able to execute my run strategy until mile 7 when the heat and humidity began to get the best of me. The goal now is to complete the race so I started to run intervals for the remainder of the course.
As I approach the finish line, I find that last burst of energy and adrenaline to finish strong. The medal that awaited me was much deserved and awesome — reminding me that I was ”Too Hot To Handle.”
My answer to the question “Can You Handle The Heat?” is Yes!
Next stop, Hot Trot.