The dog days of summer continued for me Saturday at the University of Okoboji Marathon in Okoboji, Iowa. With high humidity and temps crawling from the low 70s at the start to the high 80s by the finish, I had a rough day on a rough day.
Mentally, I wanted to run well. When I woke up, I knew it was going to be a long, miserable day, but I still wanted to turn in a respectable effort. I suspected the weather would be similar to when I ran the Med-City Marathon in late May, and I wanted to do considerably better than I did that day when I struggled to a 3:57.
My plan for today was to keep things fairly under control early and hopefully have enough left to keep moving through the later miles. In the Med-City Marathon, I tried to take everything I could get early, then hang on as well as I could while it heated up. That didn’t work, and I ended up taking six walk breaks (the first six I had ever taken in 55 marathons to that point).
Today, I stayed fairly under control, moving well and not panicking when I couldn’t go as fast as I typically do. It was not a PR day, so I didn’t try to PR. There weren’t a lot of aid stations early, so I was concerned I was going to overheat too early. I can always tell how humid it is by how much I sweat. Sometimes, my clothing stays fairly dry. But I was completely soaked by about mile 5.
The sun started to come out fairly early, and after mile 7 or 8, we were exposed for the majority of the time. It got warmer and warmer, so I got slower and slower because I kept running by heart rate. I hit the half in 1:42, which is probably the slowest first 13.1 I’ve done this year, aside from Catalina and the three times I’ve been an official pacer.
By about mile 14, I just wanted the race to be over. I don’t normally hit that point until well past 20. It was hot, I was breaking down and I knew the second half was going to take forever, because I knew my miles were going to slow down considerably. I was so hot and sweating so bad that my shoes were soaked. I checked at one point and I was leaving light footprints on the asphalt from my wet shoes.
I really don’t remember a ton about the race, other than it was hot and I was beating myself up pretty badly. I knew heading into the race it was going to be a miserable experience and I was right. I didn’t pay much attention to my time — only my heart rate — but I could feel my body taking a beating. I was feeling very warm, my arms were feeling pretty heavy and my legs were getting pretty stiff.
I could tell that I was out of energy. I kept thinking to myself that my time was going to be terrible, but I didn’t care — I knew in my heart that I wrecked myself out there. I feel like part of what makes people jump on the Operation Jack bandwagon is that what I’m doing isn’t easy — it’s supposed to be tough. Well, on days like today, I really feel like I earned my money (well, Train 4 Autism’s money, but you know what I mean). This was truly a marathon and I left it all out there in the Iowa sun.
My finish time was 3:42:33. I’m embarrassed by the time, but I’m not embarrassed by my effort. I’ve had some good races this year. This wasn’t one of them, but I certainly executed better than Med City. As for the course, it was OK, but not great. Okoboji is a lake area in Iowa that people go to as a getaway vacation. There’s cool lake houses and lots of docks and people on weekend vacations. The scenery is decent with the lake and plenty of green, but it’s not spectacular. The race itself was on an open course. I wouldn’t recommend traveling to this race just to run it, but if you went to Okoboji for a vacation at the time of the race, it’s pretty low-key and aside from the heat, it was a fairly nice run.
So there you have it. 34 down, 27 to go. Next up, San Francisco!
I accidentally my camera set to video, so I got a one-second video of me at the finish line, not a photo. The resolution on that obviously wasn’t very good.