Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lawyer's Have Heart 10k review

I'm not going to bury the lead.  This was a disappointing race for me.  Not due to the race organization at all, but due to my own experience.  I ended up switching to the 5k mid-race as I just could not deal with the heat.  But here's the story from the start.

I love this race and I've done it in 2014 and 2015.  The course changed in 2015 and I think this year was mostly the same course as last year.  And this race is hot and humid every year.  It's June, and that makes sense.  According to Garmin, this year was 72 degrees and 75% humidity.  Last year was 80 degrees and 74% humidity.  2014 was 70 degrees with only 60% humidity.

So that's my history with this race.  As always, the proceeds benefit the American Heart Association.  There are 10k, 5k and fun walk options.  There is also a generous 2 hour time limit.  I love that there are so many options and ways for people of all fitness levels to be involved.

The other thing I love about this race is that it starts and finishes at the Washington Harbor in Georgetown.  In past years, I have been able to go early and find plenty of street parking.  They also have special deals on parking at local garages if you'd rather go that way.  This year, we found a cheap hotel room downtown and were able to walk to the race.  Packet pick up was at Brooks Brothers (strange) the day before and it was very quick and easy.  Another thing I liked this year is that the shirt was optional for an extra $10.  I decided against it since I didn't really need another cotton t-shirt from this event.

The course for the 5k and 10k start together.  They start with an uphill up a ramp to the main road and then an out and back section in Georgetown.  around the 2.5 mile mark, the courses diverge and the 5k heads left to the finish area and the 10k heads right to continue downtown. I like this section of the course usually because it's off the river and there's usually a nice breeze.  This year, there didn't seem to be much of a breeze at all and it was sunny.

I was really struggling.  I think the fact that we had a fairly cool May, and then I went off to Iceland, meant that I had not acclimated much to the heat at all.  And when I saw that 5k split, I decided to just call it and do the 5k instead of the 10k.  I could have slowed down (at the split there were plenty of people who seemed like they were walking the 10k) since 2 hours should be plenty of time for the 10k.  But I was feeling light headed, dizzy, and I was worried things might not get better even if I slowed down.  I felt like if things didn't get better, it would be worse if I wasn't near the finish line.  So I veered left and finished the 5k.

Mike found me once I finished and helped me out.  I dumped a whole bottle of cold water over my head and that definitely helped.  I also drank some cold water (the water in my water bottle was of course warm by then).  I sat for a while as we waited for my friend to finish the 10k.  Finally I began to feel better and I started taking a look at my stats.  Once I saw my heart rate data from my fitbit and that is was an average heart rate of 172, I was glad that I decided to do the 5k instead of the 10k.

My friend finished strong and she said the rest of the course was fine.  She felt like she struggled with the heat a bit as well but that the clouds covered up the sun at some point and that helped give her a boost.  The race also gives out wet sponges during the 10k and that really helped too.

Of course, the best part of this race is that we always follow it with a delicious brunch at Farmer's, Fisher's and Bakers.  Yum!

So, pros to the race are the beautiful location for the start and finish, it is always well organized, lots of options for distances, a generous 2 hour time limit, and plenty of water stops and wet sponges for the 10k.  The only con is really the heat, but that's a risk with any June race.  I will probably keep doing this one but try to be better about acclimating to heat in advance.  Last year, I was able to finish the whole 10k even though it was hotter and I think that was largely because we had a hot May as well last year.  But I have to do a better job of trying to acclimate to the heat and letting myself slow down in Summer races.