I recently ran the properly named “Too Hot to Handle” 15K race in Dallas, Texas. Fortunately, the run was early enough to beat some of the heat, and the amazing race volunteers were prepared to cool us off with ice-cold towels along the way. Overall, it was an amazing run and I will definitely be back for more next year. But let’s get in to the dirty deets, because, why not!
So, right off the bat I make a huge mistake. I arrive with what I think is “plenty of time.” Wrong. Little did I know, I’m parked 2 miles away from the start line (at least). Thinking I have time – too much time – I park, take my time lathering up in sunscreen, check in on my Watched Items list on eBay, send a few texts, enjoy my lemon Glukos gummies, tuck my car key away somewhere safe… then start leisurely walking in the direction in which I believe to be the way of the start line.
I’m walking for about five minutes when I realize I don’t see any other runners. Usually I just look for the group of runners, gravitate that direction, and all is good in the world. But I see bikers. I see long paths leading to more long paths. I see no runners. So, I do what my instincts tell me… I start running. I just run and run thinking, I’ll find the race eventually! I finally run (literally) into another runner! He had a “Too Hot to Handle” shirt on and I frantically run towards him. Hi! I’m following you! Do you know where the start line is?
He doesn’t know either. So we both run. 30 minutes went by and we finally, finally! start to see other runners. We had ran a big loop around them, but we found them. I just keep running across the start line. The 10K had started well over 20 minutes ago. Let’s do this!
So, at mile 1 I had already been sweating well over a mile ago (yes, you read that correctly). I had been running for 30+ minutes already – I don’t know the exact distance ran from my car to the start line, guessing about 2 or maybe 3 miles. But I just keep going. I was glad I had my energy gummies before the run and a gel in my handheld water bottle for later. This 15K just turned into a 20K.
Though I seemingly start off on a bad note, I am really OK. I start a little flustered because I really like to be on time. But I don’t mind the strange looks at the start line that say “why is she already sweaty?” or the fact that my time might not be my best. I just want to run. So, I got (more than) what I wanted.
The first 5-6 miles feel great – it’s not even that hot and I just enjoy the scenery. The run is around White Rock Lake, which has beautiful paths and views. I am passing people since I started so late, which feels odd but also like a fun game – I just choose a person to catch up to, then continue doing that, basically the whole run.
After those first 5-6 miles, the volunteers with the giant buckets of ice and towels were truly lifesavers. I stop a few times and just throw a towel over my neck. It feels amazing. My legs feel fine, I just start to get hot and fatigued with about 3 miles to go. I have no doubt that I can do it, though. I just take it one mile at a time. I just look for that next big, white mile marker sign. Then, I start to take it one water-stop at a time (there was one about every half mile!). Just make it to the next water-stop, I keep thinking to myself.
With a mile (two water-stops) to go, I use my Glukos gel. It tastes great – I love that these gels are more like water and less like frosting (consistency-wise). Its like getting a gulp of delicious, sweet, energizing water. It gets me through and I come up on mile 8 feeling great and ready to reach that 9 mile marker! After what seems like forever, another mile goes by and I pass mile 9 – the finish line is coming! I cross the finish line and head straight towards the Saucony booth that I notice has popsicles. Just what I need.
I cool off, take some pictures and have a few more lemon gummies with my blue push popsicle. I made it! Now for the 2-3 mile journey back to the car… where is it again?
Long story short, it takes me over an hour to get back to my car. A grueling, hot hour. This 20K just turned into a 25K. I can feel my shoulders burning. I can barely run another step but I do anyway. Anything to get out of the heat (it’s about 100 degrees by this time). I run-walk back and just sat in my car. All I had the energy for was sitting. I have never been so happy to see a car. I don’t care that it’s 140 degrees inside. I just sit.
Needless to say, I am not the best at directions. I paid for it today… but it makes for a good story, right?
Anyway, I am so glad I had my Glukos gummies and gel to get me through. I did feel like they give me a bit of mental clarity on exhausting runs such as this one. It’s also nice to just have something in my belly other than water on a long run.
I’ve also recently found out that the Glukos gels are amazing (AMAZING!) when you freeze them overnight before using them. Talk about the BEST boost while running. I wish I had known this for that 15K (25K)! Now that I’ve been freezing the gels, they really do make a huge difference. On a long, hot run – a delicious, icy sip of this stuff is just perfect. Again, I love that the consistency is water-like vs. frosting-like so you don’t get a sticky mouth or weird aftertaste at all. That thick consistency is the last thing I want in this heat. I crave liquid. Lately I also like to have some gummies after a lengthy or hot run to help me keep going throughout the day and recover.
Though exhausting, this is a run I will never forget. If you’re interested in the event itself, please read my review on BibRave.com here, and remember to review your races, too! This helps your fellow runners choose their next race! Also, let me know if you try the Glukos gels (you must try freezing them!), how you like them, and what your favorite flavor is! My favorite right now is the fruit punch. If you’ve learned anything else, let it be to know your race area before arriving the morning of!