When you leave your country of origin nine years prior to make a better life for yourself and a Maniac tells you that your country is holding its first marathon ever, you sign up within 5 minutes, right? And that is basically what I did a few months ago.
Then, five minutes later, the following conversation occurred:
Docket: Mr. Docket, PR has a marathon and we're going.
Mr. Docket: Awesome! When?
Docket: May 5.
Mr. Docket: Did you say May?
Mr. Docket: Who the fuck holds a marathon in PR in May? It's going to be hot!
Or what I call:
Truer words have never been spoken. Yesterday, I ran the hottest and most humid marathon I had ever done, with a heat index of 100F and a dewpoint of 79!!!! I am surprised I didn't have an asthma attack because that dewpoint is almost the highest you can have. And I cannot wait to do it again!
This is the current data for marathon day as taken by my husband. Look at the current data below the forecast:
Notwithstanding that, I was very excited for running the first marathon in PR. It was going to be a hilly marathon and a hot and humid one, but who cares? I was going to PR!
I took pictures of the typical elevation of most of PR:
To give you an idea. Overall, it would be a challenging course for sure.
We left for San Juan on Thursday night and we ended up arriving after midnight since all flights out of Miami were delayed by at least three hours. We were staying at the Sheraton by the Convention Center, which is a new hotel and only 100 meters from the starting line. That way, I could sleep until 4am for a 5am start. We managed to sleep a bit but the room they gave us was located near the service elevator so we heard a noise all night. The hotel changed us to a better room after which I slept well. We were also given a car that had been used by a smoker but we had to switch cars after I almost got an asthma attack from all that smell. Overall, by Friday morning, things were not looking up.
This is the Convention Center and starting line. Gorgeous, no?
Driving around on Friday, we realized how bad the humidity was. We both grew up there but the week was full of bad humidity, sun and heat. I was starting to wonder how bad the marathon would be and how much suffering I would have to take, haha.
We visited my parents and DH's mom and we also had dinner and drinks with friends. We had a great time. I was able to go to bed by 11:30pm and got ready for the race.
I woke up at 4am, got dressed and picked my coffee and Gatorade and left. My stomach was bad that day, so I only drank the Gatorade and left the coffee untouched to improve the chances for my stomach to stay healthy. It was 81F at 4am with a humidity of 80% (75 dewpoint) and it only got worse from there.
It was very touching to hear both National Anthems before the race (the ones for PR and the US) as it's typical for PR. We also had a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon victims and we were off at 5:04am. I settled on my easy HR and tried to keep up. The humidity was palpable and sometimes visible but overall, I felt OK. The first 11 miles went by quickly and I got to see some nice sights of San Juan, Isla Verde and Pinones at sunrise.
The paces there were all at easy pace even though the HR had climbed to marathon HR. I was already throwing water over my head at every water station and maintained my Gatorade/water combination. I took my first gel at Mile 7 and overall felt fine with my second gel at Mile 14 before I stopped taking them. Miles 8-10 were horrible as we ran towards Pinones with the sun in front of us already high in the sky. Most of the course was shadeless. At Mile 4-5 I saw a couple of Maniacs, Paul and Mary, said hi as they kept going. I met Paul again as we headed to the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge, where they filmed the car chase scenes from Fast 5 and we ran/walk a mile or two together. We knew the weather was horrible and we took it easy.
Paul ran ahead at around Mile 12 as we headed to Rio Piedras to head towards Downtown San Juan, used in Fast 5 and The Losers movies. That part of the course was a slight downhill instead of the uphills from the bridge and the other highway portions, so I was doing well. I crossed the halfway point at 2:29-2:31, exactly where I wanted to be at that point. My goal was to run 5-5:17 but by then I knew the heat and humidity would suck the life out of me.
At this point, I'm running and having a great time and I'm even singing Daddy Yankee out loud. There is a cop at an intersection and as he hears me he starts smiling and dancing, after which I said: if you're not having fun, why do it, right? He agreed completely.
I caught up with Paul and Mary again as we headed into Downtown San Juan and we are all having fun, walking the uphills and running the downhills, throwing water over our heads, getting ice at the water stations and begging for beer, LOL. We headed to my hotel at around Mile 21 and I see my dad and my husband on the side of the street cheering us on. DH asks me how much longer and I told him around an hour or more (I had already been running 4:17 so I knew it would be closer to 5:30). They started walking to the finish line which was half a mile away and as I pass them again at Mile 22, my husband yelled, we are walking faster than you guys are running! LOL.
At this point, Paul and Mary run ahead and I stop to take a pebble out of my shoe. At this point, the pavement is so hot, I sit on the sidewalk to do so and the next thing I feel is my butt on fire, LOL. I head uphill all the way to the Capitol and run the hill at the Plaza Colón and head back down to finish. This is around Mile 23-24. By then, I have seen two people on the side of the street being treated and 3 emergency vehicles rush past me. The weather is horrid at this point.
At around Mile 24-25, I head to a water station where all the volunteers are dumping gallons of water over the runners. I get hit with 1.5 gallons and I am all wet and my shoes are squishy but I feel such a relief! I pass Mile 25 and start heading home but I can only manage a shuffle. Not because my legs are tired or I hit a wall, but mainly because of the heat. Wow. I live in Miami and I complain about Miami but I have never ever, not even during the Summer, run in hotter or more humid weather than I did yesterday.
As I enter the Sixto Escobar stadium, I see the finish line and crank it up. I hear my dad and husband yell Go! and my name being called by the staff and head to the finish. My husband and dad managed to take some great pics of me finishing:
Overall, I finished in 5:36:31 which is not even my worse marathon and this one was the hottest. I had a great time and although I hated the weather. I think I have trained for Badwater, LOL.
And before you ask, I spent the afternoon at the pool. With some beers, family and friends.
(PS, you can tell how humid it was by my hair!)
This is what I was looking forward the most. Some goodies and the bling (aka, trinkets, Lara, trinkets).
One thing I hope for my next: San Francisco better be freezing!!!!!!!!!!!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Will run for beer.
Excellent! Well done Damaris.
Vance Will Run Blog
Great Job lady.
"we are walking faster than you are running" that is classic.
I have a picture from my saturday 5k where I am running and it looks like I am keeping pace with all of the walkers. I am next to a person being pushed in a regualr wheel chair. That picture didn't go on my race report
”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
Congrats, Damaris!! What awful weather and yet you did an excellent job!! I love that this one was in a place familiar to you and that you could have so much fun while doing it! Thanks for writing a great RR!!
But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.
Congratulations on your course PR in PR!
D., despite the heat/humidity and the hills, you looked incredibly strong in your pictures! I'd have difficulty just walking slowly 26.2 miles myself in that heat. I don't know how you did it... Bravo, woman!
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
4 years racing, 16 marathons, 16 BQs
Oh my! I will take snow and -10 any day over 100 degrees with 79 DP. It sounds like you had a phenomenal trip back to PR and ran a really, really smart race given the conditions. I'm so happy your asthma didn't give you any problems and you survived the inferno ... I would have melted into a gooey puddle before reaching the halfway point. Nice work and another one to mark off on the maniac climb.
Train smart ... race smarter.
I love sponge cake.
Well done, Crazy Lady! After reading that I need to go jump in the pool myself. If it is possible to both love and hate something, I bet that race was it. Congrats on finishing.
Santa Anita Derby Day 5k - 5 Apr
Mountains to Beach Marathon - 25 May
Congrats on finishing another tough race!
Susan,Queen of the Crocs
I loved your report, D, and am so glad that you had fun. You were smart to slow down and just enjoy the race in those crazy temp's. Way to get it done!
Congrats D great pictures, and nice rr!! Rather than dump water on you did they have misting tents?
I loved the line about the humidity actually being visible - funny stuff. It sounds like you had a good time along the way, even though you were probably suffering quite a bit too. Nice job beating the time of some of your other marathons, even though this one was so tough.
Looking good in your Hokas!
PRs: Marathon (2:49xx; '13) Half (1:25xx; '12) 10k (40:26; '11) 5mi (29:23; '13) 5k (17:33; '13)
Wow, I was wilting just reading your RR. Congrats on finishing under such challenging conditions!
The obstacle is the path. - Zen proverb
SIAR, dewpoint is visible in PR most of the time, no joke. In Miami, sometimes.
RSX, no misting tents which I'll recommend. Also, more water stations. But the volunteers were great and kept us well hydrated throughout. I mean, well hydrated. I drank like there was no tomorrow.
Kewlness. Excellent report there Damaris. Will they host another event next year? I was talking to Marina last night about your race and asked her if she'd like to go next year, visit family, while I ran in it if they do.
YAYpril - B-Plus
I already told you once before, but YOU'RE A MANIAC! Seriously, great job in those conditions. I love that you made it super fun. Congratulations on another successful marathon.