2015 City to the Sea 13.1 Recap

Sunday morning saw the completion of half marathon #14.  If I am doing my counting right that is.  😃


I headed down to SLO for packet pickup on Saturday.  Pickup was in the Running Warehouse parking lot and super easy.    I spent the day wandering around SLO and probably spent too much time on my feet.   I actually cleared my step goal that day without running.  Oops.   I had a general idea of what I was wearing for the race and had created a new playlist on Thursday.  Plenty of Shinedown, Linkin Park, AFI, Papa Roach with some Kip Moore thrown in.    My mother heard it being played in my car and asked if I had made an angry playlist.   😜IMG_2548I laid everything out for the next morning and set my alarm.   I made an effort to be in bed before 11.   Which was a moot point as I tossed and turned all night long.  If I got 2 hours of sleep I would be surprised.  I could not fall asleep.  My head hurt, my neck hurt, my arms felt kind of tingly.  What the hell?  It’s not like this was my first race, why was I having such issues?   I was so tired by 1 AM, I even considered a DNS.   But eventually I dozed off.

Race Day-

I was up, prepped and on the road by 6.   Where I proceeded to have some road-rage-aholic tailgate me on an empty freeway flashing his brights because I wasn’t driving fast enough.   Dude, seriously?  Once in SLO, I stopped at the same Chevron station I have in years past to use the bathroom.  Nice, bright, clean and not a port-a-pottie?  Score.  I parked 2 blocks from the start line and got ready.  This is when I realized that while I made a nice and shiny new playlist, I never actually put it on my phone.  #slackerfail

A few moments of cold.
A few moments of cold.

We’ve been in the middle of a heatwave and I knew it was going to warm up fast but I was actually chilled at the start line.   I have a habit of going out too fast, so I deliberately put myself behind the 2:15 pacer.   I was aiming for 2:10 or faster and didn’t even want to see the 2:00 pacer, I knew I would want to try to catch them.

Miles 1-3 9:13, 9:03, 9:02

These were an eventful 3 miles. I was feeling pretty good but I was also confused.  I was running a sub 9:30 pace and the 2:15 pacer was still in front of me.  Ummm, what gives?   Dude, you should be behind me now.  Then there was butt cheeks.  I admit I sometimes people watch while racing as a way to distract myself and help me keep my pace.   Plus I can check out race shirts and look for new races to run.  😄 But I noticed this girl whose shorts were so short, seriously I have underwear that covers more.   Maggie Vessey’s racing outfits cover more.  Then I started to feel bad because I could see other people noticing and making comments about her shorts.   But then I recognized a pair of socks in front of me- it was Heather of @sloluckystyle.  I pulled up along side to say hi.    Granted it was 1.5 miles into a 13 mile race but it was nice getting to meet someone I interact with on social media in real life.

Miles 4-6: 9:06, 9:23, 9:24

I was still feeling pretty good and I was pleased with the numbers I saw on my watch.  Mile 6 was the first uphill and I held onto a 9:24.   That number made me smile because I knew a 9:23 average pace would be a PR of 2:03.  I wasn’t banking on that though as I knew I had a big hill at mile 10 and another new hill around mile 12.    I was just focusing on how I felt and enjoying the scenery of a good race.    I also knew I was about to hit the course change.

Miles 7-9:  10:45, 9:23, 10:02

Right after those good thoughts, I had an inhaler moment.  I still haven’t mastered running and using my inhaler so it required a walk break.   That’s something that’s hard to practice since I only want to use my inhaler as a last resort.    The temp was rising and so was the humidity but I was still feeling ok.  I knew I had lost a PR but I was fine with that as it hadn’t been my primary goal of the day.    There was also a little more of an incline in mile 7 than I had anticipated.  Followed by a dead skunk which made things real fragrant for half a mile.  😖    Mile 8-9 brought us onto the Bob Jones trail which is very nice.  Well paved and surrounded by trees which meant shade!!!     The irksome part to these 3 miles was the guy shouting out that we only had 5 miles to go…at the 10K mark.    Grrrr.

Mile 10: 12:38

I slowed towards the end of mile 9 as I needed my inhaler again.    We came out of the Bob Jones trails and were headed to the main drag in Avila.   Which I have driven on numerous times and would have bet you money that it was downhill to the freeway.   I had been looking forward to that downhill before the hill at mile 10.  That downhill didn’t exist.   We across a bridge and across traffic before making a left- up a hill.  It looked like a freakin’ mountain.   The wheels came off hard.  The only thing consoling me was just how many people went to a walk on this damn hill.   Then we hit the freeway and made a left for the original hill I had been worried about.   And another spectator telling us it was last hill.  No it’s not!  Stop giving me false hope!!

Miles 11-13:  11:02, 10:54, 10:55

I never recovered from mile 10.    From there on out, I was in survival mode.  I walked way too much.    The temp had hit the high 70’s and the humidity had jumped.  I was almost out of Gatorade in my hand-held which is rare for me.    I tend to run races under hydrated because I found it works for me.   I carry a 10oz handheld of Gatorade and usually have half left at the end of the race.  I grab water at aid stations starting around mile 5.  I made myself sick drinking too much water at more than one race when I first started running.    To have an almost empty bottle with 2 miles to go was not a good thing.  I kept my head down and just kept trucking.  I knew I was in the home stretch and the crowds were picking up.  I could see the ocean and I was also starting to see people walking around with their medals and I wanted that medal.  😜

13.1- 2:12:40

The thing I forget about this race, that last .1 seems like it takes forever.   I think it’s because of the way the street curves.  From the mile 13 marker, you can’t even see the finish line, the road curves 2 more times.   But I finally saw it and crossed the line so happy to be done.   IMG_2659After being funneled through the shoot and receiving my medal- woo hoo, it’s seriously cool- I just wanted water and needed to find my parents.   They were both coming to this finish line.     For a local race, this finish area is the most congested I’ve seen.  I eventually found my mom and the puppy but not my dad or water.    I finally found water and refilled my water bottle then we headed for an empty space where my dad eventually found us.   I was hot and sweaty and while I felt pretty good, I ended up going back for more water.   We hung out a bit before we headed for their car.  They were my ride back to my car.  😏

IMG_2570 IMG_4683It was during the ride back to SLO that I knew I had made a rookie mistake.  Those 2 bottles of water were a miscalculation.  After they dropped me off at my car, I spent the next 30 minutes sitting on the curb by my car trying not to be sick.  #slackerfail2

IMG_2588IMG_2644Overall, I didn’t meet either of my pace goals but realistically I am ok with that.   I returned to run one of my favorite races and the course change actually made it better.  I now know to be prepared for that damn hill in the future.   I also have a few things I know I need to work on but we’ll leave that for another post.    I do wonder how I might have fared if the temps had stayed down but it is what is.   Gorgeous finish line though right?

Pre-race Musings

Otherwise known as City to the Sea goals.  😃

It seems like this is the ultimate race weekend.  Chicago, Long Beach, Brooklyn, Hartford, Steamtown, Tyler Rose- and those are just the ones I know of from reading your blogs.    I am sure there are numerous more.  Congratulations to everyone who ran today and good luck to everyone racing tomorrow!

Then there’s City to the Sea.   I’ve run this race twice before, both times were a PR.  A pretty big PR each time- around 10 minutes each time.   My current half marathon PR was set at City to the Sea in 2013- 2:05:53.  No pressure, right?

PR smiles..and trying to hide my shaking legs
PR smiles..and trying to hide my shaking legs-2013

Being real though, I am not in PR shape.  And then there’s the course.  I aim to positive split this course.   Intentionally.

That was my plan 2 years ago and it worked.  However this year also brings a change in course.  The race starts in SLO and ends in Pismo- 2 towns over.  The former course had you running down the main drag, under the freeway, up a frontage road then over the freeway, up a frontage road then under the freeway again before heading up another main drag.   And roads weren’t closed.   This year the course deviates after mile 5.   The previous hill towards the end grew in size.

At the start 2012
At the start 2012
I didn’t run this race last year due some health issues so I am looking forward to this year.    That said, I am going in with minimal goals.  They are as follows-
Goal A– No pressure, have fun running what was one of my favorites races.    Enjoy the new scenery.   Part of the course covers the Bob Jones trail.  I’m told it’s a lovely paved trail with great scenery in a nearby beach town but I’ve never run it.  Now I get to with a couple thousand runner friends.     😃
Goal B- Sub 2:10   This should be doable.  Maybe not comfortable but doable.  That said, you never know how race day will go.  I think my biggest obstacle with this is new medication I started a week ago that turns me into a walking zombie.   If that happens, then I will just be the fastest walking zombie ever.    Why is there not a zombie emoji?!!?! 
Goal C- Sub 2:05- New PR   Highly unlikely but stranger things have happened.    I think every starting line brings visions of a PR.    Which is fine.  I set myself a goal breaking 2:00 someday and every run and every race will bring me closer to that.   Even if it takes a little longer.  😏

Did I mention that SLO hit 105* on Friday?  Go home weather, you’re drunk.  I am suddenly looking forward to the 7AM start time.  Well sort of.    I am a slacker after all.
Who raced/ races this weekend?
Ever meet a social media friend in real life?
Do you have fall weather?  Seriously jealous right now.

Sunday Summit- Reservoir Canyon

A few weeks back I came across a challenge on Instagram called #PixonPeaks.   Hike/run the specific peaks on the list, post it on Instagram and get a shirt.   Ok, it’s a little more than that but it peaked my interest.   And we runners like our shirts right?

Truthfully, I’ve been missing trails.  I love trail running/ hiking but it’s been a long time.   Summer heat kind of kills it and I like sleeping in.  Plus, you know, rattlesnakes.  Throw in a crazy schedule, training for a “goal” race and trails get ignored.    Stress has been getting to me in a major way and I just wanted to get lost.   I like to power hike up the mountains and then manage the fine line between running and falling down hill.  It’s impossible to over think and stress about life when you are throwing yourself down a hill.  😜  Lots of fun and a great way to de-stress.

IMG_2305IMG_2304Sane runners taper 7 days before a goal half marathon but I never claimed to be normal.   One of my mom’s tennis players is in a Geo class and they have to hike 10-15 miles a month outside of class so we picked her up along the way.   The plan was to hike up to the top and run down, nice and easy.  It should have been around 4 miles.   I had never hiked Reservoir Canyon before but always wanted to.   I am not sure why I thought it was going to be a walk in the park.  I had heard that there was a swing along with a teepee and nice stone seating are at the top.    How hard could that be?  Plus I kept seeing pictures of some pink metal thing on Instagram and I wanted to find it.

IMG_2294-0The trail started off through a wooded area and crossed a river bed.  Granted we’re in the middle of a crazy drought so there was no running water.   But the bridge was cool.  😄   The trees were probably as close as we are going to get to fall, so that was nice.  We only gained 200 ft in the first mile so how hard could it be?  I should have checked the trail sites.   The trail narrowed and started climbing.  There were 2 sections that were so eroded that there was no trail- you had to jump to the next section.   It was awesome.   And we gained 1100+ ft in the next mile and change.

IMG_2327 IMG_2326IMG_2341

Luckily, the swing and the teepee were a nice distraction part way up.  How the hell did they get all that metal up there?  I was starting to wonder if I was even going to make it to the top.   Indulging in a little swing time was pretty awesome.


But we weren’t at the top yet!   I started power hiking to the top pausing for picture breaks along the way.   1/4 of a mile from the top I thought I heard my name being yelled.  I paused, heard nothing.  Started up again and there it was.  I texted my mom and S to see if they were ok.  No response.  Well crap.  So I turned around and jogged down to find them.   Turns out they just wanted to make sure I was ok.   They could have texted- grrr.  And back up I went.   The dirt was super loose and rocks and roots were all over the path.   I made it to the top!  Then made a wrong turn and headed down a utility path that appeared instead of the actual trail.  Oops.  Turn around.    I eventually met up with my mom and S at the seating area.  My Garmin only registered 2.25 miles up so I was feeling pretty good.


I still couldn’t find the pink thing.  S spotted it off in the distance so we decided to go for it.  It only looked about a 1/4 of a mile away and mostly flat.  All lies.    Little rollers all the way out, and I mean way.  It was closer to 3/4 of a mile away.  Oops- but we made it!.

IMG_2455 IMG_2424

We hung out a bit before heading back down. I was looking forward to opening up my pace on the way down.  I love flying down a mountain.    Remember those rocks and roots I mentioned?   After I almost tumbled off the path for the fourth time in less than 1/2 a mile, I knew running wasn’t going to happen.  Plus my head hurt each time I landed hard and let’s face it, everything was a hard landing.  Guess I hit my head harder than I thought.    I made it back to the swing and hung out there waiting for my mom and S.  My legs were literally vibrating on their own.    If I stopped moving – they started shaking.    Truth- this trail kicked my ass and kept kicking.    It was awesome.  😝

IMG_2465 IMG_2435

With the doubling back, making the wrong turn and adding the pink structure I was a little past the 4 mile mark.  By the time we got back to the car, my Garmin registered 7 miles.   Oops.   And I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten breakfast.   But it was awesome.  Have I said that already?  Supposedly there’s a waterfall somewhere but I never saw it.   Something to look for next time!

IMG_2367 IMG_4607

Peak 1- Done!  ✅

I was looking to get lost metaphorically not literally but it’s all good.    Even if I foam rolled and cried on Monday.   😅

Do you get lost on trails?  On purpose or not?

Do you like running down mountains?  I love it and always think of that horse scene from Snowy River. 

Ever done something you shouldn’t do close to race day?

Week16-Redux/ So Long September

Will the real week 16 please stand up?  😉  I am not crazy, well maybe a little, I really did miss a week.  I knew I couldn’t be at 16 yet so I went back and checked.   It looks like I went straight from week 6 to week 8 a while back.  Oops.   So let’s recap week 16 and then see how September went.

Monday – Rest

After 2 races the day before, I knew this was going to be a rest day.   I was also taking my car to the body shop and getting a rental so I wanted as little as possible to carry so it kind of worked out.   I was so excited that the previous weekend was my last busy one that it didn’t occur to me that I had the work week to get through before the coming empty weekend.  Doh!  😋

Tuesday- 3.5 miles

I was so damn tired and just not feeling running still.   I headed to the lake for a few laps aiming for 4 miles.   It wasn’t a fantastic run but it wasn’t bad.   I visited a little too much with lake cat on the backside of the lake so I ran out of daylight.  But he wouldn’t get out of the street!

 Wednesday- 3.5 miles stationary

This probably shouldn’t count.  I wasn’t feeling well, my neck and my head have hurt for the last month or ever since my car accident, so I was thinking a rest day. I had to get my race recap up for the HOB Fun Run so I figured I would do that.  Until I hit a button and installed Windows 10.  I told it to wait!!   While I was waiting for the computer to be usable again I got on the bike.    It was after 9 and I didn’t want to be up all night so it’s not like I was pedaling all that hard.   😐   Oh!  Look what I finally registered for!

Thursday- 1.6 miles

Yeah, it says that.   I was still feeling rough and all the vitamin C and Airborne I had been taking all week wasn’t helping.     I headed out for a run but had to call it before I got a mile out.  My chest hurt- like the kind of pain you have with a really bad chest cold.  I turned around and headed back to the car.   It wasn’t totally unproductive though, I felt like something moved or popped and some of the neck pain eased.


why do my grimaces look more like smiles than my smile?

Friday- Rest

Race day is too damn close to be pushing things.  I would rather go into race day having missed a few workouts than get sick so close to race day.  Been there, done that.  Bring on the vitamin C and Airborne.    I also started a new medication for my stomach which has the side effect of drowsiness.  It’s no lie.  I was in bed by 11 that night.  For me that is freaky early.

Saturday- Rest

Sensing a pattern?  No lie, I didn’t get out of bed until 10.   I was feeling better but not great so I stuck close to home.   I rearranged some furniture and managed to knock myself loopy.     I was lying on the ground trying to move something and smacked the left side of my head into my dresser.  As I rolled away in pain, I slammed my right temple into the bed frame.    Yes, I am that talented.  At least I didn’t give myself a concussion this time. 😞

Sunday- 7 Miles

My training plan called for a 60 minute long run with 20 minutes at pace.    Smart runners follow the plan… I on the other get lost on a mountain.   Truthfully, I needed to get lost and spend some time in the dirt.  But more about that next post.  😄😄

 Overall it wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible and I am ok with that.   I was feeling really rundown and stressing about it wasn’t helping.    My mileage may not look pretty but the rest helped.    That weekend with no plans was kind of awesome too.

September Wrap up!!!

Adios September- you kicked my ass.   But let’s look at the numbers-

september15Miles Run- 69.6

Stationary bike- 36.2

Hey, I got over 100 miles if you add those!  Grr.


Central Coast Cancer Challenge 5K- 27:10
HOB Fun Run 10K-58:54
HOB Fun Run 5K-37:49

While the numbers aren’t where I want them to be, they are headed in the right direction.  Yes, that .4 missing in the running mileage bugs me but it is what is.   I would like to see that mileage number grow in the coming months.  I looked at my calendar and noticed that October and November are equally busy months and contain 3 races so I need to stay on top of things.    Hopefully laying out there will help.  😁

How was your September? Did you have a good weekend?

Is anyone else accident prone?  I should be wrapped in bubble wrap.

What are you looking forward to in October?

2015 HOB Fun Run 10K/ 5K

This was my 9th year participating in the HOB Fun Run.  It was my 8th time volunteering and my 6th time running.  Breaking it down even further- this would be my 6th time running the 5K and 3rd time running the 10K.  Also the 3rd time running both races.  As much fun as I have at this race, it’s also one of the most stressful.   So many people I know!  It kind of freaks me out.  Throw in team shirts and you can’t even blend in anymore.  :)

The Scene-

The race starts and ends downtown.  I could walk to the start if I wanted to.  I have yet to do that though.   The course is a loop around the city park and down the main drag.  The 10K is 2 loops and the 5K is one.   It’s one of the few races I’ve ever run that is a completely closed course.   A kids 1/2 mile race, a 75 yard dash and a diaper dash are also offered.  It’s a race known for being flat, fast and still offers prize money.  The baby who wins the diaper dash wins a washer and dryer. 

The 10K started at 8, so I arrived a little before 7:45.  I knew we were attempting a group photo with whoever was there before the 10k.   C and C-hub were there- race buddies!!!   I  haven’t run a race with them since last year’s fun run.   I miss my buddies.  😞 There were 6 of us for the first shots.  After the standard shot, the race photographer decided he wanted one of the back of our shirts.   It was the most awkward picture ever.  It’s a total butt shot and I was thankful I was wearing a skirt.  😏   The plan was to race the 10K and just have fun running the 5k.   I was still feeling my running funk so I had very basic goals for the 10K-

A- Sub 55- PR- I knew it wasn’t happening but I could dream right?
B- Sub 60
C- Better than last year’s blow up

10K-  The one where I was beat by a 30lb dog.

30 seconds to the start I realized I left my water in my bag with my bib change for the 5k.  Crap!   C rocks, I texted her and she grabbed it and tossed it my way when I ran past.   I felt like I started out too fast but I really didn’t.   However it was my fastest mile of the race.    My stupid headphones refused to play and then wouldn’t stay in my ears so I ran the first loop with them wrapped in my hand.    I stayed steady and tried to increase my turn over but it wasn’t happening.  I rounded the corner to finish lap 1 and was able to toss my headphones to C-hub.    I also saw my time at the 5K mark- 28:something- ouch.  Miles 1-3: 9:08, 9:23, 9:23

I tried to pick it up on the second loop but I just couldn’t find another gear.  I never felt like I was running hard but I didn’t feel like I could run any faster either.   It was odd but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a banner day so I was ok with how I was running.   Seeing a less than 30lb dog with little legs outrun me was a little disheartening though.  😃    Seriously, the dog ran the entire 10K with his owner and didn’t even seem phased.  Miles 3-6:  9:13, 9:40, 9:31

Finish- 58:54


Goal B successfully accomplished.   Time for a quick bib change and the main group shot before the 5K.

Yeah, we stood out.
Yeah, we stood out. Source


C, C-hub and their daughter E were planning on run/ walking the 5K and I was going to join them.   C and E bolted from the starting line leaving C-hub and I in the dust.   We eventually caught up around .5 mile in when E need a walk break.  I could tell C just wanted to bolt so I suggested she and C-hub dash off and E and I would follow along behind.   I didn’t have to twist her arm.  😄

It was E’s first race so I let her set the pace.  We ran when she wanted to and walked when she needed.   There are 3 water stations along the course and you pass 2 of them twice so that means there are 5 water points for a 5K.   This was needed as it was very warm morning.   I made sure that E got water at each stop.    At the second stop, I hung on to my water cup for some reason.   That station didn’t have a trash can and I didn’t want to toss onto the clean street so I hung onto it.    I’ve never done that before but it turned out to be a good thing.  As we were coming up on the third water station I saw that no on was manning it anymore.  Where did they go?  There were about 100 runners behind us!   Once at the table, I realized there were no cups but there was still water in the 5 gallon jugs.   Good thing I held onto my cup!   I had E hold the cup while I hefted the water.   We were able to get water this way here and on the way back.    We continued run/ walking until 1 block before the finish and then it was a sprint to the end.   E hauled ass and finished strong!  Woo hoo!

Finish- E-37:37/ Me- 37:39


We got our medals and headed for water.  We also met back up with C and C-hub.  They finished just over 30 minutes.   Awesome!   We chatted a bit while waiting for the kids races.  Seriously the kids are so stinking cute when they run.  Some of them were so enthusiastic they were literally kicking themselves in the butt.   The 75 yard dash was broken into 3 heats since there were so many kids.   Unfortunately I had to leave before I could see the diaper dash.  :(

Overall, it was a fun morning and a great way to see a bunch of people I don’t see on a regular basis.  I miss my running buddies, hopefully it’s not another year until we race together again. 😃    Water station 3 snafu aside, it was a great race, and always runs smoothly.    I’m looking forward to next year.