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. 😜I 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.
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
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. 😜
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. After 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. 😏
It 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
Overall, 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?