First race of the year is in the books!
Castle to Coast is an 8.2 mile road race that starts at WR Hearst State Beach and runs along the highway to Moonstone Beach. It’s a no frills race with scenic views. It starts across from Hearst Castle. Granted the Castle is way up on the hill but on a clear day you can see it. I have wanted to run it for the past few years but they cap it around 300 runners each time and it always sold out before I registered. This year, well last November, I literally registered at 2 minutes past midnight the day registration opened. I was looking forward to finally running it but then slacker December happened followed by sick January. Oh and let’s not forget the sudden blister issue.
As I laid out my clothes on Friday night I was feeling very “meh” about it all. Between my blister issues and the fact that I have put on a few pounds, I knew my usual race outfit of knee high Pro Compression socks and a skirt was off the table. With temps predicted in the high 50’s I figured a tank and capris would be fine. Just in case, I added my arm warmers. Race morning dawned way too early but with one last weather check, I was out the door. I had already mentally moved this from a “race” to a very public long run. 8 miles with ocean views- piece of cake right?
Rain!!! That was not in the forecast. I kept hoping it would clear up as we drove but no luck. It was so foggy and overcast I started to wonder if I had driven past the starting point. Then I saw a pack of Aggies warming up along the highway- we must be close. Once parked I headed to the epically long bathroom line and my mom headed to check me in. Benefits of small races right? She was back with my shirt and wristband and I still hadn’t moved forward in the bathroom line. 😂 I struck up a conversation with the women behind me. She is my new favorite person- she said I looked 24! I also saw Ashley before the race start. 😃 I grabbed my rain jacket from my gym bag at the last minute, it wasn’t raining hard but it was enough to get you wet and cold. The start line was about 1/4 up the road so we all headed that way. This is very low key event- no bibs, no timing chips, just a starter pistol at the start. I started towards the back of pack which might not be the best idea for a gun timed race but I was just aiming for a steady run.
Miles 1-4 9:54, 10:06, 10:03, 10:08
And we were off! We ran past the cutest little general store right at the start. It was so overcast that the castle was completely covered up. We went up a side street and then we were on the highway. I should mention that the roads were not closed so we were running along the highway. In the rain. With cars. My hood fell back by mile .5 and I decided to just leave it down. I was about a mile in when I noticed something odd with my right foot. The Vaseline was doing its job but my toes felt weird. My shoe was full of water! I could literally scrunch my toes and it felt like I was wringing out a towel and not my sock. My watch was covered by my jacket sleeve so I just tried to keep what felt like a steady pace. I started to get hot so I unzipped my jacket. Miles 2 and 3 felt rougher than I would have liked and are kind of a blur. I just kept my eyes forward and kept putting one foot in front of the other. I knew there was a water station at mile 4 so seeing that meant I was halfway there. Woo hoo!
By now I was super warm and there was a small hill in sight. I knew I was going to slow down running up it so I used that mile to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. Which meant I could now see my watch and my pace. I did my best to ignore it and just kept running. Left foot then right, then curl my toes to try and move the water around. A little past mile 6 we turned off the highway onto a side street and headed for the finish. This street was longer than I thought and I started to worry that my mom might not have found the finish line. I hadn’t really given her directions and while running I realized I had given her the wrong street name. Oops! I was tiring and just wanted to be done. I was so happy to see the finish line. First race done!
Finish- 8.28 miles- 1:23:11
So yeah, that was about 7 minutes slower than my last 8 mile race. But 8.2 mile races are an automatic PR right? Official results aren’t posted yet but I think my Garmin is pretty accurate. I started way back in the pack and it was gun timed. This was not the race I would have liked to run but in reality it went exactly like I expected. I know I am out of shape right now but haven’t done a whole lot to fix it. I think the reality of this race will give me the kick in the ass I needed. As far as long runs go, it was a great pace. As for race pace? Umm, not so much. However I am pretty impressed with the consistency of my splits. I don’t think I’ve ever run a steadier race. I love how you can tell the hill was in mile 5. 😝 Something else that I am happy about? I did not take a single walk break, I ran the entire damn thing. I can’t even tell you the last time that happened.
The finish line area was a little disorganized. There were giveaways but I’m not sure how it was working. I met up with my mom and then later Ashley and we chatted a bit before heading out. Not only had my mother found the park but she beat everyone else there. She literally parked my car next to the finish line. 😝
The ocean view was pretty in a stormy, cloudy kind of way but I wish I could have run this race in the sun. And not just because I was soaking wet. I may consider running it again next year but not sure. The cost is great-$30- but I am still on the fence. We’ll see.
Ever run on an open highway?
Race in the rain?