On Sunday, I toed the start line for my 5th SLO Half Marathon.
I have mixed feelings about this race. There was a time I loved it. Then it drove me batty. I’ve run it 5 times but only paid for it once. I was a race ambassador for the first few years but then I just couldn’t. Not to say I would have made the cut had I applied, I just stopped. This most recent trip down memory lane was sponsored by my work.
In the 5 times I’ve run it, I’ve run 3 different courses. I get that the city and the county dictate what roads could be closed and when but that’s a lot of change. The first course I ran was my favorite. I ran that one 3 times. Also, I seem to get slower every time I run SLO.
I headed into this race with no goal other than finishing. The preceding week and a half had wrung me out and I was hanging on by a thread. I was wondering why I hadn’t signed up for the 3 person relay. Oh yeah, needed 2 other people.
Unlike the last time I ran it, we made it into the parking lot before I jumped out of the car.
Then it became the “what pace is this?” game.
Mile 1- 10:10
Who starts a race uphill? I mean a short hill but still. Also I had to stop and tie my shoe so I don’t know where that pace came from.
Oh crap, I am already exhausted. This isn’t good. Oh, look another hill.
Mile 3- 11:00
Oh thank goodness, a water stop. Another reason to walk. More hill.
Miles 4- 11:13
More walking but a little bit of downhill. Also I know SLO pretty well but we’ve turned so damn many times I am so confused.
Mile 5- 11:42
Another hill, more walking and I must lose this long sleeve shirt before I melt. Oh crap, it’s under my pack. Why?! Oh and the work water station. Anyone want to tap in for me???? Please?
Mile 6- 12:44
Ok, I’m toast. Did I say I missed the Johnson hill stretch? I take it all back. Or as the pacer in front of me said- “Welcome to the hospital hills”.
Mile 7- 11:07
The climb is never ending. My brain broke. I had no sense of pace. I just remember walking. BUT I didn’t eat asphalt here like I did my 2nd time running it.
I’m done. Why do I do this to myself? Oh, Orcutt road is pretty, damn forgot about the hill. Not really, just lied to myself.
Tiny downhill, weeee! Also lost the 2:30 pacer, like they were miles ahead. Totally realizing this could very well be my slowest half marathon.
So much walking. Just keep moving, just keep moving. Oh look, it’s the railroad path.
Mile 11- 12:13
At this point I actually comprehend the numbers on my watch but they make no sense. Wait, if I drop 2 sub 10 miles, I’ll be around 2:25? Did I stop my watch somewhere?
Stupid, you don’t have sub 10 in you. Oh, hey it’s the criss cross bridge to run up to cross the railroad. Can’t we just run across? How much more is there?
I see the freeway overpass- run! The finish line is on the other side. I hate this last hill right before the finish- weeee! Downhill to the finish.
Wait, what? I started walking in mile 2 for crying out loud. I was ballparking a 2:45 finish, how the hell did I cut 10 minutes off of Oakland? I mean, yeah I was sick at Oakland but I was in a fog during SLO. I had no idea what pace I was running for 90% of the race. Or walking. So somehow I inadvertently proved I do better with hills. I’m not crazy!
Ok, maybe a little.