Race Day · Recap · Run!

Carlsbad Half Marathon Recap

I put this race on my calendar back in November.  Something about it just looked awesome.  Then the December of flu happened and I ran a whopping 14 miles.   Well crap.   I took time off in November intentionally so that meant a long break with very little running.  Well, crap, what now?  Cue freak out.  I seriously debated a DNS but I couldn’t start the year like that right?   Right.


I was doing this but I was under trained, out of shape and freaking out.    I had no idea how this was going to go.   I was too tired to even pull off a flat runner, how about a pile?  😛  The longest run I had done in months was 7 miles.  The farthest I had run in my Sayonara’s was also 7 miles.  This was going to be interesting.    I told my mother I was going to take awhile, how long I wasn’t sure but that she shouldn’t even start looking for me until the 2:30 mark.


Race morning dawned all too early and a little cold while standing around in the corrals.  I knew it would feel good when we started running though.   The race had a wave start and the announcers were upbeat and trying to keep the crowds entertained while we waited.   Which I appreciated until the man introduced corral 4 as the “back of the packers”.  Corral 4 contained the 2:00 hour pace group.   WTH? I was in corral 5 in between the 2:20 and 2:30 pace groups.  His comment did not go over well with the runners around me.  Grrr.

Mile 1- 11:05

The plan was to run the first 2 miles and then go to a run/ walk of 3/1.    Mile 1 had a pretty decent uphill and I was pretty proud of myself for almost running the whole thing until I remembered that I had another 12 miles to go after this and probably shouldn’t flame out after mile 1 just due to stupid pride.  So I forced myself to walk that last part of the hill.


Miles 2-5- 10:30, 11:18, 10:37, 11:17

The course has 2 decent inclines (mile 1 and 7) but otherwise it’s a nice rolling course, which is kind of my jam.   My plan of 3/1 was kind of thrown to the wind and I was just running when it felt good and walking when I needed to.  The views of the ocean to the right were pretty awesome and the village of Carlsbad was pretty cute.  Aid stations were on point and there were surprisingly more people out cheering than I thought.   There were also bands playing music along the way.  I was warming up too but it felt good to be running in a tank top though.

Miles 6-7- 10:49, 11:41

Well crap, I can see that hill coming, sure looks fun.   At least it has a decent downhill leading up to it.     I also had a moment where I mentally checked out.   Not in a bad way but in a nostalgic, spiritual way.  The 15th was my grandmother’s birthday and there was something about the way the sun was peaking through the clouds that gave me pause.  And peace.   Then it was on to the hill… and a fair amount of walking.  Well, until Last Resort by Papa Roach started playing on my phone and then I randomly started bounding down the course.


Miles 8-11- 11:21, 11:22, 11:42, 11:37

Know what I forgot?  Humidity.  Yeah, silly, you’re running next to the ocean, it’s going to be humid.   My lungs let me know they weren’t happy.  Inhaler time!  I was feeling surprisingly ok though.   I was tiring but that was to be expected but I didn’t feel bad.    I knew there weren’t any hills (by my definition, only rollers) ahead and I had a good downhill towards the finish.   I had no idea what my time was, I had my watch face on my intervals.  I just knew that the 2:30 pacer was still behind me.  But they had also started behind me so that didn’t necessarily mean anything.    My 3/1’s had never fully formed and I was still running whatever I felt like.

Miles 12-13- 11:29, 10:45

Damn, my toes were kind of hurting, boo.   Well, it could be worse.  I was so close!  And a downhill was coming!   Just as I was coming up on mile 12 I noticed the 2:30 pacer coming up on my left. No!!!  I bolted.  It helped that we were coming up on the downhill section even if it seemed shorted than I thought.  Alright, I got this, lift and coast.  Weee……Baaaaam!!!    Halfway down the hill, someone came to a complete stop right in front of me. I couldn’t stop, I slammed into them.  How neither of us hit the ground, I have no idea.  I went pinwheeling while colorful words spilled out of my mouth.     We briefly checked on each other before moving on.  I kept running towards the finish.   I ended up taking a walk break not too long later, I felt like I had wrenched my right leg in the collision.  Boo.    I tried to shake it off so I could run it in to the finish.  Except I had to dodge a woman with a giant purse meandering through the course!  What?!   Finally around her and to the finish.

Finish- 2:27:49


Sub 2:30? Where the hell did that come from?!  I mean it’s miles from my PR but it’s also a helluva a lot better than I thought I was going to pull off going into this race.    I know I have a lot of work ahead of me this year but maybe this was the race I needed start the year with.     🙂😀   I can do this.

 

Race Day · Recap · Run!

2016 Surf City Recap

Race- Surf City 13.1

Location- Huntington Beach, CA

Saturday- 

After the hotel snafu of Saturday and once I accepted that I would not have a nice, leisurely race morning- after my mother and I had mapped out a long, circuitous route to the race start- I realized the even bigger mistake I had made.   I hadn’t packed any water.   What? How?!  I had a bottle of Gatorade and my Skratch Labs but no water outside of what I had drank on the drive down.  Face palm.   So after a yummy dinner at Red Robin- water, lettuce wrapped burger and a few fries for me- we stopped at a Walgreen’s.    Where I bought 8 bottles of water.  🙂    Then it was back to the hotel for a little downtime before I headed to bed early.  And proceeded to wake up every hour on the hour.  Grrr.

Race day-

Luckily, I have my pre-race ritual down, so I don’t have to get up too early.   As of right now, I am still racing on an empty stomach and it has been working out.   The race had a 7:45 start but I wasn’t planning on being there super early, I knew it would be a while before my corral crossed the start line.   My mom was able to drop me off a few blocks from the start line a little before 7:30.   Another bonus about arriving “late”?  No line at the port-a-potties.   Except the damn thing almost blew over with me in it!

   
 Ok, the corrals.   Serious cluster-f***.  What is the point of asking a participant their projected finish time if it’s not used for corral placement?    More than a few people in my corral were in a similar position.    I put down a projected 2:10 finish time.   The 3:30 pacers were about 2000 people ahead of me.  Seriously.    I considering jumping corrals but at that point it was already so late.  Grrrr.    My corral crossed the start line around 8:15.

  
Miles 1-3 10:09, 10:14, 10:09

My plan was to treat this like a well supported long run and hopefully maintain around a 10:00 min pace.  Mile 1 started out ok.   My legs felt good and my pace felt good.  Mile 2 required more dodging. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people walking at races- however if you are walking 6 people across in the first 2 miles of a race- we have an issue!   This happened more than once.   Then the first water station was a crowded mess but I had learned from last year that this was the case and just avoided it all.      I also a music snafu in mile 2.  I had started my playlist in the starting corrals and paused it.   When I pushed start around mile 2, Christmas music started playing.  What?!

Miles 4-6 10:30, 10:54, 11:08

By my standards, this course is flat, the only real hill is in mile 4.  I was excited to see it as I had an ankle ache that I needed to run out.   And I did but I was starting to realize that I was having troubles catching my breath.   I didn’t feel like I was pushing hard but I was starting to wheeze.   I took a quick walk break to try and get things under control.  It didn’t really help.   There was a little down hill coming up and I was hoping to make up some speed but I just kept slowing down.   My inhaler wasn’t helping either.   Mile 6 is where I got real.   This breathing issue is not new.  I have been having troubles since I was sick in January.  It’s more than my usual asthma, it comes with some odd chest pain, but I was hoping that denial would make it all go away.   Because that works so well, right?  Yeah no.   I called my mom during mile 6 and let her know I was having some issues but was going to tough out.    I didn’t need her getting the real time runner alerts and wondering what the hell was going on.  🙂

Miles 7-9 11:50, 11:35, 11:37

New game plan was a run/ walk plan.  4:30 of running and 1:00 of walking.   The running was slow so I was hoping that these intervals would keep me moving but not gasping for breath.  I changed my watch face to just show the interval times so I had no idea what my overall time was.   This was a long section of out and back so I was able to see Ashley of RatherbeRunnin’ coming back on the other side of the highway looking strong.    Luckily the course is scenic so I was able to enjoy the view.  I also had time to people watch.  PSA here,  a fabric may be black but that does not mean that it is opaque!  If I can see the moles on your butt- wear underwear!!  Ok, PSA over.

  

Mile 10- 13:04

This was a struggle.  Even 4:30 seemed like way too long to run.  I was wheezing and the inhaler was useless.    We ran through the Cliff shot zone in mile 10 and I grabbed a citrus and a mocha one.  Both have caffeine and I was hoping for a Hail Mary pass and that one would help.    I walked a lot.   The finish line seemed so very far away.

Miles 11-13 12:17, 11:50, 11:36

I was beginning to think this was going to be my slowest half yet.   And it was getting so hot.  I had been drinking water at each station but now I was dumping it down my back too.   The volunteers were also having troubles keeping up with the demand for water.  There were some stations out of cups.  I am hoping more were on the way as there were thousands of people behind me still.   I was trying to stick to my intervals but the walking sections were getting longer.   It was getting more crowded on the course as well.  I accidentally smacked a guy in the crotch when he came up on my right.  Oops!!!  Sorry!    I just kept moving towards the finish line, the increased crowd support was helping.    I walked the beginning of mile 13 and then ran the rest in.  I crossed the finish line gasping and wheezing and promptly burst into tears.

Finish- 2:28:24

  

Not my slowest!!!   I collected my medal and avoided all the photographers.    I heard my mom and thought I was losing it but then realized she was on the other side of the fence.  I made my way through the recovery stations and then out of the chute into the crowd.    I met with my mom and headed to a curb to sit.  My legs felt good but I was so tired from fighting my lungs for so long.    It gave me time to admire my medal though- it’s huge!!!!  And was fought for.    But it was also a lesson in something I should already know- you can’t ignore things and hope they go away.  It doesn’t work like that.    Was this race I wanted?  No.   But every rough race is a lesson learned, right?   I still got to run with thousands of other crazies like me.   🙂   And for the record- I have a doctor’s appointment next week.

   
They were some things I didn’t like about the race this year but overall it is a good race.  The weather is gorgeous- just bare in mind that temps hit the high 70’s.    Perfect beach weather post race.  🙂

The day was finished out resting in the hotel watching the Super Bowl- yay Broncos!!    I needed some time off my feet—I had big plans for Monday—-Disneyland!!!!!  But I’ll save those adventures for next post.  🙂

Run! · Slacker

Big Sur Goals?

You know that quote?

It’s better to be 10% under trained than 1% over trained when you step up to the starting line.

Whelp, how about 30% under trained?  Actually that may be pretty generous.  I had big plans for the weeks in between City to the Sea and Big Sur but we’ve already discussed the sloppiness of October so let’s move on.  😉😉

So what is the under trained slacker with an aching ankle thinking about for this weekend?

Big Sur is supposed to be gorgeous- If it takes me longer to run it, well then I get longer to enjoy the view.

Start will be in the low 40’s- I haven’t quite adjusted to that but at least it won’t be too hot.

Bib 3118- Corral D…out of A-L.  What the hell am I doing up there?  Maybe inertia will push me forward and I will run faster?

This is half marathon #6 of 2015, first time I’ve run that many 13.1’s in a year.  Sweet!

Elites- Kara Goucher and Sara Kiptoo- Seriously.  I will be running the same course as elites at the same time-holy crap!   Actually, now that I think about it,  part of the course is an out and back…I may need to keep my phone handy.  😆

Ummmm- this- I need it-

Source

Road trip!  Seriously I never went anywhere before I started running.

Monterey- Home of the aquarium.  We may try and go.  But, man those tickets are stupid expensive.

Community- I’m going to be surrounded by thousands of other people like me.  Those who think that lining up on a cold morning to run 13.1 miles sounds like fun.  😄

Monday- Did I mention I have Monday off?

This could be my last race of the year, at least I chose a good one.    I’ve been having some odd ankle pain, hello denial, can I move in?

The view- Seriously, the pictures I’ve seen make this worthy of 2 mentions.  I’ve actually considered carrying my little digital camera during the run.   Either that or I need a strap for my iPhone.

So instead of goals, I have only one hope.  I want to cross the start line and the finish line smiling.  No head games, no berating myself, just running with a few thousand strangers like me.  Runner’s are crazy right?

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!  Molly, Allison, Rae, Kate, those running Revel Canyon or Wine and Dine, and everyone else I am missing!! 

That otter is awesome, right?

Race Day · Run!

Shoreline Half- Recap

Going into this race, I knew not to expect too much.    Partly because I had such an off May and June and I haven’t caught back up yet.   Also, the course description was flat and I don’t do so well on flat courses.  Then there was the humidity factor.   Humidity is a big trigger for my asthma and I haven’t had the best showing at races with high humidity levels.   Case in point-

Rock’n Around the Pier– 2:20:something and the first race I considered DNF’ing
Ventura- 2:34:something Granted there were other issues too, but I walked from mile 6.5 on.    I also felt broken at the end- I almost couldn’t walk back to the hotel.
Surf City– 2:19- 95% humidity? Seriously?

So of course, I head back to Ventura for more pain fun.   Different course but 85% humidity at the start.  I tried not to look but have finally learned I need to be prepared.   I was aiming to run a comfortable race and finish around 2:15.   I don’t know about you but humidity is never comfortable.  So here we go.

Race morning-

After 4 hours of sleep I was up at 3.   I had limited my carb intake since Friday and eaten less than normal pre-race on Saturday.   I did this for Wine Country and it worked well so I tried it again.  We were on the road by 4:15.  My mom drove so I dozed off and on along the way.   We arrived 30 minutes before packet pickup so headed to a nearby McDonald’s to use the restrooms and she and S had breakfast.  That place was sketchy.   IMG_1107 Parking was easy and we headed out to the start.    Packet pickup was actually easy.  I think I had birthday luck and got everywhere before lines formed.  I had good port-a-potty luck too.  🙂  Exited one to find about 60 people in line.   They had a map of the course up and announcer going over it.   There were pacers for every 15 minutes starting at 1:30.    The start was self seeded with 4 waves- Sub 8, 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00+.  In keeping with my plan to run a 2:15, I lined up with that last group.    Here’s where I had to contain my inner fan girl.  IMG_1109Earlier while hanging in the grassy area with my mom and S, a man walked past up wearing a McFarland singlet.    I pointed him out to my mom and wondered if it was real or just something they sold in association with the movie.   I then forgot about it as we headed to the start line.  The corral at the start was very tightly spaced and I looked right then snapped my head back.  The flippin’ McFarland running team was standing there!  At least part of it.  Say what!?  They soon squeezed their way through to the sub 8 group.   Then the gun sounded and we were off.

Miles 1-3- 9:14, 9:23, 9:34

So much for lining up with the 10:00+ pace group.  I went out too fast!!    The race has 3 or so miles on the boardwalk- at the start and end.  This meant amazing scenic ocean views, but it also meant running on concrete.   My left leg was pissed early on.  Nothing alarming, I just knew I needed to shake it out.   We switched to black top by the end of mile 1.   I shook off the pain by mile 3.  The next miles alternated between a black top bike path and busy roadside.   I was feeling pretty good but I also realized I was going to positive split this race in a big way.

Miles 4-6- 9:36, 9:50, 9:47

There was a tiny incline for miles 5 and 6 and I loved it.   It made my legs happy.  🙂  Nasty looking dumpster aside, the course scenery was still awesome.  It was a clear, sunny day and the ocean looked amazing.   It was high 60’s, low 70’s which normally I would love but I could tell the humidity was getting to me.  It was no longer a question of if but when.  We hit the turn around for this section a little past mile 5.  Now I knew what I was getting on the way back so I was ready.    The course leaders had also flown by when I was around mile 4- they were flying!  I was pacing myself by following a tall man in front of me.  I did that for about 4 miles before I passed him.

Miles 7-9- 10:32, 10:47, 10:07

I took my first walk break during mile 7.   And another.    Grrr.  I was trying to make up my time in mile 8 when I had a breathing issue.  I had used my inhaler 3x leading up to race start but it wasn’t enough.  I haven’t mastered using my inhaler while running so that meant slowing to a walk, taking out the inhaler, using it and giving my lungs a minute or 2 to calm down.   I need to work on that but I don’t train in humidity.  Mile 8 is usually my favorite mile but I feel like I missed most of it.  I did find someone new to chase pace though.    Up ahead, I saw someone I thought I recognized but have never seen in real life- Hilary @ Embrace the Neon!   I chased her for the next 5 miles.   Running- the only acceptable way to chase people.  🙂  I promise I’m not creepy, I just find someone to pace off of.  IMG_1091Miles 10-11- 11:13, 10:57

I had graduated to walking all the water stops.  I would drink half the water and dump the rest on my head or down my back.    I was so sweaty, it was hard to tell the difference.  Heading back to the boardwalk something funny happened- the arms at the train crossing came down!  I saw everyone ahead stopped but I didn’t want to stand still and wait so I slowed to a walk hoping the train would come through before I got there.  They lifted without a train ever coming through- what?  Then we were back on the board walk.  This is where things got dicey.

The boardwalk wasn’t closed so we were dodging walkers, non-racing runners, bikers, surfers, dogs, etc.    That took so much more energy, mental and physical, than I had.    One woman got off of her bike and parked it horizontal across the path.  I swear she looked at us racers like “deal with it” but that could have been the fatigue making things up in my head.   Another hard part of mile 11?  Running past the finish line.   We had to run past the finish/ start area to head the other direction for a 2+ mile loop before the finish.  Grrr.

Miles 12-13.1- 11:32, 11:00, 8:17 pace

And my lungs protested again.  Once more I slowed to use my inhaler.  I had troubles getting started after that.  I knew I was so close to the finish but I was hot and tired.  I was so sweaty, the shorties under my skirt started sliding- they have never done that.    I took more than a few walk breaks those last 2 miles.  Then it was back on the board walk for the final push to the  finish- dodging people all the while.  Somehow I mustered up energy for a final kick to the finish.

Finish- 2:14:39

We were given our medals and herded into the grassy registration area.  This is where my only real race gripe came about.  The race promised tacos and beer at the finish line.  Which were there but all I wanted was water.  I could not find a freakin’ water table! I looked everywhere, even my mom and S couldn’t find one when they met up with me.  I had read about other bloggers having this issue at races but had never experienced it.

I was so hot and sweaty and I just wanted to cool down.  I took off my shoes and belt and passed them to my mom.  I went down the beach, climbed over the rocks and walked right into the ocean.    I heard her yell that I had paid a lot of money for the socks I was now walking the beach in.  🙂   It was seriously amazing.  If I didn’t have my bib or my Garmin on I may have just sat down in the water.   I hung out there for a bit before heading down the beach to the stairs back to the boardwalk.  I didn’t trust myself negotiating the rocks the a second time.

All in all, I really liked the race.  Even with falling apart at the end (thanks humidity) I managed to come in under my goal time for the race.  Granted it wasn’t comfortable but it was fun and a great way to start a birthday.   🙂   After changing at a nearby In n Out (fries- Diet Coke!) we headed up the freeway to Santa Barbara for some birthday shopping.  S’s birthday was the day before.    My legs were feeling pretty good after the race but I kept popping my toes out of joint, grrr.  Sorry if you’re squeamish.    This isn’t something that’s new, I’ve had the issue for years it just seemed to happen multiple times yesterday.   I managed to restrain myself shopping wise but did come away with a new skirt and pair of shorts from Lululemon.    Oh and a purse from Macy’s.   A great but tiring day.  I was in bed by 10pm.   🙂  IMG_1149

How do you celebrate your birthday?  I’ve yet to have any cake!

Ever had to dodge the public while running a race?