Tag: City to the Sea

2017 City to the Sea 13.1 Recap

What do you do when need to run a long run and need the motivation to get up early? Sign up for a race!

Let’s count the things that did not go like planned-

  • Had stomach issues on Saturday but hoped they would go away by race morning.
  • It didn’t, it was even worse.  To the point where I had a complete change in wardrobe plans.  If I could have run in a dress I would have.  I needed the least amount of pressure possible.
  • Ran in a skirt I haven’t worn in 2 years, probably qualified as something new on race day.  Ditto to the Camelbak I decided to use.
  • I was late leaving the house, then spent too much time at a Chevron station using the facilities due to above mentioned GI issue.
  • Lost one of the zip ties for the timing chip.  Found it again after tearing apart car.
  • Strolled up to the start with 3 minutes to spare.
  • Ran the race on Zero calories.
  • With my back issues, I was thinking this would be slower than long run pace.  My parents were meeting me at the finish line- I told them over a 2:30 finish.

And yet-

Miles 1-4 9:38, 9:39, 9:44, 9:58

The race starts off downhill so I figured the first few miles would be my fastest but I had been thinking high 10’s.  Mile 1 clocked in and I remember thinking “what the hell legs? We can’t maintain that”.  Then mile 2 took freakin’ forever.  I’ve run this course 5 times and I couldn’t figure why the hell it was taking so long so I finally looked at my watch.  Mile 2.86.  Oh I missed the mile marker, good to know I am not crazy.   I was trying to not look at my watch but I knew my legs were still running a pace they had no business running.  My friend Bix came up behind a little after mile 3.  We chatted a bit before she pulled ahead a little after mile 4.  I had to crash soon right?

Miles 5-8 10:20, 10:44, 11:13, 9:34

Mile 5 starts a long slow climb which I like as it loosens up any leg tightness I may have.  I also took my first walk break as my back gave a tiny twinge.   Mile 6 saw lots of walking as those stupid stomach issues came rearing back.  Are you kidding me?!?!  The last aid station at mile 4 and the next one wasn’t until past mile 7.     I also was suddenly surrounded by people.  What the hell?   It was the 2:15 pace group.  Wait, I was in front of the 2:15 pace group for 6 miles?  What year is this? 2015? 😛   They pulled ahead but I kept them in my sights until the bigger hill on mile 7- more walking thanks to a cranky back.  I wasn’t worried as I knew there was a downhill coming and I love downhills.  As you can see by that mile 8 up there.

The Garmin makes it look scary😂

Miles 9-11 10:48, 12:34, 10:26

Catching up to the pace group was short lived.  I lost them on the Bob Jones Trail.  I was slowing down but what else do you expect when your longest run in 2 months has been 8 miles?  I ran on the dirt on the side of the trail hoping it would lessen some of the pavement pounding but by mile 10- the biggest hill- my back was very not happy.  I walked a lot and it shows in my mile time.   I tried to stretch it out as I walked.   Mile 11 was pretty good actually but I felt like I was crawling.

Miles 12-13.1 10:51, 11:40

Come on back, I’m so close!  2 miles to go! Run til I feel a twinge, walk it out, repeat.  Ran alongside a woman for a bit, we commiserated over pains.  She was having Plantar issues.  She pulled ahead.   Finally I hit mile 13 and all I had left was the longest .1 ever.  Seriously- I swear this .1 is longer than any other race I have other run.

Finish- 2:18:59

How, now?  Under trained, messed up back, hot mess of a morning and I finish my fastest race in 2 years?  In fact, my fastest race since City to the Sea 2015?   How does that even make sense?   I just decided to let my legs and back fight it out.  I took my head out of the equation.

Maybe I need to try that more often? 😛🙂

2016 City to the Sea Recap

Disclaimer: Do I even need this?  I won entry into this race via a Facebook contest.  I would have registered for it anyways but winning is better.  😛

I love this race but it also stresses me out.  Why?  This race is still my half marathon PR…from 2013.   Sometimes I feel like I am getting farther and farther away from that race.    I knew going in this year that I was no where near PR shape and that was fine, I was just hoping for a solid race.   Coach Jenny with Ekiden Coaching and I had discussed using the race as a training run for the Harvest Marathon half and we were both on the same  page of aiming for a 2:10.  It sounded a little ambitious as most of my 13.1’s this year have been plagued by a variety of issues but I was hopeful.   While my marathon training had little speed work I was hopeful the distance training would help.

Then HOB Fun Run happened and I hurt like hell after.  Missed 2 runs due to leg pain, stopped sleeping because well, life and received bad family news.  I chucked all time thoughts out the window and just hoped to finish.  When my mom dropped me off at the race start I told her to not even look for me before the 2:30 point.  City to the Sea is a point to point so logistics can be a little tricky.  This year my mom decided she would just drop me off, kill time, pick me up and then we would go to lunch.  Thanks mom!

Pet peeve- the race had a 7AM start time.  I got like 2 hours of sleep the night before and was feeling a little nauseous.  The dang thing started 10 minutes late!

The beginning-

Miles 1-5- 10:04, 10:40, 10:23, 10:00, 10:19

And we were off!  I had placed myself near the 2:30 pace group but I lost them fairly quickly.  Oops.   I tried to just keep it steady but it was only mile 1!  Miles 1-5 are fairly flat to downhill so I tried to not be crazy.  I felt something flapping about .75 in and looked down to see my left shoelace was undone.  Again?!  I pulled off to the side to tie and once again it was like I forgot how to tie my shoes.  Once fixed I ran on.  Damn, my calves were getting super tight.   Just keep running…wait, now my other shoe was untied.  What?!! Again, I pulled to the side to tie my shoes.    Then I ran on.  Until I pulled to the side to stretch out my calves.   Less than 2.5 miles in and I had stopped 3 times.  Probably not a good sign.  😞   I kept going but my lower legs were getting super tight.   I hate flat routes.  I took my first walk break at 3.5 miles trying to shake the tightness out.  Between the slight downhill and the slant of the road, my legs were screaming.   I knew there was a hill coming soon and I needed it.

Oh, hill I love you.

The middle-

Miles 6-10- 10:05, 11:01, 9:58, 10:26, 11:53

We were off the main strip in SLO, under the freeway and onto a side road.  Hills!!  I never thought I would be so excited to hit the hilly portion.   But the first hill did exactly what I wanted it to do- the calf tightness loosened almost completely and I didn’t really notice it the rest of the race.   Woo hoo!  My stomach cramped in a very bad way partway through mile 7- walk break!   Bummer was the slant- the road was super slanted and something about it aggravated a muscle high up in my right butt.  I have no other way to describe it.  That in turn tweaked my right knee.  While things didn’t hurt, they sure didn’t feel comfortable.

The calm before the big hill…oh and cars.

There was a decent downhill in mile 8 as we ran into Avila and I was feeling good so I picked up a tiny bit of pace.  Then we rounded onto the Bob Jones trail and I just told myself to enjoy running through the trees.   I also ran in the dirt alongside the path to take some of the pounding off my legs.  I had felt a slight twinge from the troublesome left shin area and the butt issue was still around. 😛  Once out the trail we headed for Avila Bay drive which thanks to last year I knew to expect a good size hill.  I told myself I could take a walk break if I ran halfway up.  Success!  So much better than last year.   Rounded to the corner to another hill and we were into Pismo!  And the temp jumped about 20 degrees.  Ouch.

The Sea!!!! Really there was a mile+ to go.

The End-

Miles 11-13- 11:11, 10:58, 11:33

I wanted to be singing the I’m almost done song but instead I was having some GI issues.  My stomach had decided to be pissed off- seriously?!  From then on it was run until I cramped then walk until it eased.   Grrr.  During one of my walk breaks I noticed someone familiar pass me.   I wasn’t sure but I hollered Bix anyways- it was!   Bix was my very first race buddy- we ran a few races together years ago.  Until I convinced her to run Firehouse 5K with me without knowing how brutal it was- she never ran with me again.  😛  This was her fist half marathon!  We chatted a bit, discussed how the slanted roads were killing us and I warned her another hill was coming around mile 12.   We separated then but it was cool seeing her.   I did my run/ walk thing until the very end.  I swear this race has the longest last .25 mile.  Every single time I run it, it drags on forever!  But finally, the finish line was in sight!

Finish- 2:20:35

Well, that’s not too bad!  Actually it is my fastest half marathon finish this year!    There are a couple of points where I know I lost time but who’s to say I wouldn’t have lost it somewhere else.   The shoelaces thing drives me crazy though.   I never have that problem but now I have at the last two races!  Grrr.

Once I crossed the finish I was given my medal and then a tumbler and then a sticker.  Hey, that’s new!  Kind of helps make up for the tiny shirt.  😛   I got out of the chute but hung around as I wanted to see Bix finish.   Woo hoo!

I was still feeling a little green so I met up with my mom and we just got ourselves out of everyone’s way.  I got myself under control and we headed out to find a yummy lunch.

All in all, I would say this was a solid race.   I was way more consistent than I thought I would be.  I won’t complain about being faster than I figured- neither would my mom- she’d waited long enough.    That said, I believe I ran the best I could for where I was at the time- both mentally and physically.  I wanted to run a good race, one to clear away the lingering issues with my other halves this year. I wanted to run a race that would help me dust the cobwebs in my head.

Mission accomplished-✅  Can’t wait til next year.




Week 41 Training Recap

Training for:

  • City to the Sea 13.1 ✅
  • Harvest Marathon 13.1
  • Golden Gate Half

I wish I could I could be all sunshine and daisy’s about last week but I can’t.  I am looking really hard for the shiny because I know it’s there somewhere.  It has to be.

Work has been stressful, we are still down an employee and haven’t been able to replace them yet.   Also, the shift back to being an hourly employee is affecting me more than I thought it would but I’ll keep trucking along.

My sleep is still crap.  I used to be the type person who while being a night owl, once asleep I was dead to the world.  Seriously, you could throw things at me and I would sleep through it.   I would fall asleep in one position and stay that way all night.  Lately I can’t fall asleep and when I do I wake up repeatedly and I toss and turn.  Toss and turn to the point that my quilt and top sheet are usually on the floor in the morning.  😞   This weekend I went shopping for new pillows and I’ve ordered some essential oils to see if they help.  Fingers crossed!

Loss.  I was somehow lucky enough to get this far in life without having to deal with loss often.  This year has been different and last week was more bad news.   I really need to work on being less of stress eater.

Monday- 2 miles This was supposed to be a rest day but with all weekend off due to my stupid leg, I wanted get in a few test miles.   We got out of work late so by the time I made to home town I was racing the dying daylight.  2 miles is what I was able to fit in.  I was a little achy but nothing hurt more than that.

Tuesday- Rest.  Something came up and I didn’t get off work until almost 7.     I didn’t even attempt to run that day.

Wednesday- Rest  2 days off in a row seemed like a good idea.  Plus it fit perfectly in my training plan from Ekiden Coaching.  😛

Thursday- 3.5 miles Another chance to test the leg and see if I would be racing this weekend.  The plan called for 5 x400 but I knew I wasn’t getting up to 5k pace.  I stuck to the 400’s but kept them around a 9:30 pace and walked the recoveries.   My calves were super tight per usual and I stopped at one point to completely re-lace both Hoka’s but other than that it was ok.  I realized that I will be on the treadmill much sooner than I would like though.  It is getting dark so fast!


Friday- Rough day.    But I did win my entry in City to Sea from a Facebook contest so there’s that right?!    Thank you to everyone I badgered into voting for me!  I registered for Sunday’s race on Friday morning.

Saturday- Rest day.  Went to SLO for packet pickup and wandered around doing some shopping.  Shopping and food make great distractions from life right?  The race shirt was tiny, like Stitch size tiny.

Sunday- City to the Sea 13.1 To be continued…😛
How was your week?

Have any sleeping tips for me?

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.