BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half Marathon Santa Barbara Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Race morning dawned clear and sunny.  The night before had shown projected temps to be in the low 40’s at the start and only reaching 60 around 10.    I planned for a tank with long sleeves.    It was a little warmer than predicted in the morning but I stuck to my plan.  As I mentioned in my last post, I woke to an unpleasant surprise on race morning, oh the joys of being female, so I knew I was going to be a little more sluggish than I had planned.    With 2 weeks of next to no sleep and an extremely achy left leg, I was already planning on taking it easy.  I told my mother 2:20-2:25 but I also knew Ashley was pacing the 2:30 so I figured whatever worked.

The start was in Santa Ynez and we were running to Solvang.  My mother was able to get me within a block of the start line and damn it was windy and cold!


  I found Ashley at the 2:30 sign and we chatted before the start.  It’s been so long!!!  I met another BibRave Pro too, Carolyn but I didn’t think to take a picture until after.  Duh, silly Slacker.   After a little more shivering, the race started just a few moments behind schedule.


Miles 1-3  11:04, 11:01, 11:19

The first few miles were pretty crowded, this wasn’t a large race but the neighborhood streets were smaller.  That said, it looked pretty cool just seeing a crowd of runners ahead for the beginning miles.     The race profile had made the course look like a gradual incline through mile 7 but I quickly realized it more flat.  At least by my standards.  My calves were feeling kind of tight but they loosened up around mile 3.    Those first 3 miles also had some of the cutest furry race spectators ever-   a woman was standing on a corner with her pet goose.  Seriously, this goose looked so chill while thousands of runners ran right by.   Further down, 2 goats came running to a fence and looked like they wanted to run with us.   Then there were the miniature horses!!!  So cute.


Miles 4-6  11:35, 11:11, 11:33

I was staying steady, sluggish but steady and that was fine.  The course so far was more back roads and neighborhoods, I was waiting for vineyards.  I was actually surprised that the roads were completely closed- it was awesome but I was surprised- I’m only used to that at races with much bigger crowds.   A little past mile 5, we were running into the town of Los Olivos- it’s so small, it’s so cute!  Crowd support picked up too because mile 5.8 was the relay transition point.    I won’t lie- getting a medal at 5.8 looked pretty awesome.   I knew we were almost to the end of the “climbing” section but since the uphill hadn’t been so up, I wasn’t counting on much of a downhill.


Mile 7- 12:29  Corkscrew Hill

Oh holy hill.  Found the elevation gain, it’s all in mile 7.  Seriously, my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 235 in mile 7 and really maybe all in a half mile.  I knew the hill was coming but not like that.   I rounded a corner and saw it with runners dotting the way all the way up.  Just as I did, my headphones were playing Papa Roach and Jacoby sang/shouted “I don’t want no part of this, None of the above”.  Dude you have no idea.  πŸ˜›     Knowing I was tired and that I still had 5+ miles left, I walked it.  


I knew it was the smarter choice.  Ashley and the 2:30 group caught up to me and passed me.     The hill may have been kicking my ass but now I was hopeful for at least one good downhill somewhere thanks to this monster.  I’m used to hills but this was a beast.

Miles 8-10 9:33, 10:08, 11:20

Thank you downhill!   I caught up to Ashley and her group again, said hey and continued running on.   We were now running through vineyards which I love but it was a little warmer than I would have liked.  Correction, I shouldn’t have been in long sleeves even though I was thankful every time the wind had a crazy strong gust.  πŸ˜›  I took my phone out around mile 9 to take a picture only to see the low battery alert and that it was at 10%.  What the hell?!?   I sent a quick text to my mom letting her know I was turning it off, shut off my music and turned off my phone. Boo.   I also realized 2:25 wasn’t likely anymore.


Miles 10-13 11:32, 12:51, 10:58

Ok, the last 4ish miles without music is way different than the first 4 without.   It made things feel so much harder.   Well, that and my stomach was starting to cramp.  Stupid stomach, stupid hormones.  That last real hill was mile 12, it wasn’t even big just steep but for some reason I crawled.   We were out of the vineyards and back into neighborhoods, I knew the finish line must be close- I was so ready for it.  I admit I was walking more than I wanted to.    The crowds were picking up as the finish line neared.   A fire truck also ripped through the course but I didn’t pay it much attention- I had a 1/4 mile to go.

Finish- 2:28:46


Slower than I had hoped for but it’s all good.  The course was super pretty- yes I would have preferred more rolling hills and less of a beast in the middle- but I say I like hills, right?   I wish I could have taken more pictures but I’ve known I need a new phone for  while now, wasn’t expecting it to crap out on me like that though.   And I got to catch up with a good friend.  It was a good race.

*This may sound more positive than I normally am because in all honesty as I was crossing the finish line I realized where that fire truck had been headed.   Reading about things happening at races and seeing it real life are 2 entirely different things.   It puts things into perspective.   I’m also choosing to believe that no news is good news and there was positive outcome.

I met up with my mom post race.    We hung out for a bit and I tried to find the other BibRave Pros that were running it but it was too much of a madhouse in too small of a space.  The finish was in Solvang Park but it is a small park.   It got crowded fast.

Overall, this was a good race.  I really liked the course and the aid stations were all run by very enthusiastic kids and teens.   This is one I would look forward to doing again…just maybe a little less tired?  πŸ˜›

Half #25 in the books.  πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Wine Country- On My Way

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aΒ BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It’s race weekend!

In one way I feel like it snuck up on me too quickly and in another way I feel like it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race so I am excited to finally be running it.Β  The course starts in Santa Ynez and ends in Solvang, so Santa Barbara is a bit of a misnomer unless they’re going for the county.Β  πŸ˜‰Β Β Β  My grandparents used to live in Santa Ynez so it’s kind of like a return to childhood for me. Except I wasn’t into running then.Β Β  πŸ˜›

The scenery looks to be back roads and vineyards which are my favorite kinds of roads.Β  And the elevation profile looks fun-

SB Elevation

Now, part of it’s called Corkscrew Hill and while that sounds ominous, I don’t see it up there? Except maybe that last bit to mile 7?

Now the last couple of weeks haven’t gone according to plan so I will likely be taking it easier than I planned.Β  I would to shoot for 2:20 but the lack of sleep and a medication mix up this week have left me a little lagging.Β Β  Ashley of Rather Be Runnin’ is pacing the 2:30 group so maybe I’ll just hang with them and catch up since it’s been so long.Β  Plus Saturday races seem to confuse my body.Β  Or maybe it’s all in my head.πŸ˜›

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Thoughts on Saturday vs Sunday races?

 

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 SLO Half Marathon Recap

Oh boy, I don’t know where to start with this.   I’ve sat on it for a bit so I don’t sound totally cranky, so here we go!

This was my 4th time running SLO and it used to be one of my favorites.    I adored it in 2014 and 2015.  2015 is still one of my proudest races even with a face plant at mile 5 and some major GI drama.   In 2016, there were some changes to the expo, shirts and pictures that I wasn’t so fond of but I still loved the course and the way the crowd support was at certain points.  Bring in 2017 and there was a course overhaul- big time.  I would say only 2-3 miles were the same but other than the finish line they were now all at different points in the course.  They advertised the course as being faster than years past.   Thing about SLO is that it is not flat- the new half course was just shy of 600 elevation gain and the full just over 1200.    But I liked the old course- freakishly long Johnson hills and all.  Fine, I’ll reserve judgement.  The other thing I was concerned about was the start time- it was starting at 7 AM.  Every other time I’ve run it, it started at 6:30 or 6:45.   The temps were predicted to hit the 80’s on race day and 70’s by 10.  I was concerned.


The expo–  Packet pickup as always was at the Madonna Inn.  It seemed smaller this year.  Then I’ve thought that of most the expo’s I’ve been to lately.  Bib and shirt pickup was simple.  There was a shirt I wanted to buy at one booth but the price was too steep.  What was not cool was the un-mown grass with tall roots sticking out.  I tripped in a gopher hole once and on the roots 3 times.   While I was there I saw 3 other people trip on the roots.   The blame for this likely lies on the Madonna Inn not the race but you’d think they would mow the expo lawn?   By the time I left I had multiple scratches and was bleeding in 3 spots.


Race morning-   Chaos.   The original course was a point to point, in years past my mom would drop me off at the start and drive to the finish, park and watch Netflix.  Easy.   This year parking was a nightmare.   Start and finish was the Madonna Inn but getting into the Inn was next to impossible.  After waiting on the freeway for 10 minutes and moving 10 feet, my mother and I switched places- jumped out and ran around the car so she was now driving and I finished getting ready in the passenger seat.  Then I jumped out of the car- still on the freeway– and found a place to hop the fence to the race.   Only to arrive and hear they were delaying the start 10 minutes.  Ok- port a potty time.  The damn port a potty almost blew over.  It wasn’t bolted down all the way.  Grrr!!!!  Ok, head to the corrals.  Or so I thought.   Marathon runners and half marathon runners were starting at the same time.


  We all lined up near the pacers and waited.   And waited.  Then announcements started and we were told we were going to walk to the starting line. Umm, what? Weren’t we there?  So en masse, we leave the Inn and round the corner and down the street to starting arch.  It was like a block but it was odd, from behind me I heard on guy yell out “the race hasn’t even started and I’m over 2500 steps, this is whack”.   Everyone within hearing distance laughed.   Then more announcements and the National Anthem.  I will never be irritated at the National Anthem and I get that traffic was backed up ridiculously, but all I could think was that it was getting warmer and warmer while we were waiting.  We finally started just before 7:30.

This race falls into 2 distinct sections- the good and the “oh hell”- so here we go.

Miles 1-3 10:04, 10:11, 10:29

Well, hey these miles are coming faster than I thought they would be.  My calves were a little tight but that’s typical in the beginning of runs, I figured they would loosen up.  The first mile and half were through the southern part of town and not the most scenic.   I just kept trucking.  It was warm and getting warmer though so I decided to get water at the first aid except it wasn’t at mile 2 like I thought it would be.    It was 1/2 a mile later, ok, walk through the station get water and run on.  Right hand turn and we were running up Foothill.


Miles 4-6 10:55, 11:23, 10:19

Running between 2 mountains, though smallish, this was my favorite section to run.   I slowed a little going uphill but I was fine with that.  I was trying to ignore how warm it was and just keep moving.  The 2:15 pacers passed me- had no idea they were behind me- but I paid very little attention and turned on my music. I walked if I needed a moment and just kept moving.  Another aid station and more water.  I was hydrating with my Beachbody Hydrate in between stations.    We also ran a street I’d never seen before in SLO- well parts of it.  It was pretty.

Mile 7-8 10:20, 11:20 

My legs were feeling good and my breathing was under control.  We had a little downhill before we started what would be the longest climb of the course- not steep just long.  We ran over a timing mat at 7.8 miles and my average pace was 10:37.  I was on track for possibly my strongest half in over a year.  Who knew? We were running through downtown and I always think that’s kind of fun.

Then it went to hell.

Miles 9-10 12:31, 12:57

Something was not right, I was not ok.  It was warm, too warm and I wasn’t handling it well.  My legs started to cramp, my stomach started to cramp, my hands were swelling and I felt like I was going to throw up. I started walking more and more.  I was pissed and just trying to keep the pace. We rounded a corner and I saw a steep, short hill and I let some colorful words fly. 


Then the aid station at mile 9 was out of cups.   Finally in mile 10, I told myself to get my head out of my ass, this wasn’t a PR race, I was using it as training rain; there was no point in killing myself for a finishing time.  I came to a complete stop and tried to stretch out some of the cramping.    Thankfully there was another aid station at mile 10, water!  There were also kids with spray bottles and Iphone be damned, I had them spray water my way.

Miles 11-13 10:43, 11:35, 11:49

A downhill and the water helped me have a slightly faster mile 11 but the there was no going back.  I cramped the rest of the way and felt nauseated the entire time.    I was also letting my anger get to me- why did we start so late?!  Grrr, just keep moving forward.  The men’s marathon winner cruised past me around mile 11.5.    I kept getting water at every station and sprayed down by any kids with bottles.   I was thankful that the aid stations figured out it freakin’ hot and all the later ones had spray bottles and squirt guns.

Under the freeway, up a little a bump and then it was down the path to the finish line.  I got hung up behind a guy and I kind of growled.  I thought I did it quietly- I did not.  I scared him.  I’m sorry!   Somehow in my irritation and readiness to be done, I ran that last .20 ( my watch read 13.2 miles) at a 7:40 pace.   I don’t remember doing that but I was so beyond ready to be done.

Finish- 2:26:09


I was so done.  There was water at the finish line but just little cups.   I didn’t feel dehydrated just hot.  I had water at every station and my entire 25 oz’s of Beachbody while running.     I know I am not acclimated to the heat yet but I just don’t get the later start this year.  Combine that with delayed start and it was recipe for a hot mess.  From what I’ve seen on social media I was not alone in my blow up that day.  The heat and hills got to a lot of people.  I liked the hills!  Well except for the one just after mile 9, that felt like a dirty trick.   I was just grrr about the whole thing.   Still am a bit.  Ok time to move on.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

It wasn’t all bad- I chatted with nice guy prior to the start. I chatted with a nice older man around mile 6- his friends told him the race was flat.  πŸ˜¬. A nice guy helped me around mile 8 when I was struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack.  All the volunteers were amazing and I love the enthusiasm of the Grizzlies.  The running community is awesome.  

Half marathon #24 done.

Do you run well in heat?

How do you deal when races go south?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 Livermore Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Livermore Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

All right, if you’ve been reading me whine for the past week you know I went into this race sick.   I was questioning my sanity for running it and my ability to finish it.   As was my mother.  πŸ˜›


Race morning dawned after a less then stellar night of sleep but isn’t that to be expected before races?   The forecast had changed to just overcast and low 40’s and while I was thankful for the lack of rain I knew that was going to feel cold to me.  So I layered up.  Seriously.  Capri’s over compression socks, a tank with a long sleeve shirt over it, then my rain jacket.  A Buff around my neck and another Buff around my head to cover my ears with my hat over that.     My mom drove me to the start and dropped me off.

I made my way to the start line and suddenly panicked.  I forgot my bib!  Somehow I had forgotten to pin my bib on.  It was still in the car.  Thankfully my mother had decided that parking was a nightmare (we were in a dirt lot without specific spots which was very tricky in the dark) so she was just going to nap while I ran.  I hauled butt back to the car to get my bib.  Once that crisis was averted I headed back to the start line where I ended up meeting up with Laura from running4thereason.com, another Bibrave Pro.   We chatted while waiting for the race to start.  10 minutes after 7 and we were off!

My plan was to run until I got tired, walk, then repeat until the finish line.  I figured I would walk every hill and just do whatever my lungs wanted to do and just go from there.

Miles 1-3 10:24, 10:40, 10:22

The first 3 miles were through city streets and I was moving a hell of a lot faster than I thought I would be.   Hmmm.   I like low key city streets so I was enjoying the vibe and just letting my feet do what they wanted.  I skipped the first aid station at mile 2 because it was just too crowded.   The 5K was also running along side us for a bit so that was interesting.  A couple other runners and I were cracking jokes that we were going to “get lost” and turn around with the 5K’ers.   πŸ˜›  A little before mile 3 I came up behind the 2:30 pacers… um, what?  I knew I was moving way faster then that so I couldn’t figure out how they had gotten that far ahead of me.  Then I turned my headphones on and told myself to get over it.

The bridges moved when you ran over them!

Miles 4-6 11:11, 11:29, 11:41

I loved these miles and hated them at the same time.  Just past mile 4 we went from running the streets into a paved path in a park.  Heaven.  I want this path in my town now.   Paved blacktop with nature on both sides, a little stream running thanks to all the rain?  It was awesome.  A downside was that the path narrowed so it was easy to get roadblocked so there was lots of bobbing and weaving going on in these miles.  I ran in the dirt along the path a lot.  But again, that’s one of my favorite things so this should have been my favorite part.  What made it so rough was that just past mile 4 my stomach cramped, bad.   Like, I need a bathroom now, bad.  And of course, the next bathroom wasn’t until the aid station at mile 6ish. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ So instead of walking because I was tired, I walked when I cramped and ran when it eased, and repeat.   That kind of messed with my head.  Note to self- never eat Five Guys before a race ever again.


Miles- 7-9 11:31, 11:47, 13:02

Just past mile 6 and we were out of the park and back on the street.  The bathroom line was like 20+ people long and the cramping had eased so I figured as long as I went slow I would probably be ok.   My lungs were starting to protest and I was super congested.  I admit I did something I have never done in view of others before- I spit.  I did it more than once this race. I felt so bad but I had to!  I also ripped off a few choice words when a police car leading a trail of cars on the other side of the road let off a single screeching chirp.  I about jumped out of my skin.   2 people next to me also had some colorful words to share.   Mile 9 saw the only 2 real hills of the race.  I walked them.  At the top of the first was a water station that also had a paramedic and a fire truck- it was a small hill!  I got jammed up the water station.  I went to throw my water cup in the trash and a woman put herself in front of me to eat her Gu and a woman came up right behind me to drink water.  It was like a hug with random strangers and I couldn’t move.  Let me out!  It took me another 30’ish seconds to get myself out of the stranger sandwich and on my way.  Grrr.   We were leaving the road and entering another park with a paved path.   Seriously, I wanted this one in my town too.  My lungs were protesting as we hit the second hill, they were so not happy.


Miles 10-12 11:00, 11:51, 11:14

We were still in the park so I was running in the dirt every chance I got.    I love dirt.  Plus my legs appreciated the change in terrain.  They were actually feeling pretty good considering how little elevation this course had.   The 2:30 pacers had caught up to me and passed me, left me in the dust really.  I started to feel discouraged but told myself to get over it, I was already doing better than I thought I would, there was no sense making myself sicker just to meet some arbitrary “sick” finish time.  I just told myself to enjoy the scenery and try to calm my lungs down.   Mile 11 brought us back into town through a smaller park before we were back on city streets for the last mile.

Mile 13 12:16

Holy asthma city.  My lungs were done.  Between my cold and my asthma, I was fighting an asthma attack.  I walked so much of the last mile.  I was wheezing and coughing and gasping and probably looked like a hot mess.  Crowd support really picked up for the last mile and so many people were cheering.   I heard “come on girl in orange run! You’re so close!”  Don’t you see I’m trying!?!?!?!  I rounded a corner and there it was- the finish line!

Finish 2:30:15

Haha, this pic makes me laugh nowπŸ˜‚

I crossed the line and was handed my medal.  I saw my mom fairly quickly outside the fence and went to say hi.  She took one look at my face and said “you chose to do this”.  Haha, thanks mom.πŸ˜›    I then wandered down the finishers chute and collected my wine glass, chocolate milk and banana.  I was also able to refill my water bottle.  Once I stopped moving and was able to chill for a moment, my lungs calmed down a bit.


All in all this a great course.  I liked all the scenery and the varied paths.   I wish it had a few more hills.  I think another hill or 2 may have helped me a bit, this course was fairly flat.  So if flat is your jam, you could totally set a PR on this course.   And hey I ended up hitting my arbitrary sick time anyways- who knew?!

Half marathon #23 in the books.  πŸ™‚

 

Run!, Slacker

Week 12- Under the Weather

Upcoming Races:

  • Livermore 13.1 -March 26!!
  • Destination Races Santa Barbara 13.1- May 13
  • Rock N Roll San Diego 13.1 June 4

This will likely not be very long.  πŸ˜›   Not a  lot happened last week unless you count coughing and sniffling.     Unfortunately I have yet to see any ab gains from all the coughing.  πŸ˜›   A girl can dream right?

Monday- Sick-  I called in sick.  Who am I???  I got up and attempted to get ready for work but when it took me 20+ minutes to attempt to brush my teeth I conceded defeat.  I spent most of the day in bed.   The only movement was to move to the comfy chair when the bed got old.

Tuesday/ Wednesday- Rest/sick-  I made it to work both days but I was barely hanging on.   I was still coughing all the damn time and I had the worst sinus pressure building.  Grrrr.  I slept poorly all week as I spent most nights coughing.


Thursday- 2 miles- With Livermore 3 days away, I figured I needed to do a test run. I still felt miserable but I also needed to be realistic.  I bundled up like it was 30* outside ( it was 60) and headed out for short run.   Yeah, I walked the first mile and ran/ walked the second.   It wasn’t miserable but it wasn’t exactly pleasant either.

Friday- Rest-  My ears went funny on the way to work.  I was starting to seriously consider dropping from the half marathon to the 5K.       Work tired me out, how was I supposed run 13 miles?  Oh and the forecast still called for rain on race day.


Saturday- Road trip!  I packed and headed on up to Livermore.  Mom was along for the ride like usual and she let me know exactly what she thought of me running while sick.  πŸ˜›    I was still debating about a 5k drop down.    After an uneventful drive up and a stop to eat for lunch at Pieology we arrived at the expo to pick up my bib.    After checking into the hotel we tried to do a little shopping at a nearby outlet mall but but we literally drove around the parking lot for 20 minutes with 100 other cars looking for a parking spot.  No thanks.   After dinner it was back to the hotel and an attempt to get an a decent night’s sleep.    Fail.

Sunday- Livermore Half? –  more to come on that.

Weekly miles- 15.1.  Guess that tells you what I ran.  πŸ˜›

It was a long week of not doing a lot but I feel exhausted.   I am really hoping to be on the upward swing of this thing.  I miss sleep, I miss running, I miss what little breathing capacity I had before.  Ha!

This week coming is going to be interesting.   It’s merger week, so there is lots of overtime happening and some things are up in the air.   It’s going to be a very play it by ear week but I am hoping to get my mileage back up.  There was a trail race I was thinking about on Saturday but I can’t commit due to the up in air work schedule so I’m taking as a sign that I should probably not run up a mountain a week after a race.

How was your week?

Any plans this week?