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.  🙂

Race Day, Recap, Run!, Slacker

Ventura Marathon-Half- Recap

I had a feeling this post may border on wordy which is why most of the pictures were uploaded in the last post.   Now for what those photos didn’t show.

The Weekend-

I was able to get off work a couple hours early on Friday, so I headed straight home to finish packing and preparing.  I felt like I was both taking too much and not enough at the same time.   My mother and I headed out early Saturday morning, we planned on spending some time at the Ventura Mall before heading to packet pick up and the hotel.   I haven’t been in a mall in years and well it was kind of a let down.   The only upside was a Hot Topic for my inner nerd and I may have spent a little too much at Macy’s (damn Dooney!).  From there it was on to the hotel.

When I booked the hotel I looked for one that advertised as being near to the pier.  It didn’t occur to me to compare the addresses until 2 weeks ago.  Oops.  But I lucked out, the hotel was 1.2 miles from the pier on the same street and right next door to an In n Out, and I was able to get chocolate milk from the 7-11 across the street.  Sweet!   Dinner was at BJ’s Restaurant, where I indulged in a pretty good burger and fries.   That was followed by a 3.5 mile walk down to and around the pier to get my legs moving before trying to get some sleep.

Once checking out of the hotel on Sunday, we headed back to Santa Barbara for a little more shopping.   I was looking forward to a real Lululemon and just some window shopping.  The weather in Santa Barbara was amazing.   After that it was north to SLO for dinner and then finally home.  We were tired.

The Expo-IMG_6249

Not much to say here.  Packet pickup was a breeze, both easy and super windy.  Instead of a bunch of useless samples in the bag, they had a table or 2 of samples.   I only took a sample of KT tape.   The website looked like there would be a lot of vendors but most seemed more like local crafts and things.  Kind of like a farmer’s market minus the food.   I stopped by the ProCompression booth but there was no one working it?  There was live music playing and a little listening area as well.  A very nice (cute) police officer took a picture for us, but my mother deleted it- so there’s a selfie instead.  🙂

The Race-

Race morning dawned and I had no need of an alarm.   I hadn’t slept well the night before and had been awake off and on from about 3 on.   I wasn’t feeling so great but that wasn’t too surprising to me.    I had packed some candy corns for race fuel but they sounded nasty so I did not even take them.  I got ready and headed out the door, I had planned on walking to starting line.    While I was walking there the marathon runners were running up the other side.   They looked so ready to go,  to the point that 3 were bouncing basketballs while running.   Seriously?  It’s all I can do to run a half marathon and you are going to bounce a basketball (or 2!) while running 26.2!!!IMG_6222

Anywho, I made my way up to the starting line in time to jump into the first wave.  A few announcements and count down and we were off!    I had issues getting both my Garmin and my Nike+ app started but managed to get them going not too far from the starting line.    I was aiming for a 10:00 average so when mile 1 came in at 9:50, I was ok with that.  Mile 2 seemed a little tougher and fell to 10:17.   I was using intervals of 8:30 run and 1:00 walk as I knew going in I wasn’t 100%.  Even with this I was tiring quickly.  The weather felt way warmer than I would have liked.   The course went through a nice housing area before going back to the main street.  It turned off towards the harbor for a quick out and back to add mileage before heading back down the main street into Oxnard and out into some fields before turning around and going back the way we came.  Mile 5- I took 2 walk breaks, I was having trouble getting my breathing under control.   I had already used my inhaler 3 times.  Which was odd because I hadn’t used it on any run since my last half marathon in July.   I kept trucking along until my next walk break at mile 6.5.  Which is where I had to get real.

I only ran once in taper week leading up to the race.  It was 3.5 miles and it was the hardest run I have ever done.   I mentioned briefly that I had finally started my antibiotics.  Between those and my lovely stomach I was thisclose to deferring Ventura.  I was feeling so crappy.   I told myself I was being a big baby and would be fine.  In reality I had no business running a half marathon at this time.   Mile 6.5 was the beginning of this epiphany (and others but more about that later).

I walked it in from there.  I called my mom at mile 7.5 and told her she had more time to relax at the hotel because I wasn’t going to be near 2:10:00.    I just kept walking.  I was so hot, my hamstrings were cramping, and my left shin felt super angry.    I took 2 cups of water at every aid station.  One to drink and one to dump over my head.  I alternated my Gatorade and their water to stay hydrated.   I had Honey Stingers in my belt but the very idea of those made me ill.   I grabbed a Cliff Shot around mile 9 and carried it for a while.  I eventually ripped it open around mile 11.  I had somehow managed to grab one with caffeine and I was hoping it would help the lungs.   I know it didn’t have enough caffeine to do anything but one can hope right.    I jogged a tiny bit each mile both to keep the pace below 14:00 and to loosen up my stiff legs.   The volunteers and the crowd support was pretty awesome.  Around mile 11.5, there was a little boy dressed as the Flash giving high fives. He was cool. 🙂IMG_6228[1]

The last 2.5 miles or so I was keeping pace with a women who was race walking and a guy who would run ahead and then walk.  I always caught him on the walking portions.  I couldn’t tell if he was doing intervals or if he was as spent as I was.  I never saw the 13 mile marker but did see the 26 one.  I figured I could run the last .2.   Ha!  That was the longest .2 of my life.  I thought the finish line was never going to arrive.   I did leave race walker and interval guy behind.   Finally there was the finish line and I was done.  Half marathon #9 complete, not my best, not my slowest but probably the most walking.   I won’t lie, I did get a little teary eyed at the finish.  Thank goodness for sunglasses.Ventura Marathon Results

Since I had finished later than planned, I barely had time to limp back to the hotel to shower and check out.  I hurt badly.  I don’t think I have been that sore after a race since my very first half marathon.  I gimped the 1.2 miles back to the hotel, stopping to stretch along the way.   The chocolate milk in the mini fridge was the best thing ever.   After checking out, we hit In n Out for food.  I was suddenly hungry.   Finding out that they still sold extra large drinks was the second best thing ever- that Diet Coke tasted amazing.   I did feel bad for my mom though, she had to be seen in public with me- jean shorts, teal tank and bright purple compression socks.  I was styling, ha!

So no, this race did not go according to plan but it was still a good weekend.  Shopping was fun, the food was yummy.  I also learned that I have serious problems tolerating humidity (74% WTH?!).  I got a few compliments during the race about my use of neon and I got a shout out from a fellow SLO ambassador when she ran by me.   So while I am rethinking some things, I still call this weekend a win.  🙂

How do some of you deal with humidity on a regular basis?  Seriously, anything over 25% is rough for me.  Maybe I am spoiled?

What’s your post race reward?