Race Day, Recap, Run!

2016 Rock’n Around the Pier Half Recap

I love beach races and I hate them at the same time.  I have learned that I personally will never set a PR on sand.   Partly due to the sand and partly due to how the humidity jacks with my lungs.  Either way, I seem to be a glutton for punishment as I keep signing up for them.   Plus this race tends to fall around my birthday so it’s become sort of an unofficial tradition.

This was my third year running some form of this race this year, second time running the half.  I didn’t have many goals going in other than complete the first part of my last big run and maybe finish quicker than 2014’s hot mess.

Yeah, neither of those were achieved.  In fact, I managed to turn in my slowest half ever!  That said, this recap will be a little different than my usual ones.

The morning started off interesting as I made it all the way down my driveway before realizing that I had forgotten my Garmin.  Seriously?  I actually debated going on without it but in the end I went back to get it.   I had hoped to run a little warm up prior to the race but my stomach was feeling iffy so I headed straight to the bathroom lines after parking.   Major props to clean, well stocked real bathrooms.  Once that was taken care of, I walked around the Rock parking lot and tried to shake loose.  Then I headed for the starting chute.  For the first time,  I was actually in the chute when the race started.  I can’t say that for the other years.  😛

It was clear at the start and I was hopeful it would stay that way.   The first 2 miles actually felt pretty good.   9:59, 10:31.   My legs were cooperating and the sand wasn’t too bad.   I was naively hopeful that things were going to stay that way.

Around mile 2.5, we hit the rocks at North Point.  They were no joke.  We bottle necked and slowed to crawl as we all tried to figure out the best way to cross them without breaking our faces.  Once that was done, it was back to the beach to run on.   Around mile 2 we had started to run into the marine layer.   And it was dense.  But I ignored it.  Until I couldn’t.  11:18, 11:18, 11:31.

I could not breathe.  My lungs were so tight.   I was slowing down with every mile.  I seriously considered quitting at the pier.  When all the 10k’ers were heading to their finish line and I had to turn around and head the other way.   I almost quit.  Almost.  But my car was at the rock, my parents were coming to the finish and San Francisco has fog right?  Besides the pier was clear so I was hoping the marine layer was burning off.   Mile 6-12:29

I was wrong.  Half a mile later, we were back in it.  And it seemed worse.  I was struggling big time.   I tried running  .75 miles, walking .25.  Couldn’t do it.  Next was running .5 miles and walking .25.  Another fail.  Ok, how about .4 mile run, .1 mile walk.  More fail.  Ok, walking was fine.  Walking was moving forward right?   12:55, 12:44, 12:41

Breathing was so damn hard.   My throat was on fire, my lungs and chest hurt.  I was beginning to wonder if you could OD on an inhaler.  But there was no where to go but forward.  There was only one way off the beach.

The rock patch the second time through was sketchier- by now I was mostly by myself and there was no one to follow.  Plus I was tired.   But I made it and knew I had less than 3 miles to go.  The fog was so dense, I was beginning to worry I was going to miss the turn off to head up the beach for the loop around the park.    Someone came up behind me and passed me so I just followed them.  Between the rocks and sinking in the dune sand, I had slowed to a crawl but I just kept moving.  14:33, 15:59, 14:16

where’s the rock? only about .75 to go

I was able to pick up a bit of speed on the pavement around the park but not much of anything.   I suppose I could have quit at that aid station but the finish was less than 1.5 away.  So back to the beach to finish out my crawl.   I was a mile from the rock but I could not even see it through the marine layer.  It was getting patchier so I was keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine.  Half a mile from the finish and my wish was granted.  Way too late but oh well.  13:13


The advantage of crawling?  I was able to spot my parents and wave to the camera as I jogged in.  😛

Finish 2:46:15   New personal worst!!!

So yeah, that was fun.  I actually finished with a smile on my face though.  It is what is.  Was it the race I wanted?  No.    But I listened to my body and slowed way down.   Had there been anywhere to go, I may have quit but in reality there weren’t any shortcuts after the pier so I just kept going.  I do wonder now if the race is prepared for emergencies though, I only saw what looked like a course monitor once.   And it could have just been a cyclist in a yellow vest- who knows?

I do however know that I cannot run 26 miles like that.  So now I am hoping for a clear day in San Francisco.   Fingers crossed!!!!

I still really love this race.  I will be back next year… but maybe just the 10k.  😛


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?