Race Day, Recap, Run!

Big Sur Half Marathon Recap

Going into this race I had very few expectations and more than a few concerns.  In an effort to keep things light and fun (and help my indecision) I took to Instagram with a race day outfit vote.   The outfit I was leaning towards got zero votes.  Oops.  😢

IMG_2987I only ran 2.5 very slow treadmill miles in the week leading up to the race.   My left foot was bothering me and my left knee has been aching for a week or so.  What I was not expecting was the sharp stabbing pain in my right ankle that I woke up with on Monday.  It even hurt lying down.  WTF?  My left leg is the problem child never the right.   Taper crazies, maybe?  Who am I kidding I don’t run enough to need to taper but I was holding on to that thought all week.   Better a phantom pain than a real injury.   My attempt at running on Tuesday didn’t end well and I tend to run oddly on the treadmill so I just rested the rest of the week.

I was so worried about my weird aches and pains I somehow forgot about the one thing that can really mess up my running- my stomach.  Saturday morning was not a good one.  I was taking all the emergency medications my doctor has prescribed in hopes that I would be fine on race morning.  Grr, but let’s move on.    Monterey is a little over 2 hours away but the drive didn’t seem that long.   We stumbled upon the expo as soon as we hit town- sweet!    The expo was medium size and well-organized.    I think it hit a new record for distance between bib pickup and shirt pickup though.    I picked up a few things- 2 shirts, a Sweaty Band (my first!) and some Gu gummy things. I don’t know why I buy fuel when I never use while running but it’s better to be prepared right?   We then wandered around Monterey on foot before checking into the hotel.  Dinner was decided by proximity to the hotel and was California Pizza Kitchen.  Gluten free pizza for the win!  Not that I have a gluten problem but my stomach was so jacked up already I wasn’t taking any chances.  Then it was back to the hotel to get some rest.    I was super tired and my left foot was starting to hurt.   I was in bed by 9.

Race day!

The rain they had been predicting was coming in later than they thought and that made me happy.   I got to the starting line around 6 for a 6:55 start.  Seriously this was the chillest start I’ve ever seen.   Over 8000 runners and there was no wait for the port-a-potties.  What?  No one even got into the corrals until about 5 minutes to the start.  I also met Heather of wholehearted wife while loitering around the start line- Hi Heather!   The announcer was upbeat and very clear about the course and race directions.    I had my headphones but I was going to try to run without them.   There was supposed to various types of music played throughout the course so I figured I would try to go with just that.

I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.
I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.

I was in corral D which was for a 2:00 hour finish prediction.  Apparently I was feeling optimistic when I registered 6 months ago.  😉    I put myself in the very back of it.   While I said my only goal was to have fun, I did have a time goal in mind.  I was hoping for a 2:15 finish.  If I could do that under trained and tired than maybe I have improved a little this year.   I tossed my sweater to the side just as the first wave went off.  My corral crossed the starting line a little after 7:00am, sooner than I had anticipated.  The start was that smooth.

Miles 1-2 –  9:51, 9:36

We were running back up into the city.  I noticed there were still runners walking to starting corrals.  I know it’s chip timed but really?  There was also a woman in front of me running barefoot.  Really?    Ouch.   I also got the first shout out about my socks. 😃  The first course music was a keyboardist playing the Rocky theme song- sweet!  Mile 2 led us into the Cannery Row tunnel.  Never having run through a tunnel, I wasn’t sure what to expect.    The far end of the tunnel was manned by a DJ and had a light show rigged up.   It was kind of awesome.   But the way Gangham Style was reverberating around the tunnel made me glad when I was out of it.   I had expected my Garmin to lose signal in the tunnel but somehow it picked up distance.  From there out, my Garmin was about 2/10th’s ahead of the mile marked.   It stayed consistent so I am fairly comfortable with my mile splits.

Mile 2
Mile 2

Miles 3-5- 9:56, 10:30, 9:41

Ocean views, Cannery Row, dancing jelly fish outside the aquarium?  This race rocks!  Then there was the elementary cheerleaders and a drum line.  I love drum lines.   I was keeping the pace I wanted and feeling pretty good.  And I was still taking pictures as I ran.  Which came in handy during the first out and back section.  The elites!!  I noticed the course marshals and lead cyclists coming so I had my phone ready.  They are so damn fast!  Kara Goucher snuck up on me and she was the lead female!   Sarah Kiptoo passed by a few people later- she didn’t look like she was having a good day.   I was also surprised to see a man running in a loin cloth carrying a spear running the race.  What?!

IMG_3115

She won!
She won!

Miles 6-9- 10:03, 10:23, 10:47, 11:00

I was feeling a little tired but was still holding onto a 2:15 finish.  Seriously the ocean views were awesome.   Aid stations were well stocked and run well.  Water, gatorade, Gu’s, Vaseline and sunblock.  Seriously awesome.  And people were loving my socks- spectators were actually shouting it out to me.  😉  More DJ stations, a blues band and a jazz band.  Then a Tonga drum line.  Did you know they hold a squat while drumming?  Holy burning legs, batman.   The turn around came at mile 7.7.    Mile 8 is always my favorite mile- home stretch baby!

Mile 9.4

I was feeling pretty good and loving the race until…stupid stomach.  I cramped, badly, I felt like I had been stabbed in the middle of stomach.   Come on!   I was so close.   First walk break.  I wish I could say only walk break.

Miles 10-13.1- 12:37, 11:51, 12:01, 11:40

Riding the struggle bus.   It was run-cramp-walk-breathe repeat for the next 4 miles.  I never felt like I needed a restroom break but it just kept hurting.    To add to the pain, both quads and IT bands started protesting the walking portions.  Come on legs- don’t fail me now!    A woman I had been near in the starting corral came up behind me during mile 12.  I was walking.  She encouraged me to keep pushing and I ran it in the rest of the way.   Finish line- yay!!   I lost 8 minutes over those 4 miles.

Finish- 2:23:26

IMG_3153The otter was worth it, though.   I also learned how very breakable the medals are when another runner dropped his.  From there on out through the staging area, I was cradling it.  😄    I almost didn’t take one of the silver sheets since it had warmed up a lot but I was glad I did.  I cooled off very quickly.   The finish area was my only gripe about the race- It wound around and round and I just wanted out.  I grabbed a cup of water and skipped the finisher photos.   The post race food won points for the tiny bag of Fritos and pineapple juice.   As I was leaving the food tent a volunteer was coming back with boxes of something.  He offered one to me- chocolate milk!!!  I told him that he had just made my day.    I finally sat down by an ambulance while waiting for mom to find me.  My knees and quads were pissed but that random ankle pain never made its presence known.

IMG_3200This race was awesome.  It is definitely on my list of races to run again.  It is a very PR friendly course, it has the right amount of flat, incline and descent for most people.   The last 4 miles are some of the flatter miles so negative splits are likely.   That might have been what aggravated my legs though as I am not a fan of flat.  I need to work on that.    Back to the race, the course is amazing and the crowd support was pretty awesome, and I’m not saying that just because they liked my outfit.  😎  Did it go like I had hoped?  No but that’s not the races’ fault.   That’s all on me and some things I need to work on.  However, this was half marathon #6 of 2015- the most I’ve ever run in a year before.   That’s something all by itself.  It’s number I’m proud of.    My last race of the year may have been my slowest but it was still worth it.   And now I have something to beat next year. 😜

Run!, Slacker

Missed the Boat

I feel like all I have done since February started is rearrange days on my training plan.  Which it says you can do but still, my little calendar is full of color from moving things around.   This week was more moving around.   I had a business mixer to attend on Thursday evening so I moved my 40-50 minute easy run to Wednesday after work.   It was also only 30 minutes.  However I am not at all irritated about that.  Why? IMG_9344I ran outside after work!!! Woo hoo!   While this was awesome, it also meant a shorter run since I was racing twilight.  Or in this case the marine layer.   I intentionally did not look at the humidity before I ran.  I knew it was high- hello ocean- but I was hoping outta sight, outta mind would apply.  While shopping in SLO on Monday I had picked up an obnoxious yellow long sleeve that I figured would work for the next few weeks when I run the work route.  85% of the route has wide shoulders or good sidewalks but the other 15% not so much.  In fact the road into the state park gets pretty sketchy.  I wanted to make sure I could be seen.    I knew I didn’t have a lot of time so I just ran to the state park and back.   I also abbreviated my warm up but you gotta do what you gotta do right?IMG_9289IMG_9342It was awesome!   Short and sweet and I got to see the boats and view that I had missed since last year.    Yeah, I was out of breath and had my asthma frog in my throat when I got back to my car but it rocked.     The frog could have been due to the 90%+ humidity (I checked after) or the fact that this is the elevation profile of my route from work-IMG_9343That hill isn’t huge but it kicks my butt every time.  Positive splits for the win!   But 3:36?  Haha, funny Garmin.  I can’t wait to run it again!  Moving my run actually worked in favor since my stomach was a jerk on Thursday.  I wore a very forgiving dress but I swear I was waiting for someone at the mixer to ask me when I was due.    😦

What’s a route you love?

Seriously though, what constitutes a hill?   Elevation or grade?  When is a hill a hill?

Anyone race today?  Or racing tomorrow? 

Run!, Slacker

An Unexpected Walk

Happy Monday!!  Does that even make sense?

This weekend didn’t exactly go as I had hoped but it was still a good and mostly relaxing one.   Step one was accomplished on Saturday morning, sleeping in!  I actually woke around 7 and went back to sleep.  My alarm went off at 9 but I have been feeling a little under weather lately (more than usual) so I totally admit to staying in bed for another 45 minutes.    It was kind of glorious.  I decided then that Saturday would be my full rest day.  The plan was to go to lunch with my mom and my brother, do some errands and then clean my car.   Best laid plans right?IMG_6578

IMG_6625I ended up getting a call while at lunch that had me flying out to work town for a little snafu.  Actually, my mom was driving because I had been with her which was better because I would have been speeding.  🙂    After taking care of the situation we started for home.   She asked if I wanted to try walking on the beach.   Now I am not really a beach person- sacrilege, because I can see it from work- but she did just drive me, so I said sure. So glad I did.IMG_6595 IMG_6608

I gave her directions to a park with beach access and we were off.   We’re having a heat wave right now, it was 100 flippin’ degrees in a town that considers 85 hot.   The sand was hot on the way down but the water felt amazing.    No lie, part of me just wanted to sit in the water but I didn’t have clothes to change into.  😦IMG_6601 IMG_6613

IMG_6602We did about 1/2 mile to the beach and around 2 on the beach.  That’s the farthest I’ve ever walked barefoot.   The water was super clear, and I went about knee high at most.  Lower leg workout- score!!   Downside to this walk- on the way back, all the beach access points looked alike.  We missed ours and came up a ways down on the street.  I was reasonably sure I knew where I was and what street I needed to be on.   We found it but it dead ended into a mini canyon.  What?    No lie, I asked Siri for help.    We were 1.4 miles from where we parked, oops.   But we made it back and just chalked it up to extra exercise.   🙂IMG_6591

Sunday involved a little shopping.  I may have spent some money at the Running Warehouse but more on that later.  🙂   I chose not to run that day but according to that stupid heath app on my iPhone, that I don’t know how to use, I walked over 3 miles shopping.   Combine that with the almost 4 miles on Saturday and I will call this active rest.   🙂

How was your weekend? 

Do you have fall weather yet or summer lingering where you are too?  Tomorrow is supposed to be 90+ here.  😦

What’s the best unexpected thing you did  lately?