BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Napa Valley Marathon- Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received a VIP entry into Napa Valley Half Marathon 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!

I knew Napa Valley was going to be interesting, I just had no idea how much that was true.

In other words- a new personal worst! And a PR for port-a-potty stops.

Race morning dawned early and a little chilly. I dressed and headed off for the start line. My stomach literally spasmed the moment I got out of the car. Um, what?

I headed to the tasting room at Conn Creek Winery which was the VIP area. People- a warm room and real bathrooms are so worth it. However my stomach felt ok again. Hmmm.

I met up with Stephanie from Run Strong Run and we headed to the start. Actually a little late- most runners had already started- we crossed the start line with the 3:00 hour pacers. We soon separated but it was nice ststarting with someone.

There’s a really tiny balloon in this pic

Miles 1-2 11:35, 12:16
I was feeling ok, but I knew I was out of shape so after about half a mile, I turned on my run/ walk intervals. I was enjoying the perfect cloudy weather and watching hot air balloons rise with the sun over pretty vineyards. Exactly what I had hoped for.

Mile 3 12:49
We had reached the first aid station, water bathroom and electrolytes- but I was fine. Half a mile later I was not fine. Not at all.

This is the scenery I love

Miles 4-6 12:45, 12:27, 17:20
Oh dear lord- where is next aid station?!?? This is a problem. Oh look pretty views, oh, ow, stomach bad. Just before mile 6- oh, hallelujah- an aid station.

Miles 7-8 12:45, 16:45
Ok, that was rough and I’m still not feeling great but let’s keep moving. Nope. Stomach doesn’t agree and now I’m worried there’s not another station until mile 9. Oh lord. Except, wait! Another station just before 8!

Miles 9- 11 12:50, 13:09, 13:51
Again I tried to run on. Nope- mostly walking. Stomach cramped again, badly a little after mile 10. And yes there was a station, but I decided to try and walk it out. I think I walked for 10 minutes straight somewhere in there.

Miles 12-13 13:07, 13:37
I am so close! Oh, here come the first and second marathon runners- ok that was kind of cool. Wouldn’t have seen them if I wasn’t having issues, right??? Trying to find the bright side here. The weather was still good, and I still loved looking at the scenery around me even if we were in town now. Oh— there’s the high school!! The finish!

Finish- 2:58:15

So yeah, that was not my best showing. Oddly enough, as rough as it was, I never once thought about quitting. I knew I was going to finish- eventually- it was just taking more energy than I thought. More energy to move slower but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward.

The course was so pretty, I really do love running by vineyards, I really do. Also this course is very PR-able- flat in a way that didn’t feel flat to me. I kind of feel like I need vindication- this is definitely a race I will run again. There were also VIP perks I missed out on post race- my stomach was not cooperating at all. Boo.

Napa Valley- I will run you again.

Ever had your body completely rebel during a race?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Surf City 10-Recap

What’s a runner to do when she needs motivation to actually run her long runs? She signs up for a race! I saw that Surf City 10 fit in my schedule and there was a 10 miler. Even better was when I looked online and found a sweet hotel for cheap. Yes! So I registered. Then last week happened and I was doubting my ability for a 10 mile race in the dark. Could I finish it even after being sick all week? Yes but that didn’t mean it was the right choice. So I dropped to the 10K.

Oh 10K’s. We have a love/ hate relationship. Well, mostly hate.

My 10K times are either great (for me) or a total crap show. Good- 55 to 58 minutes. The rest all range around 1:10-1:15 because I blow up. There has never been an in between. I rarely run 10K’s for this reason.

I headed down to Huntington Beach on Saturday. Checked into the hotel and then headed back to find race parking. Yes, I used the distance from my car to the start judicisouly – warm up and cooldown and added 2+ miles to my total for the day.

The race was a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I did my best to line up in the proper pace area but it was damn crowded. The race started on time but it took me a few minutes to hit the starting line.

Who wants to take bets?

Mile 1 was decent- 10:22. Not too bad, not too bad.

Mile 2– Well, crap, I know what I forgot. My inhaler. Mother ….. 11:16 Know what Huntington Beach has? High humidity. What triggers my asthma? High humidity.

Positive split like a Boss

Mile 3- 4 Yeah no, straight running wasn’t gonna work. How about 2 run, 1 walk? Could my asthmatic lungs handle that?? 11:20, 11:49

This is a runner on asthma

Mile 5-6 Ok, can’t breathe, how about 1 run, 1 walk. Oh and I had decided to wear a new skirt, nope. I was less running and more waddling due the chafe I could feel, how I crossed the finish line not bleeding, I have no idea. It still hurts 4 days later.

Finish- 1:11:44

So maybe we should place bets on how long it takes me to run another 10K? Haha.

I did enjoy the race though. Running at night is kind of fun when you’re surrounded by people. A little more light might have been nice but guess who left her Knuckle Lights in the car?? Yep. Winner over here.

What race distance is your nemesis?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Oaktown Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Oaktown 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.

Oh, Oakland, for being a flat city (that I’ve seen) you sure give me my ups and downs.

After a rough night’s sleep or lack there of, I was up early and out the door to make my way to race start. The perk of my hotel was that the start was only 2 blocks up. I thought there would be more runners there or out and about but there weren’t. It was kind of odd.

Start and finish

Picking up my bib and shirt were fairly easy. I got the feeling I wasn’t the only person whose expo in a box hadn’t arrived. I folded my shirt as small as I could then shoved it in my pack instead of gear checking. I then stood in the longest bathroom line ever only to discover the port-a-potties had no TP. What?!?

I met up with a couple other BibRavePros before heading to the start line.

Miles 1-3 10:09, 10:24, 10:50
I had loosely planned on taking it easy and just trying to run consistently, pace be damned. I felt pretty consistent the first few miles as we headed towards the Jack London part of town before turning back. This is also where I took most of the mural photos.

Miles 4-6 11:16, 11:00, 11:28
I was feeling ok and only walking through aid stations but it was getting warm. It felt very muggy. We were looping around Lake Merritt and as much as I was looking forward to running around Lake Merritt I knew I was about to hate it.

Miles 7-9 11:22, 11:36, 11:53
Oh my god, get me away from this lake. The lake was the mother of all out and backs- run almost all the way around it on the street then move to lake path and run all the way back the other direction. As pretty as the lake was, I felt like I was losing my mind. I did wave at another Pro when we passed each other on parts of the out and back. These were also the miles that I realized I was going to be beat by a 7 year old. Not that we were really racing but I was torn between being impressed and slightly chagrined.

She was running with her dad- I’m guessing

Miles 10-11 12:00, 11:19
Finally off the lake, I never thought I would be so happy in my life. We were headed back towards downtown and I was lagging. My legs felt good, I just felt really hot. I also died a little inside when I saw the finish line but we turned right.

Miles 12-13 12:12, 11:47
Ok, no I really died inside when I realized there was another out and back…no make that 2 out and backs. I think this realization also slowed me down. I was so over the out and backs. I tried to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Fittingly enough, Skillet’s “Finish Line” came on with around 1/3 of a mile left to go. And I picked up the pace.

Finish 2:29:03

Fastest half in a year-not sure how I feel about that. Actually my body felt pretty good during the race despite the very flat terrain. I don’t know if I was mentally there. Also I felt really hot- I never checked the humidity but it probably wasn’t my friend. Especially now that I don’t work and run in a beach town. Ha!

While this route was more scenic than my last race in Oakland, the repeated out and backs messed with my head. Boo.

Do you like out and back courses?

BibRave, Race Day

Hey Hey Oakland

Just like that, race week arrived.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Oaktown 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.

Part of me wants to say it snuck up on me and the other part feels like I’ve been preparing forever.

This week has been all over the place. My plans changed pre race and I canceled my hotel. Then they changed again and I was booking a hotel on Thursday evening again. My bib was supposed to arrive this week but there was a shipping snafu. Now I am picking it up on race morning.

I’m just rolling with the punches here. Maybe. Maybe I’m just wobbly.

I am looking forward to running around Oakland again. Now, I know to be prepared for all the street art. I may keep my phone out the whole time. I’m also not sick this time so yay! (knock on wood) This is also a different course so I am looking forward to checking out the differences.

That said, I am unsure if I have a goal. I originally was aiming for a 2:12 with my training plan until I realized I was over reaching. A lot. I am not sure what to aim for now or if I even want to have a goal. I also don’t know what shoes to wear. Well, no- I do. It would be insanity to run in my new Ghost’s. They only have 5 miles on them.

Decisions, decisions.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2019 SLO Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, I toed the start line for my 5th SLO Half Marathon.

I have mixed feelings about this race. There was a time I loved it. Then it drove me batty. I’ve run it 5 times but only paid for it once. I was a race ambassador for the first few years but then I just couldn’t. Not to say I would have made the cut had I applied, I just stopped. This most recent trip down memory lane was sponsored by my work.

In the 5 times I’ve run it, I’ve run 3 different courses. I get that the city and the county dictate what roads could be closed and when but that’s a lot of change. The first course I ran was my favorite. I ran that one 3 times. Also, I seem to get slower every time I run SLO.

I headed into this race with no goal other than finishing. The preceding week and a half had wrung me out and I was hanging on by a thread. I was wondering why I hadn’t signed up for the 3 person relay. Oh yeah, needed 2 other people.

Unlike the last time I ran it, we made it into the parking lot before I jumped out of the car.

Then it became the “what pace is this?” game.

Mile 1- 10:10
Who starts a race uphill? I mean a short hill but still. Also I had to stop and tie my shoe so I don’t know where that pace came from.

Mile 2-10:35
Oh crap, I am already exhausted. This isn’t good. Oh, look another hill.

Mile 3- 11:00
Oh thank goodness, a water stop. Another reason to walk. More hill.

Miles 4- 11:13
More walking but a little bit of downhill. Also I know SLO pretty well but we’ve turned so damn many times I am so confused.

Mile 5- 11:42
Another hill, more walking and I must lose this long sleeve shirt before I melt. Oh crap, it’s under my pack. Why?! Oh and the work water station. Anyone want to tap in for me???? Please?

Mile 6- 12:44
Ok, I’m toast. Did I say I missed the Johnson hill stretch? I take it all back. Or as the pacer in front of me said- “Welcome to the hospital hills”.

Mile 7- 11:07
The climb is never ending. My brain broke. I had no sense of pace. I just remember walking. BUT I didn’t eat asphalt here like I did my 2nd time running it.

Mile 8-12:23
I’m done. Why do I do this to myself? Oh, Orcutt road is pretty, damn forgot about the hill. Not really, just lied to myself.

Mile 9-11:11
Tiny downhill, weeee! Also lost the 2:30 pacer, like they were miles ahead. Totally realizing this could very well be my slowest half marathon.

Mile 10-11:59
So much walking. Just keep moving, just keep moving. Oh look, it’s the railroad path.

Mile 11- 12:13
At this point I actually comprehend the numbers on my watch but they make no sense. Wait, if I drop 2 sub 10 miles, I’ll be around 2:25? Did I stop my watch somewhere?

Mile 12-12:30
Stupid, you don’t have sub 10 in you. Oh, hey it’s the criss cross bridge to run up to cross the railroad. Can’t we just run across? How much more is there?

Mile 13-11:14
I see the freeway overpass- run! The finish line is on the other side. I hate this last hill right before the finish- weeee! Downhill to the finish.

2:30:16

I had a team shirt on but was overheating from the humidity, I stripped fairly quickly after finishing

Wait, what? I started walking in mile 2 for crying out loud. I was ballparking a 2:45 finish, how the hell did I cut 10 minutes off of Oakland? I mean, yeah I was sick at Oakland but I was in a fog during SLO. I had no idea what pace I was running for 90% of the race. Or walking. So somehow I inadvertently proved I do better with hills. I’m not crazy!

Ok, maybe a little.