BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Salinas Valley Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Salinas 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!

The morning dawned dark and early.  With the race starting at the Soledad Mission, I was up early and heading north.  After getting a little turned around (all my fault- it was literally straight up the freeway) I arrived early enough to pick up my bib, debate what pack to use and use the port a potties.    I had woken to a very angry stomach and had to use the facilities a few times before the race.  Lovely.     I headed to the start line to the beat of an ipod and an upbeat announcer.   The weather had been predicted to start in the 70’s and be in the high 80’s by race end so I was very excited to see a heavy cloud cover that kept the temps about 10* cooler.


Miles 1-3- 10:01, 10:07, 11:04

The course started off nice and flat.  Which I appreciated for about 1/2 a mile.  My legs were already fussy so by mile 2, I was running in the dirt on the side of the road.   If there’s dirt, I will find it. πŸ™‚    My shoelaces on my right shoe came untied in mile 2 as well.   I was moving surprisingly faster than I thought I was going to be though.    Mile 3 saw my first walk break as well as my shoelaces coming untied again.  What gives?!  I was enjoying the scenery.  We ran past crop fields of Cauliflower and Peas.   I was taking pictures while running.


Miles 4-6- 10:44, 11:01, 10:45

Here’s my main gripe- the first water station wasn’t until mile 3.3.    For a race in CA in August, I thought that was too far in.  I carried a larger bottle of BeachBody with me but I still like water at each station.   We started into a little rolling section of the course which was giving me slight downhills which was slightly helping my pace.  This was cool because the walk breaks were becoming more regular.   My legs were starting to get super stiff though.   My brain may have seen the road as slightly rolling but legs were telling me it was flat.  I needed a hill!


Miles 7-9-  12:47, 11:59, 10:48

A hill!  My legs were thankful, the rest of me not so much.  I walked all of it.  No shame, I knew this was going to be a slower race so there was no point in making my heart rate go crazy.  πŸ™‚   That climb started in 7 into 8 and partly into 9.  Honestly it wasn’t even a big one, I just took it easy.   The sun had also come out and temp instantly jumped 10*.  Yikes!  Water!   I was still taking in the sights of the course and enjoying the music stations along the course.  Then in mile 9, I got a little downhill to enjoy.


Miles 10-12- 11:58, 11:49, 11:36

The sun was shining in full force which made the scenery awesome but did no favors for my pace.   I started rocking out.   Literally.  We came upon a hill the race calls the “Beast of Eden” and I ran up it playing an air guitar the whole way.  It was also the only hill I ran up.  πŸ˜›   I then sang and played an air guitar or drums for the next 3 miles.  I gave thumbs up to race photographers (which actually turned out to be a terrible picture).   There was a strawberry station at mile 10.2 and while they looked amazing, my stomach was starting to cramp up and I passed on them in fear of a repeat of the morning.

Mile 13- 11:42

Ok, I was done.  I felt like this mile took 20 minutes.  The finish line was never getting closer.   I was hot, thirsty and tired.   We ran past the buses to take us back to the start and man they looked tempting.  I was walking so much.  We turned left but still no finish line.   Just an uphill.  Waah.   I was walking towards the last little turn to the finish and the announcer called me out!  Seriously!    Just make it obvious when I start running.    Thanks dude.

Finish 2:28:44


Considering how I thought this race was going to go, hell yeah!  If the sun had stayed away, I think I may have been about 5 minutes speedier.    It warmed up really fast once the sun came out and I wish there had been another water station or 2.    I drank water at every station and had my bottle.  Once across the finish line, I downed a chocolate milk and a bottle of water.  Normally drinking that much that fast would have me feeling very ill but I felt fine.   Like I said, it was kind of warm those last miles.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race.   It was kind of nice to go into a race mostly relaxed and barely even glance at my watch.   I enjoyed the backroads, and the crop signs and Steinbeck were an added touch,  The only thing I would change is more water stations.

Half marathon #27 done.  πŸ˜€

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?

Run!, Training

Weekly Recap 10- Hello Sun

Upcoming Races:

  • Livermore 13.1 -March 26
  • Destination Races Santa Barbara 13.1- May 13

This week was a little over the place.  When I think back on it, it feels more like a month than just 7 days.

Monday- Rest  I woke up feeling broken.  I hurt everywhere and felt exhausted.  I felt like calling in sick but someone already had the night before so I knew I was going to work.  I dragged myself in but just felt worse as the day went on.   I made it through the day and treated myself to In N Out on the way home.  One of the few times I allow myself it is when I am not feeling well.

Tuesday- Rest I was feeling a little better but still not right.  I figured why chance it.


Wednesday- 2.5 miles I headed to lake path after work to get in a few miles.     We have been having some crazy wind and for some reason I didn’t have my Buff.  My ears were so damn cold.  I admit I turn into a big baby when my ears get cold.   I made it 2.5 miles before I called it.   Plus I was still afraid of getting sick.   With a half so close, I didn’t want to chance it.   Being sick for pretty much all of December is still giving me flashbacks.  Which is a bummer because my stride actually felt on point for that second mile. 


Thursday- 4 miles I set out from work and told myself I was going to do an easy 3 mile run.  Somehow that turned into the fastest 4 miler I’ve done in 6 months.   Oops!  Maybe it was the pre-workout from Beachbody I am testing? Maybe I was just feeling good?  I don’t know.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still way slower than I was but it’s nice to see the numbers going in the right direction.     Plus the State Park was open for the first time since Lucifer so I had to run through the Eucalyptus grove.

Friday- Rest  Same ol’ Friday except I started the day in a great mood which is rare.  It lasted until around 3 when work kicked me in the face.   Thanks.


Saturday-10 miles The plan was to run early so I could finish at the high school and meet my mom for lunch after my run and her tennis practice so I dragged myself out of bed in the morning.   A mile into my run, I was rethinking things.   I was stripping off my long sleeve because I was already hot.   I was keeping to 3/1’s but seemed to be keeping a decent long run pace.  I think- I’ve taken the pace off my watch face.   I ran into an old friend and stopped to chat for a moment.  I did 2 laps of a hill, I ran across the the bridge at what felt like a restrained pace considering how I usually sprint across it.  Pace wise and legs wise I was feeling good- however I was just past mile 5 and I knew I was going to have a  problem.  I was hot, too hot.    10 in the morning and it was pushing 75.  Which, don’t get me wrong is amazing but it came out of nowhere and I was not prepared.   I was overheating and running out of water.  I slowed to a crawl going up a hill as I tried to cool down and figure something out.   I texted my mother to see if anyone was using the high school track.  My original route took the long way to the high school but had no stores or working water fountains along the way.  The high school is the only place in town I know the water fountains work.  I finally just decided to take the shortcut to the high school, empty track or not.  I couldn’t maintain the 3/1’s anymore, I was just in survival mode.  I made it to the school, refilled my water bottle and was able to finish my run on the thankfully empty track.   I love the sun and the warmth but I was so not ready for it on this run.


Sunday- Rest  Shopping around SLO counts as active recovery right?   Plus some foam rolling.    And I picked up some pretty new shoes, fingers crossed they work!

16.5 miles for the week.  Slowly going up.  I won’t lie, I’ve been in a running funk, I’m hoping DST gives me a good kick in the pants.  Plus I have a new or old mentality so we’ll see if that helps too.

How was your week?

How was your weekend weather?

 

Run!, Training

Week 3 Recap- All Wet

For a person who chose the word Challenge as a guiding principle for the year, January is doing a great job of laughing at me.  I’m chalking it up to job stress and hoping that learning way or the other in the next week or so will help some of the stress go away.   Maybe, hopefully…oh who knows.

In other news, it is still dumping buckets here in CA.  Which would be awesome if I could stay at home under a blanket with my cats all day.  But I can’t so yeah.  I miss my night runs, who knew I would ever say that??  My boss and I were supposed to attend a Chamber function after work on Friday night but the storms and wind were so bad that we both agreed it was smarted to just go home.  Somehow there was a break in the weather that lasted right until I got off the freeway in home town- best idea ever!

I had troubles keeping my blood sugar regulated this week as well.  If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning (if you have, thank you!) you know I had this problem a few years ago.  It’s been a long time since I bottomed out like that so that was fun.  It happened Thursday and Friday…what gives?!     Last week ended up being more Slacker-ish then I would have liked.

Monday- Rest–  Haha, I wasn’t this sore after my marathon.  This is what happens when you run 13.1 miles under trained.  πŸ˜›


Tuesday- 4.5 miles  I had a vacation day from work so I was able to enjoy a longer run in the middle of the afternoon.   I really do love those.  My shins were a little sore but I ran it off within a mile or two.   I enjoyed being back on the river path for the first time in months.  Come on spring and time change, where are you??


Wednesday, Thursday, Friday- Rest.    Yeah, that wasn’t planned but that’s what happened.  I actually did some pushups and a plank all of those days but I am not sure those count.   I packed my bag and while it actually left my car but I never changed into my running gear.   Grrr.


Saturday- 7.65 miles  Reality moment run.  We had a break from the rain but it was still cold so I thought an afternoon long run sounded good.   I planned 8 miles where I left my house, ran across town, ending at the high school and hitching a ride with my mother at the end of tennis practice.   I don’t know where I went wrong.  I swear I left my house with plenty of time.    I felt like I was running a steady pace, the bridge mile faster like always.   I was stopped at traffic lights but it didn’t seem like an inordinate amount of time.    I did get distracted on the river trail.  Water!!!!   In all the time I’ve been running that path, there has never been water in the river let alone moving water; I had to stop and admire it for a moment.  Or 2.   Climbing the last big hill I got a text message from my mom asking where I was.  Then I saw the time.  What the hell?!!  Not only was I not going to get in a leisurely 8 miles, I was still well over a 1.5 miles from the school and would have to haul ass just to get there and still be late.  So I tried.  I did…but there was no haul in my legs.  I literally felt like I was running with a stick up my butt.   TMI?  I don’t know if it was because I was cold and my legs felt frozen, maybe I was tired, whatever, I could not move faster.  With 1/2 miles to go I get another text.  “Where are you”.  Again my response is trying.  Her answer is “meet us in front”.  Oh great, so now I get to share my red face, huffing, out of breath, out of shape self who didn’t hit 8 miles with her AND whichever tennis players needed a ride home.  Oh boy.   😞  They caught me at the streetlight.   Yeah, reality check moment.

Sunday- Rest  I woke to the power being out.  Yay.   I was hesitant to run because I wasn’t sure my water heater was 100% gas and the idea of cold run followed by a cold shower followed by a cold house… yeah, umm no.  So I ran some errands then took a nap.  I kept pushing my run back hoping the power would come back on.   Then PG&E called and said that it wouldn’t be back on until Monday.  What?!?  So then it was hitting the store to find flashlights and ice for the freezer while wishing that I hadn’t gone food shopping on Saturday.  Not that I buy much but still.   All this to get close to my house to find the traffic lights back on…ummmm?  So, power was back!   I guess it could have been worse- my neighbors rented a hotel room and had just left to check in when the power came back.

Miles 12.1  Ouch, that’s sad.  That’s like one good long run.   That said, I am on track with the mileage target I set for January so I feel decent with starting training for Livermore and Santa Barbara Wine Country on the 30th.    Also hopefully by then the rain will calm down and I may have an answer on the job front, fingers crossed.    If low numbers get me through January while I face all its other Challenges, so be it.

How was your week?

Anyone else totally unprepared for power outages?

 

Run!, Slacker

Boundary Boardwalk

I’m socially awkward.

I wasn’t as a child.  I was obnoxious, outgoing and a bit of a daredevil.  I don’t know what happened to me.  πŸ˜›

Crowds make me uncomfortable- sometimes running in public still freaks me out.    I’ve mostly gotten over it in home town.  Granted the bridge still stresses me out.  For crying out loud, I still sprint across the damn thing.  Last weeks long run saw the bridge mile clocking in at 9:14.  Which doesn’t sound that speedy until you take into account my stupid shins and the fact that I walked part of that mile too.

Running in work town?  Oh hell no.  I do it very rarely.   What if people see me?  I don’t want customers to see me in a sweaty mess.    And shorts?  Forget it.  If I run in work town, I wear capris, no matter what time of year.   Throw in the fact that I only have only the one 4 mile route and I don’t run there very often.   Too uncomfortable.

The week has been running around 105ish in hometown.   Mid 70’s at 7 am. Yay. 😭😭  I ran in work town on Monday- tried to be invisible.   Wednesday was my half day and I wanted to run but 100+ temps?  Not so much.  Whereas work town was a lovely 72.  Decisions, decisions.

I stepped outside my comfort zone.  I ran in work town.  On a new path.  In shorts.  In the middle of the day.  There were people around.  It’s summer in a beach town-  what was I thinking?

It freakin’ rocked.

Don’t get me wrong- those 4 miles kicked my ass.  First I was cold then I was hot.  The path I thought I was on turned out to be not what I thought.  My shorts rode up every 5 steps and I spent most of the run trying to discreetly dig them out of my crotch and yanking them down.  Cover those legs! My legs hurt, my shins ached.  I was sinking in the sand.  The pavement seemed too hard.  I lost the cover to my new handheld Orange Mud and didn’t even notice for 1/2 a mile. How?   I was breathing like I was sprinting but I so wasn’t.   I walked more than I would have liked.  People saw me.

But —

I ran through a tunnel of Cypress trees–


Found three stacks–


And a rock–


Like I said- this run rocked.  Can’t wait to push my boundaries ( a little) again with a longer run.   And maybe with different shorts.  πŸ˜›

How do you push your boundaries?