BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half Marathon Santa Barbara Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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!

Race morning dawned clear and sunny.  The night before had shown projected temps to be in the low 40’s at the start and only reaching 60 around 10.    I planned for a tank with long sleeves.    It was a little warmer than predicted in the morning but I stuck to my plan.  As I mentioned in my last post, I woke to an unpleasant surprise on race morning, oh the joys of being female, so I knew I was going to be a little more sluggish than I had planned.    With 2 weeks of next to no sleep and an extremely achy left leg, I was already planning on taking it easy.  I told my mother 2:20-2:25 but I also knew Ashley was pacing the 2:30 so I figured whatever worked.

The start was in Santa Ynez and we were running to Solvang.  My mother was able to get me within a block of the start line and damn it was windy and cold!


  I found Ashley at the 2:30 sign and we chatted before the start.  It’s been so long!!!  I met another BibRave Pro too, Carolyn but I didn’t think to take a picture until after.  Duh, silly Slacker.   After a little more shivering, the race started just a few moments behind schedule.


Miles 1-3  11:04, 11:01, 11:19

The first few miles were pretty crowded, this wasn’t a large race but the neighborhood streets were smaller.  That said, it looked pretty cool just seeing a crowd of runners ahead for the beginning miles.     The race profile had made the course look like a gradual incline through mile 7 but I quickly realized it more flat.  At least by my standards.  My calves were feeling kind of tight but they loosened up around mile 3.    Those first 3 miles also had some of the cutest furry race spectators ever-   a woman was standing on a corner with her pet goose.  Seriously, this goose looked so chill while thousands of runners ran right by.   Further down, 2 goats came running to a fence and looked like they wanted to run with us.   Then there were the miniature horses!!!  So cute.


Miles 4-6  11:35, 11:11, 11:33

I was staying steady, sluggish but steady and that was fine.  The course so far was more back roads and neighborhoods, I was waiting for vineyards.  I was actually surprised that the roads were completely closed- it was awesome but I was surprised- I’m only used to that at races with much bigger crowds.   A little past mile 5, we were running into the town of Los Olivos- it’s so small, it’s so cute!  Crowd support picked up too because mile 5.8 was the relay transition point.    I won’t lie- getting a medal at 5.8 looked pretty awesome.   I knew we were almost to the end of the “climbing” section but since the uphill hadn’t been so up, I wasn’t counting on much of a downhill.


Mile 7- 12:29  Corkscrew Hill

Oh holy hill.  Found the elevation gain, it’s all in mile 7.  Seriously, my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 235 in mile 7 and really maybe all in a half mile.  I knew the hill was coming but not like that.   I rounded a corner and saw it with runners dotting the way all the way up.  Just as I did, my headphones were playing Papa Roach and Jacoby sang/shouted “I don’t want no part of this, None of the above”.  Dude you have no idea.  😛     Knowing I was tired and that I still had 5+ miles left, I walked it.  


I knew it was the smarter choice.  Ashley and the 2:30 group caught up to me and passed me.     The hill may have been kicking my ass but now I was hopeful for at least one good downhill somewhere thanks to this monster.  I’m used to hills but this was a beast.

Miles 8-10 9:33, 10:08, 11:20

Thank you downhill!   I caught up to Ashley and her group again, said hey and continued running on.   We were now running through vineyards which I love but it was a little warmer than I would have liked.  Correction, I shouldn’t have been in long sleeves even though I was thankful every time the wind had a crazy strong gust.  😛  I took my phone out around mile 9 to take a picture only to see the low battery alert and that it was at 10%.  What the hell?!?   I sent a quick text to my mom letting her know I was turning it off, shut off my music and turned off my phone. Boo.   I also realized 2:25 wasn’t likely anymore.


Miles 10-13 11:32, 12:51, 10:58

Ok, the last 4ish miles without music is way different than the first 4 without.   It made things feel so much harder.   Well, that and my stomach was starting to cramp.  Stupid stomach, stupid hormones.  That last real hill was mile 12, it wasn’t even big just steep but for some reason I crawled.   We were out of the vineyards and back into neighborhoods, I knew the finish line must be close- I was so ready for it.  I admit I was walking more than I wanted to.    The crowds were picking up as the finish line neared.   A fire truck also ripped through the course but I didn’t pay it much attention- I had a 1/4 mile to go.

Finish- 2:28:46


Slower than I had hoped for but it’s all good.  The course was super pretty- yes I would have preferred more rolling hills and less of a beast in the middle- but I say I like hills, right?   I wish I could have taken more pictures but I’ve known I need a new phone for  while now, wasn’t expecting it to crap out on me like that though.   And I got to catch up with a good friend.  It was a good race.

*This may sound more positive than I normally am because in all honesty as I was crossing the finish line I realized where that fire truck had been headed.   Reading about things happening at races and seeing it real life are 2 entirely different things.   It puts things into perspective.   I’m also choosing to believe that no news is good news and there was positive outcome.

I met up with my mom post race.    We hung out for a bit and I tried to find the other BibRave Pros that were running it but it was too much of a madhouse in too small of a space.  The finish was in Solvang Park but it is a small park.   It got crowded fast.

Overall, this was a good race.  I really liked the course and the aid stations were all run by very enthusiastic kids and teens.   This is one I would look forward to doing again…just maybe a little less tired?  😛

Half #25 in the books.  😉

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Wine Country- On My Way

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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!

It’s race weekend!

In one way I feel like it snuck up on me too quickly and in another way I feel like it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race so I am excited to finally be running it.  The course starts in Santa Ynez and ends in Solvang, so Santa Barbara is a bit of a misnomer unless they’re going for the county.  😉    My grandparents used to live in Santa Ynez so it’s kind of like a return to childhood for me. Except I wasn’t into running then.   😛

The scenery looks to be back roads and vineyards which are my favorite kinds of roads.  And the elevation profile looks fun-

SB Elevation

Now, part of it’s called Corkscrew Hill and while that sounds ominous, I don’t see it up there? Except maybe that last bit to mile 7?

Now the last couple of weeks haven’t gone according to plan so I will likely be taking it easier than I planned.  I would to shoot for 2:20 but the lack of sleep and a medication mix up this week have left me a little lagging.   Ashley of Rather Be Runnin’ is pacing the 2:30 group so maybe I’ll just hang with them and catch up since it’s been so long.  Plus Saturday races seem to confuse my body.  Or maybe it’s all in my head.😛

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Thoughts on Saturday vs Sunday races?

 

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half- Recap

Otherwise known as the tale of 8 seconds.

I registered for Wine Country knowing that it might not be the best idea given my recent hamstring issues.   But, it being the very first half marathon I ran,  I really do love this race, hills and all.   I wanted to run it partially because of that and partially because it was year number 5 for me and you can’t break that streak right?   That said, I was going into it with low expectations.   I had a rough week with troubles sleeping.  I pushed too hard on Thursday’s run and was feeling it in left leg.   Plus the weather was predicted to be hot and cloudy.  I was ok with the hot forecast but not so much with the cloudy.  Clouds = moisture = asthma.  So, very low expectations.   Which I was ok with as I have been having some thought battles with myself while running lately.  But more on that next time.

Saturday- So not a restful day before the race.  I worked in the morning and had a full afternoon of errands and tire rotations.   Lunch was mostly skipped due to that- smoothie for the win!  In fact I ate less on Friday and Saturday then I have in weeks, let alone leading up to a race.   I tried to catch part of the tennis team’s match but it was seriously over 90 and there was no shade at the courts so I only lasted 20 minutes.  I picked up my bib and swag and did manage to drive the course.  Yes, I know it well but I wanted to make sure there were no surprises.   The plan was to update my playlist and go to bed early that night.  Ha!  I have been having troubles with my phone and it crapped out on me.  It took me 2 hours to get it running again and by then it was late.   So no new playlist.   I ran to a mix of Fall Out Boy, Set It Off and Papa Roach.

Prior to the start
Prior to the start

Race morning came all to soon.  Since it was so close, I slept as long as possible before heading out.     The lane to the grass lot where we park always backs up so I briefly thought about parking in a little lot about 1/4 of mile from the start line.  I figured that wouldn’t be a horrible warm up but nah.   I parked in the grass lot and wound up a stones throw from the start line.  Literally, I could have thrown a rock and hit it.    I ate nothing prior to the race and when I could have gotten out and warmed up a bit I stayed in my warm car.   The morning had dawned a little cooler than expected.  I was just feeling meh.   It was kind of nice not being nervous.  🙂  While I had low expectations, I had told my mother I was aiming for 2:15, but really thought it would be more like 2:20.  The plan was to text her at mile 10.    I headed to the start about 3 minutes til.   I met up with H real quick to say hi and then we were off!

Smiles at the end.  :)
Smiles at the end. 🙂

Miles 1-3-  9:36, 9:13, 9:15

And I went out of the gate too fast, what else is new?   There is fairly large hill at the end of this race so I always intentionally positive split this race.   A slightly fast start is one thing but this was ridiculous.    There was no way I was maintaining that.   Annoyingly enough, I had to stop and tie my shoe during mile 1.  Ugh.   The hills start in mile 2.   I kept telling myself to slow down but my legs would just not listen.  I even went so far as to try and bottleneck myself.    I tried to intentionally run behind groups of people in an effort to slow down.   No luck, but first hill done.

Miles 4-6-   9:19, 9:27, 9:28

Still too fast.  I caught up to H around mile 3, it was a nice little check in.  I admitted that I was going way too fast for my current fitness but had decided to just go with it.   I figured I would hang on as long as I could but knew I was probably going to hit the wall hard at some point.   But I was enjoying the views, the vineyards and the clouds and the morning sun and was having fun so I decided to go with it.    My breathing was on point, so I figured why not?  Just past mile 4, we turn onto the airport road.   The road is Trashed.  It makes the pic I posted the other day look like a walk in the park.    After running this race so many times, I had a plan.  I hopped onto the dirt shoulder and ran there for the next 3 miles.    It was shale and slightly uneven but it was awesome.   I lost H around mile 5.   IMG_9747Miles 7-9-  9:25, 9:05, 9:03

Miles 6-9 are a series of rolling hills, I guess all my hills are finally paying off.  Where the heck did those splits come from?!  I was still feeling good but lost all math computing skills.   I hit mile 8 at 1:15.  Looking at my watch, I quickly did the math and knew that if I maintained a 10 minute pace I would hit the finish line around 2:07.  However that didn’t take into account the big hill at the end so my math told me there was no way I was PR’ing or beating last year’s course time.   I was really ok with that.  I felt great and was having fun running and rocking out to music and that was the point.   Do you see the problem with my math?

Just one of the on course spectators.  (taken Saturday)
Just one of the on course spectators. (taken Saturday)

Miles 10-12-  9:44, 10:09, 9:34

Oh hello wall, nice of you to join me.  My breathing had gone from nice and easy to labored.  My left leg was feeling tighter as well.  Both in my hamstring and my IT band.  I took a walk break, texted my mother, and used my inhaler and then pushed on.  I also used that walk break to restart a particular song.  I have developed a weird fascination with Why Worry by Set It Off, I deliberately started the race with it and used that break to start it over.   Guess it helped because look at mile 12.

Mile 13-  11:01

Damn hill.  I walk this hill every year.  If my math is right (ha!) the hill has an elevation grade of 10+%.  It kicks my ass just walking.  My heart rate usually increases so I end up walking more at the top too.  But I know that going in so seeing an 11 minute split was fine by me.   A girl ran past me on the way up, telling me not to give up and just keep running.  Nope, I knew what I was doing worked for me.    She started walking about 10 feet later.  See, the hill is just a beast.  I started running again but I was tired and it was so much harder than before.  I pushed on though because I was so close to the finish.   I really should have paid more attention to my watch.  It didn’t occur to me until I was crossing the line what time it was.  I crossed the finish line at 2:06:05.

Just a little tired.
Just a little tired.

Are you FREAKIN’ kidding me?!  My PR is 2:05:57.  8 seconds.  8 seconds.

This race gives you a medal and a wine glass and a bottle of water at the finish.  I always feel like I am going to drop something.  My mother usually ends up rescuing the wine glass.   🙂   I had seen H a little ways behind me during the tiny out and back so I knew she wasn’t too far behind me, so we waited for her to cross.   After chatting a bit, she headed off to find her co-workers and I headed off to stretch in the grass.  IMG_9737I can think of 2-3 places where I could have shaved off 8 seconds.  My math had been so off from mile 8 on and I just didn’t pay enough attention to my watch after that to know how close I was to my PR.  Partly because I hadn’t thought I had a shot in hell of getting anywhere near that time.  It honestly hadn’t occurred to me.   That said, I am damn proud of how I ran this race.   Yes, I started too fast but for the most part, I managed to maintain that.  I ran the hills smart and I think running in the dirt for so long was a huge help.  I also finally ran the freaking tangents!  Which for the windy part meant running along the center yellow line.  I just had to dodge a car every now and again.   🙂

Hills, hills, and more hills, I still love this race.    Great set up, great views and always a good crowd.  Did I mention that the male/ female winner gets their weight in wine?  I will be back for another Wine Country.