Half Marathon of the Harbors Race Recap

This morning I woke up bright and early (4 AM!) to run my third 1/2 marathon, the Half Marathon of the Harbors in Ventura, California. This half marathon was the most low key I’ve ever done. No parents in town, no fancy meal the night before. Just me waking up early, drinking watered down Gatorade (more on that later) and driving in the dark to Ventura.

Pre race eats:

Sadly, not beer.

Coffee.

Bagel I burned with peanut butter on it.

Ventura is about 50 miles north of where I live in LA and at 4:45 the ride only took 45 mins. Woo for making good time. It was still pitch black when I arrived. This race was the polar opposite of Rock n Roll San Diego. Only 550 people ran the race today meaning I got to park about 500 feet from the start line! Big and small races both have their benefits. I was able to pick up my packet, affix my number and drop all of my things at the car within about 15 mins.

Before the race picture.

Terrible, just terrible. This picture says, “Hello, it’s 4 am and I didn’t sleep well last night and I can’t stay awake”.

I hopped on the bathroom ride and ran into Amanda’s younger sister Sarah, her boyfriend Chris and her Dad. It was Sarah and Chris’ first half marathons. Sarah and Amanda’s dad is a long time runner (he’s done an ULTRA!) It’s always great to run into people you know on race day.

The race started and ended from Ventura Harbor which was beautiful.

Best part of racing is seeing the sun rise over the Pacific.

Like I said, the race was tiny, especially compared to San Diego.

See that surf board on the left? That was the start line. I’m not sure what the story is with official times but I used my watch while running. Pretty soon the race started and I was running my third half marathon.

I talked big talk this week about trying to go sub 2 hours. I was so close in San Diego. I figured with my marathon training I should be able to hit it. I knew I needed to hit around 9:00 min miles. Using my watch I measured my splits.

Mile 1: 8:36 (way too fast, told myself to slow down)

Mile 2: 10:02 (too slow, pick up the place)

Mile 3: 8:50 (good!)

However, mile 3 is where the wheel started to fall off. I brought watered down Gatorade to the race. Because it was the first Half Marathon of the Harbors ever I was unsure what the water situation would be along the course. I feared running out of water so I brought my water bottle and planned to supplement my water breaks with the drink. I started drinking it along with 30 second walk breaks every mile at mile 2. Around mile 3 I started getting nauseous and sadly, the feeling never fully went away. I trucked along and before too long it was mile 4 (9:04).

This whole time, on top of being nauseous I really needed to pee. Somewhere around mile 5 I hopped into the bathroom. I think I over drank watered down Gatorade before I left the house this morning. By the time I hit the bathrooms the course had made its way to the ocean front. It was beautiful.

This was also around the time that the mile markers began getting wonky. I think they were misplaced along the course. I never saw a mile 6 sign and I think the mile 7 sign was facing the wrong way? I also think misplacement of signs could explain my wacky splits. After mile 4 I didn’t have splits because of odd sign placement.

My nausea got much worse around mile 6. I took a Gu and made an official decision to stop drinking watered down Gatorade. I also increased my walk breaks. I almost puked in my mouth twice… it wasn’t pretty or comfortable.

Around mile 8 I started taking 1 min long walk breaks. My legs were super sore and my nausea was still kicking around. I looked at my watch and knew I wasn’t going to hit sub 2 hours. Truthfully, I knew this when my nausea set in at mile 3. I spent about 30 seconds feeling really sorry for myself, and then a voice (which sounded suspiciously like my Mother) came into my head and said “Get over yourself! You’re running you’re third half marathon in a year. You’re training for a marathon. Get the fuck over it!” Pity party over. I hauled my booty for the rest of the race. Ironically, when I talked to my Mom after the race she said “who cares? You’ve run three more half marathons than anyone in the family!”

Oh, and this tweet came to my mind too as I was ending my pity party.

I don’t have an older sister, but if I did I would like her to have said something like this to me. Maura, you’re seriously the best.

Around mile 9 the nausea mostly subsided (it didn’t really go away till the end of the race, but it was much better) and I started thinking about how much my life has changed in the past two years. This time two years ago I was at my high weight and didn’t feel very good about myself or my life. I got a little emotional. At mile 10 my watch read 1:36 and I knew that in order to PR I would have to run the last three miles at my 5k PR pace (aka it wasn’t happening). The pressure was off and I took it easy. I had some great spurts of energy. After mile 11 there were no mile markers which kinda bothered me. Around mile 11.5 (?) Avicci’s “My Feelings for You” came on and was totally clutch. It really helped me move my legs.

Before I knew it the finish line was in my sights and I was done!

Final time 2:09:20.

Hey, not a PR but still better than my first 1/2, still a great 13 mile training run and still a completed 1/2 marathon. The big goal isn’t this half marathon, it’s the full marathon in Chicago. I learned some lessons about fueling that will help me in Chicago. The course was beautiful. I got my runners high and now I get to put my feet up and watch Entourage, True Blood, Jersey Shore and the VMA’s (epic TV night people!)

Oh and Sarah?

She is a beast! She ran sub 2 hours in the first half! Seriously, so epic. Congrats Sarah!

After the race I took off my shoe to access the foot situation (I’ve had a blood blister problem in the past while racing but not during my longer training runs). Oh yes. I’m rocking several blood blisters and one popped leaving me with a bloody sock. Just call me Kurt Schilling.

It actually doesn’t hurt (yet). Check out my runner’s high smile post race. Nothing gets me down. Running is a good analogy for life. You can’t control everything that happens to you but you can control how you react to it. So why feel bad for yourself? Who cares about time goals? I rocked a half marathon today. Bring on the treats! With that in mind, I trekked back to LA and hit Lemonade.

I took an ice bath, shower and dug into some mac and cheese.

Exactly what I needed! I also got an assortment of salads. I barely touched the chicken (I actually was full!) but I ate much of the roasted beets and tangerine rice.

I plan on enjoying the rest for dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow.

The rest of the day I’m going to hang out, clean my apartment a little bit, watch TV and get ice cream from Sweet Rose! I think I earned it.

Next stop: Chicago!

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12 thoughts on “Half Marathon of the Harbors Race Recap

  1. Congrats on a great race! I’m hoping they work the kinks out for next year because I feel like a half in Ventura would be pretty and relatively flat – and not nearly as hot as trying to run 13.1 today in LA 🙂

  2. So proud of you, lady! while you were running, I was sleeping! You are doing so well with your marathon training and have the right attitude. I always say, “if it was easy, everyone would do it!” Running in the summer is hell. I can’t believe how fast you are when it’s been so hot!

    I am rambling. You are going to fantastic in Chicago, I know it!

  3. Just found your blog. I ran the Ventura 1/2 this morning as well. My first race ever. Thanks for writing about your experience. Congratulations on your third Half!!

  4. Ah, so proud of you for finishing the race with such a great attitude!! I know I’ve had those races where it just doesn’t go the way we want it to but hey, we’re running a 13 mile race! I can’t wait to run my next one!!! Whenever that might be…ugg.

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