What a day it has been!
When I set out this morning on my second half marathon I wasn’t sure what to expect. I set some conservative goals a week or so ago on the blog and truthfully, I wasn’t sure myself what I was capable of. I knew it would be nice to set a new PR (personal record) but I certainly didn’t expect to set a new PR. Well, not only did I set a new PR in San Diego I trounced my old PR by 9 mins!
Backing up to this morning…
I woke up in the Coronado (another post about the Coronado to come later) at 4:00 AM. Even though it felt extremely early I rolled out of bed and got ready. Traveling for a race meant I was forced to lay everything out the night before.
It takes a village people.
Then I dined on a typical pre race meal: coffee, huge glass of water and a bagel with peanut butter.
Hotel coffee was nasty. It made me miss my little French press but I dealt with it.
Dad came over and I handed him a bag of things I’d want at the finish (flip flops, camera etc). He took a picture of me before I headed out.
This is my “it’s 4 am, don’t eff with me” face. Please ignore the fact that I’m breaking out like the before picture on a proactive commercial.
The Coronado was great. They provided a shuttle to the start line. I picked up the shuttle at 5. There were several more experienced runners on the shuttle and it was fun to chat with them. Many of them had run Chicago so it was interesting to hear what I have in store for me this fall!
The race started in Balboa Park and was very well organized. I managed to make it to bag check and drop my bag with very little trouble. Then I waited in line for the bathroom and ran into Melissa! Melissa ran the FULL because she’s a rock star like that. Melissa also was with her boy friend Whit, who was running his first half marathon and her friend who was so fast she got seeded in corral 2! Melissa, Whit and I slipped into corral 18. I saw a 2:10 pacer and thought to myself that as long as I could stay in front of them I would be able to PR. Before we knew it we were walking forward to the start, the gun when off and we were running. I lost Melissa and Whit quickly.
I wasn’t sure when I crossed the start line but I felt great. The first three miles my foot felt a little tight but it loosened up and I was cruising but I actually didn’t feel like I was killing myself. I just felt like I was out for a casual jog. At mile 1 I finally saw a clock and it said we we’re 30 mins in (because I didn’t cross the start line immediately). At mile 2 the clock said 39 mins. I realized that I was running 9 min miles and feeling fantastic. I hit the 5k at 26:56 which is only 1 min and 30 secs off my 5K PR. I was pretty excited about this development.
Seriously, I cannot overstate how good I felt for the first 10 miles of this race, especially miles 1-5. I was doing my thing, enjoying my music and looking around. The first 5 miles were beautiful, shady and every short uphill had a downhill. The bands along the course were having a good time, keeping the energy up, and there was good crowd support including a little boy clutching a sign that said “I thought this was supposed to be a Justin Bieber concert”. So adorable. I was a happy camper for the first 5 miles.
At mile 4 the full marathoners split off from the group and we ran onto Route 163. Again, this part of the course was shady and I felt great. My legs were starting to feel tired on the up hills but the down hills revived them. I felt nothing like I did in Malibu. At this point in Malibu I was already digging deep and swearing I would never run another race, not even a 5k, as long as I lived. I walked though all the water stations. We were running on the 163 for a while (I believe it was miles 4-8).
At one point there was a water station staffed with all Big 10 School Supporters. They all had flags and T Shirts representing the different Big 10 schools. For those that don’t know my Dad went to Northwestern and I grew up walking distance from the school. We are season ticket holders for Football and Basketball plus I worked at NU in a social psych lab for two summers in Undergrad so my family has a close connection with the school. Sadly however there was no Northwestern representation. I yelled at a Michigan man asking where NU was but he said there weren’t any. Thus I was forced to take water from an Ohio State supporter. I ran over the 10k strip at the 55:02 min mark which is faster than I ran a 10k in October. Can’t lie, that makes me feel like a baller. I also took a Gu between mile 5 and 6. Mile 5 was also the magic point where I stopped really caring about my finishing time.
Miles 7 – 9 are kind of a blur. I was still feeling and chugging along. A women ran up beside me with a 2:10 pace number on her back. I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her if she was doing her pace and she said no, she was doing 9 min pace. I felt good at that point. I knew that I had built up a good bank of time. I was on track to PR even if my pace dipped down a little bit. Then, just before Mile 10 I saw LCCDad! I actually saw him before he saw me. I’ve only ever seen family spectators at the finish line and seeing him really put a pep in my step. Later, he said he was shocked by how good I looked.
Waving back between mile 9 and 10.
I crossed the 10 mile mark at 1:30:19.
After mile 10, the heat started to get to me. It wasn’t even that it was hot, it was more that it was very sunny. There was no marine layer this morning (layer of clouds that keeps the sun away until the late morning, its common along the coast in CA in June) and the sun in Southern California is HOT. I knew I had time in the bank and I didn’t want to burn out by forcing myself to run like crazy. I was feeling hot and a little bit nauseous so I decided that for the final 3 miles to use a walk/run method. I walked through water stations, taking two and pouring them on my head. It was hot but I ran and walked my way through the final 3 miles. Between mile 11 and 12 I grabbed a cup thinking it was water and poured it on my head. Sadly, it wasn’t water, it was Cytomax a nasty sports drink that I was not partaking in along the course. Then I threw some water on my head to water down the Cytomax. One of my head phones was in the line of fire and got water logged. Whoops.
Before I knew it I was coming up to the Mile 12 sign. I started to run again. There was a short incline just before the mile 13 sign…
This is me at mile 13. After I saw the mile 13 sign I took off at an unreal pace to the finish. Way faster than I ever sprint at the end of a run.
I crossed the finish line at 2:02:58. Not only is this a PR, it is 9 mins faster than I ran at Malibu! Average pace: 9:20. I also finished 214 out of 1092 in my division!
This is a major step up from my last half marathon and I am very, very proud of this accomplishment.
Post race photo! LCCDad even got me flowers. I believe that I was tweeting the good news in this photo. You can see in this picture that I ran in my new running skirt. It worked out well and I didn’t chafe. This is for sure going to be my go to skirt for marathon training.
After the race we walked about a mile back to the trolley station, took the trolley to Qualcomm stadium where we parked. My legs felt good while walking but I am sore and I will be feeling it tomorrow. I also had a lovely blood blister on my right foot which is not going to be pleasant tomorrow. It actually grossed out LCCDad. I am almost at the point where I need new shoes. Hopefully I can remedy this blood blister issue with the next pair of shoes. We made our way back to the Coronado, showered and grabbed lunch. I was starving!
The lunch view.
I never want to leave San Diego. Seriously, a 9 min PR AND this view? Not leaving.
To start I had a beer, because running makes me crave beer (don’t ask). This was a local seasonal beer but I forget the name. It was like a lighter version of Blue Moon.
To eat I had a chicken BLT. The bacon might steal the title of best bacon. It was so thick! Plus, the tomatoes were heirlooms. Obviously, I also had fries. Duh.
After lunch we hit the road back to LA. I will be back later this week with posts about the Coronado and a running post about the two halves I’ve done and laying out how I will cover my training for Chicago on the blog.
Overall, I had an amazing experience at Rock n Roll San Diego. I will definitely be back for another race! Extra thanks for all the tweets, texts, facebook notes, and blog comments I got during and after the race. You guys are the best!