Posted by: jawsome | March 14, 2009

“14 Mile Run” or “How to get completely, ridiculously lost in Santa Ynez”

This was an epic experience, so be prepared for an epic blog post.

Oh man. I am having a lot of mixed feelings about this run. I started out early(ish) this morning to do the first 6 miles of the half marathon (containing almost all the elevation gain for the race). I found what I thought was a good spot to park so I would be able to minimize the amount of walking I would have to do after hitting 10 miles. HA. HA. HA. HA. HA.

Moving on. Things started out ok, but then I really screwed up the directions. I had them written down on a piece of paper in my hand-held water bottle pocket, but this was apparently not helpful. I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying attention or what the problem was, but I ended up on Alamo Pintado WAAAAY before I was supposed to. I stood around for a while feeling really lost, and not knowing what to do. I should note that my hip had been really bothering me (more than usual) since about mile 3, and I was beginning to feel very dejected. I would have considered abandoning, but I didn’t really know where I was so this seemed pointless. I seriously almost started to cry – ahh, I love running.

Some running god must have been smiling on me in that moment, because someone in a mini-van pulled over and asked if I knew where Ballard Canyon (my midpoint destination) was. This was perfect, because I didn’t know if I had missed the turnoff or not. The guy had been coming from the left, so I used my somewhat befuddled powers of deduction to interpolate that Ballard Canyon must be to the right. Aha! Correct. At this point I had gone 6 miles, and Ballard Mountain (*cough* well, actually it’s not even that big a hill – but at this point I have no sense of reality) was still a mile or so up the road. Bummer. More walking at the end of the run for me. I reached the ascent, and really psyched myself up. I was going to make it all the way up without stopping, come blood, sweat, or more tears. Grrr! I OWN you, Ballard!

After about 4 minutes I was at the top, feeling really foolish for how easy it was. I mean, it wasn’t easy, but compared to how I had made it in my mind it was ridiculous.

So there I am at the top of Ballard feeling faintly victorious. My hip is really hurting at this point, but I’m over halfway there and I just conquered the biggest hill on the 1/2 marathon course. Oh, and I was doing well for time, staying just under 10 minutes per mile pace. Woot.

INTERLUDE – the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and Joselyne is oblivious to the drama that is about to unfold

I thought this next part would be easy. Simply reverse the map directions and head back on the correct route. Ummm, yeah. Turns out my directions were really not that good, actually. I ended up running 2 miles along HWY 154, which was definitely NOT on the program. Luckily, at least at this point I knew where I was in relation to my vehicle and had some good tunes to listen to. Mile 8 was one of the best, and I was still good on time. I was well set to do my 10 miles in 1:40.

So there I am, gimping along (serious limp now in my stride) and clearly not paying attention. I missed the turnoff on Baseline (which would have dumped me about 1 mile from my car) and kept right on running. I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now – I mean how much can one person POSSIBLY botch a run? So I finished up my 10 miles in 1:39 (yaay) thinking the car must only be about 1/2 a mile down the road or so. HA!

If I had known where I was, I should have just turned around and walked back to baseline. As it was, I was on Refugio, about a mile north of where I needed to be. I figured that, since Refugio and Edison are parallel, I could just cut over at some point. Not so, it turns out. In between these two streets are private neighborhoods that do not cross through. At one point, after walking an extra 1/2 mile up one of these private roads, I considered bushwhacking through the shrubbery, back-country style. A cautious glance at the bullet riddled “private road, no trespassing” signs caused me to reconsider (and almost start crying). By this point I had gone 12 miles (mostly walking the last 2).

I got back on Refugio, and saw a stoplight ahead. Saved! That must be Santa Ynez (where I left my car). Alas, it was HWY 246. I had another 2 MILES to go before I got back to my car. I was so miserable, seriously, it was pathetic. Every now and then I’d sort of whine or whimper to myself. No one was even there to come to my pity party. I have never been so glad to see my little Pontiac before.

The good news is, Inow  know I can complete the 1/2 marathon by the 3 hour cutoff EVEN IF I WALK THE LAST 3 MILES. My official half marathon time for today (with three miles of walking an 18 minute mile pace) was 2:33:21. Not bad, but I was too tired to celebrate appropriately.

I made it home, and have since inhaled a ginormous burrito. I am awaiting Matt’s arrival from his bike race. Hopefully I did not really damage my hip – it is not pleased. Not pleased at all. As for me? Well, the jury is still out.



  1. Oh my goodness, you poor thing. How are you feeling today?

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