Posted by: jawsome | May 10, 2009

Warning! Long post to follow. Never fear, there are pictures to keep you amused. 🙂 I’ve had a hectic week, with at least two people staying with us since Wednesday. Made for interesting pre-race preparation,  but I didn’t have time for any pre-race nerves!

Packed and ready. Yes that is a pineapple.

Packed and ready. Yes that is a pineapple.

Woke up at 4:45 to head to the venue. Luckily, the Jesusita fire here in Santa Barbara has calmed down and I didn’t have to worry about smoke or hot temps during my race. We did have to get up pretty early because the closest route was closed due to the fire, but Matt was an entertaining driving partner and we made it to the start at about 6:00 (race started at 7:00). I hit up the porta-potties right away, and boy was I glad I did. More on that later.

Lube-ing up the feet

Lube-ing up the feet

Matt had several “jobs” for this race. The first was to make sure I got an adequate warmup. When I stay too near the start line, I get nervous and distracted by what everyone is doing around me. Matt paced me on the bike as I went out for a quick 1/2 mile jog before the start.

Beautiful morning

Beautiful morning

The temperature was a brisk but not too brisk 50 degrees, and I kept my sweatshirt on for the warmup. I don’t have a lot of race experience, but I think going with Matt to bike races and also going on my own long runs has really helped me learn what I need to do to prepare. For the first time I was really focused on my own stuff, and not thinking, “oh gosh, that person looks fast. They’re doing wind sprints – maybe I should do some too…” Instead, I knew what I needed to do and was pretty oblivious to everyone else.

Stretching and focusing before the start

Stretching and focusing before the start

By the time I was done with my warmup, the start area was packed. This was a point to point race, so  a lot of people had to take shuttles back and forth. This created some degree of chaos, as there were not NEARLY enough porta-potties  for everyone. I thought about using one again (not a pressing need, but why not?). I stood in line for 5 minutes and didn’t move, so I gave up. I felt really bad for the (literally) hundreds of people in line – I’m sure most of them didn’t get to use a toilet before starting.

Start line

Start line

Due to various complications and poor planning, the race started about 13 minutes late. I did another quick jog to stay limber, and lined up toward the back of the pack (I much prefer passing people to being passed!) The first mile was a little slow, as dodging between people got a little tedious. People apparently don’t understand that if you’re slow, you shouldn’t start up front. I passed several people walking after only 1/4 mile. Normally, I pull over to the side if I’m going to walk, but these people would just abruptly stop in the middle of the road. Oh well.

The herd thinning out

The herd thinning out

Remember my main goal (other than finishing) was to finish in 2:10:00 or less. I had some other lofty goals, one as dramatic as finishing in 1:57:00. After doing some quick recalculating at the start, I thought 2:10 was a more reasonable goal, and vowed to just run as hard as I could. I tried to be conservative during the first half, and wanted to allow for possible negative splits and speeding up at the end.

Mile 1 – 9:57 Not too bad considering potential adrenaline and jockeying for position. Not too fast, maybe a tad slow.

Mile 2 – 9:37 Perfect. Settling in to a good pace. Relaxed, looking around, still passing people

Mile 3 – 9:37 Can’t get more consistent than that. Stopped for my first 15 second walk break, took some water. Not too many spectators on the course, but a few.

Mile 4 – 9:43 Small rolling hills, what I call the “boring” part of the course. Notably, there was one neighbor trying to get out of his driveway. Poor guy looked completely nonplussed by the crowd.

Matt was wonderful support out on the course, and took lots of pictures

Matt was wonderful support out on the course, and took lots of pictures

Mile 5 – 9:54 More rolling hills, trying to make it up into Los Olivos where I knew there would be some more crowd support. Realized that I was probably going to hit around 2:10 at the finish. Tried to focus on doing the best I could, and keeping it around 9:45 pace.

Mile 6 – 9:47 Second walk break. Relay transition area in Los Olivos (some people only ran half the course in two-person relays). I got a little emotional at this point, realizing I was really running a half marathon. The crowd support was amazing, and really gave me a boost. I was running out of the transition area at 8:00 pace.

Mile 7 – 11:07. The Hill. Ballard Canyon, which if you’ve read my previous posts you know all about. Woof. I walked past Matt at the bottom of the hill for a re-fill of my water bottle and to choke down a gu. I need to get faster at that, but I have a trigger-happy gag reflex. Then I had to make it up to the top of the hill. My HR at this point felt pretty extreme. Looking at the data, it was only 184, but it felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I barely slowed down to wave at my mom and step-dad as I crested the top, and made my way back down the hill.

Mile 8 – 9:21. Amazing how a part of the course that you previously thought of as “easy” can take on a whole new dimension of difficulty in a race. I kept thinking, “I don’t remember it being this hard…”

Scenery

Scenery

Mile 9 – 8:59. “Cruising” speed, that didn’t really feel like cruising! Passing lots of walkers at this point.

Starting to get a little tired

Starting to get a little tired

Mile 10 – 9:58. Clearly the previous mile was a little too fast. I was feeling pretty tired here, and took a walk break and some water. Normally my mile 10 is, “whew, only a 5k to go!” This time that realization did not provide much relief. I was lucky that I didn’t have any major cramps, GI issues, or pain – I was just fatigued at this point.

Mile 11 – 9:22. Picking it back up a little, gearing up for the last 2 hilly miles.

Mile 12 – 10:52. Bam! Chalk Hill hit me like a ton of bricks. Ooof! There were spectators on the course, and Matt was there yelling encouragement, but I was TIRED. I walked a couple times. I was so tired that while drinking some water I choked on it. That stopped me for about 30 seconds as I pulled over and gasped. You know that panicky feeling you get when you try to breathe water? Magnify that by having run 12 miles.

Mile 13 – 9:13. Focus, you’re almost there! I knew the race course was going to be a little longer than 13.1, so I was a little sad that my 13.1 time of roughly 2:08:30 would not be my “official” time. As I ran under the banner, the clock read 2:11, but of course that’s gun time not chip time. Official results aren’t in yet, I’ll let you know.

Worst. Photo. Ever.

Worst. Photo. Ever.

I kicked at the end, and was really giving all I had (as you can see from the hilariously bad photo above). Matt was in the finishing chute giving me a high five, and you can see my weaksauce attempt to high five him. I can honestly say I could not have run harder (unless maybe a T-rex was chasing me).

Gun time – 2:11:25

Chip time: ???

Garmin time 13.1 – 2:08:30

Garmin time crossing the line (13.22) – 2:09:54

Average speed – 9:47. Highest HR – 188. Total elevation gain: 1400 ft.

So any way you cut it, I was under 2:10. Part of me still wishes I was a little faster, but it was my first race and, as Matt says, every race after this has the potential of being faster (at least until I’m 60 or so).  🙂

Of course I had to have my obligatory chicken ranch burrito when I got home.

YUM!

YUM!

I’m sure I’ll have some post-race thoughts later on, but for now I’m signing off. Happy mother’s day to all you moms out there, and happy running!

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Responses

  1. You rocked it HARD! That’s the race I *wanted* to have. 🙂 Great job, J!!!

  2. Awesomeness!

  3. Congratulations! We’re proud of you. Love, Sue and Dean

  4. Glad the smoke cleared and it looked like a beautiful day. Way to give it everything you had! That IS racing!

  5. Congrats on an awesome race!

  6. Great job on the race! Way to stay consistent and run strong. I think that was a great time for your first half and hope I do as well this weekend…way to go!


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