Short version: I got my sub-2!!!
I’m still smiling after this weekend’s race. Everything came together and I had an amazing run.
Fiancé and I battled some horrible traffic on Saturday to get to the expo. It was pretty small – we did a loop, including stops to sample Nuun and some new Clif Bar offerings, and were still in and out in less than ten minutes. Packet pick-up was easy – get your bib on one side, and your shirt and shuttle ticket on the other.
Then we stopped off to enjoy some local brews – Made West had a taco truck that day, so it was an easy decision. We met up with some friends too. Saturday night was an early one for me. I had some pretty serious nerves, so I didn’t sleep that well, but that was fine since I had to be up at 4 a.m. anyway.
My amazing dad volunteered to drop me off at the race – otherwise, it would have been a much earlier morning for me, the latest shuttle the race offered was 4:45 a.m.! It was about a 40 minute drive to the race, so if I was taking a shuttle I’d have been leaving the house at 3:45. Thanks Dad!
The start was well-organized and there were plenty of port-a-potties with short lines. The sky was lightening as we got there, and at about ten minutes to six the announcers had runners start lining up. With about 2000 runners, there were three waves – I was in the second. There was a slight delay as we waited for the all-clear from highway patrol, and while we were waiting a runner next to me struck up a conversation. She was from Houston, and it was her first half-marathon! (And she’s getting married in October too, so we had lots to chat about.) = ) Congratulations again Jessica on a great first race (she came in well under 2 hours!)
Finally, the first wave took off, and a minute later it was our turn. I knew that if I had a good day, I could PR and hopefully break two hours. But I also knew I was a little under-trained, and because this was my goal race my nerves were much worse than usual. Thankfully, the nerves disappeared as I crossed the start line to the chirp of hundreds of Garmins. We wound our way out of the parking lot and I gave my dad a quick wave, then got to the task at hand.
It took a while for the crowd to thin, and the first half was much more uphill than I think most were ready for. (The race directors changed the course this year – much to my frustration, the first 4.5 miles were uphill before turning around for 5 miles of downhill.) My first mile ticked at 9:18, and my heart dropped into my stomach. I pushed a little harder than maybe I should have for mile 2, but came in at 8:34 and relaxed again. I had trained for hills early in the course, and I was feeling good and gaining ground over the next couple miles.
Race photo credit: Dan Holmes
I hit the turnaround at about mile 4.5, and felt strong. Seriously, I got so lucky on this race. The next four miles flew by, and I grinned at the cheering stations and tried to smile for photographers. It was overcast and misting a bit, with temperatures hovering in the high 50s and a slight breeze; I was in running heaven. I kept seeing 8:30-something splits on my watch and shaking my head in disbelief. But I knew that after all that downhill, the last few miles of flat were going to feel rough. After the mile 8 marker, I steeled myself for the last push. But the elevation map was wrong (or I read it wrong), and the downhill continued for another mile!
Oh, but then… then there was a small hill that felt harder than anything in the first half of the race. It seemed to go on forever. I was all business though, and kept that mile under nine minutes too.
Finally, we turned right and had a brief downhill stretch again until we hit the ocean. I had to do some fartleks to keep myself motivated in the last mile, but all of a sudden I was in the finish line chute. I heard my name over Jay-Z’s Dirt Off Your Shoulder blasting on my headphones (don’t judge) and saw Fiancé! Then I looked at my watch and saw 1:54:34 – and I decided to finish in under 1:55. I left everything on the course and willed myself over the finish line, stopping my watch at 1:54:56.
Race photo credit: Dan Holmes
I got my medal and had to sit down, and I may have gotten a little emotional and even teared up a bit.
Here are my splits:
I KILLED IT! Official time was 1:54:51: 38th of 166 in my age group, 167 of 1197 females, and 367 out of 1811 overall in the half. Even though I had perfect weather and a downhill course, never in my wildest imagination did I think I was capable of that time. Sorry to be so obnoxious, but I am just really proud of myself. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
I did get an email the next day for the USA Half Marathon, the only half marathon that has a qualifying time. It’s in San Diego in November, and now that I have a qualifying time I am SOOOOO tempted to register… but I’d be hitting peak training right around the time of my wedding and honeymoon, so I’m holding off (for now at least).
Did you race this weekend?
Ever had a perfect race?