Saturday, February 22, 2014

Women's Running Series Half Race Recap

This morning I ran the San Diego Women's Running Series Half Marathon.

This was the race I was never planning to run (but apparently was meant to all along ;)). You see, I didn't have this race on my calendar, or even as a thought in my mind, but a friend had contacted me a couple months ago about it. She had won an entry to the race but wasn't going to be able to make it down and wanted to know if I would use it. I looked on my race calendar and saw I had a 10 mile race (the California 10/20 this past Sunday) and another half marathon (the San Diego Half Marathon in two weeks) already during that time span. I thought about it and figured "WHAT THE HECK?!" With race entries being as expensive as they are, I knew I just couldn't pass it up. Even if I used it just as a training run, I might as well JUMP at the chance for another race ;). {I originally tried to talk my mom into doing it with me, but her body wouldn't let her do a half marathon - but don't worry, she will be doing a 5K with me in a month - WHOOO HOOO.} A HUGE THANKS TO TRACY FOR THE RACE ENRY!! SUCH AN AWESOME OPPORTUNITY!!

Since this was a women's race and had a breast cancer charity aligned with it, I assumed there would be full a lot of pinks and other "girlie" colors. I knew I wanted to be a little different (it helps Ryan to be able to find me in the crowds), so I decided to rep MAIZE and BLUE! I even got some new PRO Compression socks last week that worked PERFECTLY (although the color on the PRO Compression site has them listed as yellow, they will forever be known as my MAIZE socks).

Flat Carlee ;)

My husband is one of my BIGGEST fans. Not only does he humor me and run some of the races along my side, but he is also a HUGE cheerleader and my personal photographer ;). His LEAST favorite part are the early morning wake-ups though. This race had a 6:30am start time, which he was NOT excited about. We had to leave the house around 5am so that we could get down to San Diego and find parking (they warned there would be limited parking and I didn't want to chance it, cut it too close, have to park super far away, and have to book it to the starting line). Thankfully the freeway was empty and we were able to get a parking spot about 3 minutes walk from the Start Line (which was also the finish line).

You can see the sun slightly rising in the background 
The start of the 5K and Half Marathon were at the same time, with everyone in the same corrals. This was something I had never really experienced. They didn't really have defined corrals - yes, they had signs, but nothing to divide them and no one really looking at bibs. The told us to get ready, we sang the National Anthem, and then we were ready to start.

I didn't get a great night's sleep Thursday night (Walt woke up a couple times and needed to go outside because he was "sick" so I was up at 3:30am and didn't get back to sleep) and then woke up around 2am this morning. I was slightly worried about my race. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel, seeing as mentally I was pretty drained. I figured that I would try to go out in front of the 2:00 pace group and try to stay in front of them. If my legs decided to become lead then I would slow down, listen to my body, and just use the race as a training run.

When we got ready to head out I realized that I was in front of the 1:45 pace group (but again, like I mentioned, the organization wasn't really great in the corrals). I KNEW I wouldn't be able to keep up with that pace, but that I would run MY race no matter what.

As always, I started out too fast. My adrenaline, the race environment, etc just gets me too excited and I tend to go faster than I want to once I cross the starting line. Another thing is that I try not to focus on my watch too much, which is probably a BAD thing, especially still being a newbie runner, and just running by "feel". OBVIOUSLY my legs "feel" good because they are fresh - which means I should probably go on time, at least for the first mile or two.

I figured I would start to slow down once I hit mile 2 or 3, but by that time I had hit a rhythm that felt comfortable. I wasn't sure I would be able to keep it up, but I felt great around 8:30 minute miles. I was cheering on the other ladies (great to have a women focused event and be able to see all of the strong ladies out on the streets), giving hi-fives to cheerleaders, thanking the volunteers and race guards, and just trying to take in all of my surroundings.

While I was running Walt and Ryan enjoyed the parks around the finish line. Walt tends to bark at things that go faster than him, so races are "fun", but Ry told me that he isn't barking like "I want to eat you" he is barking to cheer everyone on... 

The course was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! It was sooooooooo beautiful {and I am NOT just saying that because we ran by where Ryan and I got married twice}. It was such a FLAT, FAST, and FUN course {I think there were a total of 4 overpasses, the last one being the steepest and within the last mile prior to the finish}! The majority of it was along the San Diego Bay. The views were STUNNING - watching the sun rise over Downtown San Diego was BREATHTAKING! All I could do was thank God the entire race that He had blessed us immensely by allowing us to live in such a wonderful place and am privileged to have the abilities and opportunities that God has granted me with.

Prior to this race my current PR (personal record) in the half marathon distance was from the Rock N Roll Half Marathon last year. I remembered I ran around 9 minute miles. Every mile marker I would glance at my watch and see that my pace was under that (I think I was ranging from 8:15 to 8:40 for the first 9 or so miles). I knew that I could PR if nothing drastic happened and just kept chugging along. The further I got in the race I would run quick numbers in my head and think "I could be sub 1:59 if I keep this pace", "I could be sub 1:58 if I keep this pace", etc. Around mile 11 I looked at my watch and realized that I could run about 9:30 miles and still be around 1:55 (which would be HUGE, since my prior PR was 1:59:39). Miles 11 and 12 were my only two over 9 minute miles, but they were pretty close - like 9:02 or so.

The home stretch all I could do was smile (AND RUN AS FAST AS I COULD). There was a biker yelling at one of the girls in front of me. He was shouting out the times to her "1:51:30".... "1:52"... And then yelled something along the lines of "If you kick it you could be sub 1:54". SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I WAS RIGHT BEHIND HER, COULD I DO THAT TOO?!

I saw Ryan right near the finish line. I was going to tell him that I could get sub 1:54 but didn't want to "waste" any energy trying to explain it. I just smiled and tried to book it to the finish line.

Wow, hunchback! 

They called out my name (they have a timing mat a little before the finish so they can see who is finishing), I threw up my arms and sprinted over the finish line. I looked at my watch and it said 1:53:50. I might have shed a little tear. I would have NEVER guessed I could have EVER finished with a time like that! I grabbed my water, received my medal, and went to find Ryan and Walt.

Walt doesn't like wet grass... He was mean muggin' it in this picture ;)

I don't have a picture of my Garmin for this race, which I am slightly bummed about. I thought I stopped my watch, but I guess in my excitement I stopped AND then started it, so it wasn't even close to accurate by the time I noticed. I guess I will just have to go off of the website results...


And check out my BLING - a big ol' sailboat! It even has a little charm that you could put on a bracelet or necklace, how cool is that?!

Have you ever surprised yourself with a race or run?


Katelyn Gerber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I love everything about this! Great job!

Heather @ said...

Awesome job! CONGRATS on a killer PR! Must feel AWESOME! Your outfit is too cute :)

Carrie said...

Congrats from a Sparty (hubby went to UM)!! I did the 5K and will definitely do the half next year! Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the awesome time and finishing at the front of the pack. You're having an awesome year! Keep up the hard work. You make it all look so easy! :)

Unknown said...

WOW!! Congrats Carlee on an amazing race! You really blew away your old PR that is just plain awesome! Keep up the good work, speedy!

Jennifer K. said...

Congratulations on the time, and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for giving me a running blog post to read this weekend that wasn't about the Disney Princess run!

Amy Lauren said...

Congratulations girly and I love your outfit you wore- it's so festive and spirited for Michigan (I'm not a Michigan fan as I live in the South, but I love to see people represent their teams). All your pics are great and that's so awesome they called your name out when you finished!

Amy Lauren

Erin said...

Congrats on an amazing race! :)

Julie said...

Congrats on an AWESOME PR!!!

Unknown said...

WOOHOO Carlee! You are rocking 2014. I love your race recap and your smile in every.single.picture! Ha ha, too cute. I also love your race outfits. Always so coordinated. You're awesome.

Unknown said...

WOOHOO Carlee! You are rocking 2014. I love your race recap and your smile in every.single.picture! Ha ha, too cute. I also love your race outfits. Always so coordinated. You're awesome.

Nevie said...

Carlee, I loved reading this! PRing is such an amazing feeling, especially when you're not expecting it/aiming for it! I really want to do a Women's Running Series race - I know the Nashville one would be super hilly but omg the medal is a cowboy boot with a spinning spur! Shut the front door! You make this race look really appealing too! So jealous your husband manages to take such great photos of you in motion. Congratulations!!!