Sunday, March 9, 2014

San Diego Half Marathon Recap

This morning I ran the San Diego Half Marathon

I just ran a PR (personal record) Half Marathon two weekends ago {read the recap here if you haven't yet} and I am currently in the middle of my Marathon Training, so I wasn't sure how this race was going to go. Add to that the HEAT (yesterday was on the warm side and I knew today would be toasty as well - high of 85*) and HILL (around mile 9 we had to CLIMB for about 300 feet, which doesn't sound terrible, but after running 9 miles in the sun and warmth, this hill felt like it could go on forever) and I figured I would go into it running it more as a training run.

I told myself I wouldn't be upset if I didn't PR - actually I wasn't even thinking I would try for it. I figured Goal #1 would be Sub-1:55 (since I ran a 1:53 two weeks ago I thought shooting for another around the same time would be a decent goal), Goal #2 would be Sub-2:00 (I have run a few Sub-2-hour half marathons now and I thought even if the hill and heat got to me, I could still shoot for this), and Goal #3 would be to finish injury-free and with a SMILE on my face.

Ryan was less than excited to get up for the race, especially since we "lost" an hour of sleep last night (I saw on someone's Facebook yesterday that they suggested changing their clocks ahead around noon, that way you go most of the day on the new time and it isn't like you are losing sleep - which is what I did and it seemed to work well for me :)). He and Walt still managed to roll out of bed by 6am (which was really like 5am) and get me down to the race with "plenty" of time to spare. (We had a slight issue with parking - we saw some spots, but then Ry wanted to try to get "closer"... Well, that didn't work and we ended up having to detour back to the original spots about 15 minutes later... Thankfully we were early enough that it wasn't too big of a deal. We ended up parking in the original spots we saw, walking to the starting line {with a quick port-o-potty stop along the way}, and got to the corrals about 10 minutes before the race started.)

I guess this was the mascot of the water sponsor?

Ryan looking down towards the starting line

The course was AWESOME. It really took you around a lot of San Diego. The route for the half marathon begins at Petco Park under the Omni Sky Bridge, winds its way through downtown San Diego to Harbor Drive with great views of San Diego Bay, makes its way through Liberty Station and past the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), then goes up Washington Street through Mission Hills and into Hillcrest.  The last few miles head downhill adjacent to Balboa Park with a big finish on 5th Avenue, featuring a “Celebrate San Diego” Gaslamp Block Party, complete with a live jumbotron!


As per usual, I started out too fast. The first mile was around 8:15 and I told myself "YOU MUST SLOW DOWN". My right shin got a little tight (as it normally does when I am going too fast) and since my MAIN objective was to run a smart race I slowed down. I got into a groove after about mile 3 and was cruising around a 8:30 minute per mile pace. Even with Daylight Savings time starting last night (which means the race that started at 7:20am really felt like it started at 6:20am), the sun rose quickly. Thankfully we had our backs to it for a good portion of the beginning of the race, but man, did it warm up quickly. 

I was whistling at Walt to look, but it did make for a funny picture, huh?

And I'm off...

I knew I needed to save some energy for "the hill" around mile 9. Although my PR from two weeks ago had me averaging 8:41 minute mile pace, I figured I was "banking" some of that time because I knew the last few miles would be killer. As you can see from the elevation chart the course was pretty flat until mile 8... and then it was a good two miles of pretty constant incline. Thankfully I EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST! Yes, my mile 9 was around a 10 minute mile, but I didn't care. I didn't walk any of it {I was actually playing a game of reeling people in and PASSING THEM - seeing how many I could get by the top} and I kept putting one foot in front of the other. 


As we were running "the hill" I thought to myself, "If there wasn't this hill, I might have been able to PR today". Around Mile 11, when we were done climbing and starting to go back downhill to Downtown I was picking up speed. I looked at my watch and thought "Oh my goodness, if I can hit 8 or so minute miles for these last two I could get a PR". Going downhill really helped me gain some of my time back. {In hindsight, I think the hill might have HELPED me PR. I know that sounds strange, but I think I gained more time going downhill than I lost going uphill. I have a feeling if it was flat I would have kept more of a consistent pace, but wouldn't have had gravity to help me with my kick those last few miles.} Other than looking at my watch around mile 11 or so, though, I didn't really pay much attention to it. My focus wasn't getting a great time, it was racing smart, strong, and safe.

Ry took a picture of the jumbotron while he was waiting

This was pretty awesome. The SD Half Marathon logo so that folks could sign it.

Of course he had to take a picture of Walt...

I saw Ryan probably 150 yards from the finish line (he had Walt with him again, so they try to stay a bit away from the crowd, that way Walt doesn't start pulling to go see people when Ryan is trying to take pictures). I yelled at him, gave a little wave, and tried booking it into the finish. 

I threw up my hands as I crossed the finish line, thinking that I had a good time (but still not knowing what it was). This time I was SURE to stop my Garmin (during my last PR I was so excited that I stopped it and then started it again, so didn't get a shot of it afterwards). I got my medal (from an amazing military woman), grabbed a bottle of water (I was pretty parched) and finally looked at my Garmin. 

IT SAID 1:50:53. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I had just PR'ed two weeks prior by almost 6 minutes and now I had improved my personal best by close to another 3 minutes! I WAS THRILLED!

Looking back at the race, I probably could have been sub-1:50. Around mile 3 I was stopped by a fire truck having to cross the course (I hope everyone was okay wherever they were going), around mile 11 I walked through a water station (it was the only water I grabbed on the course, but by this point I NEEDED something and since I still haven't mastered running and drinking I chose to walk a few seconds rather than choke so close to the finish), and around mile 12.5 we were stopped by the trolleys {thankfully I was just getting to the trolley stop when they were passing by so it wasn't a long wait, but it is still sort of lame that they had the course go over the trolley line and still had the trolley service running}.

The official time had me at 1:50:45, which I am ECSTATIC about!! So not only did I finish with a smile on my face and no injuries to my body, but I blew my time goal OUT OF THE WATER!

As you can see from my splits, I forced myself to slow down during Mile 2, Mile 4 I started speeding back up and getting into my groove, by Mile 10 I was almost done with the hill, and by the end I was back at my cruising speed. I would say other than the hilly miles (8 & 9 going up and 11 & 12 coming down) I think I stayed pretty consistent throughout. 

PS I'm pretty stoked on the finisher shirts we got for the race. I know you probably can't tell from the picture (sorry, my iPhone is less than stellar), but the ladies ones were bright pink with a reflective SD logo. They aren't covered with sponsors and are actually a women's fit. TWO THUMBS UP! And the medal is QUITE A PIECE OF BLING if I do say so myself!


Unknown said...

Wow! You are a rockstar! Congrats Carlee!

Two Runners Travel said...

Congrats Carlee....what a fantastic race. You must be so excited!

Cyanne (RunStretchGo) said...

Congrats!!! You are a seriously speedy, and smiley, runner :)

Anna said...

Fantastic race Carlee! You are really having a great racing season so far. I think your marathon is going to be awesome!

I wish the races around here gave out medals for finishing. We only get a medal for top 3 in AG.