Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Burps, Farts, and Shiz...The La Jolla 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Yes...I know it took me a couple of days to get the actual, official, La Jolla 1/2 Marathon Race Report written, but I decided to spend the remainder of Sunday basking in the afterglow of a race run on little sleep, and the effects of several mimosas...in other words, I napped.

Oh, and I still had papers to grade... Oh yeah...THAT

So...onto the report...settle in w/a cup of coffee or sumthin' as this could take awhile. I have LOTS of commentary, and even a few pix, about the day.

Pre-Race Stuff
First, I gotta LURVE Penny, who was sending me multiple text messages the night before the race wishing me good luck...that was so sweet of you. We gotta do another race together!

I also gotta figure out a way to get some friggin SLEEP the night before a big race. I tried to go to bed early, but...well ya'all saw the posts, laundry, organization, fretting about nonsense. I was posting silly updates to the blog, and on FB all night. After I FINALLY went to bed at about 11:00 or so, I SWEAR, I woke up every hour to look at the clock. The night before a race, I live in fear that I'll oversleep and miss the start, or picking people up, or (in this case) leave people waiting for me. So I was awake at midnight, and at 1:30, 2:30, 3:34, 4:20, 4:31, 4:45...GAH!

Finally at 5am, I got out of bed, stumbled my way to the coffee pot, got dressed, made sure I had all my gear. I decided to forgo the iPod and carry the iPhone instead. Then I made sure Walter was awake because he was taking me to Betty's house.

The La Jolla 1/2 is a point to point run. We could have taken a shuttle to the start of the race (last shuttle left at 5:30am) or we could have taken a shuttle at the end of the race back to the start (I heard later the lines were ENDLESS).

We chose option 3. Betty's daughter (D1) was volunTOLD that she got to drive us up to the start of the race, then Walter met picked us up at the end...thus NO SHUTTLES (YAY!)

In truth, Betty drove and D1 slept in the back seat.

We got to the Del Mar Race Track, where the race started, in good time. I'm glad we drove directly there rather than taking the shuttle. It probably gave me at least another hour of pretend-sleep, and it was way less stressful. Alberta was texting us that she was already at the start. Thanks to the beacon of the day-glo, florescent, lime-green race shirt, she was easy to spot.

Once at the start, we stood in the porta-potty lines.

Waiting in the porta potty lines...yeah that light cloud cover? It's just lying to us.

After the porta--potty biz, we warmed and stretched up a bit. I still laugh that I run a little bit BEFORE I run a long way. Then we checked our gear and sweatshirts (great decision BTW, as the morning ended up getting rather warm). Once we revealed the florescent, day-glo, lime-green shirts, I heard an "Alice?"

It was fellow runner-blogger, Lisa from Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge! We finally got to meet in person. The lime green shirts pay off again! Lisa and I found out that we are practically neighbors (which I sorta figured from reading her blog, and knowing that she's a regular at Lake BP). We also got to talk about neighborhood schools. Her oldest is starting kindergarten at the same school where DramaGirl went and Turbo goes now...how cool is THAT?

Me and Lisa...I *heart* meeting blogger-friends! Doesn't Lisa look like she'll BQ soon...

The race started in two waves, and Lisa and her friend took off to be part of the first wave (or at least at the front of the line in the second wave). So, as the first wave, the competitive runners, was lining up, we decided to hit the porta-potty lines again, since we were in the second wave (for recreational runners and walkers), and cuz there's nothing that I LURVE more than:
  1. Running out of the porta-potty and starting a race immediately.
  2. Being the last one of 6000+ runners to use the porta-potty.
* Note on Porta-Potty etiquitte...the shiz goes IN the hole, not around the outside of it. I mean I can understand if someone is squatting and misses a little bit of the hole (yeah, you could use some TP and scoop it in, just to be polite), but to MISS THE HOLE ENTIRELY?



GAH! (and no, I didn't take a picture, although I thought about it. I did, after all, have the iPhone with me, but the lighting was bad...that and, as I later told Betty, I do draw the line at taking pictures of someone else's shiz...She was glad to know that there is a line)

The race had started, so we exited the porta potty and started running....awesome!

Part 1 - The first 5 miles
We started the race a good 11 minutes after the gun time. But this actually turned out to be a great thing because it was really not crowded at all. So many times in a large field, I feel like I spend the first mile or two just trying to jockey for position. Not this time. There was plenty of room. Alberta, Betty and I started together (speedy Mik and Elsie, in her fabulous running skirt...well...they sped off).

It was a glorious morning. Sunny yet cool, although I worried some about the sun as there was absolutely no cloud cover. The first two or three miles rolled by before I knew it.

Most of the first five miles were rolling hills...gentle ups, gentle downs, with one pretty steep climb as we exited downtown Del Mar (my comment to Alberta..."I wasn't expecting that!"), but I felt strong and was mightily entertained by the people around me, including some guy who was running in a velor tracksuit (he had to have just died going up Torrey Pines) and some woman who wanted to befriend Alberta and me and who (and I mean this in the nicest way possible...)just wouldn't shut up!

Don't get me wrong. I talk to people along the route regularly...but for the most part, these are pretty short, amiable conversations...not lengthy monologues about how many marathons her 75 year old neighbor, who started running when he was 40, has run (Answer = 103) or how many 1/2 marathons she has run, and she started at 42 (Answer = 62), or how today is a glorious day (agreed) and how we should just thank the Lord that we live in such a beautiful place (agreed), and how we need to take care to hydrate (no argument) and on, and on, and on...

As chatty-lady left us, we started to descend into the Torrey Pines State Park area...

I have one word...beautiful (and yes, I do think about how amazing it is that I live so near to such a beautiful place...). I NEVER take pictures during a race. I did on Sunday.

Alberta...who by the way is just a stud and is running with a broken toe and a knee with some torn ligaments. I have no idea how she was running, but I get it.

Yeah...I cropped the picture so that you didn't have to see my ass at this angle. I have the blog. I get to crop pix so that they show me at my finest...or at least not at my worst...but look at the view!!!

You can't see it in this picture, but this was at about the point where we could literally see two dayglo, florescent, lime-green shirts about 1/2 way up the hill...yeah, see that hill? We're going up it.

Mile 1 - 10:49:51
Mile 2 - 10:58:21
Mile 3 - 11:28:50
Mile 4 - 11:14:82
Mile 5 - 11:04:29 (includes the photo slow-down...hahahaha)

As we got to the bottom of the hill, and entered the state park there was an aid station. I took a Gu Roctaine (awesome shiz...I LOVE IT).

Part II - The hills
There's no other way to put it. That hill it a bitch...and I was the hill's bitch on Sunday. By the time we got to the hill, it was nearing 9am, and it was getting warmer. As I've written about before, in about a 1.5 miles, you go from sea level to 450ft above sea level. I'd say I went about 1/2 mile of the steepest part, then realized I could walk faster than I was running, so I power walked. I knew I still had a fair way to run, so there was no need to completely burn out my legs. I actually passed a couple of runners as I walked.

As we got close to the crest of the steepest part of the hill, Alberta and I started running again. I always think that it's funny that when the hill goes from the 15% grade to about a 4% grade, it almost feels like you're running downhill...easy, right?

It was about here, that I did a double-take as I caught sight of Yaz (I think we both did). I asked her if we were having fun yet and she chided me for not complaining more bitterly about the hill. I wish I'd taken a picture of us.

One of the things I'd read about this race from the track club site and in talking to people was about the lack of water/aid stations in the past. And I'd given some thought that morning to running with my fuel belt (even though I hate it). But in truth, there were plenty of aid stations...about every 2 miles or so. AND there was both water and Vitalyte at every station. I don't think I've ever been in another race, including the Rock and Roll Marathon, which had energy drink at every aid station...so kudos to the race organizers. There was an aide station both at the bottom of the hill, and at the top.

I'd heard from some other runners that last year a guy died at the top of the hill. I don't remember if that was true, but I do know that last year, the weekend of the La Jolla 1/2 Marathon was an amazingly hot weekend (see this link for my whining about the heat last year during a 18 mile marathon training run, which I did the day before the La Jolla 1/2 (which I didn't do)). In any event, it was smart that the event organizers took note of this and offered the correct kind of aid. The AFC 1/2 should take note as that race NEVER has enough water/aide stations and its in August and people just suffer. Running is hard enough without getting dehydrated along the way.

Speaking of hearing. I ran a good portion of the race without music...which is unusual for me. In fact, I don't think I listened to music at all until I ran up the hill. First of all, I was running with Alberta, and we were talking. Also, the race organizers for La Jolla have notices everywhere that headphones are FORBIDDEN (YIKES!).

I was certainly entertained by the burping and farting after each aid station...who needs music? What a symphony!

Mile 6 - 13:36:95
Mile 7 - 11:45:73
Mile 8 - 11:36:74
Mile 9 - 10:52.75 (Wow!)
Mile 10 - 11:55:22

Part 3 - Down, and Up and Down Again
Coming off of the Mesa at Torrey Pines, there's a right turn onto La Jolla Shores and the most rediculous downhill ever...AGain. YOu drop from about 380 ft to sea-level in 3/4 of a mile. It's crazy... Some people flew by me. In fact, this is where I lost Alberta, who, broken toe and all, just left me in her dust. I just have no ability to run fast downhill. It hurts, and to be honest, I get nervous that I'm going to fall on my face. I mean after all, I can barely navigate briefcases in my office without falling over. In fact, Mile 11, that steep 3/4 of a mile is one of my slowest miles (11:26:65).

This was the only time during the race where I noticed some soreness in my PF and Achilles...so I took it easy.

But at last, I was on level ground at La Jolla Shores. Once again, I almost wish I had taken some photos, but despite the 13+ mm uphill and the slow descent, I actually thought I could be close to my 1/2 Mary PR (2:29:48) which I got on a pretty hilly course in October at the Nike Women's 1/2. By the time I got to the La Jolla Shores, I knew I had about 2 miles to go and about 22 minutes to do it in. It'd be fast, and there was this one last, little hill, so I didn't stop to take any pix. But trust me, it was beautful.

I wound my way through La Jolla, by the Beach and Tennis Club, by some lovely man who was showering runners with the hose, one last water stop. I could see Alberta ahead of me, and I though I might be able to catch her on the last hill, which I powered up. To be honest, I couldn't believe I was running up the last hill (mean little hill at mile 12, where you go from sea level to 150ft. Most of the time, that's no big deal, but in the 12th mile, it is). But I ran it, ran past those who were walking.

Finally, I got to Prospect, made a right and thought I was going to vomit...but there's still about 3/10 of a mile to go...all downhill...all steep...all cobblestone...so I slowed again... GAH! Hate steep downhills!

Mile 11 - 11:21
Mile 12 - 11:26 (seriously...look at this. This includes the really steep downhill...al
Mile 13 - 12:31 (damn hill)
Mile 13.18 - 1:41 (look ma...very little swerving!)

I'm pretty sure that if Alberta hadn't been there already and demanded to get her medal, (she was worried that she wouldn't get one if she claimed it after the 3 hour clock time...I think that may have been oxygen debt or something like that) I may have just lay down on the ground and cried...Even though I didn't PR, I was pretty pleased with the run, how strong I felt through most of it. I could tell by the Garmin, that with the exception of the one hill up and hill down, I had run a pretty good race for me, especially considering that even a month ago, despite anything I ever wrote on this blog, or said, I secretly feared that I wouldn't be able to run at all due to the PF thing and the IT band thing.

I am a LOT of talk...

I was 7 whole minutes faster than I was when I ran (injured) at Carlsbad...it makes me wonder what kind of time I could get on a flat course.

The Herd - Official Results

Betty - 2:45:21
Elsie - 2:25:40 BTW 22 in her division...you go girl!
Mik - 2:13:03
Alberta - 2:30:46
Alice - 2:32:30
Edith - maybe she'll post her unofficial time in the 5K. She signed up the day of the race and they told her they couldn't time her...WTF is up with that? Like I said, it's a pretty low budget race.

Post run highlights and pix
  • Walter, DramaGirl and Turbo were there at the end of the race. There's almost nothing better than having my kids and DH cheering for me at the end. As I ran by Walter, he smiled at me and I shouted back, "hey, I'm still moving."
The herd...post run w/medals and still "glowing"
  • I had a moment of absolute panic at the end of the race when Turbo decided to walk back to the car ahead of everyone and we had about 15 minutes of not knowing where he was. I even walked down to the Children's Pool (where the seals are) about 1/2 mile away...yeah, I let him know I did that extra walk AFTER running a 1/2 marathon. When Walter found him at the car, he was just pleased with himself for finding it, and that he beat everyone else there...GAH! 12!
  • I need to remember to grab a banana, or orange, or bagel after I leave the racing area. This is the second or third time I've done that. After a race I can't stand the thought, if not the sight of food (bleah), but especially in the bigger races, it usually takes awhile to get to the car and get out of there, then I find myself, about a half-hour or so after a race really REALLY REALLY wanting a bagel...and kicking myself for not grabbing one
  • Had a great time at the post race Mimosa Party...poolside...with the herd (even Edith, who ran the 5K at the last minute) showed up with her two boys, which made both DramaGirl and Turbo very happy...but especially DramaGirl, if ya know what I mean)
Betty works out some kinks on the foam roller...poolside with coffee and a mimosa

Betty's hubby joined us...Yay!

Elsie and Mik...Mik decided to have one mimosa, then switched over to Guiness.

Guiness sipped out of the with the really classy-elegant acrylic cocktail glass...

So...two 1/2 marathons down, one to go for the triple crown, the America's Finest City 1/2 in August...It's always a joy to run 1/2 marathons in August.

PS...went to the track club workout tonight w/Betty and Elsie. Treated 7x 800 repeats as a recovery run...hahahahahaha. Actually, it felt great!


  1. GREAT post! I was mesmerized the whole time I was reading it. It sounds like you had a FUN time!

    I had a bunch of comments in my head as I was reading this but I forgot them all. Hmmmm... could it be the wine?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. Congratulations on an awesome race. You did great!! Those hills are killers!

  2. I actually met the girl that missed the whole entirely. Sweet girl, but she came out of the potta-potty and I walked in. AHHHH! I don't think she had any idea she had left that treasure. I decided to skip the potty stop entirely. I was dry-heaving the whole way across the starting line. So freaking wrong!

    Congrats on a great race!

  3. Great race report! You definitely noted some of the same things I did. I am glad so many of us had such a good day, despite the difficulty of the course.

    It looks like you all had a fabulous time afterward.

    So, neighbor... congrats on a great run. I'll definitely see you at AFC, if not before.

  4. Great race report and I am so jealous you get to run in such beautiful scenery.

  5. Great pics....I would love to run where you do! I was disappointed when I read the farts where from someone else...I thought for sure you had a "slip" up!
    Great job!

  6. Awesome race report as usual! And fabulous pics!

    OK wha?!? Please tell me that you didn't have to deal with someone missing the pot with a #2. That is just WRONG! But yes I agree clean the hell up after yourself. Grossness!

  7. Hi Alice

    I just found your blog - what a great post about the race! I felt like I was there. And so funny!!

    Congrats on a terrific run.

    I hear ya re porta potties (although my experience of them is more at rock festivals that running festivals) - aren't they DISGUSTING?! What is wrong with people?

    I know it's probably pretty gross, but I'd rather find a nice private tree for any liquidous release than go anywhere where there's so much as a skid mark on the side of the bowl...!! Must be the Aussie in me...

    I'm so glad you didn't take a pic of the shizzle - I would have had nightmares for surebies tonight :)

  8. Great race report! I'm jealous of the view, and the poolside mimosas. :-)

  9. Mimosa Party?!? Where was my invitation?

    Well done on the half!

  10. Great report, sister!


    and no, I didn't take a picture, although I thought about it. I did, after all, have the iPhone with me, but the lighting was bad ...

    yeah, because the last thing you wanna do is not do justice to a log of shiz because of bad lighting, there, Annie Leibowitz!

    OMFG - people are so digusting!

  11. Great job! Now, find a flat course and really smash that PR! And enjoy more poolside drinks.

  12. That hill IS the bitch!

    Congratulations on yet another race under your hydration belt! Are you planning to do the triple crown next year?

    I'm just getting caught up here, but it looks like you've been extremely busy! I hope to see you at one of the track club runs soon. :)

  13. Great report Alice! Thanks for sharing with all of us! You did great on a tough course.

  14. Awesome race report! I'm still laughing at the "symphony" comment. Too funny.

  15. Great race report! I had to read in sections because my kids kept interrupting....(the nerve!).

    I love all the photos!

    That hill sounded brutal and I am glad you got to a blogger meet up.

    Congrats on a great race.

  16. Really? Ewww. I love reading your race reports. And the pics are great!

  17. Lovin' your race reports! And... the bright green tops! A pool party with mimosas sound like the best recovery from a half marathon! Sweet!

  18. that looks like a great course to run! great way to top off the finish.

  19. Ok, the porta potty mishap grossed me out...I would've been out that door so fast! But you tell the story so well ha ha...

    Nice race - omg if I had that kind of environment to run in, I would probably never stop. Where I live it's either too cold, too hot, too windy, too dreary...your pics are always so awesome!

    I wish I had a 'herd' lol, what a fun group!

    Great race report as always!

  20. My "unofficial" time for the 5K was 26:34. 8th in my age group. I guess it's just too stressful to hand out timing chips in the morning...but not too hard to take my $35...go figure.

    Its a fun 5K though. I'd do it again (but register earlier).

  21. Wow ... amazing job and a great race report. Congratulations!!

  22. Congrats on a great race. I love all the pictures. La Jolla is so beautiful and you all look like you're having a grand time!

  23. I think you're like me and do better on tougher courses. Great race report, as usual. As a former regular of this race, I think your account of the hills both up and down is highly accurate. Glad they have more aid stations now. It's one reason I don't do AFC anymore. For what they charge, they should be able to afford more water.