Monday, August 17, 2009

Triple Crown - Check

For those who follow on Facebook or who notice the Twitter feed on the right, you've seen that I completed the America's Finest City 1/2 Marathon yesterday morning. It was quite a day!

Mik, Betty and I met at Betty's house at 5am and D1 (Betty's oldest daughter) was THRILLED to drive us to Balboa Park.

Betty's playlist for the drive to the race?
  • Bad Girls - Donna Summer
  • Boogie Shoes - KC and the Sunshine Band
  • Brick House - The Commodores
Nothing like a little disco music to get the shoulders moving in the morning.

AFC is a point to point run, so we had to take a shuttle bus to the start. The traffic at Balboa Park at 5:15 was awful, so when we got close to the buses, we jumped out of the car and left D1 to drive home.

O-dark:30 - walking to the shuttle bus to take us to Cabrillo Monument - The race start

As if we were a perfectly-timed, well oiled, race running, machine, Alberta met us just as we were about to be counted off to get on the shuttle.

On the bus - Betty and Mik - I think they were unprepared for the photo

Me and Alberta - We posed. It's good being the one with the camera

At the start, we did the mandatory porta-potty drill. I'm happy to report that unlike the La Jolla 1/2, I got a PP w/o any remnants!

Mik and I in the PP line - Geez I look tired!

Mik hemmed her sweatpants using staples.

My skirt was packed and ready to go. I may frame this photo because I swear my ass is NOT that small! I also broke the cardnal rule of race running and wore a new running skirt - BIG MISTAKE!

All in all, we were amazed that the morning had gone so well. And we were REALLY pleased that the marine layer was holding. I had a moment of worry when I looked up and could see some glimpses of blue sky...NOOOOOO.

WTF is up with the blue sky? But you can see that it's still pretty thick in the distance. This was a VERY good thing.

And we're off...

To be honest, I never heard the starter's gun go off...I just knew that people in front of us started moving, so, of course did we.

Miles 1-5 - The downhill part.
  • My PF foot felt great. I was mostly worried about my knees. I knew I had probably not done nearly enough stretching and, as I've written previously, the first 6 miles of the race is a lot of downhill.
  • Completely lost track of Mik and Alberta in the first 200 yards.
  • Pulled at the compression shorts under the new running skirt for the first of, oh I don't know, 500 times because they were rolling up...GAH!
  • Saw Lisa for a few seconds about .5 miles. She wished me well, asked how I felt, and was off in a flash! I haven't read her report yet, but I'm sure she had a great day. The maroon shirts she and her crew were wearing looked great!
  • Betty was ahead of me for most of the first mile, then I went past her at about the first aid station just outside of the Navy Base Gate. I knew she'd pass me when we got to the downhill part because she runs downhills much faster than I do.
  • Damn if those water stations aren't slippery when wet...saw a few people almost wipe out.
  • Got to see my brother and sister in laws and my two little nephews in Point Loma. My SIL told me I looked good. I laughed and said "Oh yeah, this is the easy's all downhill here." My nephews (ages 3 and 4) looked COMPLETELY SURPRISED to see me.
  • The roads in Point Loma were freshly paved this year. Last year was a nightmare because the streets were so chewed up and potholed.
  • Got to see Irene who was manning the SDTC aid station at about mile 4... Sweet thing, she apologized for not taking pictures, but darn if those 10,000 runners weren't thirsty. I gave her a sweaty hug anyway.
  • As I predicted, by the time we got into the flat part of Point Loma, Betty caught up to me.
Miles 5-10 - the flat part
  • Once Betty caught up to me, we marveled at what a great morning it was. How nice it was that it wasn't searing heat...and laughed about how we'd probably never on those streets in Point Loma again. (Really, three AFC 1/2 marathons are enough...I've got other races to run!)
  • At about Mile 5, I stopped to slather some more Aquaphor (you know that little tube of stuff you get in every single race goody bag you've ever gotten? I am so thankful I carried some with me...of course I carried lots of shiz with me) on my inner thighs instead of tugging and pulling at the compression short which had absolutely no intention of staying over my thigh. I'm sure the sight of me rubbing what is essentially vaseline on my inner thigh worked for someone!
  • Once we got to the flat stretch, I started my run/walk strategy. I'd run for 9 minutes, then walk for a minute. For the most part, that and the lack of direct sun made the middle of the race quite tolerable.
  • Betty and I ran through the 10K in 1:10:52 - together for the third time :-). Betty told me she was going to walk a little bit, but I felt pretty good, so I kept running.
  • The last two years, miles 6 and 7 have been hell for me...It's almost 2.5 miles between water stations 4 and 5 and in the typical August heat it's just miserable, but yesterday, as we headed into Harbor Island, the overcast weather held, and for the most part, I felt I had my first Gu!
  • Saw Alberta leaving Harbor Island just as I was headed toward the OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club) rain forest. I didn't even need the mister they set up this year. I also had some of their "champagne" (which was, unfortunately, apple cider...although that was kind of nice!) that was being doled out by one of my friend's husbands (THANKS ROY!)
  • Wow...even the rental car return parking lot at Mile 8.5 was repaved and not the aligator-skin-like-torture-trail of past years! AND I got off Harbor Island and still NO SUN!
  • Unfortunatly, by about Mile 9, I could feel my foot cramping up on me a little bit and I realized that I should have clipped my toenails...but since I haven't been on a long run since, oh, April, I neglected to do this. I'm sure I'll be down at least two toenails shortly.
Look at that! and I was about 6 minutes behind the gun time. You'd think a girl could run 4 miles in 45 minutes...but you'd be wrong.

Miles 10 - 13.1 - It gets ugly here
  • I knew at about Mile 10, it was going to get a little ugly. I could just feel that I didn't have much left. In fact, I was impressed that I felt as good as I did...I mean I was tired, but I've felt way worse. The Gu I took at mile 10 gave me about a mile and a half worth of energy, but that was it.
  • SURPRISE - Walter and Turbo were waiting for me on the corner of Harbor and Ash. I wasn't expecting that!
  • About two miles earlier, I realized that I had Betty's last Gu and that she was probably going to want it before 6th Avenue, so I handed it to Walter and asked him to wait a couple minutes to give it to Betty. He's such a great guy, he did. I really wasn't expecting to see him there, but it was just what I needed at that moment. I turned around to shout "I LOVE YOU!" as I ran up Ash.
  • Every year I think that I'll have a burger at OMBAC's second aid station on Ash...but every year at Mile 11 I think, "if I eat, even a bite, of that burger now, I'll just puke" so I passed it once again.
  • The run down (I think it's) India is just so damn depressing because you know that you're going in the opposite way of the park.
  • By the time I got to the bottom of A Street, I was pretty much done. My foot was cramping. My legs were tired. I started to get a little emotional (I mean, I knew I could run a freeking mile and a half...). I thought about how far I'd come, how even a month ago, I wasn't so sure I'd even be running this race, which made me sort of weepy...
  • At the 11 mile marker, I was pretty much doing a run 2 minute/walk 2 effort that was just pissing me off. So I started running for I'll run to the end of this block, or I'll run to where the hill crests. The really frustrating thing as I started up 6th avenue, is that running up the hills, although I was running slowly, wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, but for some reason, I just couldn't keep running, and I took WAY too many walk breaks. I think this is where the lack of long run training sort of came in. I just wasn't used to running for that long. I think it was mostly just mental.
  • Funny note...observed some guy coming out of a porta-potty on 6th Avenue with his sleeping bag...WTF?
  • The 1/2 mile or so on Laurel, into Balboa Park was also pretty difficult because I just wanted to get to the corner and to the downhill part...but that 1/2 mile seemed so far...that and WTF was up with all the photographers? I mean, I know that Balboa Park is a beautiful background, but I have NO DOUBT that having run 12.5 miles I was decidedly NOT BEAUTIFUL.
  • Ahhh..the's a beautiful downhill finish... I LOVE THAT!!
Official Finish - 2:39:36

Not a PR, but not my worst 1/2 mary time either... I was actually faster than Carlsbad (where I ran with my bum hip) and only a minute slower than last year when I actually trained for the 1/2 mary...AND it's about what I thought I'd do. Of course today, I look at those first 10 miles where I averaged somewhere around 11:15 mm...and those last 3.1 miles, where I averaged around 13:30...and I get a little sad...but then I think about how incredibly little training I did for this, and what a miracle it is that I ran and finished at all.

The herd's results
  • Mik's - 2:07:39
  • Betty - 2:45:35
  • Alberta -2:22:48
I also have way more respect for stretching and strength training. I'm seeing Brett, my PT tomorrow morning. I've gotta give him a hug for that!

The really good news is that our sub-three hour finishes in the Carlsbad, La Jolla, and AFC halfs got us some Triple Crown bling!

Our green shirts, our bling, and our beers (Thanks to Betty's DH for bringing the chocolate milk and's gotta sound disgusting to anyone but a runner).

That's my crew.

We're discussing what's next. Some of us (me) are still interested in doing the California Dreaming Series (Long Beach 1/2, Surf City 1/2, & San Francisco 1/2). I've already signed up for the Las Vegas 1/2 in December and there's that bike thing that I want to start getting more serious about too...

But for today, I'll just relax a bit and be glad that I don't have a 1/2 marathon to worry about for awhile.


  1. I've been waiting for this race report! You did great, considering everything you've been trough. I think you guys lucked out with the weather being mild for this time of year. I was so happy for you and your finish time! Congratulations on the triple crown. I'll have to do it some day.

    I'm still running Las Vegas. I'll be signing up in about a week or two.

    Whether if you believe it or not, your butt IS that small. Something about all those lunges and squats???

  2. Great job!! That's quite an accomplishment with little to no half-marathon prep.

    Love the pics too. :-)

  3. Thanks for taking pictures and sharing them, along with your story. Good job on the finish!!

  4. Very awesome!! Congrats on the Triple Crown :)

    I love those little tubes of Aquaphor - definitely helps with the inner thighs!

    I might still want to get that skirt even if the compression shorts keep rolling up - anything that'll make my butt look small!

  5. Congrats! Any finish is a win in my book!

    Wish I could wear a running skirt. I tried one on once, not pretty, not pretty at all.

  6. I've been waiting for this report too. I'm glad it went as well as it did for so long in the course. That monkey powder stuff I wrote about might work for your new running skirt too. Aquaphor is great, but mostly for afterward when you're healing.

    Congratulations on finishing with so few miles beneath you leading up to this one.

  7. WTG aka! Wasn't it last year that everyone was dying in the heat and humidity? I'm glad that the weather held up for you all!

    Even though you didn't specifically train for this race, can't help but think that your cycling kept you in shape. And it's probably easier on your feet and joints!

    Since one of my running goals is to meet the herd, I should have run this one. But after remembering the weather the last couple of years, I chickened out. One of these days I *will* catch up with you somewhere on the coast....

  8. I get weepy too, but you did awesome! So glad you were still able to run this race considering the pains you were having earlier in the season! Well done!! :D

  9. Well done champ! Loved your pics and race description. Damn that crampy foot. I get them so much at night I really worry about when I start running long distances. What do you think is the best way of getting rid of them?

    Good job finishing with a pesky foot! Love your team all lined up in uniform!

  10. You did great! I thought Betty's DH brought you chocolate beer and milk...
    yes, I want a beer!

  11. Yay, how fun! Chocolate milk and Beer does not sound weird at ALL. In fact, it might just be perfect. Congrats on the triple crown, that rocks....and a bike is the perfect recovery workout;)

  12. good report.
    maybe the guy at the portapotty was sleeping on the job. heh!

  13. I just realized that I never commented on this race report. Oops. As I re-read it just now, I realized that my format for my race report is very similar. Subliminal? Could be that I am very tired this week, so who knows.

    I really enjoyed your race report. You really have come a long way and you powered through this race. WTG.

    Btw, I am planning on doing the California Dreamin' Series. I want that jacket! I really want to do Long Beach in October, but with the move, I'm not sure. I might need something like that by then.

    I definitely want to toast a mimosa with you one of these days!

  14. great race report, nice job on the race...funny about the guy in the sleeping bag...congrats on the triple crown!

  15. Great job, and a nice report to boot!

    "Ahhh..the's a beautiful downhill finish... " Funny..

  16. I love reading about you and the herd, and that you guys all run and ride together! I have some skirts with shorts that stay put and others that I refuse to wear because they just wind up bunched up in my crotch or else you spend the entire run tugging them back down over and frustrating! Great report, and congrats on finishing another half!