Sunday, November 17, 2013

Forgotten post...

Alice checks in: Several months ago (let's be honest was last freekin' MARCH), I wrote this race report for the SD Half Marathon... It was an epic race. Still one of the best half marathons I've ever run. Seriously. No complaints. Not even a one.

Still, for some reason, I never posted a race report. I seem to remember I was waiting for something...waiting for pictures...waiting for inspiration... waiting for? Oh heck, March was MONTHS ago. I have  no idea what I was waiting for.

This evening, I took a look at my sad blog and realized this report was still waiting here, so here it is. 

You know how you run some races, and everything is great EXCEPT for the gear check in..and you get squashed in a mass of humanity who are also trying to check their gear, and so you start the race on sorta a sour note and that sorta becomes the tenor of the whole run?


You get to the race fine, BUT there are way too many walkers who have crashed your corral and you no sooner start running when you can't get around a solid line of them, 6 abreast, who are strolling along having a fine time chatting about... (let's be honest, you don't give an 'eff what they are chatting about. You just want them to get out of your way), and that seems to be the theme of the entire run... you expend all your energy zigging and zagging around walkers?


You finish running a race, and the post-race area is a complete cluster-eff, and all you want to do is get your medal, and then get the heck out of there, BUT even that is difficult because the gear pickup area is mess and it takes 45 minutes to get your bag, so the race ends on sorta a sour note?


The pre and post race events are well run and organized, but you just had a crappy run because you really didn't train enough, and you probably had no business being out there, but you paid for the race, so GAWD-DAMMIT, YOU'RE GOING TO GET YOUR MONIES WORTH!, so the whole race is just sorta painful?

The San Diego Half Marathon was none of those things. In fact, it was perfect.


First of all, it was organized. From start to finish. You could tell that the race was put organized by people who actually run. (Sometimes you wonder, don't you?)

There were little things. The location was stellar. Starting a race near Petco in downtown San Diego meant that there were plenty of ways to get to the start. Lot's of roads in. Lots of roads out. Trolley options. Loads of parking (free on street. Plenty of lots)...and best of all. Because it is downtown San Diego, and near a major league ballpark, and the convention center, there are tons of services, which includes (and we all know how important this is) LARGE CONVENTION HOTELS WITH REAL RESTROOMS!
SUHWEEET-I posted this on FB and tagged Mik, Betty, & Tak in the stalls...they weren't really in there, but I thought it would be funny to show up on their FB pages... I'm a good friend.
We visited two hotel restrooms before the race. This one was at the Hilton. We walked across the most expensive (albiet cool) pedestrian bridge in the world to get to it.
Pausing for a photo. That's Petco Park in the background. Did I mention it was a gorgeous morning? Pay no attention to  Mik. She's always cold. No body fat. It's a problem.
After our various tours of the hotel restrooms, we decided to line up for the race. We settled on Corral 8 (I was slated to start in 7, Mik in 3, Betty and Tak (that's Kat backwards. It's her new hefferblog name) in 10 or 11.

Mike was particularly nervous all morning. She'd hurt her knee about three weeks prior to this race while skiing, and hadn't been able to run. She swore up and down that she was going to run slow... yeah, fat chance of that!
Finding Irene in the crowd (actually, she found us) 
Pre-race excitement! 
The crew in corral 8
Doreen, from the track club, spotted us and took this shot. 
The Omni Hotel (yes, we pee'd there) is across the street from the ballpark. The start was under the overpass.
And we were off... What a great start! Lots of room to run. No crowding. No like of walkers in front of me.

The ONLY unfortunately thing, is that my bladder finally woke up and decided it was full. You'd think two potty stops before a race would be enough, but no... not so much. ((sigh))

Anyway, I did not take care of THAT issue for a few more miles, so I ran.

I ended up thinking of this race as the sorta opposite route of every other San Diego coastal/Balboa Park run I've ever done. Instead of running around the harbor toward downtown (like we do in the AFC 1/2), we ran away from it. Instead of running toward the naval base (now liberty station) from the north (like we did in the old marathon course) we ran through it from the south. I did have flashbacks to when I was completing my one and only marathon as we ran up Barrett.

And despite having run these streets, around the harbor, the airport, more times than I can even count, the route still had some new. For example, I'd never run underneath Nimitz and into Liberty station, where we could COMPLETELY enjoy running for a bit on a dirt path (so kind on the legs). I'd never even run through Liberty station.

AND the aid stations. Sure there was water, or some kind of electrolyte beverage at every other one, but the SIGNAGE!!! Every water stop or aid station sign identified not only the mileage, but also how far it was to the NEXT water stop, aid station, restroom(!).

Like I said, this race was clearly organized by people who actually run.

Speaking of restrooms, around Mile 4, I just couldn't hold it any longer...also it was getting warm, so I stopped at a porta potty (my only porta potty use of the day!). I lost about 3 minute there...darn, but oh so worth it. I'd been running near Irene until then, but after the potty stop, I never saw her again.

Despite the potty stop, my splits for the first 9 miles were pretty good. My Garmin is set to pause when I stop, so it doesn't show the delay in the third mile for the the potty stop, but you can clearly see where I slowed.

Avg Pace

Care to guess where the hill was?

Yep, at mile 9, we took a left and ran up Washington Street. For those of you who have flown into San know how you come into the city over a hill? Yeah, to get out of downtown, you have to go up one of them. Actually, Washington isn't the worst hill to go up. It coulda been worse.

My goal was to run as much of the hill as I could and walk for less than 1/4 mile of it. I also wanted to save my legs, because the last three miles took us back down hill, into downtown San Diego, so instead of running UP 6th Avenue (memories of AFC), we ran down it.

Now I generally prefer running down a hill than running up it, but I could definitely feel that my legs were taking a pounding as I tried to cruise down the hill. In fact, those were some of my slower miles. I kept telling myself, mostly, to just stay in control. I didn't want to accidentally trip over a crack in the road and become road pizza.

At least once I got back onto 5th avenue, I could feel the crowd that had gathered along 5th avenue. Most were, no doubt, cheering for family or friends, but I always pretend they are cheering for me (don't you?)

So this is where I stopped. So perhaps I was right, I was waiting for race photos or after race photos. 

I did finish the race with a personal best (official) time of 2:17. Clearly my Garmin (below) said something a little bit different.

We ate and then danced to the post-race band, The English Beat, my favorite. Unbelievable that after running 13.1 miles, we had it in us to dance, but we did.

It was an epic day!

This is what I thought my time was, but the Garmin must have paused at the potty stop 
Irene and I rocked out to The Beat
Afterwards, I gushed at the lead singer for The Beat and Betty, Mik and I took a picture with him.
And the band gave us their set list... We were such groupies!