Monday, May 18, 2015

Pixie Dust Challenge Weekend - Part 3: Tink Half Marathon

And now it's time for my final blog about all the fun I had at the Pixie Dust Challenge. Who's tired of all the pics? Sorry, there's going to be a few more!

I wasn't planning on racing the Tink Half either. Mostly. I did briefly think about trying for sub 2 again since I JUST missed it at the OC Half the week before. I even talked to my coach Justin about it. But he talked some sense into me. So I wasn't too worried about race prep but I did want to eat before so I would have energy and have fun. This time, since I was home, I had to get up at 2:30.

2:30 am is very early but I got up, ate, and got ready to be out the door by 3:30. I had all my costume packed in a bag hanging on the doorknob so I wouldn't forget it. I'd forgotten my wings for the LA Rock & Roll Half and didn't want that to happen again. I made it down to Disneyland just after 4 and then put my costume on. There is a lot of pinning of tutus and wings so they don't bounce too much or fall off. Who'd have thought I'd have a problem keeping a tutu on my hips? Ha!

After I was ready, I went down to use the rest room and there was already a long line. By the time that was done and I'd dropped off my drop bag it was getting close. So I ran to the corrals to get in corral A (they have a cut off time plus I wanted to see all the fun starting ceremony again).

I made it into the corral and found myself right by the 2 hour pacer. So even though I wasn't supposed to be going for 2 hours, I decided to stay close to her in the corral. Then the festivities started:

And we were off and running! I actually did stick with the 2 hour pacer for the first few miles but once I saw Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, I let 2 Hours go like it was a hot potato!


I'd missed them during the 10K and no way was I missing them again! Tink wasn't on the course on Saturday, just at the finish, so I also made sure to get a pic with her since that was who I dressed as for Sunday. My tank says "I'm With The Fairies":

And then I auditioned to be a Storm Trooper:

And then saw these quacky characters:

I didn't stop as many times on Sunday since I'd already had my pic taken with all the other fairies. So my splits were actually faster on Sunday then Saturday with my trying to beat others to the photo stops. I did have to wait a bit more on Sunday but still not to bad. 2 or 3 people at the most. I love being in corral A! Being speedy pays off! But once we left the parks, I just ran easy. Still, I was happy when I got to the finish, especially since I got to high five Mickey!

Look! A finish pic where I don't look like I'm dying! LOL!

Then I got my medal for the half and then the medal for Pixie Dust Challenge. I had put my medal from the 10K in my drop bag so I would have all 3:

That's a lot of bling! And heavy! Here are the close-ups of the half and challenge medals:


Love the spinner Tink Half medal! And the challenge medal is pretty cool too.

One of the great things about the day was that my mom came to cheer me on. I think she loves runDisney races almost as much as I do because of the costumes.

My mom and I watched the award ceremony and listened to the band for a while but then we left to go meet my grandpa for brunch.

So that's the end of my weekend of fun. It was really a lot of fun and I really had fun dressing up. Running with wings for 13 miles wasn't annoying at all. I think the trick I learned about pinning them to the shoulders of my tank really helped. I get to do it all again for the Disneyland 10th Anniversary in September! I'm doing the Dumbo Double Dare! Woo!

Thanks for reading!

Pixie Dust Challenge Weekend - Part 2: Tink 10K

In my last post, I blogged about the all the fun I had at the expo, California Adventure, and Disneyland. Today's post is all about the Tink 10K.

The Tink 10K is the first race in the Pixie Dust Challenge and it is run through both parks. I had gotten a hotel room for Friday night so I could stay late at the parks and not have to get up so early for the Tink 10K. Since the race was "only" a 10K and I wasn't planning to race it, I didn't plan to eat before it. My hotel was less than 5 minutes from the start so I was able to sleep in until 4:15.

I woke up and got ready and then looked in the mirror.

And saw A LOT of pink! Which was appropriate, I guess, since I was running as Rosetta for the Tink 10K. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Raw Threads gear? So cute and so perfect for Disney races!

Anyway, after I got ready, I headed over to the race start. Yay for being in corral A! It meant I was right up at the start line and got to see all of the start festivities.

runDisney races are very well organized so we started right on time (5:30 am). I started out fast so I could get inside the parks as quickly as possible. Being in corral A meant the course wasn't too crowded and when I got to the photo opportunities, I didn't have to wait in any lines which totally rocked! All the runDisney races I've done before had long lines by the time I got to the characters so never stopped to take pics, mostly because I was trying to hit a certain time. This time, my only goal was to take pics and have fun. And boy did I!

With Alice and the Mad Hatter (my fave pic of the day):

With Rosetta, my twin:

We totally, look the same, right? ;) Close enough. Here I am with Vidia and Silvermist:

And with Iridessa and at the Castle and California Screamin':

I also stopped and took a few pics of parks. Like It's A Small World:

And Cars Land:

But I did actually do a little running. And despite stopping 9 times to take pics, I managed to finish in 1:01:29 and got my medal:

It's has 5 of the Pixie Hollow fairies on it. (5 fairies, 10 wings for the 10K).
Pretty cool, huh?

So the first part of the Pixie Dust Challenge was done. After the Tink 10K, I stopped for breakfast...in my costume. But I wasn't the only one in there in costume and the restaurant people didn't bat an eye so they must be used to it! Then I went back to the hotel and showered and then headed home. I had to get ready for the Tink Half!

Thanks for reading part 2. Check back soon for part 3!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pixie Dust Challenge Weekend - Part 1: 46 going on 6!

Last weekend, I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at Disneyland. I ran the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. But first, I had a little fun...

May is my birthday month (May 19th!) and I decided to buy myself a So Cal pass for Disneyland/California Adventure for my birthday! I took last Friday off to go to the Tink Expo and then spent the rest of the day at the parks.

The Expo opened at 10 and I got to the parks around 9:30, wandered thru Downtown Disney (bought a hat), and then hit the expo right at 10. I picked up my bib for the Challenge and had my picture taken (so they can verify it was you who completed the challenge) and then headed up to the expo.

I was planning to be a fairy for both races and had the tutus and the capris I was going to wear. I had also brought tops but knew that the Raw Threads booth was there and hoped to pick up some new tanks. I found some cute tanks, some sparkly arm sleeves, and a Pixie Dust Challenge magnet.

(You'll have to wait for the next posts to see the others!) Then I got my pic taken with my wings (and my new hat):

And then I headed out. That may have been the shortest time I've ever spent in an expo but I wanted to get to the fun at the parks!

I went to California Adventure first because I have never been there. Well, I've run through it at the Disneyland, Avengers, and Star Wars Halfs but I have never actually been there to ride/see stuff. It was a lot of fun! I LOVED California Screamin' (rode it twice!) and the Tower of Terror! SO. MUCH. FUN! Thank goodness I survived cancer to get to ride them!


I also met a couple cool people while I was there.

And had a (huge!) corn dog for lunch:

I'd seen Corn Dog Castle every time I ran thru California Adventure and was totally craving one! I had it just before I went on California Screamin' for the second time. Luckily, there were no mishaps. ;) I wandered around a bit more and saw some shows and then left at 4 to check into my hotel.

Next up was Disneyland! Hi Walt! Hi Mickey!

I've been to Disneyland many, many times so decided to do some shopping and eat dinner and then watch the parade:



We don't often see the parade because we'd rather be riding rides but I was in a parade kind of mood. It was a fun parade. However, I HAD to ride my favorite ride - Space Mountain! The wait was about an hour but totally worth it.

After Space Mountain, I ran back to California Adventure to watch World of Color (very cool!) and then headed to the hotel. I had a race to get ready for in the morning!

So day one of my Pixie Dust Challenge was over and it was a lot of fun. I think if you go to the parks expecting the lines and the people and just relax and have fun, it's not bad at all. I love Disneyland! I always have fun there and I'm excited that I'll get to go back many times in the next year to celebrate the 60th Anniversary! Woo!

I hope you'll check back for parts 2 and 3! Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

OC Half Marathon Race Recap

I ran the OC Half Marathon on May 4, 2015. I'm a little late with the recap but I wanted to do one because this was a good race for me.

Going in, my goal was sub 2 hours. I had run 2:06:28 at Surf City and I hadn't tapered for that. With the training I'd done and the good temps predicted, I felt like I could do it.

PRE-RACE
I drove down to the expo on Saturday and picked up my bib and shirt. I had a bit of a panic attach because I couldn't find my confirmation email for registration and then I couldn't find my name in the bib list! I remembered that I had signed up for it at the Surf City Half and filled out a paper form. Well, they had entered my name wrong - Lisa Gonazales! Doh! So I picked up the bib for Lisa Gonazales and then went to Solutions and they fixed my name in the database. Whew.

I was staying in one of the host hotels so drove over there and checked in. The room wasn't quite ready so I went and got a sandwich for dinner and some goodies and then went back to the room. The room was really nice and they had a goodie bag of snacks and water waiting for me. 2 actually, because my friend Sue was supposed to be staying with me but she had to miss out because of an injury. :(

I slept pretty well that night and woke up at 3:30. I ate and then got ready and headed down to the lobby to wait for the shuttle to the start. It was supposed to pick us up at 5:05 so I made sure to get down there by 4:50 so I wouldn't miss it. But 5:05 came and went and no shuttle. :( Then 5:15 came and went and they told us the bus was missing and they couldn't get a hold of the driver! Aaahhh! Finally, one of the shuttle people pulled up in an SUV and took 6 of us to the start. I felt bad for those left behind but I made sure I got in. He couldn't drop us off in the shuttle zone though so we had to walk a little extra.

With the wait and the traffic to the start line, we got there too late for me to use the port-a-potties. And I really needed to go! There was also no time for a warm up as the corrals were filling up. I actually didn't know what corral I was supposed to be in but they didn't have any security on them so I looked for the 2 hour pacer and got in that corral. My intent was to hang with the 2 hour pacers until mile 10 and then see if I could pick it up.

Finally, it was go time. And I was ready!

THE RACE
1...2...3...Go! We were off.

The start was a little crowded but I was able to keep the pacers in my sights. After a while, it felt like we had more breathing room and I settled in with them. The first mile was 9:04 so right in the range I was looking for. I had decided to use the pace group because one of my biggest problems is that I go out too fast and I was hoping they would keep me in line. It definitely worked for the first mile. But then I felt like they were going to fast. The splits for miles 2 & 3 were 8:44 & 8:50. I knew they wanted a little cushion but I also didn't want to blow up. I decided to back off after mile 3 and let them go. I also slowed it down to the 9:05 range for the next 3 miles. I don't know if that was the right decision or not, but I felt like it was best for me.

I had a gel at 4.5 miles and stayed on top of my hydration. I was feeling pretty good. We had a hill in mile 7 and the course narrowed at the top of the hill. I slowed a lot on the hill and then couldn't seem to get back on pace so the next 3-4 miles were slower than I'd hoped. I almost gave up on 2 hours at that point and just cruising in at a 9:30/9:45 pace but gave myself a kick in the butt! Just try!

I did pretty good for the last 3. There was one last hill in mile 11-12 and then after that it was flat to the finish so I ran as hard as I could. The last mile was a balancing act of running hard but also fighting off calf cramps. Then finally there was the finish line and I was done!

2:00:14!

Woo!

I'll admit I was a tiny bit disappointed that I missed sub 2 by 15 seconds but I was pretty proud to hit that time and know that I gave it everything I had. I got my medal...
and immediately looked for a place to sit down because both calves started cramping! And the right leg...the front & back of the calf AND my foot were cramping. Yeah, that's not fun at all! But I sat there and ate pretzels and drank water and was finally able to get up and walk around.

The pic on the right of me coming in to the finish cracks me up but also reminds me that I ran as hard as I could.

I feel like I ran this race smart. I'm sure there are a couple of things I could have done better but my garmin finished at 13.19 so I did pretty good on the tangents. Food/drink was right on target. Maybe I just need more hill work so my legs can recover quicker after a hill? I don't know. But now I am itching to go sub 2! Here's the official splits:
Definitely from 6.2 to mile 10 could have used some improvement but I am proud of that last 5K. :)

Oh yeah, and I celebrated after with a cheeseburger. Yum!

I'm not sure when I'll have another opportunity to try for sub 2. My next scheduled half is the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. I'm not sure that's the place/race to do it. We'll see. I may have to sign up for another one between now and then!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Snoopy Coaster Run 10K Recap

On Sunday, I ran one of my favorite races – The Snoopy Coaster Run 10K at Knotts Berry Farm. I love this race because I LOVE Snoopy and the medal, shirts, and bib have Snoopy on them! Woo!

The last time I ran this race was in 2013 and I wasn’t in speedy shape. It was in that period where I was so tired and thought I was overtrained but later found out it was because of ovarian cancer. I wanted this race to be…not a revenge race because I’m not giving cancer that power over me…but a redemption race. I have done 11 10Ks now but had only raced them twice before. I mean really, really raced. I felt good and strong going into this and was hoping to lower my PR I’d set at the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 10K back in December. This course was flat but curvy and with a few u-turns in it but I felt like I could run well here.
As you can see, we get to run through the park for the first part but then take to the streets for the second. Which works well for me because I can focus more in the second half!

The race was supposed to start at 8 but we received an email a few days before saying it was moved to 7. Woo! Perfect! We also received our bib numbers and corral assignments. I was bib 612 and I was in corral 1. A perfect PR Storm was brewing.

 Isn't it cute! And it's green, my favorite color! I'm telling you the stars were aligning for a really good race.

Even though the time had changed, I had no trouble getting up at 4 on Sunday. I ate breakfast, got ready, and then drove down to Knotts Berry Farm. I got there just before 6 and got my bib and chip and went back to the car to get ready. I wanted to do a warm-up so I ran for 2 miles around the parking lot. I also had a gel 15 minutes before the start. Then I got into my corral to wait.

Before you know it, it was 7 and they were doing the pre-race activities and then it was go time! One of the cowboys from Knotts started us off with his shotgun! We were off! I think I ran pretty smart from the beginning. I tried not to look at my Garmin but did glance at it when we hit the 2 mile marker. I saw that it said sub 16 min on my watch and was like "Uh, oh". Maybe I shouldn't have looked at all because not soon after that, I started getting a stitch in my right side so I backed off a little to try and work it out. This mile was my slowest, just under 9 minutes. I think maybe I psyched myself out a little.

Once we hit 3 miles though, I picked it up again. I settled into the pace I'd planned to run and tried to keep 2 guys running at similar pace in my sights. Those miles were pretty uneventful. We passed the 4 mile marker and then the 5. Just as I passed the 5 mile marker, I reset the lap on my Garmin so I would know how much exactly was left. I looked at the time that had elapsed and started calculating my finish time in my head. I was surprised to figure out that I might make it around 52 minutes. I was hoping for under 52. I did not have the extra gear I'd hoped for at the end though. And I didn't take into account my garmin being off because I hit 6 miles, and then .21 miles under 52 but I still wasn't done!

But then there was the last turn to the finish! I saw the clock and knew I had finished just after 52 and was pretty excited. I just needed to see the results to see what my official time would be.

I got my super cute medal:
 
And then my boysenberry pie! Which is so yummy and perfect for a post-race snack (along with the chocolate milk) while I waited for the results.
 
And then the results were posted: 52:09!!!

Woo!!! My old PR was 54:54 so that was a huge PR for me and better than I'd hoped for. I was hoping to be in the 53 min range so I was really excited and happy. Can you tell?


So, I am very happy with this race. I love that for the 10K, I set a real PR and not just a post-cancer PR. It’s the only race distance I can say that about. For now. :) I hope there will be more to come!

Of course, in thinking about the race, I’m sure there is something I could have done better.
  • I probably did go too fast in the first 2 miles and that cost me later.
  • I think that I went slower than I needed to once I started using my Garmin to keep me on pace. I WAS running hard but I finished thinking I had more in me.
  • I think that I just don’t know what it should feel/hurt like for a 10K so the more I race them, the better I will get at gauging how hard to race it.
  • If only I had found 10 seconds somewhere! Just kidding...mostly. ;)
All in all, I think this was a fantastic race for me. I set a PR and learned some things about racing a 10K that I can use next time.

Thanks reading!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cummins Falls Half Marathon Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Cummins Falls Half Marathon in Cookeville, Tennessee. It was my 33rd Half Marathon and one of the most beautiful… and cold races I’ve done!

I hadn’t really planned to run this race but my friend, Dallas Smith (RIF #79) is on the committee and he encouraged me to run it. I hadn’t seen Dallas in a while and knew I would get to see many other TN peeps so I decided to do it even though it would put a kink in my LA Marathon training plans.

I’m really glad I did it because it was one of the craziest, most fun adventures I’ve had. And I feel pretty proud of myself for running it too.

PRE-RACE
I flew to Nashville on Friday morning. I was worried that the storm heading for the area would delay or cancel flights but both of my flights were on time and I had no problems. Once we landed, I went outside to wait for my friend Leanne (RIF #45)who was picking me up…and promptly froze my butt off! It was 26 degrees. And snowing. Snowing! I was thankful that Leanne was picking me up because I would have been really nervous about driving.

Leanne picked me up and we drove over to packet pick up and got our bibs, goodie bags, and shirts. Dallas was there so I got to say Hi and meet a few other people. We then headed over to Leanne’s to hang out til dinner. We met Dallas and the others at Mama Rosas at 6. I got to meet a few other RIFers there including Dallas’s daughter Jill (RIF #356) and Charlie Taylor (RIF #353).

Dinner was fun and filled me up and we headed back to Leanne’s to relax and get ready for the race. And by get ready for the race I mean not freak out! Holy moly! The weather was insane. The forecast talked about freezing rain and ice and this So Cal girl was really, really nervous. I had never run on ice before and I wasn’t sure I could do it for 13.1 miles. I’d brought some Goathead Gear screws to put in my shoes and I put some in my shoes and Leanne’s while we watched tv. Then we saw a post on the Cummins Falls race page about the bridge…
Photo by Cummins Falls Marathon
And I thought, oh crap, I’m going to fall in! It would be just my luck! (The bridge was washed out in a flood a few years back so they put up this temporary bridge so we could run a loop course.)

Because of the weather, they also posted that the race would be delayed an hour so it would start at 9 instead of 8. I was thankful because it meant I could sleep in extra and get up at 6 (4 my time) instead of 5. I set my alarm and went to sleep and actually slept pretty well. Too well! Because I slept til 6:30! Thank goodness Leanne knocked on the door to wake me up because I’d set my alarm for Sunday, not Saturday. Oops! I ate breakfast and got ready and then Leanne and I walked over to her dad’s so he could take us in his big truck. We were both thankful that we didn’t have to worry about driving and sliding on ice or getting stuck.

We made it to the race site in plenty of time and headed over to the heated tent. We met a few more RIFers in there Leslie (RIF #417), Kerri (RIF #407), and Susan (RIF #368). And then we also found RIFers that I already knew Dallas, Charlie, Heather (RIF #44), Donna (RIF #310) and Whitney (RIF #37). Sadly, some of my RIF peeps did not make it because the weather was crazy and the roads were a mess. Boo!


They ended up delaying the race until 10 but I was okay with that because of the warm tent. They also offered us fruit and Clif Bloks while we waited. And did I mention there were heaters? But alas, it was finally time to start. The RD led us out to the start line and it was go time!

THE RACE
My strategy for the race was “don’t die, don’t break anything”. I had originally hoped to finally hit 2:05 here but when I saw it was hilly and going to be icy/snowy, I decided to just have fun and enjoy the run. So I was nervous at the start but not too much. I wanted to get going so I could see if I could actually do it.

They counted us down and one of the rangers in a Revolutionary War costume fired off a musket to signal the start of the race. We were off!

It actually wasn’t too bad to run. You could feel your feet slipping slightly almost like running on sand. I took it really easy in the beginning, especially on the downhills so I wouldn’t slip. It was really pretty so I stopped to take a few photos in the first few miles. I tried to take some while running but those did not come out. I really need to practice that!

Just after mile 4, we got to the bridge. I was with a big group of people and I let most of them go first so there would be less movement on the bridge. They had a rope up so it was actually pretty easy to cross and felt stable. After the bridge, we had a big hill to climb. I tried running the hill but it was so tiring. It was a not traveled road so there weren't any tire grooves to run in and you slid a little or sank a little depending on what footing you chose. I mostly chose the snowy part so felt like I was working twice as hard to get up the hill. After that hill, I was thinking that if there were more hills like this, I would be lucky to make it under 3 hours!

Luckily, that was the hardest/biggest hill and at the top we were back on main roads. The roads were a little better on the main stretch and I was able to stretch my legs out. I even had a 9 min mile in there. I didn’t too bad on the hills either. I knew there were some at the end and thought they would be worse than the mile 5 hill but they were more rolling and I only had to walk one tiny part of a hill that was steep and icey. I got a brief bit of encouragement at this point when I looked up and saw a Run It Fast shirt coming towards me. I thought it was a hallucination but then realized it was David Pharr (RIF #185) who’d missed the start of the race because of road closures and was running back along the course too encourage runners. Thank you David!

It had rained pretty much the entire time and there were times when it stung a little so not sure if was turning to sleet. The worst part was that the tire grooves we were running in filled with water so you were up to your ankles in freezing water. I kept trying to decide which was the lesser of the two evils - frozen feet or slower times from running on snow. I mostly picked frozen feet.

I definitely feel like I ran the first half of the race too cautiously. I think by the time I got to the top of the mile 5 hill, I had more confidence and that helped and it only got better after that. I hadn’t seen anyone behind me while going up that hill and thought I might be last. I decided to start fishing for runners to get me to be more aggressive. From mile 6 to the end, I passed 11 runners. Once I passed one runner, I’d set my sights on the next and try to reel them in. I thought I might not catch that last runner I could see but passed him with one mile to go.

I was so excited to be almost done. My feet and fingers were numb and I was hungry! LOL. Anyway, the only time I really slipped was in the last mile because I wasn’t paying attention in my excitement. Thankfully, I didn’t fall and was able to catch myself. Then I turned into the park and could hear the announcer and the music and ran as hard as I could over the ice to finish.

I’d done it! 2:40 but I’d done it! Woo!

POST-RACE
Leanne & Whitney (thank you Whitney for the finish photos!) were there cheering me at the finish, bless their souls. After I caught my breath, we walked over to the tent and I got my medal and then went back to the truck to get my clothes and change. Ha! Trying to change out of wet clothes with numb fingers is HARD! LOL. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. I was giving myself more encouragement in that bathroom than I had on the course. There was another runner in the stall next to me going through the same thing and we were laughing. But finally, I got changed into dry, warm clothes and headed back to the tent.

And surprise! When I got back, Leanne and Whitney met me and they told me I was 1st in my age group and they had my age group medal! I was like “For real?” Woo!

Isn’t it pretty? :)

I basked in the glow of this...while basking in the glow of a heat lamp! And Leanne was kind enough to get me a bowl of chili. It's funny the things you think about when you are running and during this race I was dreaming of a big bowl of soup. Usually, it's burritos or pancakes. THAT'S how cold I was! The chili was great but it was cold and we left soon after.

When we got back to Leanne's, she made us hot chocolate (another thing I'd been thinking about on the course and actually wondering if any of the aid stations had it) and tried to thaw out. Then later that evening, we went out to dinner with her husband for some good Southern food (bb1 pork, beans, and hush puppies!) and then ice cream! It is NEVER too cold for ice cream!

The next day, I was lucky again that both my flights got out and relatively on time. My quick adventure to TN was over but wow, was it packed with some fun memories.

FINAL THOUGHTS
So...I was 1st in my Age Group (there were 3 of us), 4th out of 14 women, and 16th out of 34 brave runners who battled and won the Icepocalypse Cummins Falls Half Marathon! I am so glad I got it together the last half and got over my fear of falling.

I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to the organizers, volunteers, and rangers who were totally AWESOME during this. I give them very high marks for being out there in the rain and cold for us. I was not worried at all while on the course because there were so many volunteers & rangers out. Despite the conditions, everyone was really cheery and I had a lot of fun. There was one moment at the 10K turn around where I thought about calling it and dropping to the 10K, mostly because I was nervous. I am SO glad I didn't.

This was truly epic.

Thank you so much to Leanne for hosting me and driving me around! I probably would have stayed at the airport if not for her. I also want to thank Dallas for providing me with one heck of a story to tell my friends. :)

And thank YOU for reading! I know it was long. Sorry about that. :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Surf City Half Marathon Recap

I ran Surf City Half Marathon, my 32nd half marathon, last Sunday.

It was the second time I'd run this race and this time went WAY better than the last time.

I wasn't planning to run it. I didn't sign up for it until last Tuesday. I had to get the okay from my coach since it wasn't on the schedule. He said okay. I had 16 miles planned for Sunday so the plan was to warm up for 2 miles, run the half, and then run a 1 mile cool down. We (my coach and I) knew that I might not run it as fast as Star Wars Half because I hadn't tapered but it would be fun to see how it went. I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence in just the 2 short weeks since I ran Star Wars and I was secretly hoping to beat that time.

PRE-RACE
On Saturday morning, I ran 5 miles per my scheduled. Justin had had a hard workout on the schedule but switched it to a 5 mile with the middle mile being a 30 sec hard/90 sec easy mile. It went well and I felt good.

That capped off a 53 mile week for me including one day of run commuting (12 miles round trip) and 201 miles for the month of January! It was so awesome to see the 200 number again. Finally.

After the run, I drove down to the expo. I didn't spend a lot of time there. Just picked up my bib and shirt. And signed up for the OC Half while I was there. I also visited with Sue a Run It Faster for a little bit. I also bought another pair of Hokas. Oops. Oh well. You can't take it with you so might as well buy fun stuff. :)

I had a good dinner that night and then slept really well. I did have a goal for the race but I was not really nervous because I knew that really whatever I did would be fine...as long as I beat last year's time (2:39), that is.

I woke up at 4:30, ate, got ready and drove down to the race. I decided to park at one of the satellite parking lots and then take a shuttle to the race. I had hoped to see the start of the marathon but I had to wait for the next shuttle so I was too late. I had plenty of time to do a 2 mile warm up though. Which I did along the beach and it was a beautiful morning.
I had a gel and then got into what I hoped was the right corral (I signed up late so didn't get assigned a corral based on time). So...yeah, I was secretly hoping to run a sub 2:05 on Sunday. :) I felt pretty confident I could do it. I looked for the 2:05 pacer but didn't see any pacer signs in my corral. Darn. I was on my own.

THE RACE
The half marathon started at 7:45 with waves going every couple of minutes. I managed to start my watch on time so I was able to watch my pace pretty closely. I knew I needed a 9:33 pace and pretty much kept that up throughout. The first mile was slightly faster than it should have been but not too much. The course is mostly out and back along Pacific Coast Highway with a detour for a couple of miles taking us inland. PCH is really flat with tiny rollers but the inland portion has a nice little hill to give you a break from the flat. I kept my pace even through there and did really well.

I had planned to take 2 gels during the race. I'm not sure if I really needed 2 but wanted to practice for the LA Marathon where I plan to take gels every 4.5 miles. So at 4.5 miles I had a gel and that went well. I had my next gel at mile 9 and that went down pretty well too. I was a little worried because it was sunny and warm and I was dripping sweat by mile 5 but I seemed to be doing okay. I have not tolerated direct sun very well since cancer. I seem to get hot right away and sweat a ton. It's so gross. :( Buy anyway...I didn't feel like I was going past the point of no return so didn't hold back. I think I may have looked a little rough though because somewhere in mile 10, a Race Guard ran by me and gave me a long look. LOL. I tried to smile and look like I wasn't dying. :)

So, I would say the first 10 miles went according to plan. But I lost steam in the last 3 miles. :( I was running about a 10 min pace and couldn't speed up for the life of me. On the plus side, I wasn't slowing down any more than that either and I knew if I kept it up, I could beat my Star Wars time. I sure was happy to see the finish line though!

2:06:28! I'd shaved a minute off my time from Star Wars! Woo!

I got my medal (I love the surfboard medals from this race)...
And then took a moment to not be sick. I think that's when the heat caught up with me and it was close. I found some shade and had some of the peaches they handed out and drank water and felt better. Then I headed out to do my cool down and get back on the shuttle to get back to my car. Half #32 was done!

POST RACE RAMBLINGS
I'm happy with how this race went. With not tapering and signing up at the last minute, I think I did pretty well. I've dropped my half time by almost 30 minutes since the Leading Ladies Half last August. I feel like I ran it smart and pretty even but for sure I was feeling the heat and that caught up with me in the end. If only the race had started earlier! 7:45 is too late! One other good thing is that I think I recovered from it really well too because I am finishing up another 50 mile week this week and didn't have any real soreness afterward except for a little bit of grumpiness with my left ITB.

So race 1 of 3 in the Beach Cities Challenge is done! Next will be the OC Half in May and then the Long Beach Marathon in October.

My next race is the Cummins Falls Half  in Tennessee in 2 weeks and I plan to try and go sub 2:05 again there. It has a hill...a real hill...so it will be tough but I hope think I can do it. First I have to get through this weekend's 20 miler!

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!