ALTERNATIVE TITLE: My First Race in Nearly 2 Years!!!
First, let’s take a short walk down memory lane if we were just getting together. The fact that I haven’t run a race in a long time is a wild fact. Before that, I would probably run a half marathon every month and at least a handful of full marathons every year. Then, some things happened in my night world as well as in our big world that changed the streak of fun racing.
I would never have imagined not running a race for that long. But, I think there are a lot of things we couldn’t have imagined in fall 2019!
A few months before the outbreak of the epidemic I broke my foot. And I was surprised I wouldn’t be able to run for up to 8 weeks. I’ve been signed up for many half marathons and full marathons – it was October and fall was the main racing season here!
Earlier that year I had to take some time off when I froze my egg (aka fertility preservation – there must be a better way to express it). I’m done with the procedure knowing I’ll have time to train for a great fall marathon. I was excited to run hard, get faster, have fun, travel to races and do hard things!
When I broke my foot, I was sad, but accepted that I should stop running for 8 weeks. During that time, I did all things to help heal my feet so I could run a spring marathon. 8 weeks seemed like forever!
Then, someone named Pandey attended the party and canceled everything. I live in Southern California, so while other states are racing like ‘Bandy, who? I don’t know what you’re talking about?!’…there haven’t been personal events going on here until the last few weeks.
And so we find ourselves here – my first race in almost two years.
How we find ourselves in a staring contest with a bald cat is another story though…
My take on the sexy mono blog above is = I haven’t run a race in a long time.
And because last year put things in a different perspective – I mostly want to get back in shape now (read: gained weight in 2020) and enjoy running sprints with friends (read: I didn’t connect with friends outside my bubble and it made me strangest).
so when KristenStuftMama I was asked if I wanted to run America’s Best City Half Marathon with her – I took the chance. It was kind of last minute and she wasn’t working much. But it was important that my first race after a lot of time was really fun.
I just signed up for Run the Dopey Challenge – even though I didn’t run a very long race!?! If you hated running a half marathon, you were in serious trouble.
And so, today’s goal was to finish the race, enjoy my friend, and not cry.
And…spoiler alert – I can happily report that I smashed that goal. bubble.
The AFC Half Marathon the night before the race
Kristen lives near San Diego, so she stayed home the night before the race. I forgot to take a picture of my flat runner, but I didn’t forget anything. In fact, when I was preparing my stuff for the race – it didn’t feel like it was that long. Which made me feel good!
Kristen is the best host and always has the best food. We made our handmade pizza to eat the night before the race and it had more toppings that Pieology has to offer.
She also has a guest room set up for my whole stay with several pets there to greet me. (Hence the hairless cat picture.)
The race is a point-to-point track and you have to take a shuttle to the starting line. This means an earlier-than-usual wake-up call leaves the last shuttle to the starting line at 5:15 AM. So, we set our alarms for 4:00 in the morning and tried not to think about the lack of sleep we were going to get.
Since we had a shuttle ride before we got to the starting line, we brought what we were going to eat before the race, coffee and water on the bus. Kristen has run this race a few times before so she knew the drill and she filled me in on all things.
Buses are usually packed but there was only one other runner on our bus! This is not the usual situation and may be due to race organizers limiting the number of runners or people not running in races after too much time??
We had to wear masks on the shuttle but they weren’t required on the course. I saw two people wearing masks at the starting line, but there wasn’t much.
We got off the shuttle and went straight to the toilet line. Ahhhhh…. Porta Botis, I associate it with running races, so just seeing one makes me a little nervous. Is this strange?
Breakfast – finished
Potty porta – finished
Time to head to the starting line!
Kristen took this picture of me and a guy dressed as…a warrior?
Before the race, Kristen told me the track is pretty flat except for one hill at the end. I also checked the race site for the height of the track. They lied.
Pro tip: Course elevation maps are often misleading because they condense 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles into a 2-inch profile.
Life tip: Your boyfriend might be telling you the truth about the hike up the track because they want you to run with them.
There is no hill in the last mile of the race.
The final miles of the uphill race.
Basically, from mile 11 to the finish line, it was up the hill and it didn’t feel even until the last quarter mile.
But it’s called “America’s Best City” for a reason – San Diego is a beautiful, fun city. So, I’m not angry about it.
The race starts at Veterans Memorial Park and is very beautiful and serene. Then you run in a residential area before running along the water. The grand finish is the above hills as you run through the city streets all the way up to the finish line.
I walked a lot of the last miles because I felt my heart rate was too high. And I think I was going faster than I would have run at that point!
I was so disappointed with my current fitness level that I had to walk a lot. But, I’m really glad I know where I stand now in terms of running and fitness.
And more than anything I need to get this first race done so I can have less anxiety about my next races! During the pandemic I didn’t run as much, gained weight and started having night terrors – and I was stressed out by all of it.
I was so happy to cross the finish line and see a couple handing out milk chocolate. The man works at Hollandia Dairy, a family owned farm. I talked to him about this for a few minutes and could go on chatting forever but he was kind of busy as more riders came in. (I spied the Real California Milk logo on the truck.)
I kept the chocolate milk until I got home…I think Diego wanted some! Sorry my friend, chocolate milk is good for runners, not for gamers.
Kristen and I ran together until mile 7. Since she hasn’t been running much lately, we agreed before the race that I could quit anytime I wanted.
Note: This is key when running a race with someone – be sure to talk about this before the race. Find out what your goal is and what your running buddy’s goal and strategy is for this race.
Running with a friend for the first time? Think …
- What are your goals for the race? (yours and theirs)
- Are you okay with the person leaving you if you don’t feel 100% that day?
- Is your running buddy okay if you want to take off while racing?
- Would you like to run together the entire race even if one of you needs to take it slower than expected?
- Leave your ego at home (or wherever it hangs out). Run your own race. Let the other person run their own race. Do your best. Enjoy!
AFC Half Marathon time: 2:03:13
Average speed: 9:24
after the race
After the race we went back to Christine to eat, drink and relax. After we got up at 4am + ran 13.1 miles, it started to wilt, so I had one of her caffeinated sparkling waters. Behind that is fluffy corn with laughing cow cheese and turkey.
General thoughts about this half marathon
Reminder, this is my nighttime blog I started years ago to document my weight loss and my first marathon training journey. At first I was terribly overweight, I ran much slower and came a long way from that. I have a perspective. But I like the kind of intense running coach — for myself more than anyone else. And these are my honest thoughts on my boot log (which you happen to read because I’m posting them online).
I’m much slower than I’d like, slower than I should be right now. I’m not happy with the ending time. I can do better than this. These results were not due to a hot day or a bad day. It reflects my current fitness level and weight gain. I need to work.
I wish I could start training earlier, but I registered for half a month in June and it got cancelled. Every race I thought about doing in the last year has been canceled or turned into a virtual race. I wasn’t really sure until the day before this race if it was going to happen! California continues to take steps forward and backward to return to a post-Covid world.
This race is actually a personal event that makes me feel very hopeful though! And this was the reality check I needed to get it all together.
Also, a foot injury scared me and the constant aches made me so much overtime last summer. I posted about it on Instagram (RunEatRepeat) and a few of you chimed in on that after breaking a bone I felt random, intermittent, intermittent pains as well.
I guess it was just my body working on some stuff? But I started on ‘baby’, aka my other side and messed up my running gait – that started hurting my knee!?!? This is something I work on with strength and conditioning exercises.
And I don’t think we talked about this, but I did an orthopedic exam because my doctor thought it was weird how it happened. It doesn’t look like a running injury and it wasn’t a collision or an accident that I can definitely point out. It turns out that I suffer from a loss of bone density in multiple areas of my body.
This stresses me out! Stress adds to stress fractures. And stress fractures lead to crying. And crying leads to.. um dryness?
My point is – there are several reasons why I’m going slower and gaining weight. Some of them were out of my control, but these are not the ones I should focus on (or use as excuses). There are many things I can control – and I must work on them to the best of my ability.
This is where we are today… Onwards and onwards! (<- Which podcast is this from?)
Now I have many more races to come this year and idiot challenge I just decided to do!!
More on that then!
Keep working with these:
If you are in the SoCal area and looking for a personal race – Surf City Half Marathon Soon (date changed for 2021). Save 10% with discount code: MONICA10