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Rocked the Carlsbad Half!

Monday, February 01, 2010

That is right, I rocked it! I am proud of my accomplishment and had that "nobody can hold me down" type mentality after finishing but let me back up and start from the beginning.

Kelly (Happy92003) talked me into running the Carlsbad Half Marathon a few months ago after we completed the Long Beach Half. I swear these things are addictive! I jumped at the opportunity to look forward to another race and train with my bestest sparkfriend.

Training went well and we did it on our own during the holidays. I ran two 10 mile runs in less than four days the second one being on New Years Day. THAT is what I call commitment. I really enjoyed training for this one and know it helped keep me accountable during the holiday, at least with the physical activity part. I will keep my mouth shut (haha) about the eating part.

On Saturday, January 23 Kelly and I met up with our friend (and fellow sparkie) Maria for breakfast. After breakfast, I went to the expo to pick up my race bib and look around for a bit. There were quite a few people there and I love looking at all the race gear, events, goodies, etc. I got to try the Low Cal FRS drink and I really liked it. I am not a big fan of energy drinks but found this one to be low cal, tasty and I did get a bit of an energy boost. Score on all accounts! I ended up buying a Halo visor and a Bondi-band in white. I love my black bondi-band, especially for spin class! Does an awesome job wicking the moisture away and keeping sweat outta my eyes! Love those things!

I went shopping to try and find a warmer outfit to wear. Wouldn't you know, the race I actually prepare for ahead of time backfires! I had this cute outfit all ready to go at least a month ago and then it got cold and rained. Bummer! So, I went to Marshall's, Sports Authority and Ross to come up with another warmer outfit. Not as cute as the original but it will do!

That evening I hosted "The Spark - bookclub meeting" and it went really well. I was so happy to have great attendance and even through the venue wasn't ideal, I think everyone enjoyed themselves. (If you didn't, let me know!! This needs to be fixed ASAP!) I had to jet home to prepare for an early morning and a long race!

On race morning, I got up and got ready. The fam was draggin a little bit but they managed to get it going! I got a text from Kelly stating that she just woke up and that she would meet me there instead of our original plans to meet at her house and caravan down to the race. This threw me for a loop and as I was trying to text her back as I was walking out to the car, I missed the last step and tweeked my knee. This is NOT something you want to happen on race day!!! Luckily, I was able to walk it out.

We arrived at the race and parked without a problem. A few minutes later, Kelly arrived and we hung out for a little bit at the car. We took some pics:

Shortly after that, we decided to try and make our way down to the start line:

Then we waited on the sideline for the racers to pass us so we could find our wave:

Then we took another pic:

After a few minutes, we were finally at the starting line and the announcers were hyping everyone up. I LOVE that! It was nice being surrounded by so much anticipating, commaderie and body heat!!! It was super cold, hence the big puffy white jacket and gloves! Being in the crowd made it nice and cozy.

And then we were off! Here we are passing the family, as I had the camera with me!

This is when the hard work starts. Within the first mile, you hit a nice incline. It got the blood going and I was off to a good pace. I didn't really have any expectations for the race other than to beat my time from last year. I knew this was not going to be too terribly difficult if I stayed injury free and nothing crazy happened. On the ride to the race, Ty and I had a conversation about the goal and I told him that I didn't really have much of one. We discussed my potential to beat my time from Long Beach but I explained to him that the LB course was very flat. Carlsbad was not. I couldn't decide if I wanted to push it to see if I could PR or if I wanted to have a nice, scenic and fun run. Less pressure, more comfort. Even when the race started I wasn't concrete with that.

Suddenly, around the two mile marker I decided that I was going to give this race my best shot. I noticed my pace was faster than it was for LB and I felt comfortable. I was worried about starting out too fast but figured I would just do my best and go with it. Worst case scenario is that I could slow down on the back half, if I needed to. And that is what I did, I went for it! I was averaging around a 9:50-10:15 minute per mile pace. That is over a minute faster (per mile) than my first race, just last year!! The only time I held that pace was during a 6 mile training run and I was EXHAUSTED after just 6 miles. Kinda scared myself but I let that go and let my body do its' thang!

Here is a pic from along the course:

And another one:

I can't complain! The course was simply beautiful. Nothing like a crisp beautiful cool morning to be out running with thousands of like-minded individuals. I had plenty of time during my run to reflect on my last year. Wow! There were some great memories and the sadest memory of all. My dad wouldn't be there this year to welcome me back at the finish line. Last year, when I ran this half, he was there and oh so proud. It was my first half marathon and he was so impressed with me. He was there at the beginning and at the end. This year, I would be missing that more than I can even put into words. There were many times during my run that I wanted to cry. Let me just say that crying and running are NOT compatible. LOL! I know this from experience! So, I tried to focus on the positive. I knew he would be proud of me and that is all that matters. Last year, after I finished, my knee was hurting pretty bad. My dad and I stole a few minutes for ourselves and I remember him holding my arm and my ipod and walking with me. We walked away from the group and just chatted. Precious moments. I will cherish those ones forever. I am not sure why that particular moment sticks out but it was meaningful and I wish I could have had more of those with my dad!! I was, however, lucky enough to have that one and for that I am thankful!

As a tribute to my pop and in his memory, I carried this with me in my running pants pocket:

This is my dad's wedding ring. The funny thing is that my parents haven't been married since I was 7. He hasn't worn it in over 23 years but that didn't stop me from carrying a piece of him with me. Funny how little tokens can mean a lot!

In those last few miles, I started to get tired. Around mile 11.5, I hit the wall. All I wanted to do was stop and walk. This was at the exact same place as we walked last year. I was tired but something different happened this year. I pushed on. I pushed through that wall and I didn't stop. I kept going!!! I love overcoming these challenges. I didn't even slow down my pace. I pressed on and before you knew it, I saw the finish line. I booked it on in and finished in 2:13:27 (10:11 min/mile).

That is right, I PR'D!!!! I beat my time in Long Beach by almost 6 minutes!!! (2:19:28 - 10:38 min/mile)

After the race, I met the family back at the car. I was tired but happy! I couldn't wait to share with them my success!! Here I am at the finish with my daughter:

After we all met up at the car, we drove to Ki's to eat! I had a delicious club sandwich (everything is so fresh and organic) and it hit the spot! We went home and I took a nap!! I was one happy camper and I am truly blessed to have such a great support system. Ty and Tay are there and they support me even when it isn't "fun" for them. I owe them a BIG THANK YOU!!
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