Thursday, March 15, 2012

San Diego Half Marathon Review

Three days later and I still have the feelings of a great very first half marathon!

The expo was Saturday at Petco Park and we got to pick up our bibs, shirt, and swag bag.  There were quite a bit of people there, but everything ran smoothly and all the volunteers were super nice.  I also enjoyed walking around, trying samples and looking at the different vendors.  I even bought myself a Halo Headband to keep the sweat off my face and keep my hair back.  I have extreme difficulty with headbands staying on, even if they claim to be "no-slip", but this worked like a charm.  After expo-ing it up our only other plans were dinner at Souplantation because salad bar + soup + bread + pasta + dessert = happy Jen.  I was getting pretty nervous/excited, but tried to get to bed early for the big day.
Andi and I woke up at 5AM, but because the race fell on daylights savings time it was really 4AM...ugh!  We were out the door by 6AM and took our little stroll to the corral areas.  The gear check also happened to be right near our wave, so that was a bonus.  Only downfall is that the bathroom line were pretty long, but I had gone twice before I left home (more on this later...).
We started right on time.  I had my Garmin on and planned on going out a little bit faster than goal pace because I knew there was a pretty long hill around mile 9 and hills are not my strongest point.  I was feeling great and keeping pace, or a little under, until miles 8, 9, 10 aka the uphill portion.  My body started to fade a little-- I choked down a shot blok at mile 8, but couldn't handle any more than that.  I grabbed a water at about every other station and I grabbed Ultima once (at mile 6 I think).  They say to leave it all out there on the course, you know blood, sweat, tears...and let's just say I did, even a little pee (TMI?).  It happens, I literally couldn't help it and there were no bathrooms around.  Just don't start calling me Jen "peepeepants" Jones.  I was actually able to recover and pick it back up on the downhill portion to the finish, but I knew my "goal time" was slightly out of reach, but I still gave it my all.  Looking back on it, the whole race seems kind of like a blur. 

I know going into my first half, my only serious goal should have been to finish and to try my hardest.  I accomplished both of those things.  However, I also really felt I would be capable of running a sub-2 half...maybe I could have if it wasn't for a certain problem...  I know that I can!  I ended up finishing 2:02:19 (Andi got 2:01 and change, like a beast...we both really wanted that sub-2!). I guess this just means I'll have to sign up for another!

Overall: 2005/5485
Women: 802/3128 
Age Group (F 25-29): 160/632
The course itself was wonderful, starting off right next to Petco Park, running through downtown and by the harbor and into Point Loma. The hill portion happened to be in the less visually stimulating area... But once over the hill, it was into Hillcrest, past Balboa park, back into downtown, and a sweet finish inside the stadium!  For their inaugural half marathon event, I think it was run really well and it was extremely organized.  There was great volunteers and course support. 

We were welcomed by a large cheering crowd and recieved our medals.  I saw Shaun and my friend Nikki, and felt like it was all worth it! I picked up some refueling food, banana, orange, popchips, coconut water, and stole a chocolate milk for Shaun (sadly, no dairy for me and they didn't have my beloved chocolate coconut water).  The nice thing about ending at a stadium is there were plenty of restrooms to cleanup and change.  Our gear was ready as we walked up to the table...seriously, so organized!  They were also having a Celebrate San Diego event so we were treated to a free Lifehouse concert after.  The main reason I stayed though was the stadium food, because a pretzel and beer are legit refueling foods in my book.  Made it home and alternated between the floor and couch for the rest of the day whilst watching tv and movies.

My legs are finally returning to normal.  Walking up and down stairs in the lab the past two days has been not so fun.  In all, I'm totally pumped and proud of myself.  Good news is that it didn't scare me off too much and I do want to do another :)   I got a lot out of this experience and learned a lot too; for instance, I need to use the restroom right before, incorporate more hill training, and I'm capable of running faster than I think I am.  I'm not afraid to push myself or my body and it's such a rewarding experience when you push it to the limits.  This "first half marathon" has been quite the rewarding experience and it's safe to say, I got the bug!
Also, I should learn to be more photogenic in pictures! I swear I actually waved and smiled at those cameras...where are those pictures?! Ugh.  Andi on the other hand is extremely photogenic...that girl!

Looking into my next one already!  Maybe RnR San Diego in June? Or my hometown, Simi Valley half?  Hmm...decisions!

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