Sunday, January 8, 2012

Camarillo Half-Marathon 2012

EVENT: Camarillo Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, January 8, 2012
LOCATION: Camarillo, CA
RACE BEGAN: 07:30 am
FINISH TIME: 02:02:XX??? (official says 2:03:26, but I don't believe that since the gun=chip time, technicalities, hah)

This was a free race, so although I was massively undertrained for it and not motivated to race at all (in spite of my best intentions), I couldn't pass up doing my 20th half-marathon kind of within the first week of the new year.  If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned this race before, it's because I had my doubts about how I'd do.

The last time I did this race was in 2010.  I was supposed to do the 2011 version last October, but it had been postponed until now.  When I did the race the first time, it got knocked for some pretty serious logistical issues (though I had no terrible issues in my experience) -- thus, the free entry.

"The Ukrainian" and I woke up a 4:30 am (something I haven't done in seemingly a long time!) and made the hour drive to Camarillo.  When we got there, we got in line to pick up our race packets.  Gotta love race day pickup, but not waiting in line in cold wind and dark.  They were a bit delayed in starting the pick-up, but luckily it wasn't a very long one.

We chilled in the car for about an hour before the race.  I snacked on some energy chews (to be reviewed soon) and heard the wind howling around.  Ugh.  It gave me flashbacks of the windstorm that happened on December 1st that practically blew my neighboorhood into a tree-laden warzone.  I've been traumatized by wind ever since.

Promptly at 7:30 am, the race started.  The start/finish chute was actually a lot better this year, with actual barricades around the area.  I decided to try to take it easy because of my lack of real running since my marathon of doom in November (my longest "run" since was about 6 miles).

Mile 1 - 8:39
Mile 2 - 8:38
So I was feeling pretty good in these first miles.  They were flat, and I was holding back by choosing to follow a person in a flamingo shirt who seemed to be running a conservative pace.

Mile 3 - 9:01
Mile 4 - 9:19
We made a turn around here, and this is where the race went south.  For this stretch, we were facing some significant direct headwind the entire time.  This made it really hard to hold on to my pace when wind was burning my face and such.  Running in direct headwind feels either like 1) running up a hill, or 2) running with someone pushing you back

Mile 5 - 8:57
Mile 6 - 8:51
We made another turn here, and I was thrilled that the wind now kind of just hit us on the side.  I powered through the only two climbs of the race and thought I was out of the woods/winds.

Mile 7 - 9:09
Mile 8 - 9:14
Mile 9 - 9:55
These miles were pretty horrible, as we made another turn back toward the direct headwind.  I was fighting the wind through all of these miles, but eventually, it got exhausting.  It was a constant blowing that was made worse by the fact that trucks were driving on the other side of the road, going the opposite way.  Each time they did, I almost fell from the impact of the wind + truck wind.  I gave up and starting taking some walking breaks to regain my strength.  People around me were also dropping like flies -- men, women, the athletic-looking, etc.

Mile 10 - 9:54
More wind... my nose/eyes were dripping like crazy.  Where is the water station?!  (A note to Danica: This was the only stretch I felt there should have been another one.  They actually were stocked with water and Gatorade at the other ones, thank goodness.  And I did see a portable medical station at the start/finish.)

Mile 11 - 9:13
Mile 12 - 9:25
We returned to near our starting point by this point, and now the wind was either striking me on the side, or in some rare moments, from behind!  I saw "The Ukrainian" on the other side of the road, and we high-fived each other.  Little did I know...

Mile 13 - 11:05
There was one last turnaround, back into the direct headwind.  I guess I couldn't tell when I saw "The Ukrainian" that he was fighting the wind, but as soon as I grabbed a water cup and turned, I was nearly knocked over by wind again.  Agh!  Except this time, it was even stronger... I had to pump my legs completely in order to move forward.

I saw "The Ukrainian" right near the last turn, where he said, "Turn up ahead, no more wind after this."  Thank goodness!  His encouragement gave me the strength to pass another person as I rounded out the finish.

Mile 13.24 - 2:25 (forgot to punch my Garmin until I found "The Ukrainian" at the finish, so not sure of the true time)

Finishing was nice, because since the runners were so spaced apart, people personally cheered me on at the end.  I was very happy to be done... we got in the car ASAP to get out of the wind.

Now, back last March, I did the LA Marathon, in which very heavy rain and gusts made it miserable.  This was a dry version of that, but the wind blew the entire time... not just gusts, and Camarillo doesn't have many trees of buildings (it's mostly farmland) to cut the wind.  I was worried some of the metal big street signs were gonna fall on my head because I heard them creaking.  Besides LA Marathon 2011, these were some of the worst conditions in which I have ever run.

I should note that the medal is exactly the same as last year.  In fact, neither have a date printed on them.  But again, this was free, and at least my tech tee fits.  =)  Overall, I'm okay with the fact that I ran a 2:02-ish race with my lack of training (maybe in part due to my Bar Method workouts??).  Without the strong wind cutting me down for 70% of the race, I'm pretty sure I would have had a good chance to PR.  <-- I wouldn't say this unless I really thought it was true. ;)

Well, I have another chance in two weeks.  The next race won't be as flat, but I really hope it's not nearly as windy.  I hate wind.  This race blew.


  1. From not training really, that is real impressive to say the least. Congratulations! I have never ran in real windy conditions before.

  2. Windy running sucks. I ran in the last windstorm you mentioned and worried about being smacked in the face by a palm frond. Not too mention the dry air and dust really irritated my eyes.

    Anyway, good job! If we can handle LA '11, then we can handle anything.

  3. Practically everything in our yard ended up in the pool yesterday, the winds were CRAZY in NorCal too. Congrats on your finish, super impressive with those conditions or even without. Way to go and congrats on #20, amazing!

  4. Wow! To say you were undertrained and then pull a time like that... great job :)

  5. I hateeee wind while running. Great job, though, girl!! I think you did awesome :)

  6. We went for a ride yesterday with fierce winds, and it was rough. A half-marathon into the wind sounds just brutal.