Sunday, January 22, 2012

Carlsbad Half-Marathon 2012

EVENT: Carlsbad Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, January 22, 2012
LOCATION: Carlsbad, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:30 am
FINISH TIME: 01:56:53

I signed up for this race last April (click here for my commentary on that), vowing that I would train hard over the holidays to bolster my performance.

Err, fat chance.

I feel like the crappiest, laziest, runner on the planet.  As I mentioned in my race report two weeks ago, the longest run I've attempted since November is 6 miles, and things haven't changed since then.  Weekly mileage looks more like 15, consisting of 3- and 4-milers, and that's at the top of the range.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I'm honest, so there.

As we were sitting in the mall parking lot on race morning, I was filled with a sense of dread.  Dread because I had been run down on sleep for a few days, dread because I still have fresh memories of struggling through the 50 mph winds at Camarillo two weeks ago, and dread because I didn't feel like running at all.  But I chewed on my Honey Stinger chews (just like two weeks ago... I really will review these soon!) and hoped for the best.

Thank goodness there were ample port-a-potties at the start, since I had to use them, and it seemed like regardless of the huge quantity, there were enough people to use and wait in line for them.  A couple things about this race that I should mention that are not related to the run itself is its good organization (more on this later) and the sheer number of really, really fit people in the field.

I started in Wave 2, and I felt like I didn't belong there.  No, I didn't lie about my projected finish time, but it seemed like those around me was gunning for around 1:45.

Mile 1 - 8:32
Mile 2 - 8:12

I had my Garmin covered during the first few miles, so although I was holding back and allowing all the fit people in my wave pass me, these went quickly.  There were a few climbs throughout these first miles.  I guess since I last ran this race in 2008, I didn't remember these climbs (sorry for the mis-info, Cindy!).

Mile 3 - 8:38
Mile 4 - 8:43
Mile 5 - 8:52

In these miles, there was a long incline, which started more steep and then became less steep but still up and up.  My stomach was bloating up (TMI and too much Souplantaion the night before), but I held it together.

Mile 6 - 8:45
Mile 7 - 9:06

After a particularly annoying hill, I needed some energy drink and walked through the water station at the top to make sure I got enough, since I seemed to be missing it at the other stations.

Mile 8 - 8:42
Mile 9 - 9:01

Around this point, my right calf was tightening.  I never used to have this happen before during half-marathons, but in the past few (even when I was more trained), it has plagued me, as if my weird cramping condition that killed my last marathon was saying, "You can't avoid me just because you're doing a half!"

So, I held back my pace a bit, though the small hills continued.  I was breathing deeply to get oxygen to my legs and tried to shift my efforts to my upper body.

Mile 10 - 9:07
Mile 11 - 9:24

It seems like the hills didn't stop, and there weren't too many huge downhills to compensate.  I heard someone say, "I think this is the last hill" three times.  Hah!  I knew I was on pace to finish sub-2 but not fast enough to hit my PR   Although I had not quite been giving 100% due to feeling "over" the whole racing thing, I pushed at the end because I just wanted it to be over, even though my untrained legs were tired.

Mile 12 - 9:13
Mile 13 - 8:57
.22 Mile - 7:52

I sprinted at the last turn to make it in before 1:57 and felt like puking. =P

I was really happy that the finish chute was mostly clear this time, as in 2008, this area had been a nightmare.  Glad to see that they worked it out.

Note that I have not done a sub-2 half since 2010, probably because I only ran trail half-marathons in 2011, but still.  Also notable is the fact that the last time I did this race, my finish time was 2:12.  Not bad, since not training and walking through water stations certainly don't lead to a PR, but this lack of discipline seems to be working.  Unfortunately.  Please don't follow suit.  It just seems to be working for me because I am less likely to get burnt out or injured?????????  Also, I still think that The Bar Method DVDs I've been doing have been helping somehow.

Bottom line, I am satisfied with my mediocrity.  Okay, I don't really mean that, but even when I was training, I wasn't exactly running times like these; this is one of my top finish times (3rd or 4th best of my 21 half-marathons).  Although there could be better times for me, I'm not sure how to get there without the burnout or injury.  So as much as I can do OK doing what I'm doing, I'll accept that perhaps I'm just a weird case and benefit from "less is more."

I have another half in two weeks (yes, again).  I didn't plan it this way, but hopefully I can clear my mind and be more enthusiastic about it.

Race pictures (from Brightroom):


  1. Ahh... Carlsbad... It is a pretty race, but yes -- the HILLS. Anyone who tells you that is a flat course is a liar. ;)

    Nice work out there today!

  2. way to go!
    I needed to read this as I have let my own miles really slip...
    i hope you are getting your mojo back!

  3. Way to go! What an awesome performance at the half marathon! I'd love times like these! That's inspiring! You'll defeat the one in 2 weeks, too!

  4. Wow! That's fantastic - way to go on your time. I got Physique 57 (Bar-like workout video) for Christmas and reading this blog post was just the kick in the butt that I needed to get started!

  5. Way to go with that half Marathon. Another one in 2 weeks? Wow. That was some excellent pacing. Congratulations!

  6. Hey, we're on the same training plan! Yeah, my motivation has had its ups and downs (mostly downs..) I think my body is waiting for Spring/Summer to arrive. That's pretty awesome that you finished with such a great time (despite the issues). Sorry I didn't catch you during the race, it was a crowded one for sure!

  7. Nice to see you at the expo and on the course. I like my beachside running to be much easier and less hilly like Long Beach.

  8. Just getting caught up on blogs. Sounds like you had a great day - much better outing than the last wind-beaten one! I've definitely done races on minimal training. As long as you go in with the right expectations, they can still be really fun.

  9. Great run!

    I know I've contacted you before, but I'd love to feature you on our San Diego-based site. Email me for details: shondra (at) dwellable (d0t) com