Wednesday, August 22, 2012

America's Finest City Half-Marathon

EVENT: America's Finest City Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, August 19, 2012
RACE BEGAN: 07:00 am
FINISH TIME: 02:13:48

I rarely take long in writing these reviews, but man, have these past few days been hectic.  I tried writing this post in a hotel room while eating late-night room service and in an airport using terrible wi-fi, but in the end, I had to be settled at home before this could ever get done.

The last time I did this race, I was just barely starting to think of what I'd write for my Master's thesis, my sister and I were doing our first Triple Crown, "The Ukrainian" and I were in our very early stages, and frankly, I don't remember much else about it besides the fact that I fell and scraped myself in the early part of the race and that the drive to the expo was horrid.

Once again, the traffic coming into the expo was ridiculous, but luckily, we had friends who drove and let us do a drop-and-roll.  The expo tent was humid and hot and not really worth staying in, so the whole affair was fairly quick.  Overate San Diego goodies and got ready for a 3:45 AM wake-up call.

The shuttles from Balboa Park began leaving at 4:30 AM to take us to the Cabrillo National Monument area.  At that hour, it was in the mid-70's.  We had been there the previous day for tide-pooling, but it was nice to see the sun rise (yeah, it was that dark) and use a very clean porta-potty.  The race began promptly, just as the sun was starting to make my skin feel warm.  

I feel like a different "me" ran this race.  This "me" wore sunglasses, no hat(!), a BICBand (it survived!), a sports bra, and shorts.  Oh, and a heart-rate monitor instead of a Garmin because I knew I wasn't aiming for any records in the heat and my untrained state.  I normally never run that "exposed," but I'm glad I did.  The past few races, wearing a hat started to become intolerable because of all the heat getting trapped up there.  It was SO hot... I think it got into the mid-80s, and I ended up getting extremely odd-shaped tan lines everywhere, just in time for my wedding countdown. *sarcastic smiley face would go here*  I'd post a photo of the ensemble, but I noticed that MarathonFoto added a new line to their watermark, saying "for use on ONLY."  Hmmm.

As I was running, I did start remembering bits of the course from 2008 -- the Honeywell building, the view of the water, etc.  I was running a 9-min/mi pace for the first six miles based on the clocks I saw on the course, and considering the early hills and the fact that I have only been running once a week or so for the past 10 weeks since the Ojai Marathon, I considered that pretty good.  As the miles wore on and my skin started to burn, I slowed down.  My heart-rate monitor was indicating that I was working harder than I had intended.  My goal range was from 165-185 beats per minute (around 175 being most desirable), but as things wore on, I kept seeing 190+, and around my max for the last mile or so, even though I wasn't running fast at all.  

The new "me" did not stop for walk breaks, though, except at the water stations where I made sure to down at least one big cup of water.  I know that the "old" me would have given up during those last two miles up gradual uphill climb.  I saw a guy vomiting on the side of the road at that point, yet I managed to press on because I just wanted to get out of the heat.  The aid stations were not close, and I was sweating more than I felt like I ever have in my LIFE.  I didn't run under a single hose or pour any water on me, yet by the time I finished, I looked like I had jumped into a pool.

The new "me" finished two minutes slower than last time, and my goal had been to at least beat that.  In fact, I think this is one of my personal worsts.  But the new "me" also didn't really care.

The "Triple Crown" medal above is for my completion of this race, the Carlsbad Half, and the La Jolla Half.  One more series medal to go this year (in October... see my side-bar).


  1. The new "you" seems tougher! ;) I was really glad that I didn't sign up for this race. The heat has been terrible lately. Nice work not giving up. Sometimes it's nice not to have to worry about time and such.

  2. Those temperatures are so hot to run in. I had a similar experience at a half marathon in June. I really don't know if I am going to run any more races during the summer months. Way to hang in there and tough it out. The medals are pretty cool looking, and congrats on the triple crown!