I recall that last year my goal was to run at least at my half marathon PR pace. However, I ended up having a very bad chest cold and laryngitis which made the race difficult and as the pic's show, I ended up with bad blisters on both feet. I ran the race in 1:36:07, a 10:19 pace. Still not terrible, but not my sub-10 pace for my half PR.
So this year, once again my goal was to run sub-10 paces and since I just had a 10k PR, I used that time to predict a 15k pace of 9:45. I used the Hal Higdon advanced 15k training plan for 4 weeks, although I wasn't able to complete every run, especially the long runs.
The night before the race I knew I should go to bed early, but I just wasn't feeling it. I am much more used to getting up early to run this year than I was last. No matter how tired I am or how little sleep I get (I'm a girl who likes at least 7hrs of sleep, preferably 8), I can usually drag myself out of bed for a required run. I probably didn't fall asleep until after 11pm.
My alarm was set for 5:20am and I was up and getting ready. I had set out most of what I needed the night before. I started the coffee pot and put my oatmeal in the microwave. I was ready to go by 5:45 I think and headed out with my coffee, oatmeal, banana and gear. Yay for not forgetting anything and remembering to Glide my entire feet and toes, just in case.
I headed for the neighborhood I found a parking spot in last year and found my parking spot. I hung in my car for a bit, eating my oatmeal and drinking some coffee and water. Finally around 6:15am I started my walk/run to the starting line. I logged almost .75 miles of warm up between getting to the starting line and a few strides.
Once I got the start site I got in line for the bathroom. At this site there is a normal park bathroom as well as porta potties. The lines were about the same, so I opted for the full bathroom---more air circulating to clear the odor of pre-race nerves. After I took care of business, I walked around a bit and stretched. I contemplated one more stop at the bathroom, but decided against it. (bad call!)
I lined up around 10 minutes before the race started. I was wearing my SPI belt, carrying my iPod nano, 2 Gu's and Honey Stingers and my car key. A girl sang the national anthem and then we were off! The race start was extremely congested. I probably should have started further towards the back--I didn't realize how close to the front of the pack I was.
Checking my Garmin through the first mile I was in the low 10's--which was ok for a warm-up mile, but it was a little slower than I had hoped to start out. I didn't have much of a choice though due to the other runners and a few narrow areas in the first mile. By the 2nd mile we had a lot more room and I was able to start running closer to my goal pace.
I struggled a bit to find my groove. I was afraid of going too fast and there were a few times in the first 3 miles I made myself slow down. But I couldn't seem to hit that 9:40-9:45 pace. I was either slower or faster. But at least I was ahead of my 9:52 half marathon pace.
Mile 1- 10:12
Mile 2- 9:47
Almost right away I regretted not making the 2nd bathroom stop. Often I feel like I have to pee at the start of a run or a race just from nerves and it goes away eventually. But this wasn't going away. I knew I could probably wait until the end of the race to go, but mentally it would trip me up the whole time. I saw a line of porta potties that seemed empty at a public beach spot, so I decided I just needed to go. I hit the lap button on my Garmin to see how long my potty stop took me.
Bathroom break- 54 seconds
Mile 3- 9:49
The next miles were on the Navy base. Many cheered and said thanks as we passed various groups of enlisted men and women. There were a few water stops here.
Mile 4- 9:45
Mile 5: 9:47
Around 35-40 min in, I knew a water stop would be coming up and it was probably a good time to take my Gu so that I could wash it down with water. For some reason the Chocolate Gu seemed extra thick and I had to take it slowly and focus on keeping it down. I was happy to see the aid station!
Mile 6- 9:45
Finally back on the street and heading towards the finish. I was anxious to turn it on, although I was starting to fatigue. I was hoping that picking up the pace would combat the fatigue all the way to the finish, as it often does on my training runs. My stomach was not as solid as I like it during runs. I have no idea what the deal is. I may experiment with eating even less before a race. I never eat before I run in the mornings, so my body isn't really used to it. However, my morning runs are 5 miles or less. Maybe I need to wake up a few hours before the alarm, eat something and go back to bed.
Mile 7- 9:40
Mile 8- 9:29
Unfortunately, I sped up a little too soon. I struggled the last mile. I couldn't keep the speed I had found the mile prior and almost stopped to walk at one point, but I yelled at myself to not stop now. I had found my playlist a little slow during the race and started the Genius around Mile 4 which helped, but I needed to focus on finishing strong at this point, so I just took the earbuds out.
Mile 9- 9:44
Knowing the finish was so close, I was able to turn it up again and my final pace was strong. Last year I crossed the finish without anyone else near me and the announcer called my name, which I thought was pretty cool! This year there were a few others finishing at the same time though and no personalized congratulations :(
(ok, technically a 15k is 9.321 miles, but my Garmin registered 9.38 miles)
I was so so so glad to cross the finish and get to STOP running! I knew I didn't make my goal of 1:30 but I still took 4 minutes off last year's time.
855 CORRINA 356 35 50/78 1:32:04 9:53
Yes, I came in at 855th place. And 50/78 in my age group. Not spectacular, but I'm happy with my performance and results! And subtracting the 54 seconds of a bathroom break, I actually averaged a 9:46 pace for the race.
After the race I walked through the chute and then found my way to a water table and downed some water and an electrolyte drink. I also decided to eat my Honey Stingers since I love them and hadn't eaten them during the race. On my way to find the oranges I had seen them slicing before the race, I happened to see a bright yellow stroller and realized it was Stuft Mama, a blogger I enjoy following! Kinda out of character for me, I asked if she was Stuft Mama and introduced myself. And she had her mom take a picture of us together.
Note our matching Carlsbad Marathon hats! Although I know she finished WAY before me, still I RAN A MARATHON!
After wandering through the few tables they had, I headed to my car. Coming in to the start it's not too hard to cut across a main thoroughfare because traffic is light. But later in the morning traffic picks up and I didn't want to attempt it. So I walked a mile back to my car, including forgetting where it was and walking a few extra blocks. I was happy to get to the water and Nuun I had waiting for me!
This race made me hungry for a new half-PR but also scared! Can I train hard enough to cut that much time off my pace? I need to run around 9 minute miles for a sub-2 hour half marathon. I really want it. But I know it's going to be a lot of hard work.
My first goal towards that is losing 10lbs. For my height, I'm carrying a little more weight than necessary. And I know. I've been talking about losing freaking 10 lbs for like 3 years now. More on that next week.
Now to figure out my fitness plan between now and the official start of half marathon training...
All in all, this was a great race for me and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to run it!