Thursday, February 2, 2012

Report: Carlsbad Half Marathon

Woke up bright and early at 4:30. Drank a little bit and waited for my stomach to settle down. At about 5 I put some running clothes on and went for a little run outside to shake things up a bit. I was surprised to find that it didn't feel very cold at all. Got back, changed from tights to shorts, packed up, and drove to the race start.

Sat in my car and listened to podcasts for a while when finally, my body decided it needed to use a porta potty. Got out of my car and immediately noticed that it was a lot colder than when I went for my short run. By the time I made it to the porta potties I was shivering. Not that long ago I was feeling smug about my cold weather training preparing me for days like this. Nope. Got back to the car and I had to solve a problem: shorts were not going to cut it at the start of the race (I knew they'd be okay after a few miles but I'd have to stand around the start area for a while and I didn't want to be shivering uncontrollably when the gun went off) so how was I going to get into my tights? The answer: very discreetly in my car. It didn't help that there was a couple in the car next to me but after making sure nobody else was around, I just went for it.

By the time my wave (#3) started, I was still pretty cold but it could have been a lot worse. I settled in behind the 2:00 pace leader and we were off. I would fall back a bit on the uphills but then catch up on the downhills. It wasn't easy but it was do-able. After a couple of miles I did notice that my Garmin and others around me would beep at the same time (at mile intervals--mine was actually set for two) but the course mile markers were a bit farther down the road. Interesting. Anyway, things were okay. The course was hillier than I thought it would be but that's probably because, at over 200#, hills are my enemy more so that most people.

At 6.55 miles in, I checked the Garmin and saw that I was exactly on a 2:00 pace, though I was falling behind the pace leader. Had to pick up the pace to catch up. So many uphills. At the 9.5 mile mark I was facing the longest uphill of the day, I was falling way behind the pace leader, my stomach was complaining that I was going to fast, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it so I started, as they say in cycling, "going backwards". I slowed down and people started passing me left and right. At the 11 mile mark my plantar fasciitis kicked in for real and I was looking at two more miles of painful running. I was just looking to finish.

I ended up with a 2:11:16, which is slower than the half I did the day after riding 100 miles. Ouch. That's okay, though. If you look at my mile 7 split, you can see that I was only just off the 9:09 pace I needed to make two hours. I was on track but then got derailed. Oh, the Garmin showed the course being 1/10 mile longer than 13.1 miles. Don't know what to believe.

The race was the largest I have ever participated in. 8,468 participants for both the full and the half. Starts were staggered by waves based on your predicted time so the race didn't seem all that big. Nice race right by the ocean. You can see video of my straggling to the finish line at about the 15 second mark here. I look awful because I wore my FuelBelt rather than live off the course (they had grape-flavored something and I didn't want to find out if my stomach would be happy with it during the race).

What would I have done differently. Need to get serious about losing weight. Need to stop avoiding hills and start working them. Need to back off the mileage and fix this plantar fasciitis. Oh, and find a really flat half, and I think I have.

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