Posted by Lauren
I did something crazy this weekend. Two half marathons in two days.
On Friday I packed a bag with two running outfits, two knee bandages, and one pair of compression socks. I drove down to my mom’s house in south San Jose and crashed their new dinner routine. It was Sam’s designated night to cook and he broiled fish and prepared tasty couscous. Thanks, step-bro Sam!
My mom threw a salad together, primarily with veggies and dinosaur leaves from her bountiful garden. Farm girl at heart.
Anywhosies. I crashed in Nicole’s bed and set my alarm for 5 am. On my way out of town, I stopped to get a spinach/feta/egg white wrap from $tarbucks and a tall coffee to wake me UP! By 7 am I was parking near Soledad Mission ~90 miles south of my Mom’s house in between Salinas and King City.
Why is this half marathon a staple on my race calendar?
- The race is extremely well organized! Just look at those 57 porta-potties in the photo above! Since year 1, they had the mechanics down pat and the growing number of participants hasn’t affected them.
- The course is beautiful. You run along a farm road, past crops and vineyards, and finish at a gorgeous winery.
- Wine tasting. ‘Nuf said.
Knowing that I had 13 miles to cover both Saturday and Sunday, I forced myself to RUN and NOT RACE.
If you’re semi-competitive, you can probably relate to the feeling of “oh, I’ll just take an easy day” and then next thing you know you’re busting out at 120%. That was NOT the case here. I positioned myself near the 1:50 pacer (I race at ~1:42 these days) and chatted with my ex-coworker Miranda about race nerves. She helped me calm down quite a bit before the [very real/startling] gun shot.
But why did I have race nerves? Truth be told, my “training” levels are at an all time LOW these days. It’s a combination of laziness and being busy with work that’s kept me off the treadmill. Actually, since Ragnar SoCal Relay and The Relay in SF, my knees feel different while running. Bad-different. So… 3 months of sporadic running with low effort can’t transform me into a running superstar, obviously. But would I at least be able to finish and feel strong?
Miles 1 & 2 I definitely ran faster than I should have. I had to slow it down. There was a 70 foot hill at Mile 3 that I powered through (yes, I realize 70 ft is whimpy sounding). Miles 4 & 5 were less eventful and I felt like I had a good amount of energy. And then, there was Mile 6. Ugh. The big hill of the race. My pace slipped from 8:3X to 10:3X at the beginning of the hill and then hovered around 9:0X as the climb continued until Mile 8.5. That really wore me out. At that point my knees felt uncomfortable so I stopped to adjust my knee braces. I stopped again at Mile 9.5 for water (I think). There was another small hill right before Mile 11 and at that point I was chanting “almost there, almost there” to stay motivated. I paused at the final fuel station at Mile 12, where I grabbed three strawberries and focused on getting to the finish line. And for three glorious seconds I maintained a 5:52 pace while I sprinted to the finish!
Live music on the course. Not as many acts as a Rock n’ Roll event, but definitely brightened my spirits to see local performers.
The goods: bananas, pre-sliced apples, bagels, orange slices, and raisins. Usually they have strawberries and Jamba Juice and Taylor Farms gives out veggie trays. This is the only thing that I’ve noticed scaled back.
I quickly found a spot in line for the massages and played with Instragram while I waited….
The massage felt SOOOOO good. She did stuff to my butt that I didn’t know was possible. When I run my hips get crazy sore and she pressed all the right spots to loosen them up a bit.
Official time: 1:52:24 – pace: 8:34
Mile Splits: After the complimentary massage, the sun came out…
…I grabbed my goody bag + wine glass…
… and met up with Matt (1:23:47!!! 3rd in age group!!) and Miranda. We stretched, sipped on wine, and chatted about their move to Colorado (they left Sunday!)
As always, Passagno Winery is a fabulous host and I encourage you to check out their winery if you’re ever in Monterey County!
Me, Miranda, and speedster Matt – can’t wait to visit them in Denver :)
Oh! One other thing that totally surprised me. This race had food, water, and coffee for participants BEFORE the race. Such a good idea!
Question: How strict are you with training for races, bike rides, swims, dance comps, etc? What works for you to stay motivated?