Friday, January 20, 2017

Carlsbad Half Marathon Race Recap

Before I talk about the race, let me say - all I could think about when I crossed the finish line was a proper recovery. I immediately started sipping on fluids: chocolate milk, water, coconut water, and a beet smoothie. I also nibbled on a banana while walking around, shaking out my legs.  I stopped to lightly stretch while looking for my family and then immediately went on a one mile cool down. The complete focus is on Boston in 13 weeks and I wanted to make sure that my legs are healed and recovered to get back to running this week. 







I also had a chance to try Cyrotherapy! Have you guys tried it? In a nutshell, you stand naked in a booth with gloves and booties on and they lower the temp to about -110 degrees!! Um, yeah - it feels as crazy as it sounds. The purpose for athletes is to jump start the healing process (although you can also get into an ice bath, which is much less expensive) and I think it worked, because I feel great! Fresh legs and zero soreness this week and gearing up for a long 15 mile run this weekend.



Big thanks to Janelle and the team at Gocyrosd for letting me try a frozen experience!! :)



The Carlsbad Half Marathon was not a goal race or a race that I trained for. This race was simply a test of my fitness and a gauge to see how much work I needed to do in the weeks ahead (a lot! :). I haven't raced a half marathon since last March, when I ran the Oakland Half. My autumn mileage has been very conservative - in fact I haven't yet run over 40 miles a week. Coach is being conservative - it doesn't make sense to rush into high mileage + speed and risk getting injured. I finally feel fit and that I have a good base behind me which will carry me well into the coming weeks of super focused training.


The race! We arrived in Carlsbad early on Saturday morning and had a huge, relaxing breakfast followed by a day at the beach. My kids were in heaven - to the point that you would think we were visiting from the Midwest instead of a beach town less than two hours north.






I went on a three mile shake out run with my Mom which was really fun. I am so proud of my Mom  - she is getting back into running consistently and we were able to run the first mile and a half together.
Checked into our hotel, quickly hit the expo (no shopping or standing around to tire out my legs), dinner and off to bed.





Woke up Sunday morning at 4:45 am feeling rested and ready to go. It was really fun to take over the Women's Running Magazine Instagram account for the whole day on Sunday, so I started out with a very real, just out of bed pic of what I eat before a race.






Soon it was time to head out to the race - Jerold had a cargo bike which he would transport our two older kids around the race course, so he took off on the bike pretty early and my Mom drove me to the starting line. Traffic was light and it was easy to arrive at the race. I jumped out and started my usual dynamic warm up routine followed by a half mile run with the last sixty seconds really picking up the pace and turning over my legs. I was sweaty at the end and felt ready to run - but first, bathroom!!






The porta potty line was HUGE. I stood for quite a while waiting to go and at one point didn't think I would make it to the start on time. Luckily, I made it and a minute after I arrived they started the race.


Mile one - 7:22 - coach wanted me to start off really conservatively. I always feel like I want to run fast right away and I felt happy that I held myself back on the first mile.

Mile 2, 3, 4 - 7:04, 7:18. 7:15 - getting into a rhythm and these miles were a bit quicker than my plan dictated, so knew I had to keep things in check. I felt good - but don't we all feel good in first few miles?

Miles 5, 6, 7 - 7:25, 7:21, 7:39 - ouch on the 7:39 - there was a pretty nice gradual, longish hill on this mile and I felt okay on it, but still have work to do on becoming speedy on the hills. Overall, I was happy with the effort, especially considering where I was 3 months ago.


Miles 8, 9, 10 - 7:22, 7:21, 7:27 - After the 7:39 on mile 7, I knew I needed to adjust my posture, and focus on picking up my leg speed. By the way, for this race I took fluid at almost every stop and I took TWO GU - one at mile 7ish and another around 10. I usually only take one GU during a half, but my body needed something at 10 (plus I had the gut feeling that I needed to get this into my body, like right now - trust your gut) and I made the split decision to take another.



I was so happy to see Jerold and my kiddos at mile 11.5!! I could definitely feel it at this point and although my mind was pushing me faster, my legs were a little dead here, but I was able to push it at mile 13.


Miles 11, 12, 13 -  7:31, 7:32. 7:08  - I was supposed to be racing at this point. Coach told me to run conservative the first 10 miles and race the last 5k. Eleven and twelve were a bit humbling as I knew I wasn't racing and yet I couldn't make my body go faster. BUT, I am proud of the 7:08 for mile 13!! Progress! I still had some fight left and that was able to carry me all the way to the finish line...



That's my Mom in the background!


Final official time: 1:37:11 (7:25 pace), 5th in my age group, 59th overall woman.

I plan on racing another half in March to test the water and it will be fun to see how much improvement I will have between now and late March. I am so looking forward to challenging myself, working hard and see where this journey will lead.

I highly recommend the Carlsbad Half Marathon!

1. Gorgeous weather for running - cool, only a slight breeze, temps in the 50's, overcast. Plus the weather is incredible and Carlsbad is a really cute laid back beach town with great restaurants and lots of healthy, organic options.

2. The race was well organized. Water and energy drink (grape Ultima) at every mile, great course support, good crowds.

3. I also appreciate how the race made the decision to start a few minutes after 7:45 due to the large amount of runners stuck in the porta potty lines. This shows that they care and were paying attention.

4. Great finish line fuel, nice volunteers and just a really supportive atmosphere.

5. Loved the course, great layout, not overly crowded - the start had runners divided into waves according to time and when I began the race, I wasn't bumping into anyone. This was a huge plus!!

6. Bonus that they gave a nice technical long sleeved shirt AND a really high quality technical half zip.


Every runner also received one of these...








Now it's time to really buckle down and get serious. :)

Do you drink at every water stop in a half marathon? (I usually don't, but my body needed it).

Have you ever been to San Diego?


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie