Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ventura Half Marathon Race Recap

No matter how soothing, I will never get used to the sound of the alarm chiming at 3:00 am. The days of sleep before, the careful nighttime routine - nothing prepares you to wake up in the middle of the night on a dark and chilly late October morning. We all do it at some point...runners. We do it because we love it and the hard is what makes it so appealing. The victory is a little sweeter, because you took the road less traveled - you did something most people aren't willing to do.




We were able to load the kids and jump into the car pretty quickly and I was impressed by the efficiency, as it is tough to get three kids out the door well before dawn. They love the excitement of blankets and pillows in the warm car, watching the sunrise and the quiet as we are all into our own thoughts at that hour of the morning.

The drive to Ojai was a super easy one hour and twenty five minutes from our door to the starting line. We arrived early, I picked up my bib so easily (Ventura Marathon is very well organized and they think of all the details. Have you run this half or the full? Put it on your list! Beautiful course, great support, super fun after party with a band, beer and waffles!), jumped into the porta potty line and started my warm up. So many times, I feel a little rushed through my race warm up, but today the stars aligned and I had plenty of time to relax and run easy.
1.65 mile warm up (a tad longer than the 1.5 I was supposed to do, but I went out a little far and had to get back), with picking up the pace with last 1-2 mintes + dymanic stretches beforehand. I really felt ready to race when they began asking us to line up.

We started the race smoothly and I had the race plan tucked into the back of my mind. Start conservative, get into a steady rhythm and grind it out at the finish.

I'll get right down to my splits for the race:

6:45, 6:44, 6:32, 6:33, 6:30, 6:39, 6:34, 6:35, 6:35, 6:44, 6:59, 7:01, 7:03

A couple of miles into the race, I tucked in with two guys and two other women. They were so kind and seemed to be having fun chatting with each other. Everyone introduced themselves, and I was very happy fitting right in and staying silent. It would be another two or three miles, before the leader of the group asked my name and I answered. I felt relaxed at this point, but I'm just not a talker during a race - I have a lot going on in my head thinking about my form, am I starting and keeping the right pace and the list goes on. They were beginning to talk about the race and that we were on pace for about 1:28, and that we should stay relaxed and keep it steady. Honestly, in my mind I was thinking there was no way I coming out today to run 1:28. I at least wanted to run what I ran last year (1:27) and a PR would be great if everything went well. The woman next to me says that she is going to break off and catch up to the group in front of us. In that moment, I had a split decision to make - go with her and take a chance on running with the faster group, or staying with this group and picking up the pace the last 5K.
I went for it - or I tried to go for it. I said goodbye to my safe group and went for the faster group. Let's just say that it didn't last long - I couldn't seem to make the contact I needed to tuck in with the group. I knew they weren't running that much faster, but it felt a lot faster. Once again, I got my butt handed to me and ended up coming back with the original group, who welcomed me with open arms. I really should have stayed with them, but at the same time I wanted more. I wanted to make a semi aggressive move and have it pay off. NOTE: surging in the marathon or half does not work. It always bites me in the butt in the long run. I get it - I will not make this mistake again and yes I'm so glad this was a dress rehearsal and not CIM.


Wrong move. Should have stayed with my group - but sometimes you have to try and take a chance, otherwise how will you ever know what you can do?


Anyway, I was back with the original group, which was clipping along at a very good pace. Mile 10.
The last 5k is once again where it happened. I ran a slower 6:44 during mile 9 and I could feel I was in trouble. The leader was encouraging me to stay with them and yet my tired legs needed a little more gas.
I fought to stay with them as I knew if I lost contact, I would be running by myself and really didn't want to do that again. I wanted their energy - I like these people and why didn't I stay with them in the first place?
Let's cut right to the chase - I faded to 6:59, 7:01, 7:03 in the last 5k and they went on to run 1:26, which would have been my PR.

Let me tell you, I fought. I fought through the fatigue and disappointment, and yet I didn't give into it. I know I could have been running in the 6:40s at least the last the 5k if I would have not taken a chance in the middle miles. By the way friends, if you are coming here, look for perfection - you've come to the wrong place :) Ha. 
This is a place to talk about mistakes, learn, grow and work hard. I know a whole lot about running and yet every day I grow. You never stop growing...

I'm still working on getting this racing thing right and I will. I will negative split and I will run strong at the end. The great thing is I felt pretty strong at the end mentally and there is a lot of great things to take away here. The hard work is paying off. I am getting fitter and I will get faster and I'm not giving up. Ever.

So there's that.

1:27:45

3 seconds off from last year- crazy.

2.37 miles cool down with the best group of (fast) ladies = 17.12 mile day. I also got to meet Meg in person and we were so busy talking we didn't get a pic! She is super sweet and after months of talking on the internet we finally got to meet. She also raced a very awesome 3:11 in the marathon.




and the best time with my fam. I love these guys so much.










284.64 miles in the month of October and CIM - I see you. I'm coming for you.


Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie