Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:29.47)

me carlsbad half marathon

I knew going into Carlsbad, it wouldn’t be a PR.  My trip to California wasn’t really for a race, in fact, it was actually out of the way to where we were going (San Fransico).  That being said, I liked the race because it’s beautiful and because I’ve PRed. So we decided to add it into our trip.

I arrived at the race around 6:00 am. We thought there would be more traffic or delays, but there wasn’t, so we were extremely early for the 7:45 start. I had no plans to warm up, and in fact, my only run of the day was the half marathon (I didn’t cool down either).

I chatted for a while, randomly saw my coworker (yes from NJ), and a few other familiar faces.  By the time we knew it, it was time to line up. My husband decided to jog the race after not running in 2 or weeks (by not running I mean not at all. He ultimately ran around a 1:34).

carlsbad half

The gun went off, and so did we. I don’t think Carlsbad is that flat. I knew a lot of people do, but there are so some giant hills along the Pacific Coast.  The first mile went over an overpass and around.  I couldn’t seem to get a good rhythm going on. My husband was running close and called me a tractor-trailer because I literally go the same speed uphill, flat, and downhill. (He has called me that on several occasions.) I ran a 6:49 which I was pleased with.

The second mile is one of the few miles that is almost all flat. I ran a 6:33 and actually felt good about it. The next mile was a 6:35 and I felt like I was building momentum.

The next few miles go out along the Pacific Highway. It’s a beautiful coastline, but it isn’t flat. It’s not the hilliest course I’ve ever run, but I wouldn’t call it “flat” either. I began to notice there weren’t many water stops and even less with Ultima. I’m disappointed in both the choice to use Ultima as well as the lack of stops. I could have used at least two more, and it’s a reason I hit the wall. That being said, I could have also brought my own and ran with it…I didn’t.

Around mile 5 is the biggest hill of the race. You see yourself going downhill fast, and then back uphill.

I crossed the halfway point in 44:30. I thought I could break 1:30 if I kept up the pace. I wasn’t feeling bad at the point.

I hit 7 in 6:49, but I quickly noticed I hadn’t taken any fluids in a few miles…because they weren’t there. I take fluids at every stop they are offered for a half (unless it was every mile).

Carlsbad half marathon

At the next stop, I thought surely they must have Ultima, but all they had was water. I was thirsty and took 2, which was an unfortunate mistake because I drank it too quickly. At that point, I thought I would be stopping from a cramp and wondered WTF was I doing to myself. It was like I forgot after 50 half marathons, how to race.

I hit mile 8 in 7:03 and just began to wallow in self-doubt and pity. Up ahead, I could see an ambulance tending to a runner.  It was also around that time; I ran by a fellow rabbit, Kevin, who was running the full marathon. He said he was struggling; I said I was struggling and we chatted about that. It gave me a second wind and took my mind off of it.

Somewhere between mile 9-10, I grabbed finally grabbed Ultima. I needed the electrolytes. I guessed it would probably be my last electrolyte stop.

Whether I’m doing well or not, mile 11 is my least favorite mile. You’re almost there, but not really.  I logged a 7:08, and quickly realized I was toeing the line of a 1:30. I needed to find some sort of energy if I wanted to get under 1:30. I hit mile in 6:58 and began thinking of the last mile.

We climbed an overpass, and I began counting down the minutes. It was the first time I raced with my Coros Apex Watch (I will review it soon, but I haven’t had anything I don’t like so far).  My screen only displayed overall time and vibrated and showed each mile split (I chose to do this).

Six minutes…5 minutes…4 minutes…3 minutes…my mind was just focused on finishing.

Then, at mile 12.9, the 1:30 pacer passed me. I had a few choice words at myself and decided not today. I don’t know where the second wind came from because I had zero energy. I logged a 6:48 final mile and 6:39 final .2, to finish in 1:29.47.


I’m happy with my finish, and I’m glad to finish under 1:30. That being said, I’m not ecstatic about a 1:30. It does give me a nice baseline to improve upon. Running hasn’t been my focus the last 2 months and I’m okay with it. I know I’ll get in better shape. Eventually, it’s just going to take more time than past training cycles.

Questions for you;

Where is your race PR from?

Do you run with a pacer or no?



      1. It’s called Brimbank Park Urban Trail run in Melbourne, Australia. I’d be doing the same race this year in two months from now, but the 50k version instead.

  1. I always forget how hilly this race is (this was my 4th running despite living in Chicago – I have a friend who lives in Del Mar). I also got a bit over heated. I ran 10+ minutes slower than my fastest Carlsbad 1/2 and the same as 3 years ago. I was OK with it (more than 3 years ago – LOL) b/c I was there for a Bar Mitzvah not the race. The race was just gravy. I also thought I would do better but the heat got me in the last 5K. My PR is 1:30.51 in Central Park of all places. It’s from when I live in NY. These days a sub 1:40 would have me jumping for joy.

    1. Sounds like we had a very similar experience this year Erica! I was definitely surprised it didn’t have more fluids.

  2. Mt marathon PR is the Bay State Marathon at 3:37, several years ago. I avoid the pacers.

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