LOL. My slowest half marathon in over a decade. I knew going into the Carlsbad Half Marathon would not be pretty. I’m not sure I fully anticipated my slowest half marathon in a decade, but it is what it is. I know I gave it my best for the day.
Rewind a bit: In November, my last run over 10 miles was the Run Local Santa Barbara Half Marathon. I felt good there, not great. I ran a 1:29.
Then I tripped over my cats and spent four weeks not running. Now I’m still “coming back from an injury.” Running a half marathon this soon after was by no means my smartest idea. But I had already paid for the race, and it was my sister-in-law’s first half marathon ever. I wasn’t too concerned about the time. It was her day, and I was excited to support her.
I say that, but the slowest half in 10 years still stings a little bit.
Anyway, on to the race. My drive from the Mojave to San Diego was easy. It’s usually about 3 hours, and it was. There wasn’t too much of note. Gail and I picked up our Carlsbad Half Marathon race bibs the night before, she had a wedding dress fitting, and we were in bed fairly early.
I got great sleep the night before the Carlsbad Half Marathon, and since I did, I thought I would feel great. The race went off at 7:45, and immediately I felt like garbage. Within about a half a mile, I knew it would not be my day. I also knew I hadn’t run over 10 miles in over two months and didn’t want to crawl to the finish line.
I ran the first mile of the Carlsbad Half Marathon in 7:07. There was a small hill but nothing strenuous. There were more challenging and bigger hills later on. I decided not to pay attention to my watch again. I only know my splits because I can look back on Strava.
The next mile was the most downhill, and I ran my fastest split of the day (6:48). For the rest of the race, I found people passing me.
The next few miles felt like a blur, and around mile 4, I thought: “this could be over now and I wouldn’t mind.” I found myself looking at the ocean and just zoning out. I think the Carlsbad Half Marathon is one of the most scenic races I do. You get to stare at the Pacific Ocean for a solid 6+ miles.
Around mile 6 of the Carlsbad Half Marathon is the hardest hill on the Pacific Coast Highway. You can see the hill nearly a mile away. You go down and then go back up. You do get the nice downhill but climb a fairly large hill after. In previous times, the hill didn’t beat me up too much. This year I did. For a couple of reasons: I haven’t done a lot of hills lately, and I definitely haven’t done hard workouts on hills. I thought I might walk up.
We reached the halfway point of the Carlsbad Half Marathon and turned around somewhere around 6.9 miles. The course comes back a similar route on a parallel road, and we got hit with another steep hill.
By mile 7 of the Carlsbad Half Marathon, I knew I had to start evaluating myself of how I felt on the day. I didn’t want to really push it, only to blow up and start walking because I hadn’t run that far. I kept trotting along. I didn’t really have anything else in me other than the roughly 7:35 pace I was going.
The next few miles of the Carlsbad Half Marathon progressed without a lot of note. I saw a few friends that really picked me up. It wasn’t that I was in a dark space; I was more wondering why the <heck> I decided running this race with just a few weeks of actually running was a good idea.
At mile 10, I told myself, “just a 5k to go”. We began weaving around several kids, and I couldn’t figure out where the group came from. The 5k went off an hour before we ran, so it would mean they were running a 2 hour 5k, which didn’t seem to be the case. Anyway, we weaved around them and just kept pushing.
Mile 11 of any half marathon is usually my least favorite. You are close but not too close, and you still feel like you have miles to go. I just pushed on.
Luckily the final mile of the Carlsbad Half Marathon is downhill, and I just pushed as my body would allow. It was not pretty, and I kept saying is the finish line here yet…
Finally, I crossed the Carlsbad Half Marathon finish line at 1:37.30. It’s hard to run your slowest half marathon in a decade. It’s even harder to run it on a course you’ve run 1:22. But it is what it is. Each race was different life events, different everything, and I’m no longer in that fitness. I’m proud of finishing this year too.
I struggle with comparing myself to previous fitness levels and what I “once was.” I am proud of this race but reflecting back is also hard. Hopefully, this starts getting back into shape, or at least to where I was.
After the race, I was honored to finish up with my sister-in-law, Gail, in her very first half marathon ever! Gail is a Navy Nurse and also planning a wedding, so how she found time to train, I don’t know. That was by far the highlight of my race.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Carlsbad Half Marathon?
Where is your PR half marathon?