I was excited to run the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon. Originally I had planned to train hard for it, but life happened. The flu knocked me out. I still ran and training after recovering, but I wasn’t in the same shape I had hoped. My father-in-law also ran, as he was in town for my spouse’s graduation.
Before the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon:
We arrived in Ventura around 2:30 pm, picked up our packets, and decided to eat at a local Italian Restaurant. We even got a walk on the boardwalk, and everything went smoothly. We stayed at Point Mugu, around 30 minutes from the race start. I’ve been a few times recently for various things and am a big fan of Naval Station Point Mugu…if only we could live there. Anyway, the morning of the race came early. The race started at 6 am, so we left Point Mugu at 4:30. Since it’s a point-to-point, we could avoid the shuttles because my husband dropped us off at the start. We did get slightly confused and went to the race start from previous years. Luckily we got to the 2022 race start around 5:30 am. I think (?), the Mountains 2 Beach half marathon course changed for 2022.
After using the bathroom and getting ready, I went and lined up. While waiting in the corrals, 6:01 ticked by with no word on the start. Then 6:05. Finally, around 6:10, they let us know the race started a few minutes late. It threw me off because I probably would have drank more water and used the bathroom again. I wish they would have said at 6:01 that the race was starting late and given us an update.
The Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon Race:
The Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon finally started around 6:15. I didn’t know how I would feel when the gun went off. Every race after the flu has been a mystery until the race starts. Will I feel tired? Will I feel good? (probably not). How will my lungs feel?
My last few races have been lackluster. I hoped I would be faster than the monster elevation of the La Jolla Half, but I also knew I had the flu in between and didn’t know what to expect. I hit the first mile in 6:45 and didn’t feel terrible. I was like…this is probably a bad idea since many of my last 5ks were averaging around 7 minute pace. I was slightly behind the 1:30 pacer and felt weird that they were running around 6:40. I hit mile 2 of the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon in 6:46 and felt fine.
Around mile 3, I realized I had to use the bathroom. I probably had too much Gatorade close to the start without going to the bathroom one last time, but also not enough as I got dehydrated later. Had I known the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon would be late, I would have gone to the bathroom one more time and probably drank more Gatorade. I decided this was a race. I was probably going to stop and pee. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable for another hour. I grabbed the electrolytes “Fluid” and continued. I wasn’t feeling terrible and surprised myself and ran a 7:02. I am certain I was within a second or two of the time I ran at Carlsbad 5000. So that is progress post-flu recovery.
Anyway, the next mile had some uphill, and I just reminded myself there would be a more extended downhill after that. I ran a 7:10, followed by a 6:54. Shortly before mile 6, I saw lines of porta potties and used one. I was in for around 20 seconds (did I stop my watch…of course not). I didn’t really feel bad about my decision and knew it was the right one.
Mile 7 of the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon is the same as mile 1, and we repeat part of the course. It was nice to know already what was coming. From there, we head downhill on the narrow bike path. It was fine when I went through, but I can imagine as it was more crowded, it was hard to navigate. I also took a Maurten Energy Gel around mile 6. I haven’t used a gel for a half in a while, but I’ve found many California races don’t have enough calorie-based electrolyte options during the race.
Around mile 8 of the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon, a cat crossed the road. Was it the highlight of my race? Maybe. I started to feel tired, and there was never a drastic downhill like I thought. Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon is advertised as a fast downhill race. When I hear that, I think of something with screaming downhills like a Revel race, but they were never there. It was fast, yes, but you aren’t running down a mountain to a beach.
I started to feel tired around mile 9. I never felt like the “gel worked,” but I knew I was coming to an end. I kept telling myself, “just 30 minutes to go”. But I also knew the climbs from 10.5-to 12 would not be the most fun part of the race. I was running with a few people who kept me motivated. I started getting fairly intense stomach cramps around mile 9. Was it because of the gel? Maybe. Was it because I took the gel without water? Also maybe.
Around mile 10.5, the volunteer meant to hand me water but dropped it. It happened, and I thought I should return and get some for a brief second. But I didn’t, and truthfully I probably made the wrong choice. The hill felt like it was neverending, despite being short and steep. The dehydration made everything worse. I haven’t been running hills as much lately, and I can feel that in my running. I just focused on the end and the downhill to come. Mile 11 of the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon was my slowest mile time at around 7:40.
The final two miles of the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon had a fair amount of downhill and one more climb. My cramps, or more like side stitches, had become fairly intense. I knew it was probably a combination of lack of hydration and the gel. Around mile 12, I saw my spouse, and I thought, I can’t walk it in now. I just focused on the end. I ran a 7:21 13th mile, and the finish didn’t look anywhere. I finally crossed in 1:34.10, which was my fastest half marathon since my back injury in November.
Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon Thoughts:
Am I ecstatic with the time? Not really; it’s “fine.” I had a few hiccups I don’t usually have in races, but it was still my fast since hurting my back. I wish the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon had more on-course hydration, but maybe I need more than the average person and should be carrying my own. My time is fine, and I know I would have run faster if I wasn’t dehydrated and didn’t have cramps. So that’s motivating! I’ve got to figure out my on-course nutrition and fluids for racing. California races have proven not to have enough electrolyte stations for me, and I’m not sure if I want to start carrying something (I really don’t, but I probably *should*.).
Questions for you:
Have you run the Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon?
What is your favorite race?