Last weekend I ran the Carlsbad half marathon. Since taking a vacation last February (if going to run a marathon counts), I had been eying taking another vacation this winter. It’s no secret I don’t like the cold, and I’ll run on the treadmill before running in 20 degrees.
My husband and I booked tickets a while ago and later realized the Carlsbad half marathon was the same weekend. Originally, we had not planned to do any race.
Personally, I don’t care for traveling to races. I have found them more of a hassle and would prefer to sleep in my bed. That being said, I’ve also had unfortunate luck with my race traveling. We decided to take the race seriously, but was it a goal race? No.
Anyways, we got to the San Diego and picked up our race bibs the Friday before. It was easy and a streamlined process. Going into the race, I didn’t know a lot about the course or area. To be honest, I thought because it was on the beach it would be flat and fast. That is how both Virginia Beach and New Jersey coastal races are…Once starting the race, I realized that wasn’t quite the case.
By some miracle, I was able to sleep in until 5 am west coast time. We arrived at the race at 6:45, parked and were off at 7:45. The race started in a mall parking lot, so there was plenty of parking.
I realized during the first mile; it wasn’t as flat as I thought.
We went over an overpass which took me by surprise. I kept an even pace and hit the first mile in 6:22. Despite going uphill (versus last week’s race), I ran the same first mile.
By the second mile, I began gauging who was around me. There was a pack of women about 30 seconds in front of me, a few men around me. The second mile was flat, and I ran it in 6:09.
By the third mile, I was around a pack of people. We began running along the beach, and it was windy. I’ve run several races along the beach in both NJ and VA, but this was different. The waves were huge, and we were elevated significantly. The third mile went by in 6:12 and I felt great.
During the fourth and fifth mile, we were joined on the course by the marathoners. Honestly, this was hard for both sets of racers. The marathoners started 90 minutes before us, and the last thing they wanted around mile 17 was half marathoners joining them on an undivided course. The half marathoners were going a different pace, so it didn’t seamlessly match either. Both miles had significant hills that I wasn’t unexpecting, but I ran them in 6:20 and 6:18.
During mile 6 I focused on getting to the halfway point. The course is essentially out and back, so you knew the route you were running on the way back. My Garmin had hit every mile about .1 before the mile markers (similar to those around me).
I hit the halfway point in 41:00. I knew my Gamin was ahead of the official course and honestly I thought by Garmin I would PR but officially I would not.
I struggled on the sixth mile with the wind and the course elevation. I passed one of the top female marathoners who had her own section of the course. I was alone and ran the mile in 6:24. I thought “If I could hold a 6:24 pace, I can PR because of earlier miles.”
The 7-8th mile were similar to the 4th and 5th but in opposite directions. This time, other racers were cheering, and it was motivating. I ran mile 7 in 6:11 and mile in 6:18. I was slowly building confidence that I could finally PR or, at least, get close.
During mile 9, we climbed another hill. I noticed a female that was close in front. I thought I could try and reel her in so I focused on that. The race had Ultima instead of Gatorade, and I grabbed some at a water stop. I ran a 6:21 mile.
I hit the 10-mile point in 1:02.46. To my knowledge that is my fastest 10-mile time as well and about 3 minutes faster than the Icicle 10 miler a week ago.
Miles 11 and 12 were the toughest. I told myself at mile 10; anything can happen for the last 5k. Anything happens in a 5k…I ran both miles in 6:32 and they were by far the hardest both mentally and physically.
I hit mile 12 around 1:16. I had done improper math and thought I needed to run the last 1.1 in a total of 6:23 minute to PR. For the next 10 seconds I was upset, but quickly realized I had a whole bonus minute. I charged the last mile and worked as hard as I could. I wanted to PR, and I gutted it out.
I crossed the finish in 1:22.57 and as 13th women overall.
To be honest, I’m both surprised and elated with a PR. I had originally thought the course was flat and fast, but there is a lot of the wind as well as hills to deal with. I loved how scenic the course was. My legs also felt a little bit tight, and I’m wondering if that is from traveling. I’m excited with a half marathon PR. I do believe that I have an even faster time on a flat course…but don’t we all think we have a faster time?
Questions for you:
Have you tried Ultima before?
Do you like racecations or do you prefer racing around your local area?
Honestly, I would rather go on a vacation versus worry about racing too. I’m glad this race was early because now we don’t have to worry as much about food, logistics and sleep.