As I mentioned in my last post, this race was my first race ever–9 years ago–which makes it pretty special for me.
After the Expo Saturday evening, J & I decided we didn’t have time for the beach, so I asked the hotel lady for a good restaurant recommendation. She said 501 City Grill would have some rice and grilled chicken for me, so at 5 PM-ish, away we went. Thankfully it was close, as we were all hungry. I ended up ordering the grilled salmon, and it came with rice and a bit of fruit/veggies:
Very delish! I just hoped it would be OK on my tummy the next morning. I was happy to find a meal that was not too bland, but not too full of things that would cause me to regret eating it, if you get me. One of the things I love about destination races is it’s the trifecta: seeing new things (travel), trying new things to eat, and getting to race in a new spot! I felt quite pleased that everything was going smoothly.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to get the boys ready for bed, and to get my race stuff ready:
We tried to go to bed early (8:30-ish) but I ended up studying the race map and refining my fueling strategy just a tad (no Clif shot blocks, as they have caffeine, and I think it messes with me).
4 AM came way too soon. J&I shared a double bed (yikes) which was quite small compared to our king at home (1st world problems, I know). So needless to say, it wasn’t a great night’s sleep. I ate my grilled chicken, cold, since the room lacked a microwave. I ate my rice with a lid as a scooper, since I forgot a spoon:
And I had no sweet potato at all, since I brought a raw one… lol. I had a banana a little while later, with some water and Gatorade, and finally a Stinger around 6 AM. I felt OK but not great, so I took an Immodium before leaving the room at 6:30. Oh, and God bless Javi for waking up at 4 with me. He didn’t have to, but he did–I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband!!
We headed out to the race, and the boys “dropped me off” at Coral 4.
My goal time of 1:55 got me into the front corals… I just hoped I’d end up with the others around me. I felt tired and I had no idea how the race would go. I had 2 GU’s, 1 Stinger, and a “just in cases” Immodium. The national anthem, as usual, made me shed some tears as I thought of Daniel Hyde, John Runkle, Dimitri del Castillo, and Sara Knutson (all West Pointers who passed during the war). The crowd and the music lifted my spirits afterwards, and I began to feel somewhat pumped up to run 13.1 miles.
We started off in a light rain/mist, and I thanked myself for deciding to forgo the tank top and just wear a sports bra. It was 80*, instead of the predicted 72*, and just felt insanely humid, even at 7 AM. The first mile didn’t feel great, because I didn’t warm up much, but I saw the boys twice (at two different spots along the course) so that made me smile of course 🙂
I broke up the race in my mind, into 5 chunks:
Start – 3 miles (downtown)
4 – 6 miles (heading out into the countryside)
7 – 9 miles (near Camp Pendleton)
10 – 12 miles (heading back into the city)
and the last mile + 0.1 (along the boardwalk)
My hope was to start slower–around a 9 min/mile pace–and gradually settle into an 8:30 pace. However, the heat immediately got to me. My first few miles were OK (sub-9) but I stopped to pee around mile 3, which cost me some time. The 2nd chunk of the race went alright, but I could feel myself starting to fade. I had to take the 2nd Immodium around mile 5 or 6 (and the fact that I can’t remember shows how hazy I was). Thank God I brought it!
I crossed the 10K mark around 58 minutes, which should have been exciting (I wasn’t too far off the 9 min pace) but instead I felt like “ugh, I am working my butt off and I’m just under an hour?! There’s no way I’m gonna get sub-2.” I was near the 2 hour pace group for awhile, but eventually lost sight of them. It became a mental battle, just to keep running. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt the desire to walk so badly during a race. Not good. I began to not care at all, I just wanted to finish and be done with it.
I slowed way down… and just tried to hang in there and not become a heat casualty! Thankfully, this guy at Mile 9, at Camp Pendleton, had ice in Red Solo Cups, so I got one, and it really saved me. It helped me cool down and somewhat revive myself. The GU’s were going down OK, but I felt there was enough water/Gatorade along the course. Especially at Mile 8. The water stop was closer to 8.5 (I think??) and I was about to keel over. I got extra water on that stop, so I poured some on my head and drank two more cups.
At mile 10, I was hurting but knew I could make it without walking. My legs felt decent, my breathing was fine, it was the heat that sucked all my energy though. Spectators handed out popsicles, and hosed us off with cool water, so that really helped. They even had a “mister” set up which felt nice:
I knew I had less than a 5K to go, so I was able to somewhat salvage my race at this point. I ate half an orange popsicle, and decided to save the rest for Gabe, around mile 11. I kinda knew it would melt, but I did it anyway. The one and only hill was a highway overpass, around mile 12, and I felt fine going up and down it. I knew after that the rest of the race would be OK.
I got to the boardwalk and picked up the pace pretty well (almost 8 minutes exactly for mile 13). So even though I had a lot of slow middle miles, I finished strong. Also, the race was 0.15 miles longer than 13.1 miles. My watch said 13.25 and I heard/saw others who confirmed their watches said the same. Oh well, what’s an extra 0.15 when you’ve already gone that far?
Here I am coming down the boardwalk:
And finally, 2:07:37 after starting…
Popsicle in hand, haha!
I saw the boys right away, which was great. I made Javi wear his orange Honda shirt so I could easily spot him, and it worked! Before I could meet up with them, I grabbed all kinds of food and drink, and snagged a few pics like a rockstar:
II finally linked up with the boys, gave Gabe the melted popsicle, the fresh (cold) popsicle, and a bag of chips… and he didn’t want any of it! Javi ate the cold popsicle, and I chugged some chocolate milk and Gatorade. Well, sipped it on the mile-long walk back. And carried Gabe half the way because he had probably walked nearly 2 miles by that point and he was pooped.
But all 3 boys were very supportive, and I count myself as extremely blessed to be a wife and mom to these beautiful dudes:
And after that, I showered, did a quick stretch, we packed and went to the beach:
In all, a pretty darn fantastic weekend! It was hot, but might do it again!!
Addition: Here’s the course, and my mile splits. You can tell I took potty breaks at miles 3 and 9 (or 10?) The crazy part is how eerily similar–or exact!–some miles were (1+2, 5+6, 9+10, 11+12) Finally downloaded off the Garmin.