Capitola Half Marathon Recap & Then Some

Oh my gosh.. it’s a blog post!!!

Anyway, I know it’s been a while but life has been busy (hopefully I’ll have a recap of all the craziness up soon), but I really wanted to share my recent great race experience. I ran the Capitola Half Marathon (part of the Surfer’s Path Marathon) on Sunday May 20. I volunteered at the Expo helping race participants pick up their race bibs. My friends also helped out by working as the lead cyclists. Also, I got to hang out with my running friends Alisyn and Elise. But the best part.. a new PR!! Woot woot!

The race route covers my usual running routes, so I was excited to run such familiar terrain. Both the expo and the starting line were only a few miles from my house. Saturday morning I broke out the beach cruiser that had been ignored since the fall and rode down to the expo. It was a chilly morning but still a nice ride. We set up the tables, chairs, and tents for the event, took a coffee break, and then settled in to help registered runners pick up their race bibs. We were located on a shaded stage near the beach, so we watched everyone relax in the sun as we shivered in the shade. It was a long day, but Alisyn and Elise are a lot of fun, so the time flew by. And I really want to thank Elise  and Alisyn for working soo hard this weekend! Alisyn covers all the details her in post about volunteering. I rode my bike home (beautiful evening), ate some pasta, drank some wine, and went to bed.

The next morning my alarm went off at 5:30am (practically sleeping in for a race day). I tried to eat something but my stomach wasn’t having it. I got everything together, hopped on the cruiser again, and headed to the start line. I was unsure how good of an idea it was to ride my bike before the race. It was only a few miles but I worried the little hills might tire my legs. But instead, it warmed up my muscles, leaving me feeling ready to go once I go there. I encouraged Elise to run (we had tweeted the night before about a goal of 1:48 finish time), said hi to Pat & Paul, the lead cyclists, and put my stuff away. About 30 seconds before the start, Elise and I made it to the crowd of runners and off we went. I had forgotten to sync my Nike+ GPS Sportswatch and started it a minute or so after the start line linking only to the foot sensor. The GPS didn’t sync until about a half mile later and apparently a bunch of lost our GPS signal somewhere on the route, so my mileage was completely off (bummer because Elise and I were booking it in those first miles and I wanted to see my actual pace). Anyway, I’m pretty sure at the 3 miler marker I had a PR for the 5k and I know I did for the 10k (who would have thought, PRs for 5k and 10k times in a half marathon!). At about the 3.5 mile point, Kevin was waiting to cheer me on. There weren’t any spectators at this point in the race and I was stoked to see him.

Just past mile 4, Elise and I parted ways and I looked forward to the downhill portion that would begin around mile 5ish. Heading back after the village, I started to get some serious side cramps. I knew it was a combination of too much water drank too quickly and starting out so fast. Since I knew the route so well, I knew when I’d have to push uphill and when I could, cruise downhill. I wanted to take advantage of those downhills and let gravity pull me down, knowing that if I needed to walk for a few seconds I wanted to save those times for uphill only. And I kept a close eye on the runners around me, keeping a similar pace. After each 15-20 walk break, I sprinted to catch up with them and maintain my pace. I did this a few times, I wish I hadn’t needed to but it didn’t hurt me in time so I guess no real regrets. Toward the end I was really pushing my body, but I knew I would finish under 1:50 and I was pretty confident I would PR, so I was feeling really good. My body hurt and I thought I might need to throw up. I started to take a final little walk break but a fellow runner encouraged me to run. So I picked up the pace again, focused on  the finish line.

I crossed the finish at approximately 1:46. I had taken my headphones out in the last half mile, I just wanted to hear the ocean, the other runners’ feet hitting the pavement, and in the last tenth of the mile, the cheering crowd. I heard the announcer (who was amazing about getting everyone’s names called out) announce my name as I crossed the finish and Alisyn cheering me on. I saw the time on the clock and I was just so elated. My body hurt but I didn’t care. Since I had started my watch late I wasn’t sure of my chip time, I assumed I was pretty close to the gun time. Alisyn and I waited and cheered on Elise when she crossed at about 1:52 (2o seconds from her own new PR). When our official results were posted I couldn’t believe it: 1:45:44. I had been dreaming of this half marathon time since my first half (the Santa Cruz Half Marathon that had also dominated as my previous PR until Sunday).

I hung out with Elise and Alisyn for the next hour or so, cheering on other finishers, and finally (right before the 3 hour mark) seeing the first marathoner cross the finish line. I checked in with Pat and Paul who had rode in front of the course. Pat would stay the rest of the day helping out runners on the course (and based on the FB feedback, runners loved him!) and Paul headed out with me.

This had been my 14th half marathon and my 3rd of the year. After Oakland, I had been so upset. I was sick and had to walk most of the race. But in April, Paul and I ran the US Half 2 and I finally came in under 2 hours again (1:54:34). It was my best time for a US Half (and my 3rd time running that race). Paul and I had trained pretty well leading up to that race and if I hadn’t made that time, I would have never tried for a sub 1:50 at this race. I didn’t get a chance to write a recap for that race, but it was a great weekend. Paul, Kevin, & I stayed in the SF area. And despite being late to the starting line, Paul and I ran a good race. Both the Capitola Half and the US Half 2 were blessed with beautiful weather. At the US Half, I saw familiar faces at the end when Kevin and Paul’s girlfriend cheered me as I crossed the finish line, just a couple minutes after Paul.

Other than these half marathons, I ran the Superbowl 10k for the third time in February and Presidio 10k  the week after the US Half 2. At the Presidio I ran into an old high school friend that I hadn’t seen since my high school reunion in 2009. The first Sunday in April I ran the Carlsbad 5000 while home visiting my parents. This had been my first race back in 2007. This time my parents came to cheer me on, the first time they had been to one of my races. It was not a PR for me, but I crushed my previous time and was about 30 seconds slower than my 5k PR. I love running in Carlsbad and knowing my parents were cheering me on made it all the better.

I have a 5k in two weeks and this time I get to run with both Alisyn and Elise. I think we are going to be trying our hardest to beat each other… but I anticipate it being a lot of fun too.

I know it was a long post, but it’s only my 2nd of the year so I think it’s ok. I’m hoping to resume good blogging habits. I can’t wait to write up a recap of 5k … so I’ll see you then 🙂


5 thoughts on “Capitola Half Marathon Recap & Then Some

  1. Ahaha – You are so cute! I loved your recap!!! Thank you again for all your help and support! I can’t wait to race with you next weekend (even though you will be kicking my arse) and then training with you as the months unfold! Hooray for PR”s…You have earned it!!!

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