Race Recap: San Diego Half Marathon, 2013

Ok, I wasn’t originally going to write this post up for a while, because I haven’t had access to a laptop. Long story short: My 2007 MacBook is literally hanging on a thread and I only turn it on if I absolutely have to. From here on out, I’ll be setting aside some money to save up for a new one.

But anyway, this post isn’t about my near-death laptop. We can save that story for another time. I’ve got my cup of green tea ready to go, and I’m ready to share with you my experience running the San Diego Half Marathon.

My really good friend, Christine, and I flew in from the Bay Area the Friday before, and we hit the expo up on Saturday. Race day was Sunday, March 10, 2013.

We both set alarms up for race morning. I think I set mine up for either 5:30a or 5:45a, I can’t remember. I do remember not really having a really good night of sleep; it might have been due to the time change and the paranoia that we might miss the race because of it! But we managed to get up on time, and get ready. We needed to make our way to the start line a bit earlier since Christine had a defective shirt and was able to exchange it at the Resolutions Tent prior to the start.

It was balls to the wall cold that morning, so Christine and I did a light warm-up from the hotel to the Resolutions Tent. We actually ended up passing the Resolutions Tent since we were on the opposite side of the street, but Christine was able to exchange her shirt, and then she dropped her bag off at Gear Check.

We went to go hang out in our starting wave: Wave 14. We were in the second to the last wave, which meant we had a long while to wait. It really felt like we were waiting for forever until our wave actually started! On my Garmin details, it says I crossed the start around 7:47am.

Christine and I were off to a good start. I think I might have talked too much, hopefully I wasn’t annoying. lol She was aiming for a PR (Personal Record) of 3:00, and she had started in the wave with the 2:45 pacers, so she had a good chance of coming in either at her PR time or even earlier. As long as she kept the 3:00 pacers within sight, she was good to go. I wanted to PR, but wasn’t exactly aiming for a 2:45. I just needed to beat my PR of 2:52, and I would be a happy gal.

Somewhere before the 4-mile mark, I started to break away from Christine. I kept looking back to see where she was at, and I felt really bad for leaving her. But every time I looked back, she kept giving me a thumbs up, so that made me feel better and she seemed okay with it. I went off on my own race, while praising the angels above for such beautiful weather. (Honestly, we got really lucky, despite the sun being out, that coastal breeze was NICE!!)

Roughly around the 5-6 mile mark, I started to gain my first wind. I was finally at a good pace, and my body was holding up really well. I kept on trucking, and was able to run from water stop to water stop with ease. I didn’t walk until I was at a water station, and even then, once I grabbed my water, I needed to get going. (I never slow down for more than a minute, up to a minute in a half. Anything longer than that, my body loses its groove.) I saw these really funny spectator signs, and if anyone knows me, I love perverted “That’s what she said,” jokes. 🙂

I really started to slow down around mile 8, and completely slowed my pace down when I reached mile 9. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I came around to this part of the race, and I knew it was going to bite me in the butt because (1) I never really trained for this race and (2) I never really hill trained for this race. Simply put: I never really put hard work into training for this race, but I knew it was around miles 8-9 that were going to be the hardest. And the course was no lie. Instead of a hill, it seemed to me like a huge mountain. Even this photo doesn’t do it any justice:

When I turned this corner and saw this hill, I also saw a plethora of people just walking it. I knew I was going to be one of them, but I wasn’t ashamed. I sped-walked this “hill” as best as I could, without trying to hurt myself. I could actually feel my left calf tighten up when I tried to run up the hill, and since it was a huge risk to continue running, I stopped. It wasn’t until I got to the water stop at the top of the “hill,” that I was able to get myself back into a running groove. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as downhill as I thought, and it felt more like rolling hills up until mile 11.

From mile 11 on out to the finish, it was literally downhill, or as flat as it could possibly get. The last two miles were my biggest negative splits of the entire race. I am guilty of not paying attention to my heart rate, and the last two miles showed a huge spike in my HRM numbers. OOPS. But you know what? I didn’t care at that time. I knew I was on track to hit a PR, despite having that big hill in my way. As I came down into the Gaslamp District, that was it…

As Christine put it, “tunnel vision” came into effect once I could see the finish line in the distance. I was almost there. I heard my name being called out and was slightly confused since I hadn’t quite crossed the finish, but I pushed on. I put my entire heart into that last bit of the race, so much that I even started to tear up as I came down into the finish chute when there it was…. I crossed that finish and crossed with a nice PR of 2:47!

Of course, with crossing the finish comes the beautiful water works. I bawled my little eyes out as I went to get my medal and some water. I was very proud of myself, but at the same time, I was SO ALONE. This was the first race where I had nobody at the finish line waiting for me. I cried even harder at the thought, but I knew I had to hold it together, and be that support for Christine when she came crossing through the finish.

It didn’t seem long until I heard Christine’s name being called out, and I watched for her on the jumbotron, when there she was! She looked very strong coming across that line, and I screamed and cheered for her as I ran in her direction. She came in with a PR of 2:57, even faster than her desired 3:00! She was a little emotional, and I hugged her and gave her all of the congrats!! She definitely earned her PR, and I was (and still am) very proud of her!

We took our finisher’s photos, and went to grab some refreshments before going back to the hotel. We were feeling the soreness of our PRs slightly (I think we felt them more on Monday morning, hah!) but we relaxed in the hotel before going out to a celebratory lunch at Croce’s.

All in all, it was such a beautiful and great race weekend with Christine! I’m so happy to have found a running buddy that I can have racecations with! I hope we can travel back to San Diego for the half marathon again. Until then, we are on our own, training for our own races respectively.

And, please go check out Christine’s San Diego Race Recap for her take on the race and more pictures!

Thanks for reading!

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