Take for instance, yesterday's Stockton Half Marathon. This was NOT a race on my radar. In fact, I had pretty much not been thinking about racing any more half's the rest of the year. But, thanks to my ability to be talked into anything, my buddy Ron guilted me into running this race with him. And I don't use guilt loosely. He knows how much I love to race, almost as much as him. And after a few, "you know you want to hang with me," and "you know you're dying to just hang out in Stockton on a Sunday with me," I was swayed to run and signed up last Thursday. Last week was a hard week for me as far as my energy was concerned. I had zero and adding a race to it didn't sound too smart. Dumb won, and on Sunday morning I met Punky at his pad and together we drove off to Stockton: the murder capital of California.
When I told my hubbs (and near anyone I knew) that I was running a race through Stockton, he wasn't too excited about this idea. Yes, Stockton has crime levels that out beat East L.A. and Detroit. Nice! He even asked if I would wear a bullet proof vest when I ran! LOL! Punky though, pulled up the map and even saw that we ran through the University of the Pacific and right by a country club - how bad could it be? Hahaha!
This was the inaugural running of the race and I have to say it was very well organized. Ron and I arrived with just over an hour to the start and found parking right at the start and finish. Score! After hanging out in the car (where we may or may not have been cracking jokes about our fellow runners), pretty soon it was time to head to the start line. Neither of us were expecting much out of our performances. All that Punky knew was that he really wanted a sub 2, and I was hoping to go around 1:45 and sticking to MP miles. At the very small start line, Ron and I, along with 1,000 other Stockton peeps stood around waiting for the gun to go off. I made us push up to the front, near some fasties and right ahead of a group of women wear fleece jackets! They snapped lots of pics of the start line where both Ron and I made sure our Punk Rock Racing shirts were visible. - tee hee. Right before the start, the race director served us up this little gem from the top of a ladder, "Congrats to all of you Stockton residents! Did you know you all hold the title as the fattest city in America? Congrats on coming out to beat that!" WOW! Not only do they hold the murder capital of California, they are also the fatties of America! What a great way to motivate some runners!
Ron and I looked at each other, had a good laugh, and said see you at the finish! And with that the gun went off and I just started running. All the rules went out the window that I had given myself for the day. I needed to get one of my last long run in that day and planned on adding 7 or 8 miles to the day after the race when I got home. Yeah, that didn't happen. Right away I was with the lead pack - about 10 of us. Three women and about 6 or 7 men. They were flying. I was right behind the motorcycle cop leading us! It was very cool! I couldn't believe I was holding on! I looked at my watch at about 1/2 a mile in and was running a 6:30! WOWZA! Got to slow down! So I slowed to around 7 and kept at it. I faded back about .10 of a mile but could feel like I was still part of the pack. I had talked about going for the 1:37 I needed to qualify for NY but I wasn't sure I could get it yesterday. In fact, I had put it out of my head completely. But as I was running and feeling pretty good, I started to believe that maybe it was possible. I hit the one mile marker and was about .10 short on my Garmin. I didn't know how that could be since I was running with the front and following their line pretty good. Oh well, I'll keep my work up.
mile 1: 7:09
mile 2: 7:15
I was feeling pretty good the whole time and kept checking in with myself. I wasn't convinced I could hold the needed 7:23's for the whole race but here I was hitting sub that and feeling strong. The mile 2 marker though put me even further short with my Garmin - my Garmin showed 1.80 when I passed it. Great, a short course.
At around mile 2.5 we entered on an out and back onto the University of the Pacific campus. We crossed a bridge, ran through the campus them looped back up a gravel path. NICE! WTH? They also said that there would be water stops every 2 miles starting at mile 2.5. NOT! Didn't get the first aid station until mile 3 almost and then the next one was way after mile 5. This continued the whole race and would be part of my demise.
After the loop at the campus we were dumped onto a levy road that felt like it went for days. At this point I decided to scale back a bit and the lead pack was about 1/2 mile ahead. I was with one other guy at this point and he was pretty consistent so I decided to stick with him. My legs and breathing still felt really good so I just kept ticking off the miles hoping to bank enough time in case I crashed near the end.
mile 3: 7:28
mile 4: 7:30
Miles had slowed up quite a bit but I was okay with that. I was starting to think that I wouldn't have the 1:37 in me, but as I did the math with the short course, I actually had a good chance. By mile 4, the course markers were WAY off - I was consistently reading .40 short or so, and the guy next to me was, too. With that on my side, I was thinking I really had a shot at it.
Up until this point I was 3rd woman overall. But at mile 5 or so, a woman came flying by me out of no where and just like that I was 4th. No biggie, I kept running my race and sticking with Mr. Consistent. All of a sudden though, around 5.5 I had to go to the bathroom - like STAT! My stomach cramped and I wanted to stop. It even hurt to breathe. I could see ahead around mile 6 that there was a potty so I aimed at that. But when I got there it was locked! Argh! I couldn't stop, I didn't want to stop, and decided to push through. Unfortunately though, I was sick to my stomach and couldn't even think of GUing. I grabbed a cup of water and hoped for the best. By mile 7 though, I felt like garbage.
mile 5: 7:36
mile 6: 7:48 (potty stop)
mile 7: 7:51
I wanted the race to be over. We were running through some really, really boring neighborhoods and the crowd support was few and far between. I didn't even have any other racers around me except for Mr. Conistant who was ahead of me. Around mile 7 also, I was passed by another woman - there goes 5th place. In here I decided to keep pushing and see what I had. The miles were still showing short and I thought that if I picked up the pace I might still have a shot at my goal time. So I put my head down and ran.
mile 8: 7:44 (started my kick)
mile 9: 7:29
When I had less than 5 miles left, I was showing that I could really get that 1:37 with the course so short so I kicked. I kept telling myself, "you can do anything for 40 mins!" I pushed hard through mile 9 and found out quick that I had kicked too soon. I needed to scale back. My stomach wasn't too awful, but I knew I still couldn't take a GU and just stuck with water on the last water stop. Mile 10 was a blur, but by mile 11 or so, I was running out of steam and loosing it. Without any GU or any thing but a few sips of water, I had zero energy left. And this is where they dumped us on a bike path that had been chewed up over the years. It was a gravely mess and it hurt to run on it. I just wanted to be done and any thought of the 1:37 had faded out of my head - I just wanted the finish line.
mile 10: 7:43
mile 11: 7:51 (was passed by one more woman - 6th place here I come!)
mile 12: 8:04
With about a mile left, it looked like the crappy bike path was almost over! BUT not before we had to dodge an overgrown tree! Seriously, it was so overgrown, I had to duck down and run through! WTH? Are you kidding me? I felt like I had zero energy, like someone had taken my batteries out. By the end of the bike path, with just over a half mile left, we were back in neighborhoods and winding our way home. My Garmin at mile 12 marker showed 11.68 - still short, so I was doing the math in my head and knew even with the short course I wouldn't get the 1:37. I was okay with that, I was still going to beat my 1:41 from a couple of weeks ago and still ran pretty good.
The last stretch felt like forever. My Garmin was catching up. And this is where they made up a lot of the distance. When I crossed the finish line (finally) my Garmin showed 12.96 miles - so they made up quite a bit even though it was still short.
mile 13: 7:43 (actually .96 on my Garmin)
I crossed the finish line in 1:39:16! I was actually really excited about this! I saw Layla right away and it was soooo good to see a smiling, familiar face. I wanted to puke, though. I was done. I know that if I had gotten to GU and drink more I would have done better. But I wasn't able to get it down and it was my demise. I should have taken it anyway, but run and learn. I was still really glad I ran as well as I did.
13.1 miles: 1:39:15 - 7:35/mi pace
3/20 Age group!!!!
6th woman over all out of 372!!
After I finally got to use the bathroom and grab a water, Layla and I started looking for Punky. He said he wanted a sub 2 and the clock was showing 1:53 or so. So we started to wander around a bit. All of a sudden, they announced his name and we saw him cross in just the nick of time! Ron got a HUGE PR! I was so excited for him! He's such a sandbager ;) He too, couldn't believe how short the course measured out there, but his Garmin showed 13.02 - a little closer. AND we both complained about the last mile or so being on the gravel path and the tree!
Over all, I would totally run this race again. There were some boring parts, but I really enjoyed it. There wasn't much crowd support, but the race was relatively well organized. Everyone was very friendly and I think Ron and I will be back next year.
|I think I was congratulating him crossing the line - ha!|
After we got a bit cleaned up, they were going to be handing out the age group awards. So I talked my peeps into hanging out a bit. The race organizers did great with the after party, with plenty of food and drinks and even a jazz band. But we waited, and waited and they still weren't making moves to do the awards. So, like all fun runners, shenanigans ensued as we waited.
|Hello, world? Yeah, it's me Ron. I got a PR!|
I finally had to walk over to the race director and ask him for my award. I told him my ride was going to leave me (which may or may not have been true). I thanked him for a good day, told him about the course and grabbed my award.
|Me with my AG award - I thought it might be edible ;)|
I had a pretty great day hanging with my buddy Ron and my good friend Layla. They are both awesome running buddies. Thanks again Ron for everything ;) And THANK YOU Layla for all the fun pics you took ;)
Needless to say I didn't go home and run my added miles. After driving the hour car ride home from Ron's, my legs were done! My quads were shot. Thankfully today they aren't too bad, nothing a bit of bike work won't help take care of.
Since this has already gotten wayyyyy too long, I'll update you all about my week, give you an update about the doctor's appointment and start the countdown to CIM in less than 3 weeks tomorrow! WOW!
Have a great Monday!
Happy Running Peeps!
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