Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Healdsburg Half Marathon Report (and odds and ends)

Oh where do I start!  It was a fantastic weekend with the hubbs, some new bloggy buddies and the most perfect weather a runner could ask for!

One thing I don't understand, and I think I have mentioned this before, is why don't they host marathon's on Saturday's???  It was so nice to have the race done by 9:30 and still have the whole weekend left!  Plus, you get a day of recovery with Sunday! 

Friday Ari and I left work around 2 and headed up to Santa Rosa/Healdsburg.  What would normally take about 2 hours, took us almost 3 since the Bay Bridge was closed and causing so much havoc on Bay Area freeways.  But we took our time, put the top down, and enjoyed the afternoon together.  We made it to packet pick-up in plenty of time and then set out on the hunt for my pre-race ritual dinner of Indian food.

The top down driving through stinky wine country.
I think they just fertilized the vineyards, and it was smelly!

We found some delightful Indian food and headed to bed early as we had to be at the shuttle bus by 5:30.  The bus was about a 40 min drive away from our hotel, so that meant it was a 4 am wake up call, AGAIN!  Side note, I am actually starting to be able to really function at this hour!

We arrived finally by bus at the start and it was chilly!  I had brought one of the space blankets from another marathon and so I stayed pretty warm!  I was soon on the lookout for Aron, my new bloggy friend who would be running the race, too!  She arrived nice and early and we both hit up the porta potties a few times.  Before we knew it, our other bloggy friend Amy was there, too.  I had picked up their packets and bibs for them the night before so we had to make the last min adjustments of bib pinning and timing chip clipping.  Amy at one point was going to venture off to the porta potties without us, and Aron and I decided to stay huddled together to keep warm.  Soon though, it was time to line up and we couldn't find Amy!  So Aron and I went over to the start and went over some race thoughts.  We both were ready to race and we briefly discussed our race plans.  We decided to stick together for as long as we could, not trying to hold the other back.  But I knew in the back of my mind this girl could stick with me, so I decided to keep her with me, pacing all the crazy little hills in the race.  Amy eventually found us and the gun went off! 

Our first two miles came in at 16 min, not bad considering there was a large hill at mile 2, which was supposed to be one of the bigger ones of the race.  I jokingly looked at Aron and said, "hey, that wasn't bad, we got this in the bag!"  Little did I know, they would just keep coming!  We kept a pretty even pace through the next five miles as we wound through the beautiful wineries.  This was the first time that I had actually raced with someone and it was sooo nice!  She pulled me when I needed it, and I pulled her when she needed it.  We kept each other going.  I gu-ed around 50 mins, almost at 6 miles, just after we saw Ari at mile 5.

Aron and me coming in at mile 5 - lookin' good!

The next five miles were ups and downs on rolling hills.  It was so pretty out and I kept trying to absorb the beautiful scenery and the crazy costumes that were among us.  I would point them out to Aron and chuckle together and thank God that I wasn't that crazy to try to run a half-marathon in a costume!  It was also quite a windy course, so you couldn't always see what was coming up ahead - a good thing and a bad thing.  It definitely kept you focused on mile in front of you and not stress too much about what was to come.  The smells out there were also quite awful.  Between the fertilizer, skunks and the overwhelming smell of fermenting grapes, the smells of the race were very interesting!

Aron and I coming in at mile 10

Amy had decided to run the race at her own pace and we had lost her pretty much at mile 2.  Don't worry though, that chic rocked the race, too!  At mile 10 Ari was waiting with some Gatorade for me and I took a much needed sip before the home stretch.  Right after this point, we headed out onto a main road.  We had to keep to the side which kind-of sucked since the road was at an angle.  Running on an angle is hard on the knees and ankles.  I really had to go to the bathroom at this point, too, and it was starting to take a toll.  I had wanted to get Aron at the finish around 1:44, but I knew by mile 11 with my stomach acting up that wasn't going to happen.  But we kept on moving and pulling each other through.  We even chicked a few dudes at this point!

We rounded the corner at mile 13 and raced in together!  Aron had dropped back a few feet but I reached back for her and we both crossed the finish line together!  It was so awesome to enjoy that moment with someone else!  Both she and I worked together out there and it showed!  Final race stats:

13.1 miles 1:45:37 8:03/mi pace!  Whoo hoo!
We were 19th and 20th over all for our age group and 66 and 67th out of 941 women for the race!  There were some speedy chic's out there!  I guess those locals handled the rolling hills better than us!  Thank you, thank you Aron, I had a blast and I can't wait for CIM!
You can read Aron's report here and Amy's report here.  They both did just awesome!

Aron and I at the finish with NO WATER!

Amy, Aron and me with our awesom medals!

It was a really awesome race and I can't wait to do it next year!  The weather was perfect, the course challenging and it made for a nice little get away for Ari and I.  Thanks girls, I had a blast!

After the race, Ari and I headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head home.  We stopped at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City and I had the best tasting turkey sammy ever!  There is nothing like a post-race meal.  And this was perfect, as my appetite always takes a few hours to come back after a race.   By the time we got home and picked up Lilly we took a nap and passed out for 2 hours!  We spent Halloween evening with our best friends playing cards and handing out candy.  An awesome Saturday all around.

Sunday after Mass I headed out for 5 recovery miles.  Nothing special, just enough to get my legs loose after the workout from Saturday.
5 miles 40:19  8:04/mi

Yesterday after work I really wanted to get one slightly longer run in before this Sunday.  I decided to do it on my dreadmill to simulate the pancake flat course that will be Fresno.  I started out at 7:08 and for two miles then took it back to 7:45 for the remainder of the run.
10 miles 1:16:16   7:37/mi pace 
My legs felt great and after a good stretch and cool down I even did some core work.  Tonight I am going to take it easy, just get some miles in.  Since this week of taper wasn't on my schedule, I am going to improvise and let my legs and heart rate dictate the miles.  I am going to keep it easy and probably nothing over 6 or 7 miles at a time.  My rest day will be Saturday.

I am really excited about Sunday and Fresno.  Not nervous at all.  But we'll see, I am ready to race.  After last week's melt down, I am doing much better.  All of you pointed out that sometimes we just need to have one of those days to put everything into perspective.  And Saturday's race also helped with that.  I have it in me and I know I can draw upon it when I need to.  Thank you again to all of you with your words of encouragement.  It helped me so much!  This is why I love the bloggy world!  I figured out that I will be eligible for Marathon Maniacs after CIM in December.  I will have run Lake Tahoe, Fresno and CIM in about 71 days!  Crazy!

Have an awesome running week's peeps and congrats to all of those peeps who ran this weekend!
Also, go ahead and check out Natalie over at Lil Runner, she is giving away some awesome healthy bars!
Happy Running! :)


Sarah said...

Nice work! I knew you would kick ass!! Glad the run was good, and so fun you had a buddy to pace with. I know I really enjoy running with Nicole for that reason.

I'm a little scared you are now functional at 4am though. YIKES

Can't wait to hear about Fresno!!

Jen Feeny said...

Great recap and congrats!

B.o.B. said...

Congrats on your race! You ladies were flying. I for one, enjoyed running in a costume, but I did see some that weren't as running friendly as mine. LOL!

Who knew vineyards could smell so bad AND I cannot believe you eat Indian before a race. You are brave. (Indian food + me = PCs!)

Aron said...

SUCH a fun day out there and thank you for pulling me along!!! it was sooo much fun to run with someone :) I cant wait to race together again!

now rest those legs girl!! you have a marathon to race! cannot wait to hear how it goes :)

N.D. said...

great job!!!

RunToTheFinish said...

I htink my races have been half and half between sat and sun. I definitely like the saturday start personally!!

wow so you are going for marathon maniacs, gosh now I know I totally worship you!!! Seriously I need some help on getting faster without getting injured. so when you have a breath between races that would be a great post!

Tara said...

Nice job Katie! Way to go on that race pace and that is way too cool that you got to run with some blogger friends!