I sit here on St. Patrick’s Day morning, just finished watching the elite runners cross the finish line of the 2013 Asics LA Marathon via the live stream on KTLA, and I feel nothing but excitement and giddiness and I think back that 1 week ago this morning, I was running the 2013 San Diego Half Marathon…and I PR’d!
Race morning…March 10, 2013….I don’t really remember if I automatically woke up, or if I was woken up by Lianna’s alarm, but I looked at the time and almost freaked out because I realized my alarm clock didn’t wake me up. It was my fear to be late for the race considering that DST just started that morning (well in the middle of the night while sleeping that is), and when I checked my alarm clock, I saw that it had been set to “PM” instead of “AM”. Umm…what? I could have sworn that I set it for PM. But eh…*shrugs*…we woke up and got ready.
We left the hotel and due to it being hecka cold, decided to take advantage and warm up with a little run/walk/run action, especially since we had to find the Resolutions Tent and then drop my bag off at Gear Check before getting to our Corral. We ended up passing the Resolutions Tent since it was on the other side of the street than where we were at. I was able to exchange my tech shirt with no problem. With that taken care of, I had to drop my bag off at Gear Check- that took a little longer than expected since they didn’t have many volunteers working it.
Start/Gun Time was 7:18am. That was a bit odd in my opinion. We were in Wave 14, the second to last Wave, so we didn’t cross the Start line until 7:47am. Lianna and I ran together for the first few miles. We were talking strategy and it was awesome to hear such helpful tips from her. Also, we were slightly ahead of the 3:00 Pace Group. My goal time was 3:00 and so I wanted to be in the vicinity of the Pace Group.
Around Mile 4-ish, we broke off and Lianna went her way. We had planned to each run our own race, so it was nice to run the first few miles together. Miles 4-6 was when I got in my groove and felt really good and warmed up. My music was keeping me motivated and I was enjoying the scenery. I decided to slow it down a bit after Mile 6 and conserve my energy knowing that I had that big Washington Street hill in a few miles and I knew it was going to be a big hill.
Around Mile 8, there was a little hill, and I decided to put my hill training to the test and ran up the little hill at a slow pace. Soon enough, we turned and were on Washington Street. We started making our way, but you could only see so far ahead, then the street veered slight to the right, and I looked farther and thought “Holy crap, now THAT is a hill!” As far as I could see, everyone that was on the hill was walking. I thought to myself “There is no way that I’m going to put all my training runs in SF to waste. NO WAY. I may not be able to run it all the way, but I’m going to fartlek this thing as best as I can.” And that is exactly what I did. During my climb up Washington Street, there was only one other runner in my vicinity who was run/walk/running the hill just as I was doing.
Up until that time, about Mile 9, the 3:00 Pace Group and myself were taking turns passing each other. They had passed me somewhere around Mile 7 or 8, I can’t really remember. But it was the Washington Street hill where I caught up with them. As they were walking, I ran past them. I reached the top of the hill, and felt good. But it had tired me out so I was doing some walking intervals around Mile 10. I had taken more GU Chomps at the water stop after the top of the hill. I started giving myself positive self talk to pump me up as there was only a few miles left and it was a slow decent to the Finish Line. Somewhere between finishing the Washington Street Hill and slightly before Mile 11, the 3:00 Pace Group had passed me (again). So I needed to pick up the pace and catch up with them if I wanted to reach my 3:00 goal.
Right at Mile 11 was when I started getting a second wind and saw the 3:00 Pace Group ahead of me. I picked up the pace, was coming up right behind them and yelled “I’m shooting for a 3 hour PR today!!” and as I was passing them, they yelled back at me “You got it! You got it! Keep going!!” and that is EXACTLY what I did. It was very emotional for me from that moment on. A million thoughts were going through my head. Major one being that if I kept up this pace, then I was going to finish within my goal time…even faster because technically, I had already passed up the 3:00 Pace Group. And secondly, I was thinking of Mike- who I had dedicated to the race to. The weekend of the SD Half was his 1 year mark of being gone. I was becoming an emotional wreck with all of these thoughts, and I was getting tired. I was pushing as hard as I could.
When we made that final turn onto 5th Avenue, it was the home stretch. I could see the Finish Line in the distance but it still felt so far away. I was still checking behind me to see if I could see the 3:00 Pace Group behind me, but I couldn’t see them at all. I checked my Garmin and knew that I was going to beat my goal time but I don’t think it really registered fully in my head. I just wanted to haul ass to the Finish line. I knew Lianna was somewhere there waiting for me. That’s when the tunnel vision kicked in, and everything in my peripheral became a blur. I saw the jumbo tron and saw myself cross it and heard them announce my name. I was a bit confused because it seemed a bit ahead of the actual Finish Line mat which what I wanted to cross and stop my Garmin. As I was crossing, and heard my name, I looked ahead and saw Lianna waiting for me and cheering me and I could vaguely hear her say “You did it! You did it!” I was already in tears and immediately stopped my Garmin. I looked down at my watch and freaked out. I had surpassed my 3:00 goal time and finished under 3 hours. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT!!
After getting my beautiful medal, and catching my breath, I was able to catch up with Lianna and found out that she PR’d as well! WE BOTH DID IT! We both PR’d! Lianna PR’d at 2:47. And I PR’d at 2:57. I am so incredibly proud and happy for both of us! I surpassed my goal time of 3:00. NEVER did I think I would do a Sub-3 that morning. I was shooting for an even 3:00 to really beat my previous PR of 3:08 (at 2012 Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon). To do a Sub-3 would have been my next goal, lol! For some it may not be a big deal, but for me it is HUGE and I am incredibly proud of how I did at the 2013 San Diego Half Marathon. I ran my hardest. I was strong with my training in the months leading up to the race and with it being a dedication race, I put my heart on the line.
It was my first time running the San Diego Half; it was their 2nd year of having the race. I really wish I had know about it last year so I can have been an Inaugural runner because I definitely would and want to run this again next year. Majority of the course was flat and fast with the exception of the Washington Street hill. I had a few other friends run the Half as well and they all PR’d. Congrats to all of our PR’s! It was a well organized race with tons of volunteers and help (with the exception of Gear Check). I really liked how the Water Stops were marked with signs saying what mile we were at AND it also noted how much further the NEXT water stop was. That was very helpful! And although I never use them, it looked like there were plenty of potty stops along the way with minimal lines. There were also Race Guards running the race and it was nice to see them running and making stops along the way to help those in need.
San Diego Half, you kept it classy and you treated us well! There’s a good chance we’ll be returning to run in 2014. Until next time…