Monday, January 24, 2011

Carlsbad HALF MARATHON Race Recap

Before I start with my recap I want to say a couple things.

First thank you all for your comments yesterday, you made me feel really special and coming from people who know what it is to run half and full marathons it means a lot to me.

I have always admire marathoners, ever since I am a little girl.  My uncle used to run marathons. Everyone in our really large family (I am grand kid #49) thought he was nuts except for me.

Now that I did a half marathon, I have to say to all of you people who run half and FULL marathons, those of you who are super fast, the triathletes:  
I admire all of you even MORE.


I apologize this recap will have too many words and way too many pictures with me in them.

This was my very first Half Marathon.
Carlsbad is about 1h45 drive from where I live so we had decided to go there Saturday and spend the night.  But first I had to do a little bit of this:

 With my favorite player!

Game ended at 2 pm and we hit the road right away to get to the Expo before 5pm.  We hit some traffic, of course this is Southern California there WILL BE TRAFFIC always, and got there at 4 pm.  The Expo was great, lots of vendors, everybody was super nice.  I got my bib and race shirt.  They gave a cool Technical long sleeve shirt:

After the Expo we went to drive the course.  I saw that it was not 100% flat like they said it would be.   There were some hills there.  The longest part of the course is by the ocean, so beautiful, hard to ask for anything better then that.  After that we went to our hotel.  Wow what a nice place: Seapoint Resort.  My father in law took care of the reservation using his time share points and we saved a lot of $ and were able to stay in a condo unit with 2 bedrooms!  The resort was by the ocean and along the course for the marathon and the half marathon.  This was perfect!  Here are some pics from the resort:

View from balcony when we arrived.

My boys live a really hard life: Watching Despicable Me with cookies and milk in bed.

I wanted to go to bed early but with the kids and taking care of their dinner and all they would need for race day it did not happen as early as I wanted.  I had my dinner, not the typical high carbs and calories pre long race dinner most should have but I did the best I could.  I did not want to have any GI trouble the next day.

I know you all wish you could eat this every day: small bowl of pasta, salad and pistachios.

Took forever to fall asleep, nerves were winning the battle there for a while.  Got up at 4:45 am to have coffee and breakfast in the pitch dark while the rest of the family was still sleeping.  Got dressed, was not sure what to wear, it was pretty cold 4 Celsius.  Got the crew up and left the hotel around 6:10 am.  The start was at 7:30, I was in wave 5.  Bill dropped me and I went to look for the porta potty, lines everywhere...10000 runners that is a lot of people!  Somehow I got lucky and I found Bill and the boys before the start!

It was cold,  people were freezing.

Made my way to my wave.  Lots of people in wave 5, they said the largest of all 7, lots of 1st timers also.  Took about 15 minutes for us to be allowed to the starting line.  I was nervous and happy, could not believe this day was here.  I was standing at the starting line of a Half Marathon!  Finally we went down to the start and I saw Bill and the boys!

Pac Man was there!

Final Goodbye to the boys!

The first few miles went by really fast.  I felt good, I was going a little faster then I should.  The first hill came at miles 2.  A lot of people stopped to walk there and that created some commotion and several crashes...I avoided all of that by staying to the side.  At mile 4 we were supposed to have GU.  No GU.  I did not need or want it but a lot of runners were counting on it and were not happy.  Later we found out that the marathoners who started at 6 am took all the GU that was available.  Lesson learned from this: Must carry your own stuff.  At mile 4 I started taking small sips of water at the stations.  The volunteers were THE BEST.  All super encouraging and smiling and lots of them at each station.  All along the course I have to say the crowd was fantastic.  There were a lot of bands also.  That plus the view of the ocean it was perfect. 

Bill took these from around mile 6 and 9 (both around same spot; 9 is after the turn around) the runners are around 4.5 miles down there so you can see we went up a bit!

At mile 5 I wished I had wear a different top.  It got warmer.  Mile 6 I saw my boys for the first time.  I was SO HAPPY!

 This was mile 6 water station where Chris K and the Toga's group was..sadly I did not see him in all his glory but you can see a picture of him here.

I had given Bill some plain GU and water, I took a little bit of GU,  kissed the boys and continued running.  So far so good.  I worried that maybe I was going too the 10k mark I was about a minute slower then my best 10k race time.  I knew I'd pay for it later and I did.  After the turnaround I saw my family again I had done more then half the distance by then and I was still smiling.

About 4 more miles to go

At mile 10 I started hurting on the ball of my left foot.  I thought it was a blister.  I figure nothing I can do,  just keep going.  Never had that pain before.  I also started getting stomach pain not too bad but still I could have done without it.  I did have to take a couple of walking breaks because of it.  I was looking for a porta potty, when I finally saw one, the line was huge and I was told people were sick in 2 of the 3.  No thank you, I will pass.  I saw 2 girls pulling out at mile 10.  They did not look upset or hurt.  I also saw at least 4 people getting sick on the sidewalk.  My foot was hurting more and I had fire under it.  I was also really thirsty, last couple stations had run out of cups...NOT GOOD.

Mile 11...Hello #^$& WALLNot nice to meet youGo away.  I thought I was going to pass out.  I did not.  I was very dizzy.  I could tell I was not walking straight. Someone asked if I was OK, I remember that.  I stopped, not walked, stopped for a minute.  I decided to go again...and take it slow.   Mile 12 I took water.  Felt a little better and I told myself : Do not walk crossing the finish line: RUN!  I passed a guy who was down getting help from the so sad at freaking mile 12.

I ran the last mile, it was not fast but it was running!
I was smiling at the end.  I could only see the finish line, I did not see my boys or Bill even though they were there.  I was very tired.

And then this happened:

I almost collapsed after crossing the finish line, this nice man holding me on the right with the hat took care of me.  I had dry heaves.  Not fun. The woman on the left with the winter hat wanted to take me to the medical tent but I said I would be OK.  The man helped me walk to get my medal, he was an angel.  I can say without a doubt that I gave everything I had.  The tank was empty.  I was tired and dehydrated. 

I reunited with Bill and the boys who saw all this from the other side of the fence.  I scared Bill for a minute I think.  When I saw them it hit me, I had done it! I had ran a Half Marathon and I burst into poor kids did not know what to think because they were so happy to see me...we explained those were good tears...still not sure they get it..!

 I did it!!!!

The walk to get back to the car was HELL.  My legs were cramping, my feet were on fire.  I was a mess.  A PROUD HAPPY MESS.

This is it my friends.  I learned a lot from mistakes I made.

- I need to find a better way to fuel for next time and to always bring my own.
- No more long sleeves for a long race like this.
- Drink MORE.
- Start slower.
- Eat more for breakfast.

There will be a next time.

When I started this blog  my goals were to run a half marathon, finish it alive and say I want to do it again.   I also wanted to be under 2:45.
I did all that and I am happy.

Would I like a faster time? Hell yeah! Don't we all!!!!
Next time it will be faster I know I can do better.

Yes the time does mean something to me like it does to most of us who put our running shoes at the starting line of a race.  This race was about more then time, it was about showing myself and my kids what I can do with this 42 yrs young body.  That same body who a year ago was 70 lbs heavier and barely able to run 3 miles without walking. 

It was hard and I felt like hell at the end.

I got this:

and I get to wear this:

Thank you for reading this and for all the support and advices you have given me!


The Hungry Runner Girl said...

AHHHHH I AM SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! I loved reading every word of this and I have been thinking about you a lot! YOU DID AMAZING!! Your little boys are adorable and you look absolutely amazing! I am so happy for you! What a gorgeous course!!!

Pam said...

Wear that hat proudly! That medal is sooo pretty!

So you say there will be a next one. Any races in mind?

Christine said...

Wooohoooo!!! Congratulations again!!! Great race report and awesome pictures!! You look so happy and proud, as you should be!!

I think a lot of your issues were due to dehydration, you will feel much better next time :)

Tricia said...

never too many pics or words in a recap. loved it. congrats

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

One of the best race reports I've read in a long time! So neat that you coach your son's basketball team too.
In my first half, I hit the wall at mile 10, so proud of you for waiting until 11 to do it in yours! Oh, and I couldn't sit for two days without pushing myself up with my hands. My quads! Can't wait to hear what your next one will be!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

Sometimes reading about someone who had to fight just to make it across the finish line is more inspiring than reading about the first place finisher. Congrats, and enjoy your feat!

Jenn (DisneyGirlInNJ) said...

SO awesome! Congratulations again! :) Pushing through the wall and crossing that finish line is one of the best feelings in the world, isn't it? Savor the moment and try to remember every second of the race! They can only get better from here on out and more milestones will be reached!

abbi said...

Great report and congratulations again! Sorry about the tough spots at the end but looks like it passed fairly quickly. Let that body rest now!

XLMIC said...

I am so proud of your proud happy mess! You DID it! And I love the pictures! Isn't that first big one such an amazing learning experience... on all levels. The tears! The GOOD tears... I am so, so happy for you!

Chris K said...

Great, great, great pics. Great race report. I sometimes do my training runs on that course. Poor me.

Would have been fun to meet you and pump you up. I think it's good you suffered just a little :-) If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun.


middleagedrunner said...

Fantastic! What a great job, I can only hope to do so well my first time out! I'm super impressed- a HUGE congratulations to you!

Kristin @NyceLife said...

AWESOME!!! I am going to refer to this often as I prepare for MY first 1/2 in November :) Thanks and Congrats!

Anne said...

Bravo encore Caroline! Tu as réussit!!
Je suis d'accord avec Christine plus haut...tu sembles t'être déshydratée. Plus d'eau et de nourriture devrait tout changer la prochaine fois :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats again!!! Way to stick through it when the going got tough, lack of water and nutrition on the course will do that and its the race directors fault for not getting enough for everyone

Whats next on the race schedule

Darlene said...

So happy to read your report. I can identify with it all. My feet were on fire from mile 10 on....I thought I would die. I think the difference for me was that I walked thru all of the 7 water stations & drank a lot & I carried Gu and took 3 packets (every other stop) so I felf fine at the end (except for my feet). I too want to do anther since I know I can and maybe be faster (or at else more optimistic). CONGRATS!!! You did great!

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

STILL SO SO PROUD OF YOU!!! Girl, I wear high heels and I tower over Billy ha:) I totally could live in PJ's ALL DAY TOO!! Hope you are having a great day!

Emz said...

So. Freaking. Awesome.

You. Killed. It.

Way to push through!!
Next year I say you dress up like PAC man. ;) so. Cool.

When's your marathon?! ;) you. Know. You. Can.


Jenn said...

Great race report! Love the pictures!!!! Congratulations on completing it. I'm sure you just feel awesome right now!!!

OK- I know you have stomach issues but I don't envy your prerace dinner. I eat about 17 times that much!

Hope you're still celebrating!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Oh, I am sooo sorry I have missed this Caroline!! I feel awful about what a pathetic blog reader I am! I'm not doing so good at keeping up. I am so proud of you! Well done! So wonderful and you look amazing! Off to catch up on here. Congrats! Love the new title to your blog. xo

Colleen said...

So excited for you Caroline! You look great in all those pictures (minus the little finish line one... we've all been there!). Glad it was such a great experience and can't wait to hear about many more!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I loved all your pictures!!! You should feel super satisfied and proud!! And, you already have your next race scheduled?!! Wow!

CONGRATULATIONS! I like the new blog title!

Jen said...

I know I'm catching up late - I am so sorry, I missed all this sooner! This is soooo awesome - i love it! Congrats, congrats!!

I can't believe you even got a pac man sighting!!

you're awesome! :)

If you haven't signed up for the OC run yet, maybe consider running the rock and roll San Diego half and meeting up with Lesley (from Racing it Off) and me!

Demetria Raper said...

WOW!! i found your blog through the hungry runner girl and i think it's AMAZING!! i'm about to run my first half in TWO WEEKS and i'm so nervous! i also have 2 little boys :)

thanks for the tips! i'll be visiting again soon!

Tanya Patrice said...

Yay - congrats!!! I just finished my 1st half in January and your recap brought back so many memories!

Christy Dillman said...

Thank you for sharing this journey, so proud of you! I am training for my 1st 1/2 marathon after losing 43 lbs myself since August! Way to go!


Anonymous said...

Congrats on pulling through! This sounds like a half marathon experience of my own. All of the lessons you called out sound exactly like my own. Don't worry - I've had other half experiences that felt much better! I have no doubt your next one will feel fantastic!

shannon said...

Congrats on the first half marathon! Also, a super congrats for losing 70 lbs. and becoming a distance runner! Amazing!