Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We Found Love

Half Marathon #18 is in the books

The Inaugural San Diego Half Marathon on March 11, 2012 just kind of crept up on me.  There wasn't a lot of planning involved for me, mostly because I already had a few half marathons scheduled and this would be one more.  What's another half marathon?  

In my last post I had mentioned something about pulling a muscle in my right leg. It turned out to be an IT band issue. WTF? I did not run in the Sue Krenn 15k scheduled for March 3.  A simple 2 mile jog to the water station where I volunteered at was difficult.  With all of the injuries I've sustained over the past few years, I have become a bit cautious, but I did not think this soreness warranted a trip to the doctor's office. I did have a couple of visits scheduled with my PT for training, and I'd figure he'd help me out.

The Friday before the half marathon I was still feeling rather sore. I was worried that I'd have to skip out on the INAUGURAL San Diego Half Marathon or walk most of it.  I had a session with my PT scheduled for that morning, but I worked with an assistant.  At the end of my session, my PT said he would do some assisted stretches.  Little did I know that, after the stretches, he would pull a chiropractic type of maneuver and pop my my hip.  Suddenly, birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the angels sang, and I felt like skipping.  He said it looked like my leg was jammed up into my hip.  I felt so much relief, but I was still sore from being out of place for two weeks.  I even made a special trip to Road Runner Sports for CWX compression capris to wear on race day, just in case

Saturday afternoon is when Hubs and I went down to Petco Park to retrieve our bib numbers and swag.

The race expo was pretty uneventful, but that's probably a good thing.  No cluster f***.  The only difficulty I had was waking to Petco Park from where we parked, and I was still feeling sore, but far from being in pain.  I was a tad bit concerned, but I wasn't exactly wearing comfy shoes since I went from work to the expo.

Kind of to the last minute, my sister and  brother in law called and said they'd be in town and wanted us to rendezvous with them in the hot tub at their hotel that same night.  I almost said no, but the idea of a hot tub to relax my muscles sounded pretty good, even though we'd get home late. I think the hot tub helped.

Sunday morning Hubs and I got up at the crack of dark, even though there was a time change, it's still dark at 4:30 am.  For whatever reason I could not figure out what shirt to wear.  I only have what seems like a zillion tech shirts.  I even had running garb pre planned and laid out, but my thoughts were fuzzy at 4:30 am.  I finally settled on a lightweight , long sleeved tech shirt. From races past we've learned that it's good to have our son drop us off  the race site to avoid parking issues and crowds.  We could have driven ourselves and parked on the street.  There were no huge crowds or chaos.  

We saw several track club friends as we walked to Petco Park, but still no cluster f***.  The pre-race vibe was very chill and happy.  Port-o-Potty lines were VERY short.  We were able to use the restrooms inside Petco Park as well.  Gear check was a breeze.  Event photographers were everywhere.  There was a pretty good contingent of us from the track club, and most of us waited for the race to start together.  Even though we had assigned waves, we all started in wave 5.  The race started right outside of Petco Park.  I set my music and started my iSmoothRun app, and I was off.  It was really cool to start a race with so many people I knew.  

The route was mostly scenic.   Click HERE to see highlights of the route.  This is why I love being a runner in San Diego.

I ran the first 6 miles with track club friend Kate.  This was purely a fluke, but we paced each other for those 6 miles, which was nice. We even have a couple of cheesy race photos together. I'm buying those.  Somewhere after mile 6, Kate must have really warmed up, and she went way ahead.   I kept my pace because of my IT band issue, but it didn't bother me until the end of the race.  

Before the race everyone was anticipating the hill on Washington St, which comes at around mile 9.  It was slow going for me on that hill, but I kept running form.  I only walked a bit just prior to that hill, right after the Gu and water station, there was a much steeper, but shorter hill - about a block long. 

The last three miles of the race were mostly downhill, past Balboa Park on 6th Ave.  It was nice taking the down hill on 6th, making that home stretch feel somewhat victorious.

As we turned the corner into Petco Park, and went through a tunnel, we found ourselves in the outfield behind third base, with about 200 meters to the finish line, near home plate.  

I was able to bring it for the last 200 meters and sprinted in.  I'm not sure if that made a difference, but it felt good to shift gears at the end.  My offcial race time was 2:24:11, which is not bad, especially since I was allowing myself time for the cranky IT band.  I was figuring 2:30 to 2:40.  The IT band was done and I was a little limpy. A volunteer asked me if I was OK and needed assistance, but I really was fine.  I guess I still tilt.  I was so consumed with trying to shut off the iSmoothRun app that I almost forgot about the medal.  Something really cool, that I didn't expect, was that we received our medals from representatives of the military.  I will never forget having my medal placed around my neck by a Marine.

It was pretty cool to walk on the field at Petco Park.

Post race I began to see friends.  The mood was pure happiness, and it was easy to move about the finish area.  Track club friend Kelly finished just mere seconds behind me, and we made our way to the food are, as we chatted about this race and future races. As we went back into halls of the ball park, we were greeted by the sweet aroma of freshly cut oranges.

These were the best oranges ever! Hubs thinks these were blood oranges.
After grabbing some sustenance, Kelly and I were greeted by another track club friend, Doreen, who was waiting to take photos of track club members as they walked by. 

Photo op with Kelly on the banana phone.  I'm not sure what I was laughing about, but all's I know is how happy I was.

Doreen, unofficial track club photographer.  Doreen took third in her age group!
Since Hubs had not come through yet, I just parked myself next to Doreen and watch everyone come in. Finally, Hubs is done!

After a quick visit to gear check, we grabbed a couple of beers and went into park to enjoy watching the final finishers, get some sun, hear what Meb had to say, and and listen to the band Lifehouse.

I would grade the San Diego Half Marathon an "A".  It was one of the most organized races I've ever participated in.  I think the fact that there were just under 6000 runners participating (not 40,000, like Las Vegas) made the race a lot more fun, and everything seemed so efficient.  Everything flowed. Everything was well thought out. The course was great and there was plenty of water and electrolyte, and well briefed and informed volunteers. In the swag bag they even put a small baggie with pins for the bib and a card that reminded us of the time change.  The medal is weighty and detailed.  This medal is now one of my favorites:

Ever since the the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon, I just haven't been feeling all that great about running.  Running has been a struggle.  Yes, some days have been good, but not "woo-hoo" great.  My paces have slowed and I haven't been finding the joy that running gives me, that is, until this race.  I found my love of running again.  I hope it sticks.

Song from Wednesday, February 29, 2012:
One Moment in Time - Whitney Houston


Most of the above photos are not mine.  Props to Doreen, The San Diego Half Marathon Facebook page and from Howard Lipin - San Diego UT.  


Jill said...

Ah girl, I am so happy for you!! That's a fantastic time especially while nursing an ornery ITB! I'm so glad to hear you've found that love affair again with your running - you SO deserve it. Finally! Big smiles for you in Denver! :)

Aka Alice said...

6000 runners is just about enough. That's been my goal lately, to find races in just about that range. I think I'm about done with the 20,000+ runner ClusterF***

I am so happy for you Irene. You look so happy. I am just a little sad that I didn't sign up for this one. OK..more than a little sad!

Congrats to you and hubs on a great race. speedy girl. I think you're back!

Teamarcia said...

COngrats Irene! You did great despite the testy ITB. Sounds like a very well-done event, especially for an inaugural. It's great to hear you've recaptured your joy of running. I've been struggling with that for awhile now as well. Good to know it comes back. xo

misszippy said...

Glad you had a good day, one that gave you a little love for the run back! Take care of that ITB--it can be a bugger, I know all too well!

Glenn Jones said...

Congrats Irene! Looks like this one is a good alternative to the big June debacle that finds a way to run 13.1miles with 20,000 other participants....

Anne said...

I'm so glad to hear of an inaugural event that isn't a fiasco. I'm glad your PT was able to manipulate your body into place - and just in time. Congratulations to you and Michael.

Black Knight said...

It really looks like a great race, well organized and through beautiful places. Congrats for your finishing time despite the problems.
I hope you heal completely to race painless.
Nice pics.

Dori said...

Congratulations on your race! (To Michael, too.) So glad you're still running. The race sounds like a good one--maybe I'll run it next year.

Robin said...

Glad you found the joy this day. :-) I'm finding it again, too... Congrats on a great race!

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