Mountains 2 Beach Marathon + Half

 The finish line is to the left of this picture, but obviously  my  finish line was the ocean because hello, priorities

The finish line is to the left of this picture, but obviously my finish line was the ocean because hello, priorities

Sometimes running is glorious! and it makes sense!  and it's kind of like flying!  and you can go on and on and on and this feeling of euphoria can be maintained well beyond the finish line... and then sometimes you bonk before and in this instance, I totally bonked at mile 10. 

Whoops.  Considering:

  1. this entire damn New England winter (108.6 inches, did you forget?)
  2. a whole lot of traveling, particularly to places that weren't easy to get a long run in
  3. some really questionable-but-delicious pre-race nutrition (whiskey, animal fries + a chocolate milkshake, two sprinkle-covered donuts in the same 12-hour period were a GREAT idea, I swear)
  4. I ran somewhere between 9 - 10 miles once before this race, and that was all the way back in April

I am pretty happy with a 1:58ish finish, even though back in January when I signed up for this race, what I really wanted to see was between 1:50 - 1:55.  But that was when 2015 was a big clean slate and I had just gotten out of that stupid orthopedic boot and THE WORLD WAS MY OYSTER, etc., etc. 

Anyway.  Enough about that.  Let's talk about the race.

Liz, her boyfriend, and I stayed in the sketchiest of sketchy hotels in Ventura the night before.  Luckily, it had a great location (really close to the beach/shuttles to the start/finish line) and also had a mini fridge, a microwave, and a coffee maker, a nice-but-weird owner, and free parking!  Unfortunately, it wasn't very clean (oh hey questionable ceiling stains) and the price was way jacked-up because of the race... but considering we booked it only a few weeks ago, it could have been a lot worse.  I think?

The picture above is us trying to make breakfast around the sink.  Liz made a smoothie in a little travel blender, and I made oatmeal with the coffee maker.  (I'm really good at making food in coffee makers.)

NUTRITION

Pre-race: 16 oz. water, oatmeal w/ flaxseed + 1 packet Justin's almond butter; 16 oz. pink lemonade nuun, 8 oz. Califia farms double espresso almond milk coffee 

Gu energy gels at the 3/7/10/11 mile marks (salted caramel, peanut  butter), water at each aid station

HALF

  • Shuttles to the start line were fast and easy -- they made a fuss about sticking to the shuttle you signed up for in all of the pre-race e-mails and stuff, but no one checked (they did make sure you were going to the right start line though, which I appreciated!) and there was plenty of serve yourself water, snacks (Clif bars, which I still can't stomach because they make me think of the AP diet in high school), and many many many port-o-potties  
  • A three wave pulsed start worked perfectly here!  I didn't have to do the usual dart and dash for space because the overly ambitious January version of myself chose the 1:40 - 2:00 wave, so I was able to start running and keep on running
  • It's a really pretty, really remote course - there were very few spectators, but since I was kind of zoned out for the majority of the race, I might not have noticed people who were actually there (oops) and because I knew it was really remote, I wasn't relying on crowd support so this wasn't a problem for me
  • Aid stations were well-staffed with water/fluid (?) and most importantly, cheerful and well-coordinated people who I thankfully didn't splash too much
  • for the first 10 miles, I ran about an 8:40 average and didn't look at my watch much (I used the adorable surfboard-shaped mile markers to tell me when to fuel) which was awesome!  But at about 9, you could start smelling the ocean and seeing all the people in their wetsuits heading out to surf and once I hit the 10-mile mark and started heading away from the ocean again, my brain went BONK and my legs went MEH 
  • and even though it felt like I was crawling backwards, I still managed to come in at 1:58:59 which is sub-2 and that was my A goal going into race day
  • but just to warn you, you can see the finish line from what feels like .5 miles away, and that brutal
  • on the bright side, the finish line is right beside the ocean (my favorite) so I made a beeline to it and walked in fully dressed, eventually managing to emerge to cheer Liz on (she also hit her A goal, wahoo!!!!) aaaaaaaand to go get pancakes

Even though I'm ultimately happy with this race (even if it hadn't gone well, it serves a good base to figure out what I might be able to run for a full in the fall), I am curious about a few things:

  • what I could have run if I'd fully trained (especially if I had been able to continuing spinning 2x a week)
  • what this would have been as a full (supposedly it's a great course to BQ with)
  • if running with music would have helped at mile 10

But there's no point dwelling on what-ifs.  All I can do is train better for next time. 

ANYWAY. I went on a few hikes while I was in LA with some A+ company and that was good for active-yet-easy recovery.  Downhill trails freak me out though... I don't think I'm quite capable of walking down them, only sprinting and praying I won't eat dirt.  (I didn't.  And only 1 of the 3 hikes this time involved a rattlesnake, and 0 of the 3 hikes involved getting lost.  That's a win in my book.)