Monday, May 27, 2013

Mountains to Beach Half Marathon Recap

Man...I don't know.  I told myself I was kind of done with this blog unless I had something big to say.


Here's the story.

To preface, the last couple weeks have been hard for me.  Which is, at this point, how I seem to start many of my blog entries.  For whatever reason, unexpected normal but tough life occurrences that many people seem to handle with grace and calmness have the tendency to send me into a tailspin.  And then I can't stop ruminating, lose interest in just about everything external, and end up barely hanging on.

The good news is that not being able to do anything works well with a taper.  

So the day before Mountains To Beach, a half marathon that I actually trained pretty hard for (mostly on the treadmill!), I was laying in bed mid-afternoon, wondering if I should just call it off.  I knew getting up to Ojai and being with friends would make me feel better so I told myself that it was cool to jog it if I wanted, and to just go have a fun girls weekend.  So I dragged myself out and that's what I did.

Turns out the whole area is pretty freaking beautiful. Even though Ventura / Ojai is only an hour North of LA I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing it in a long time.

Totally Stolen Pic but this is what it looks like!
I arrived around 8 PM and my high school track buddy (since 1997!) Kristee had picked up my packet for me and was hanging at the hotel.  Sarah arrived shortly afterwards.  I complained to both of them for about an hour (THANKSFORLISTENING) and then we decided to fall asleep.

Race morning arrived at the time when most college kids are going to bed for the night before:  3:45 AM.  It was rough.  Sarah, Kristee and I went to go pick up Robyn from her hotel and we started hunting for parking at the start.  This hunt may or may not have included going the wrong way on a road, and some strategically moved cones.  No pics, so it didn't happen.

It was a serious looking crowd at the start of the half, with a frighteningly small amount of matching outfits and tutus.  I imagined the scenario where I would finish in last.  

Kristee and I agreed to run together for the first couple miles of the race and then see how we felt.  (We're about the same speed in longer distances although she could kick my butt x1000 in anything shorter than a half marathon.) 

The gun went off, and I fell into a pace right by a couple nice dudes who introduced themselves to me and said they were gunning for a 1:33 or 1:34.  I figured that was a little fast but it would be great to have more people to run with.

Mile 1: 7:25

Just warming up.  I wanted this to be between 7:15 and 7:25 and then gauge from there.

Mile 2: 7:13

Kristee starts telling me that she can't breathe well (allergies).  I worry but we keep going.

Mile 3: 7:13

Just steady, easy.

Mile 4: 7:17

Mile 5: 7:07

Mile 6: 7:09 I am feeling amazing at mile 6.  I start contemplating gigantic PRs.  We pass a water station playing Gangnam Style and I start dancing to it.  The crowd goes wild (ok not wild but they laughed!).

Mile 7: 7:07  Kristee tells me again that she is not feeling good.  I think that she is running pretty darn good for someone who can't breathe!

Mile 8: 7:16  I am starting to feel it.


Mile 10: 7:18 I tell Kristee that it's only 1 mile and then a 5k, but I am really trying to comfort her and myself.

Mile 11: 7:19 I am struggling.  Kristee says "after this turnaround we're mentally there".  I believe her and it helps.

Mile 12: 7:24 I started mentally counting down the distance in track terms.  Just 3 800s at 3:37 pace?  Come on, that's simple.

Mile 13:  7:30 I am obviously slowing down and Kristee looks strong.  She runs ahead while telling me "these people are passable" about the 5 or so people just a few yard ahead.  They must have been dying because I manage to pass them. 

I also start thinking things like "Think about all the things that make you angry.  Yeah!  Screw them!"  It feels good.

Edited in after original post because let's face it, this picture is amazing.
Finish!  I see the 1:34's turn over on the clock as I sprint in and I know I'm not going to make it on the south side of 1:35.  But that's ok, it's still a PR.

Kristee finished in 1:34:55 and I finished in 1:35:05.  
(I believe I was 16th female and 3rd in age group.)

We high five each other and discuss how it would have been so much harder without being able to push each other.

The cherry on top was seeing Oual's smile after she told me she broke 1:40 just a few minutes later and seeing my friends Gisele and Mason PR as well. 


I PR'd by 45 seconds and I am happy with any PR at this point.  (All of my PRs are now at least a year old).  I'm happy to see the work I put into training for this pay off.

So many times when I race, I remember why I run.  And it's a different reason every time.  This time, it was for the relief.  Being able to get out and run with an old friend, forget about everything, and just leave it all on the road is priceless.

And it's probably just a little more priceless when you happen to finish near the beach and see your hard work pay off. 

(Thanks for reading).


  1. Hurray! This givesme hope that treadmill speed work works. Do you recommend this course? Looks beautiful. What's the rest like?

  2. I don't comment much but I love your blog to pieces and would hate to see it go! Right balance of kick ass running posts and I am an awesome successful woman posts for me. Sorry about the stress and congrats on a new PR! Feel better!

  3. Awesome race/splits!! Congrats on a new half PR!!! Sure sounds like a great day with great friends!! You deserve it for all the hard work you put in. I hope you're still smiling. I'm hearing so many great things about M2B! Maybe next year. :)

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  5. Aw, yeahhhhh! They got the gravity shot! Nice race, kid!

    And if you ever want to compare mini-but-maybe-not-so-mini life crises with someone you've never met in person, you know my email.

  6. But u didnt set a world record and u couldnt have bc it was 100ft downhillllllllllllll. So y r u celebrating?!?!?!??

  7. that is the best race picture this side of the Mississippi. congrats on the PR!

  8. Glad you went out and did it! You did awesomeeeeeeeeee! Hope it makes you feel great knowing that everytime I feel sad I will look at that pic and laugh. It really looks nothing like you, but it looks hilarious.

  9. Damn! Awesome splits lady! And I love that finish photo of you- epic. Happy to see a fellow treadmill lover getting pRs on the road. You rock!

  10. Congratulations on the PR!!!

  11. Sweet! Amazing time! Congrats on the PR! Hilarious pic too, awesome of you to share for our amusement.

  12. Wow, congrats on the PR! Awesome run! I will giggle about that dying finish line photo for the rest of my days.

    (Mine are no better, I hasten to add. Well...only slightly).

  13. Nice job! I'm so glad to see you get a PR (and for my own sake, too, to know that not all hard work is in vain). Don't stop writing your blog!

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    1. Anonymous is actually not too far off this time!

  15. Congrats on the PR!

    And yes, that picture is amazing -- thanks for adding it in!

  16. Such an awesome race. Getting pissed off often helps feed the legs, indeed! Congratulations on your PR!

  17. Well done!! A PR is awesome any day, but somehow they feel extra sweet when you don't go into it feeling like it's necessarily going to be a great day. I loved this course & now part of me wants to go back & run the half. :)