Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Citrus Heritage Half Marathon Race Recap - Part I

Well, hellooooo!! Judging by the fact that I'm writing a post, I survived my half marathon this past Saturday! WooHoo!!! hahaha I kid, I kid...of course. Seriously though, I think I just ran my new favorite half this past weekend...and that says a lot because I can compare to the Inaugural Tinkerbell in 2012! Don't get me wrong, the Tink was an awesome experience, but as far as race scenery goes, I guess I'll pick the orange groves over Sleeping Beauty's castle. Go figure! So let's take a look...

This was a small local race - they were estimating about 1,000 runners and I think it was probably a fairly good estimate. The 5k had 481 participants (as listed at Active.com) and the Half had 857; so a total of 1,338. That doesn't include the kid's 1 mile race either...so they probably had about 1,500 people including volunteers and vendors, which is not too shabby for a local race. This was the first year that they had a half marathon; previously they had offered a 5k and 10k, but judging by the comments and participation rate (both races sold out!), I'm pretty sure they will continue offering the half into the future.

This was taken from the event's Facebook page and 1) I thought it was a really cool picture; but 2) you can actually see my sister in it! She's wearing the bright green shirt as she's making her way with the 5k participants!
We got there plenty early so there was no rush getting checked in, finding the start line, making a potty stop, etc. There were some booths set up at their "expo" but the focus definitely wasn't on that part of the event. There were only a smattering of tables which was fine by me. Less to get distracted by, right? Another major benefit to this race was that it was staged at a Sports Park that also includes a pretty awesome playground. So my sister's kids got to play to their heart's content instead of being bored out of their minds waiting for hours on end. SCORE!

I knew going in that I didn't have a time goal, but I really do wish in hindsight that I had set some kind of pace expectation because I went out too fast and paid for it with tight shin/calf muscles. There was a somewhat downhill start and I got caught up in the excitement, and I'm still kind of getting used to my new Garmin, so it caused me some unintentional walking and stretch breaks early in the race. The first three miles were probably the hardest of the entire race for me.

Mile 1: Average Pace of 11:56, Best Pace of 10:16
Mile 2: 13:29/10:36
Mile 3: 13:14/11:47

Because I was so tight and knew I needed to slow down and let my body try to loosen up a little bit I was near a group of ladies that was doing a timed walk/run and I could hear their timer going off, so I just followed along! It actually worked really well for that period of time and definitely helped me loosen up a little. I finally passed them about mile 3 and just continued on with my own thing.Here's a picture at just about mile 2 if I remember right. We spent probably at least half of the race in orange groves and it was amazing!!!

I finally started to feel good about Mile 4. It was actually pretty cool because at about Mile 2.5 we joined up with the 5k runners that started 30 minutes after we did. It did cause a little bit of congestion as my timing had me hitting more of the 5k walkers than the runners, but it was totally manageable. About the same time we started seeing the fast runners as they headed back too so that was pretty inspiring. I have to say though - the fast runners are WAY too serious! You can cheer them on but they just have the serious face...absolute focus! One of the big reasons I finally mellowed out and felt good instead of just okay was I stopped for a bathroom break in one of the several REAL bathrooms along the course. Just taking that moment to sit down and then splash some cool water on my face made a big difference. Yay for real bathrooms along a race course! I was also able to see my Mom & Sister and give them both a high-five!

There were a lot of hills though; a lot more than I really realized. I had done a basic Map My Run map using the course map that was provided so I knew that there were some elevation changes, but it is never as "gentle" or "rolling" as they seem on a map. HA! It seriously felt like almost the entire thing was uphill.

Mile 4: 12:49/4:08 - HA!!! that has got to be a glitch...
Mile 5: 13:00/10:20
Mile 6: 12:48/11:59

After the bathroom break we went up a bigger hill, but then we got some amazing views before we dropped down into Mockingbird Canyon on a dirt trail surrounded by citrus trees. Miles 4 & 5 took place in the California Citrus State Historic Park and was probably one of my favorite parts of the race. There were great views, nice paths, and was early enough in the race that I was feeling pretty darn good. The weather was absolutely amazing - a little warmer than I would have liked - but clear blue skies and not even a little bit of breeze. Perfect running weather!

Taken in the California Citrus State Historic Park
This post has already gotten to be pretty long and there is still so much I want to say about this race and my experience, so I'm going to spare you all the mini-novel and break this into two posts. *Is that cheering I hear?!?* hahaha Come back tomorrow for the conclusion...

To be continued...(here)


  1. NIce pics!! I think I saw that pic on the FB page and didn't even realize I was in it until I saw it here. At which point I went, "hey, that's my bright green shirt"! :) The playground was a HUGE plus in my opinion too! Having something to keep their interest was AWESOME and even allowed Mom and I to wait for you to come back instead of wrangling cats :). Which reminds me I need to text you the pic I have. Can't wait to read Pt. II :).

  2. Thank you so very much for this wonderful glowing review! I'm so happy you enjoyed the race! Keep in touch!