Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Citrus Heritage Half Marathon Race Recap - Part II

So I left off yesterday after recapping the first 6 miles of the Citrus Heritage Half Marathon...let's pick back up where we left off, shall we?

From the state park we headed into actual orange groves. We would run down one row, then hit streets for a little before heading down another row. I was really lagging in energy by this point, so I just chatted up folks as I encountered them - gave them a cheer and continued on. I pretty much zoned out a lot and just got lost in the music or the folks I chatted with briefly.

Mile 7: 13:13/11:30
Mile 8: 13:54/12:33 (pretty slow here...there was a pretty good hill but I knew the GU aid station was coming up, along with a turnaround so I was just holding out for that at this point

I hit the aid station and was like "SCORE" when they had Salted Caramel GU (absolutely delicious) - and it sure did hit the spot perfectly!! I'm sure it didn't hurt that I also finally got some downhill because I kicked it into gear and I FLEW for a bit!! I passed a lot of people during this time and was just simply amazed at the second wind I was experiencing. I got a lot of "get it girl's" and "whoa, where'd you come from"! But I did eventually run out of gas...and it was probably right about when I hit some more hills. *groan*

Mile 9: 11:09/10:41
Mile 10: 12:10/10:53
Mile 11: 13:19/9:43

ANOTHER hill - they WERE not my friends!
I really had to begin to dig deep. I knew I had less than a 5k to go, and I really, really wanted to just keep flying, but I was simply T.I.R.E.D. Tired of being on my feet, tired of going, tired of hills, tired of GU Chomps. I was so ready to be done. I sang out loud to my music, I channeled some Breaking Bad and said "Yo, B*#%H - get moving!", I told myself to be COURAGEOUS...and I just dug deep and kept going. I promised myself I could take a walk break when I got to that palm tree, or that driveway, or that intersection.

Mile 12:  12:36/10:12
Mile 13: 12:58/11:09

After making me go up one more hill, there was the finish line. I didn't know if I had any gas left in the tank, but I decided to give it a shot and sprinted to the finish with every ounce I had left!

My Mom took several pics, but they came out all I'm glad I got at least one even if it is far away!
Mile .1: 12:42/6:02

My official results: I was 32 out of 39 in my age group. I was 281 overall out of 857 and I was 165 out of 241 women. It wasn't a PR, but it was faster than my first half marathon time of 2:57:53!!

I am totally pleased with this race. Even though it wasn't a mind-blowing, PR-achieving, perfect-strategy race, I finished it totally and completely feeling VICTORIOUS. It was my victory lap for the knee! It was a big EFF-YOU to the knee infection, sickness, fevers, vomiting, no running for over 5 months, swelling, pain, surgery, antibiotics, PICC line, showers wrapped in a garbage bag, physical therapy, rebuilding from scratch that was 2013. Whew...That  right there was the real race. All of that nightmare...In comparison, running 13.1 miles was a piece of cake! It wasn't easy by any means, but neither was any of what I went through to get to right here and right now. But I finished that half marathon feeling like I was ME again. I don't know how else to describe it...yeah, I was a slower version of the me before the knee disaster, but I was ME. I was a runner out on the road, soaking in the sunshine and blue Southern California skies, absorbing the smell of dirt and the zest of a freshly peeled orange. I felt like I belonged there.

And the perfect reward for a hard-fought victory? First was fresh oranges at the finish line. Oh my goodness - they had to be the most awesome piece of fruit I have EVER eaten! I wanted to take the whole bowl and just go sit for awhile with it...but I restrained myself. haha Then this went down when I got home:

You'd better believe I had the cheeseburger, fries, AND a strawberry shake!! And it was delicious...OH YEAHHHHHH!

And finally, this was the last race in the Run Riverside Challenge so you can see in the picture above that I got double the bling! I have to say that I immensely enjoyed the Run Riverside Challenge. I felt like I got to enjoy some local areas, and even learned a little bit more than I did prior to running these races too! They were all well-organized events benefiting worthy causes (Police Officers Association, Mission Inn Museum, and the Riverside Road Runners youth scholarship run fund). I am totally looking forward to participating in this set of races again for many years to come!!!!

So my takeaways from the race?
  • Hills - they are still my Achilles...I am going to be focusing on more hill training this year because I don't want to let them continue to beat me.
  • Race Pace Workouts - I need to be more comfortable running at my race paces. I find it interesting that training plans don't have you actually spend a significant amount of time at a race pace, so how do you improve in this area?? The reality is that I don't feel like I could ever run an entire 13.1 miles (or 6.2 or even 3.1!) at my race paces. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions are welcome here!
  • I still really need to work on fueling strategies. I don't feel like I've come close to mastering this at all
  • I'm really bad at setting race goals because I never seem to meet them! But I do need to have some kind of pacing expectation in place, especially in the early miles to keep myself steady instead of heading out too fast and paying for it.
I had an awesome rest of the day and then woke up Sunday morning feeling like I'd been run over by a train more than once! But it is now Wednesday and I'm pretty much feeling back to normal. And the best part? My knee hasn't hurt even a tiny bit. 

Later this week I'll share my music playlist because I happen to think it was pretty awesome! Until then...keep running (or walking, or skipping, or dancing) friends!


  1. Awesome recap and awesome job!!!

  2. You are AWEEEEESOME! Thank you for the beautiful pictures!

  3. Well done Kristen. Way to push it at the finish.

    "The Jester"

  4. This sounds like a challenging half with all of the hills! Your comeback story is absolutely amazing! Way to be strong throughout your recovery and way to finish strong!
    The link above is a training schedule I started using before getting pregnant. The schedule has tempo runs included. You can use it so that you can include tempo runs at your pace.

  5. Hi Kristen! Thanks for visiting my blog!! I'm excited to get to know yours. Nice job on the half marathon!