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!|
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 blurred...so I'm glad I got at least one even if it is far away!|
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!