Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Avocado Half Marathon - Race Recap

An alternate title for this race recap could very well be "The Race That Was All Hills"...because seriously, I think it was ALL hills whether it was up a hill or down a hill...nothing but hills!!! Alright, alright...let me go back to the beginning and I'll do this The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly style.

The Good:
Me & Sally back when we were happy to be running...LOL. Check out the little Mike Wazowski cheering people on - so adorable!!

  • The weather was absolutely PERFECT for running! Overcast and about mid- to low-50's the entire time. 
  • I was lucky enough to have my friend, Sally, (who is MUCH faster than turtle-paced me) pacing me for this race and having someone to talk to was really, really nice. I could get very used to having a race partner with me.
  • I made a new friend. (see, Mom - some things never change! LOL) :-)
  • My Skirt Sports outfit was absolutely flawless. I wore the Jaguar skirt, the 261 Fearless Personali-Tee, and the 261 Fearless Visor. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about the outfit. The shirt is silky smooth, I forgot I even had a visor on, and the skirt offered perfect coverage and didn't move even an eensy-weensy bit. No slipping, no riding, no chafing. So totally worth every penny!!!
  • The scenery was actually pretty nice...lots of foliage, pretty vistas, very little on city streets. So it's a beautiful course!
  • There was NO CRAMPING...this is so huge for me as I had such miserable cramping in my full marathon and my last half marathon. I think I might have this one figured out...
  • Tons of volunteers along the course.
Another good was this guy right here - he was up there dancing and playing music and just being SO encouraging the entire time! Total Rock Star!! Another good, the band at mile 7ish...they totally rocked it!
The Bad:
  • I already knew going into this race that I was completely unprepared and that it was a challenging course. My fault and I have nobody to blame for this.
  • Even though I knew it was a challenging course, it was way worse than I had even anticipated!
  • No Porta-Pot until about Mile 6. Let me repeat that - NO BATHROOM FOR 6 MILES!!! I learned in training that I need to skip coffee before my long runs otherwise within the first two miles I have to pee no matter how many times I go before the race. I learned, and I ignored it anyways and had coffee that morning because I had slept terribly and wanted to pick-me-up. If I had known there wasn't a bathroom I would have gone with sleepy instead.
  • Tons of volunteers along the course that didn't know any of the details like if there was a bathroom up ahead or that said "you're almost there" at mile 4 or coming back at mile 10, or that said "this is your last hill" when there was at least 500 more. 
  • Waiting for the shuttle at the end of the race was grueling. 
  • The HILLS...Oh the hilllllllllssssssss....
Yeah...the picture that tells the entire story!!
The Ugly:
  • The Hills!!!! Take a good look at that picture up there...okay, so that was probably about mile 4. From mile 3.1 on it was a gradual climb for about a mile and then when you think, okay, I've got this...you crest the hill and you see THAT!! I wanted to cry...There were some areas of flat, but they were few and far between.
  • I was carrying my own water in my trusty Nathan vest and it's a good thing I was because there was close to none out there. There were coolers of electrolytes and water, but NO CUPS. The volunteers were gamely offering to dispense by dumping directly into your mouth but as tired as I was it probably would've resulted in a major catastrophe. So no on-course water or electrolytes due to running out of supplies. Totally not cool in a race of this size especially when you should have some idea of how many runners are on course. 
  • When I did finally find the porta-pot at mile 6ish they hadn't leveled it and it was like trying to go to the bathroom while riding a see-saw...sometimes it's the little details that make all the difference.
So all in all, it was a good race and I had fun for the most part. Yes, it was challenging, and yes, there were some issues that never should have happened like the water and bathroom and stuff like that. Would I do this race again? Today I say probably not, but like child birth I know I will forget how bad it really was eventually! HA! But I have to say that I really want to find a flat race for my next half marathon. LOL But if you're somebody that is looking for a real challenging course, in a beautiful location - this is a GREAT race! I understand a lot of runners use this race as a training run for San Francisco and that it is really good for that. 

Christine on the left, me in the center, and Sally on the right!
What made a difference on this one was having Sally there with me and having the volunteers cheering along the route. Many of them were very supportive and I had some fun with them. A couple girls at the beginning said they would run with us at the end, and they did when I reminded them of their earlier promise to us! It was fun and they were just adorable! And meeting and running with Christine, my new friend I mentioned up in The Good was a definite plus! She was just so cute and nice and she was struggling and didn't want to run, but we stuck it out together for the last 4ish miles and just picked a landmark and got to it before walking up another hill. Being able to encourage, and having others encourage me, is definitely one of the reasons I keep going back to participating in races. It just never fails to make me appreciate the toughness of the human spirit...that drive to keep going when everything inside of you wants to quit. I found it, Christine found it, and many others did too and that is what made it a good race!

They definitely got the medal right though!! That thing was HEAVY and HUGE!! And is engraved with 2015 finisher on the back...classy!
Oh - last thing...on the cramping. I think my problem is wearing compression socks/sleeves! I had worn compression on my marathon training runs, my marathon, and my last half marathon and experienced cramping to some degree in all of those. I wore them again during the early training for the half and experienced the same thing. I ditched the compression for the past several months and haven't had a single issue with cramping since I did!! So there you have it, for this girl, compression just doesn't benefit me and actually hinders me! Interesting, no??? 

Later this week I am hoping to talk a little bit more about my plan for success - not my usual go-to of success at failing! Stay tuned...


  1. Congrats on the race! I know it was a beeotch but you rocked it anyway! That's so weird how compression sleeves actually makes you cramp. Leave it to you to buck the system! ;-)