Well, I signed up for this race very last minute. I had a 14 mile run on my training schedule so why not fit in 1 last half marathon before the Oceanside 70.3. I had just finished my first peak week of training and really been focused on keeping my run in Zone 2. So that was my race plan was to keep it to a training run with Oceanside in mind. I also changed up my nutrition plan as well which scared me a bit but I had to trust myself and my training. I’ve been trying to stick to more low glycemic high molecule carbs such as Swedish Oat Starch for my pre-race meals/shakes.. Then on my longer bike rides I’ve been using Karbolyn. With my goal in mind to better utilize my fat stores for energy instead of ingesting dextrose for energy. So far I will chalk this up as a win for nutrition for a half marathon.
The time change played a big role for this race for me. The upside is that I’m used to waking up at 4AM so waking up at 5AM didn’t really hurt me for this race, but falling asleep the night before was a totally different story. Woke up and threw on my TCSD Tri kit and my other gear got my shake with my SOS and Protein powder and headed down to the start line. It was good to see all the other TCSD people racing before the race. Sadly I’m one of the slower racers so didn’t have any one to pace it. I was stuck in wave 9 which was a 2:20:00 pace group. I doubted my choice on that time because deep down I wanted to PR but I had to tell myself to go slow and keep my HR in Z2 (147 BPM) so that I can maximize my fat for energy instead of stored carbs. Took about 30 minutes for my wave to go which really irritated me. I couldn’t get a solid warm up in because by the time we had to cram into our waves I’d have been cooled off and recovered. So the first 2 miles my HR was all over the place so I had to keep slowing my pace while my body adjusted to the increased work load and switching energy systems from anaerobic to aerobic and getting that fat burning going. I settled into a 10:05 average and this guy Shawn was pacing me and we had a good little chat going till mile 8.5 when the hill started and we parted ways. He said he couldn’t keep the pace up the hill and we wished a good race. By this time I the sun was out and I was taking in my salt sticks about ever 35-4o minutes along with just water at the aid stations. The course for this run for the most part had been nice and flat and really took you through some scenic parts of San Diego’s bay front community. I want to also thank the medical community that was on the course, I passed a guy who didn’t properly hydrate and keep his body cool as it started to shut down and he passed out in the shade of a building. He had the medical team with him already so I felt he was in good hands, 911 had been called so there was no need for me to stop and assist. Otherwise if the medical team was not there I would have assisted since I’m trained in first aid. I can’t stress enough that running a half marathon in the sun is not an easy task and you need to hydrate your body at all times and keep your electrolytes up.
At mile 8.5 you start running up Washington St which is a steady incline of about 6/10ths of a mile. You can see from the elevation chart above it was the only serious climb. I ran the entire way up I kept a steady pace of about 11:00 mile and passed a LOT of people who had to walk up the hill. My goal was to keep a steady pace up the hill and then push into Z4 for the remainder of the race. I did a great job at this with an exception of a potty break at mile 11, I couldn’t hold it any longer. The rest of the course was downhill so I let gravity do it’s thing and really opened up the gas through the finish. I should note that I had 1 GU at mile 9 as a precaution along with some water. Since I am a sweater, I too need to make sure I stay hydrated and cooled off! The run down 6th was great it was in the middle of the street and the finish shoot as well. My Garmin on the watch said 2:11:59 but the Garmin site has me at 2:12 something. I’m going to stick with my watch time.
There was something strange going on with my body at this point that I hadn’t felt in my previous 7 half marathons. I didn’t feel exhausted at the end of this race and I could have gone another 6 miles (did I just say that?) I also didn’t have any of the typical quad cramping towards mile 12 or after I finish. I also didn’t feel like death afterwards. Even though my time from Arizona only shows a 3 minute increase, I ran a completely different race and my body is better trained. I also didn’t do my usual run/walk which resulted in a slower pace per mile but I’m sure it also contributed to me feeling so damn great afterwards because I wasn’t shooting my HR into Z4 and having to recover for a minute. I think that I’ll miss my 2hr mark for Oceanside’s run but I’m confident now that I’ll be better than 2:30-2:40 if I can keep my pace down to Z2 which will be the most difficult thing to do after cycling for 56 miles. 3 weeks out and I’m feeling ready!