Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Race Report: Healdsburg Half Marathon

Over the weekend, J and traveled down to sunny, warm CA. While the drive from Portland to Nor Cal is long and tedious we are always greatly rewarded for our travels. Not only was the weather peeeerrrrrrfect BUT we also got to see lots of family! My parents both mom/stepdad and Dad/stepmom plus J's parents and his uncles from San Francisco. We left Friday morning at around 5:30am. Around 4pm I was getting a little worried that we still had quite a bit to go since the race "expo" closed at 5:30pm. We ended up making it with plenty of time to spare. The packet pickup wasn't too crowded by the time we got there but the "expo" part of the packet pickup was pretty lame. Even if we didn't have family waiting for us at the hotel and a restless dog in the car we probably wouldn't have stayed much longer than we did. Our hotel was interesting to say the least BUT it was dog friendly, cheap and halfway between the race start line and the northern wineries we knew we wanted to go to. Nothing too eventful happened on Friday night, just a yummy dinner (for me I had my standard pre-race boring meal of angel hair pasta in red sauce...I don't like to be adventurous the night before) and visiting with family.

Saturday morning, J and I were up at 5:00am. Coffee pot was on and ready to go by 5:15am (I don't function without coffee in the morning). My stomach was feeling a little off so I decided to forgo food (a move that would later hurt me but not a lot). J and we ready to go about 5:45am. We weren't really sure how long it would take to get to the start line but we are both people who get nervous if we're running late. My Dad and Stepmom dropped us off at the start around 6:05am (aka WAYYYYYYYY tooo early). One nice thing about being there that early was no lines for the port-a-potty. As we huddle together trying to stay warm I got to see Aron and Kristen. (Kristen, just so you all know is my best friend and we've been friends since 3rd grade!) The start was delayed, no surprise there since it was an inaugural race. Around 7:30am the race started...I'd say the gun went off but really nothing happened except people in front of me started moving.

Mile 1 -4
I was cruising along in the first few miles. There was a big(ish) hill around mile 2 BUT shortly after that I saw my inlaws and the cutest dog ever (aka my ZoZo!!). Seeing them really helped keep my spirits up. There was a large downhill at mile 3 or 4 (can't remember now) but that was awesome. I hit the 4 mile marker at 40:30 (that's pretty fast for me). I knew I better slow down or I would run out of gas.

(Somewhere between mile 2-3. The famous Alisa bunny arms are out in ful force!)

Mile 4-7

Around mile 4.5 I knew I had made a mistake skipping the first two (very crowded) water stations and skipping a morning snack. My stomach felt a little acidy and was starting to get hungry. When I saw the mile 6 marker I was still under an 11 mm, which again for me in longer races is really good. Right after mile 6 was the wine tasting station. I knew as soon as I took the cup and swallowed that wine on an empty stomach was probably not a good idea but I did it anyway. This is also when the "rolling" hills started. I'm not one for hill training so these gentle rolling hills were like Mt Everest at some points to me. At mile 7 I took my gel and the double espresso caffeine did seem to perk me up a little.

Mile 7-10
I started run/walking at mile 7. I would run a mile and walk .10. This worked quite well. At mile 10 I had another boost of energy seeing my in laws, Js uncles, my dog and stepdad. (I also called J at mile 9.5, this is yet another beauty of the iphone!) Both of these things kept me motivated...UNTIL....

(This is around mile 10. Zoey loves to lick the sweat off my face!)

Mile 10-13.1
The huge hill at mile 10.5ish. Personally I thought it was just mean to put a hill like that so late in the race but nevertheless I ran/walked up. I saw my Mom on the opposite side of the road somewhere during mile 10-11.5. She crossed and gave me some water. It was about this time that I realized that my 2:20-2:30 goal was going to be unreachable. I would still get a PR (since my first and only half marathon, not counting half of the full marathon, was a dismal 3:03). Mile 11.5-13 went pretty quickly. My walk run method had slowed to .25 run/.15 walk. When I hit 12.90 I was sprinted, well, more like ran faster than I was currently going =). When I saw that mile 13 marker I knew I had only a little farther to go. My dad, stepmom, J and Kristen were all waiting a various points along the .1...though I agree with Aron, that was the LONGEST .1 I've ever encountered. Regardless, I made it!

According to my Garmin I came in at 2:38:10/13.28 miles. According to the official results my time was something like 2:39 and change. I think I'll probably run the "Run to Stay Warm" 1/2 marathon in Eugene next month. I've decided my ultimate goal for a 1/2 is to break 2:00 hours. Not sure how long it will take me, probably a few years! For my next half though I'd like to see the 2:20's! Eugene's course is pretty flat so hopefully that will help me reach that goal.

Nothing like J who finished 8th in his age group and 52 overall -OR- Aron who was 7th in her age group...awesome speedsters! Kristen PR'd as well! Way to go everyone!

Here are a couple of pics from the race and after the race.

This is Kristen, Aron and I.

On the wine trail at Navarro's in Mendocino County.