Coach and I had finally settled on my next marathon which was 12 weeks away from race day. It was my job to find a couple half marathons and a 5K to run before the big race. I decided to run the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon in Oxnard, a very small, fast course just about an hour away. I knew a lot of friends who have raced it and knew who’d be running, so I was pretty excited.
As race day approached, I quickly realized I wasn’t in race shape as I was finding myself struggling with my shorter tempo run (4-5 miles @ 6:40 pace) but coach told me to use this race as a tempo training run, “…and maybe surprise yourself.”
As I toed the starting line, with 7 full weeks of base training under my belt, I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be hitting the wall somewhere out there on the course but also full of stress because my Garmin wasn’t catching a signal and I was very rushed to get to the starting line. My plan was to run with my friends Radell and Mike who would be pace leaders for the 1:30:00 group. I figured I would do my best to stay with them and pick-up later if I felt good.
At the start of the race, I stayed with them and early on I was able to count the females in front of me as they made their way around a right turn: 13th place. No big deal, only a training run. Early on I felt I would be disappointed if I didn’t pick up my pace and show a little more effort so I started to focus on the runners in front of me, trying to catch them one at a time.
By the time my Garmin got reception, I found myself near mile 4 and quickly hit the lap button so I could at least start to check my mile splits. Mile 4 was WAY off and I found myself reaching mile 5 way before my watch did. I was feeling really good and comfortable, opting to listen to my ipod thinking it would help distract me from negative thoughts and hush my heavy breathing.
By the time I got to mile 11, I had passed 8 women but there was a blonde girl in front of us that was pretty consistent and nearly out of reach. I felt very strong, mad at myself for all the negative thoughts and self-doubt as I turned into the finish line, noticing I better speed up if I wanted to break 1:27:00. Wow, I couldn’t believe it — just this February I ran a balls out race to run 1:26:18. I quickly called my coach who congratulated me and quickly reminded me that I needed to run a few more miles to get in a total of 18 for the day.
Overall I was the 5th women and 5th in my age group. Some pretty good gals out there with the winner coming in at 1:14:00.
Time to focus, time to tough it out mentally.
Finish Time: 1:26:57