Monday, March 26, 2012

March 24th, 2012 – The Pacific Half Marathon

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This run was part of The Great Race of Agoura Hills series and as usual, it was well organized and very well supported. I love this series and this area.

In the past I have run the 5k and have even PR’d on the 10k course. The course is super challenging with hill after hill after hill.

I have been told that this is not a PR kind of course, this is more of a “Just finish It” kind of course. A PR was not my destiny this time but I was pleased and honored to be a part of it. Sincerely.

But let’s be honest. You don’t sign up for a race if you don’t want to do your best and PR if you can. Of course that was the plan for me but it didn’t work out.

After much cogitation, I have a couple of theories as to why I didn’t reach most of my goals:

My most basic goal was to finish it, which I did. So kudos on that point. However….

It had been almost a year since I’d run a Half Marathon and I was concerned that I couldn't do that kind of distance again. However, the weekend before the race, I was determined to get the mileage in.

I was able to get the distance in, even with the torrential (for Southern California) rain.

A rainy run is not a bad run. In fact running in the rain made me feel like a hardcore badass. So I was feeling pretty good.

When I went to Packet Pick Up two days before the event, I struck up a conversation with some other runners who were doing the Chesebro Half Marathon, which was the much tougher trail run going on the same day.

When asked why I didn’t sign up for that one, my response was. “I hate hills. I know some people love ‘em. But I really really hate ‘em.” She just looked at me and said, “The Pacific is *really* hilly. The Chesebro is worse, but the Pacific is hilly. You should drive it before you run it.”

I’d run the 10k the previous year and yes, it was tough but I did it and was able to PR so I thought “This should be fine, right? It’s just twice as long”.

Well, the logic follows. After all, the Half Mararthon course includes the 10K course. But I let her words get in my head and I couldn’t shake them. I immediately went back to the office and called up the course map and the elevation profile.

OK! So Mile 3 is going to be a B-I-T-C-H!!!! But mile 4 should make up for it. There will be another blip at miles 5, 7 and a pretty decent climb at mile 12. Alright, I can do this!

3! 5! 7! 12!
3, 5, 7, 12!!!
Three, Five, Seven, TWELVE!!!!!

That was my mantra. BAD IDEA!!!

Well, I let the course beat me, instead of the other way around. Yes, it was tough. Yes, it was long. But the distance wasn’t the issue. The hills absolutely were. I had only run hills once during my training and that was a 10-mile disaster!

I had two bananas right before the race, which were 300 calories tops. So I should have replaced my calories at the 5k mark… but I didn’t.

I certainly should have replaced them at the 10k mark after the second big incline… but I didn’t.

I got a phone call from my Dad right at the 6.8 mile mark (What?!) and I was struggling.

I started taking Sports Beans at mile 7 and throwing back water. Before then, I had sailed passed all the aid stations. MISTAKE!

At mile 8, my right foot started to cramp. Damn It! There is no potassium in these Sports Beans! There’s a pebble in my left shoe! Keep moving.

The course is a steady climb from here until mile 12. But it’s relatively even.

Just! Keep! Moving! It’s been tough, but so far, I’ve been able to maintain my normal Half Marathon pace.

Then I hit The Wall at mile 10 and couldn’t recover. Why?

I’ll tell you why…. Because I knew there was another hill looming at mile 12 and I couldn’t make myself shake it.

I spent the entire race so focused on what was coming that I couldn’t give my best to what I was doing at the time. And I *never* do that!!! I was so focused on what was coming that I ignored my body cues telling me that I was dehydrated and low on fuel.

So inevitably, I hit The Wall and couldn’t recover. I lost my pacing and the race. And I knew it was all in my head because as soon as I crossed the finish line and sucked down one of those awesome shrimp tacos, I was fine. I could have done the Family Fun Run with no problem at all.

This was a competition of the mind only because the distance is no sweat. And I let it beat me. I will never do that again. I will register for this race again next year and be ready for it….. All of it.

See ya on the next run.