My First Race

Yesterday’s race brings back memories from my first ever half marathon, which just so happened to be the La Jolla half.  I probably did everything wrong, but ended up with my best La Jolla time.  How? It’s become even more of a mystery to me.

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1. Didn’t buy a bib when I started training.  I planned to do this with a couple of friends.  But they kept debating whether or not they wanted to do it.  I was committed, and had started a 10-week training plan (from Marathon Rookie).  By week 6, after I had finished my first ever 10 mile run, I decided to sign up.  But to my dismay, the race was sold out.  This was the most crushing thing ever.  Luckily, I was able to buy a bib from a friend’s friend.  I don’t know if transferring bibs was in effect (I didn’t do this), but I essentially ran my first half marathon as not myself.

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2. Wore inappropriate clothing.  Cotton race t-shirt, basketball shorts…yep.  I don’t even think I wore a watch.

3. Didn’t know the course.  Only the day before when my parents were down did we drive the course route (I was limited in mobility. Keep in mind I still didn’t have a car  down here at this point).  I knew there was a hill at mile 6, but I assumed it was the slight and continuous incline of Torrey Pines Road.  Only during the race when I saw everyone go into the Reserve did I realize, “Oh shit, we’re running into the mountain?!”

4. Experimenting with a vegetarian diet.  My most regretful moment was probably going out to eat afterwards at a burger joint, only to eat a veggie burger (which was sub-par).

At this point in my running “career,” I was just trying to get back into shape after a lapse in running, priorities, and judgement.  I went, what I, myself, deem “crazy,” for one quarter.  I started going out too much and drinking too much.  After this short period, I just felt disgusting.  I thought, what better way to get back into shape than to commit myself to run 13.1 miles.  So ensued the journey of running half marathons, and the re-focus on living a healthy lifestyle.

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La Jolla Half Marathon

Today I finished my third time at the La Jolla half, and my 7th half marathon.  With a recap of my goals, I ran a 1:47:26, my worst time so far, but 9 seconds.  But really, who am I to care that much.  As far as I’m concerned, I pushed myself as hard as I could today.  And I’m just as proud.

I arrived at the Del Mar Fairgrounds around 6am and had no trouble parking.  Then, I met up with Morgan and we shot the shit (literally) and talked about it.  It was nice to wait around with someone, as to not think about the race and to kill some nerves.   At 7:30am, we were off.

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The first 2 miles just seemed to be getting out and around the racetrack (splits: 7:51, 7:48).  Mile 3-4 were all familiar, traversing through Del Mar.  However, I thought I remembered the course previously running up 15th Street and through the Village (would’ve seen my office then!).  Instead, it ran through residential and up on 4th Street.  A miniature prelude to the hill (splits: 7:58, 8:35).  Then a slight downhill grade on the bridge that pedestrians have been prohibited on for quite some time (construction work, only cars allowed. split: 7:33).  Then, the hill.  Let me take that back.  The mountain.  This is literally a mountain.  People go hiking here!  I pushed myself to run the whole thing, with a walk at the top at the water station (split: 9:47).  I only took water about 3 times today, and just decided to walk through them.  It refreshed my legs, and also made sure I didn’t choke on the water. I still haven’t mastered running and drinking.  Once the hill flattened out, I was pretty fatigued and couldn’t push anything faster than a 9:11 mile.

Back on Torrey Pines, miles 8-10, my mindset switched back and forth from “this is tough” to “I feel like I’m in a dream!”  This race seemed to be relatively quick, as in, the miles just seemed to pass by, and I didn’t have to dwell on how many more were left.  I think this has to do with the fact that I’ve run many parts of the course throughout the past couple of years, just in my every day life (splits: 7:59, 7:48, 8:20).

Once mile 11 hit, I knew I would have the option to pick it up and make up some time.  I think I pretty much killed my legs, trying to control my stride while simultaneously just trying to let my body go (split: 6:43).

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By mile 12, at Spindrift/Princess St. I was tired (split: 8:10).  I pushed myself to get up this last hill.  Once back on Torrey Pines, I knew I just had to make it to Prospect, and then the finish would be all downhill.  I kicked it into action and gave it all I had for the last quarter mile (final split: 8:40).

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Post-race I gimped around while we spent 30-45 minutes trying to locate the car.  Then I enjoyed a delicious meal at Solace where I didn’t just go yesterday  I went after my last race.  I do love me some cheddar biscuits, and a good-ass burger!

After everything I recovered with a soak in the hot tub, some peaceful laps in the pool, and a refreshing Big Gulp.  Fountain soda diet Dr. Pepper will be my demise!

Race Day Essentials

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Tomorrow’s the big day, the La Jolla Half Marathon.  So here’s what’s packed in my new Urban Oasis Lululemon bag:
– Nuun, Watermelon flavor
-Key Lime Larabar
-Banana and Pecan Nut Butter
-Garmin 610 Forerunner
-Nike Running Capri
-Nike Daybreaker Running Hat
-Lululemon Run: Silver Lining Tank
-Lululemon Ultimate Padded Run Sock
-Nike TR Fit 2 Shoes
-LJ Half Bib
-Ipod Shuffle

Here’s what’s on my playlist:
I’m Not Your Hero – Tegan and Sara
Just Give Me A Reason – P!NK Feat. Nate Ruess
Pour It Up – Rihanna
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
Get Lucky – Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell
The Way – Ariana Grande Feat. Mac Miller
Heart Attack – Demi Lovato
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Feat. Ray Dalton
Drinking From The Bottle – Calvin Harris Feat. Tinie Tempah
I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding
As Your Friend – Afrojack Feat. Chris Brown
Get Up (Rattle) – Bing Players Feat. Far East Movement
#thatpower – Will.I.Am Feat. Justin Bieber
Calling (Losing My Mind) _ Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso
Bounce – Calvin Harris Feat. Kelis
Poppin’ Off – Watch The Duck
Love Me – Lil Wayne Feat. Drake & Future
Fuckin’ Problem – A$AP Rocky Feat. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar
What About Us – The Saturdays Feat. Sean Paul
Play Hard – David Guetta Feat. Ne-Yo and Akon
White Noise – Disclosure Feat. AlunaGeorge
Next To Me – Emeli Sande Feat. Kendrick Lamar

With my computer dying, I tried to do my best to pair each song to what mile I might be on – assuming an 8 minute per mile pace.  I started with the slower songs first and worked my way up, to ensure that I don’t start off too fast.  I also made sure I had a good song around mile 6 for the hill, and enjoyable music for the finish.

AND!  To announce the winner of the Body Love Apparel Giveaway. #13 – Asha from Letters To Chace by Following Daily Cup Of Asheejojo.  Please email me at dailycup.asheejojo at gmail.com!

How Smurfs Recover

photoYesterday I got stuck at the Apple store, and ended up being too late to join in the #BostonStrong run at Movin’ Shoes Encinitas.  Instead, I ran 4 miles by myself, suffering from slight shin splints.  So last night and today, I resorted to recovering via PRO Compression Socks!  To bed. To work.  But I swear I pulled down my pants, and I swear I’m not just a Smurf!

I just finished reading Why You Should Taper Before A Marathon and came across a few good tips for building confidence the week before a race.    These include setting goals – amazing, ideal, and livable – that will make you feel accomplished, no matter what, when you cross that finish line.  I usually don’t set specific goals ahead of time.  I usually, like most people, just want to PR.  But when the race begins and I realize I might not do as unrealistically well as I want, I start the battle in my brain.  So instead, I think I’ll try jotting some realistic goals out now to free my mind.

Set multiple time goals, separated by 5 to 15 minutes so you don’t feel like you leave empty-handed:

  1. Fantastic – new PR, below a 1:44
  2. Really good – new course PR, below a 1:46
  3. I can live with that – 1:48 to 1:52 (preferably not the latter, but who knows).

Set general goals (i.e. not walking, finishing strong, or simply enjoying yourself):

  1. Staying confident throughout the race
  2. Not completely dying after the hill
  3. Finishing strong with a sprint

Visualize the race and what you want to accomplish in each part:

  1. Start – start off comfortable and strong.
  2. Halfway point – pick up speed slightly, or maintain pace.
  3. Mile 12-12.75 – pick it up as much as I can.
  4. Mile 12.75-13.1 – give it all I’ve got.  The last incline of the course with a downhill finish.

How do you set your race goals?

Don’t forget to enter the Body Love Apparel Giveaway!

It’s Taper Time

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This week begins my taper for the La Jolla half marathon.  I don’t really know what to expect for this race.  This will be my third time running the course, and my goal is just to beat my best course time (1:46:36).  This is a difficult course, with a 440 ft increase in elevation at mile 6.  But this has been my first time really focusing on hills, and running the Torrey Pines State Reserve several times prior.

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“The Hill” (source)

The importance of tapering is to let your body and muscles rest and recover, and to let them receive all of the benefits built up over training.

For my last race, the Carlsbad half, my taper week looked like this:
Sun – 4 mi
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – Stretching, foam rolling, balancing
Thurs – 2 mi, hot yoga
Fri & Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day
I ended up running a PR after a 1 year hiatus from running any races.

My main goals this week are:
1. Make sure I am well rested = early bedtime/8 hours of sleep each night leading up.
2. Take it easy = easy mileage/not the time to ramp up training.
3. Recover = stretch, foam roll, wear compression socks.
4. Eat well = don’t eat anything new/don’t eat too much or too little.

I’m still trying to figure out what to eat on race day.  I have been inconsistent in what I eat before my long training runs, mainly just fruit and nuts, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to sustain myself on that for a race.  And more importantly, I’m still trying to figure out where I want to eat my post-race meal, because I love the gratification that comes with that!

What this week looks like:
Sun – 6 mi
Mon – 4 mi Movin’ Shoes run for Boston
Tues – Stretching, foam rolling
Wed – 3 mi run, PM hot yoga
Thurs – AM hot yoga
Fri – Walk/rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day

How do you taper?

Hot Chocolate 5K: Day Twenty-Three

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For some reason I was unable to fall asleep until 2:30am.  However, I made sure to not panic with a 5am wakeup time.  Luckily we achieved our biggest challenge…waking up and making it to the race on time!  There were a lot of parking lots to choose from, but I prefer races with one designated lot connected to the start.  There were a ton of people by the time we got to the starting area (around 6:30am).  With a 6:45am start time, all of the corrals were packed (A-I).  I did like that they checked bibs for designated corrals, and only let you in if your bib specified.  The course was significantly hilly.  A lot more than I thought.  I didn’t really think to look at the terrain ahead of time, but knew that the main peak was at mile 2.  This came after about 1/4 mile of hills with short plateaus at each cross-secting block.  Then it was pretty much all downhill.

photoIt was definitely helpful to have my Garmin to gauge my pace and effort in between miles.  The race seemed to fly by!  I PR-ed (23:04, 7:27/mile pace), even though I’ve only run one 5K before.  But was happy with my time, and my abilities to run at this pace so early on a Sunday AM.  Mile 1: 7:53, Mile 2: 7:45, Mile 3: 6:53.  I just checked the official race results and they’re better than I thought!

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Post-race there were no medals.  Just a finishers bowl that was plastic and compartmentalized.

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Everything I couldn’t eat (besides the banana)

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Later, lunch was out again with my mom, so I paleo-fied Burger Lounge:
Full vegetable salad with no cheese, no corn, no dressing (and for me, no onions).  Add grass-fed beef patty and a side of lemon wedges (no olive oil available)

Race Mania: Day Seventeen

One of the exciting parts of running a race is entering territory that is normally blocked off to pedestrians –such as busy and congested city streets.  Or in this next instance, large thoroughfares that never allow foot traffic: the Coronado Bay Bridge.  On May 19th, the 27th Navy’s Bay Bridge Run/Walk will start in downtown San Diego and traverse this iconic bridge to the finish in Coronado.  When my mom first asked me if I wanted to do this run, I only had to think of which bridge she was talking about before I agreed.  So now I’ve added a new race to my agenda.  It’s time I’ve stepped out from my routine runs and start exploring new locations and different distances.

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Do you ever get caught in a racing rut?