Races · Running

Santa Cruz Half Marathon Recap- Part II

FINALLY. I know…

But before I get started on that I need to say HOLY CRAP CONGRATS Meb Keflezighi on winning the Boston Marathon for the men!!! First man to win for the US since 1983! He ran a 2:08:37- ya know, the same amount of time it takes me to run a HALF marathon…

I had to fight back tears watching him win- you could just feel his emotions. Never met the man (I’d probably act like a bumbling idiot), but I’ve only ever heard good things. Makes me happy when I see wonderful people accomplish greatness 🙂

Back to me now *loses half her audience*

Part I can be found here, but I left off with a restless (Saturday) night. Woke up at 5AM. Waking up is always easy even though I never get a good nights rest. Must be all the nerves and excitement. Forced myself to eat my bagel with peanut butter and banana on top (plus a small glass of Nuun). Eating is always hard. I’m not hungry at 5AM, especially before a race.

Then here’s when it gets good. Ya know how if I had to drive to my race destination, I would have then get dressed and ready and then drive somewhere? Well because we got to stay across the street from the starting line, I went back to bed and napped until 6:25 AM. 6:25 rolled around and I finished getting ready and we were all ready to leave the room by 7:30AM (race start was 8).

We walked the short 45 seconds to the starting area. I nervously looked for my friend Michelle who was pacing the event and who is actually the one who gave me the race entry! Huge shout out and thank you to her! She’s kind of the best (and a super speedy runner)! We couldn’t spot her so we took a few before photos, I stretched, and asked myself if I had to pee about 5 times (the answer was no each time).

santa cruz half marathon

Before I knew it, I had to get to the starting area. There weren’t any corrals but I spotted the pacers and lined up somewhere in between the 1:55 and 2:00 pacers. Mentally I felt like I should be back behind the 2:00 pacer, but I kept telling myself I was there to have fun and self, you hate weaving in and out of the people who should be back a lot farther. (We all know those sprinters who take off as fast as they can for the first 0.5 miles and then decide to walk the rest of the race. No shame in walking, but don’t line up at the front and then make everyone weave around you when you decide to walk in the MIDDLE of the street.)

santa cruz half marathon

The gun went off (there was no gun. i don’t even know if they had a horn. i’m always too nervous at the start. i basically start moving when the person in front of me starts moving. yes i’m a sheep) and the first few miles went by quickly which doesn’t usually happen for me. I was enjoying the scenery and the fact that I wasn’t weaving in and out of a bunch of people (yay for those runners who lined up in the proper areas!). For most of the course we were running with a coastal view. I was truly enjoying the course and the fact that I was there to have fun, not PR.

Miles 1-3: 8:58, 9:05, 9:13

I started to get bummed because I didn’t think I would get to see Kyle and my mom (We had discussed that the course isn’t super spectator friendly. It’s an out and back course that runs partially along a highway and through state parks.). But then bam! I saw Kyle and my mom in between mile 3-4.

Santa Cruz Half Marathon
Hello heel striker

After I saw them we were basically out in the wilderness, left to fend for ourselves. Or running along that highway and out to the coast via park trails with those nice volunteers giving us fuel and water. Either or.

Miles 4-8: 9:24, 9:10, 9:09, 9:01, 9:12

To get a sub 2 hr (which has been a goal of mine for a while) I needed to run at a 9:09 average pace. So I was on track. Not that I knew that. I made a conscience effort to not be glued to my watch. I told myself to run by feeling- like you are pushing yourself, but to a point that you can maintain for 13.1 miles. And BTW self, there are a lot of small hills on this course. You did not train on hills. Remember to keep the same effort, not pace, on those hills. And no self, it’s not possible to go uphill both ways. Oh and running on rocks/gravel is stupid and you don’t like it.

I saw Kyle and my mom again between miles 9 -10 (Mile 9- 9:19)

Santa Cruz Half Marathon 4.13.14-7

At this aid station, some brilliant guy (NOT being sarcastic here) took a hose out and shot it in the air for us runners to run through if we wanted to. Neon green thought he was in an Herbal Essence commercial.

Santa Cruz Half Marathon 4.13.14-9

I, on the other hand, was like, “Oooo pretty. Wattterrrr.”

It was a great pick-me-up to see them there, cheering me on. I looked at my watch after I passed them and realized I could make it under 2 hours.

I decided to pick up my pace and really push myself. Leave it all out there. I didn’t want to finish 1 minute over 2 hours and wish I would have pushed a little bit harder in those last few miles. The legs felt good, not lead-like like in the last race. I felt a couple blisters but nothing horrible.

I spotted the 2 hour pacer and made it my mission to pass him (even though I knew he was moving faster than a 2 hour pace). I passed him. Then I picked a speedy looking runner and made it my mission to keep up with her. I kept up with her for a couple miles and then she started getting tired. I still felt good so I picked a new target.

Miles 10-13: 8:44, 8:41, 8:55, 8:40

I could see the finish line. You basically run down a hill and towards the boardwalk, make a right turn on to the beach and then sprint to the finish. I wasn’t paying any attention to my watch. Run hard- that’s all I cared about.

As I approached the finish line I started sprinting and looking for Kyle and my mom. I finally saw them and they seemed shocked to see me and started screaming. I later found out that Kyle had roughly calculated my pace when he saw me before the 10 mile mark. Based on my first 9 miles, they didn’t think I was going to make it under 2 hours and they were expecting me about 3 minutes later.

I actually didn’t know if I broke 2 hours. After I crossed the finish line and got water and my medal, Kyle and my mom found me. Kyle was hugging me and I said, “I think I might have come in just under 2 hours!” He told me, “No, you came in quite a bit under 2!”

He looked for my official time (so nice that they posted results right away) and he was right.

Official time- 1:57:41 (8:59 pace)

I finally broke 2 hours. It. Felt. Amazing.

Chatted and snapped a few photos with Michelle.

Santa Cruz Half Marathon 4.13.14-14

And then my mom.

Santa Cruz Half Marathon 4.13.14-15

And then Kyle. With my bowl of orange slices and strawberries. I hate eating right after a race because food sounds disgusting, but for some reason those sounded good.

santa cruz half marathon

And that was that! A shiny new PR (now chasing 1:55) and a happy camper!

santa cruz half marathon

Ever go out to just have fun in a race and end up with a PR? *cough* Anne *cough

Does food sound disgusting to you right after you finish a race? (We’re talkin’ right after, not 2 hours later when you could eat the cardboard box that pizza comes in.)

52 thoughts on “Santa Cruz Half Marathon Recap- Part II

  1. Congrats on breaking 2 hours! It’s the best feeling when you get a PR! You could totally get sub-1:55 next time! 🙂

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS!!! Your splits are amazing and your pictures are amazing! Seriously how do you look so pretty after having just run a half marathon? I look like I’ve been hit by a car in all my post race pics. You are going to hit 1:55 with no problem, I just know it!

    Hahahaha Herbal Essences guy. (That water spray was a great idea though. I wish someone would do that at one of my races.)

  3. Dayumm girl, I mean, be cool, why’d you have to photo bomb that dude’s sweet shampoo commercial?!? Haha. Way to go! My favorite part is that you did a negative split!!! Were you sore afterwards?

  4. Congrats on your PR! Sounds like an awesome race – and you managed to look great and smile in all your race photos. That is even more impressilve LOL! I never want to eat right after I’m done – ughh food no.

  5. omg, that’s such an incredible pr! Not just breaking 2 hours (which is crazy amazing) but having a under 9 minute overall pace for the half. I PR’d a half a couple weeks ago and I guess you could say my main intention for the race was to have fun but I kind of had it on the back of my mind to pr.

  6. Way to go! I’m running my first half this summer and I’m just hoping I survive, lol! I usually need at least a few minutes after a race for everything to equalize, but I usually eat pretty quickly after. Especially carbs. Mmmm.

    1. Aww thank you!! Lol I know just how you feel- exactly how I felt before my first half! Lol oh I’m all about the carbs about 2 hours after a race. I’ll steal candy/pizza/pasta from a baby 😉 well, if babies could eat that.

  7. Way to go with the awesome negative splits! You were clearly holding back a bit and I’m sure you’ll have no problem getting 1:55. I love all of the photos of you on the course. It looks like you are working hard but having fun too!

    I have a really hard time eating anything for about an hour after a race. Luckily chocolate milk tastes good to me so I’m able to get down something with a little substance. A few hours later though and I’m ready to eat everything in sight!

    1. Thank you so much!!! Haha I must have been a little bit?? I think I second guess myself.

      Aww I wish I loved milk and chocolate because a lot of my runner friends love chocolate milk after races. It’s the only thing they can stomach right away. But yes- a couple hours later and give me ALL THE FOOD!

  8. Tehe thanks for the shout out chica 🙂

    Ummm best mom and bf award goes to kely and your momma, that is so crazy you got to see them so many times during the race!

    A huge congrats on your race and your PR, that is just so stinkin exciting! And ya know I love your approach haha

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