*For those of you that care and because i forgot to but it on here before (and i earned these bragging rights!), I placed 9th in my age group and 105 overall (I think there was about 530 total).
*I want to apologize for waiting so long to write the second part..things have been really crazy here! We had my Grams funeral yesterday and I spoke at it and plans for leaving Cali and when the hubs returns have been stressing me out (yay for always changing plans)! Thank you all for you patience ..so now lets get onto the hardcore running stuff!
Sunday morning we woke all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to go run the race! We got of our racing gear on (including our new arm warmers and spy belt from yesterday’s shopping adventure)! Then we packed up all of our crap and headed out the door. Since it was literally the crack of dawn we decided to drive through a little coffee dive so the ladies could get their caffeine fix. Since I don’t normally drink coffee before I run I decided not to chance it and stuck with my zipfizz :)
After getting the necessary caffeine we headed onto our destination! During this time of the season in central Cali the weather is always iffy but both Olive Oyl and I had checked the weather report numerous times for the race day in order to be fully prepared for what was going to be awaiting us. It had promised to be rather warm getting into the 70’s so we were all prepared to run with minimal clothes (or mainly not a lot of layers). We had stayed in Atascadero the night before which is closer to the ocean and therefore colder than Paso. So when we stepped outside that morning and were greeted by very cold temps i was a little worried (but not freaking out yet).
Once we arrived in Paso, right on our 7am scheduled arrival time, we proceeded to go through our final routines and get together the last of what we would need from the car for the race. About a month before this race I started experiencing pain in my right ankle and even after getting new shoes it was still not gone. I then decided that I probably needed some extra support so I bought a wrap-around ankle brace that I have been wearing ever since and has helped so much! About 2 weeks before the race, while running 18 miles, my other ankle started hurting so more out of precaution I got another brace for that ankle too. So right when we got there I was debating whether I really needed to wear one or both of the braces..finally Olive Oyl made the decision for me when she said it was better to be safe the sorry..thanks girl I owe you!
And yeah, totally not warmer in Paso! I was freezing! I knew that I would warm up once we started running but for the time before that I was miserable! We had these swanky t-shirts supporting the Bako coroners office (whoo hoo) that provided some warmth.
Olive Oyl and I did a warm up run and then we went to go find that real bathrooms (no porta-potties for me). Some of Olive Oyl’s family came so we talked to them and handed off our extra clothes for them to hold so we could go line up. Somehow I ended up by myself in the crowd of 1/2 marathoners right before it started, but I was towards the front so I didn’t have to weave my way through too many people! Before the race started I was really nervous, I really wanted to PR but I also knew my last 1/2 was more ideal conditions and since i wasn’t feeling on the top of my game (I blame it on the added stress of death) I had no idea how this was going to play out!
Olive Oyl was running injured and I knew we wouldn’t be running together so I was on my own. Did I already mention that I didn’t look at the race route before hand, yeah not a racing strategy I would recommend! Right out of the gate we head into the vineyards and up a pretty intense hill complete with dirt and gravel, even worse though was the downhill on uneven terrain…almost ate it, not good for the start of the race! I had learned a while ago that I don’t like running with water so I was completely at the mercy of the aid stations. One we got past the vineyards we were running on open road, however, I truly would have taken the dirt and gravel over the unstable road conditions (way to uneven and bumpy)! By mile 3 my legs were already feeling it and I knew this was not good. My trainer had told me to walk the aid stations and though I lost some seconds doing that, I do believe it helped!
I took my first Gu at mile 4.5 and boy did I need it! The hills kept coming and by mile 6 I could see my pace starting to wane. I was trying to keep above an 8 min average but it was getting tougher and tougher. About mile 7 I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to PR and that I really didn’t care about my pace as long as I finished. However, my stubbornness got in the way and although I wasn’t going fast enough to PR I still pushed myself to maintain an 8-8:15 avg. I took my second Gu at mile 9.5 and that seemed to help some. My legs were screaming at me and my ankle was really protesting at this point..and yeah there was still 3.6 miles to go. There was a girl who ran around me for the whole second 1/2 and we kept passing each other..which kept me motivated (yes i am competitive even in extreme pain)! I kept praying for flat ground but once it was in sight it wouldn’t last long! “Here comes another hill..oh but there are cute horses so now I am smiling” :) The scenery was nice but I had a hard time taking it in since I really just wanted to finish!
Usually I love long run and races but for some reason I just couldn’t get my head or body into this one! Around mile 12 I was praising God that there was only one mile left. I kept remembering that Olive Oyl had said there was a pretty decent hill at the end but I kept thinking she must be mistaken, we have already had too many hills to count! Boy was I wrong!! I rounded the corner to my final mile to be met with a sinking feeling in my tummy and the steepest hill I have ever ran up before! I wanted to quit right then and there..I wanted to cry or throw up but I just kept running. I had passed the girl at the last aide station and I wanted to stay ahead of her. I mustered up all the strength I had and stared the climb. About half way up the hill I realized that I could walk faster than i was running so I power walked up the rest and then started to run again..thank God for the last aide station!
Finally I could see the balloons and the end and although I felt like I was running forever I knew it was almost done! I was almost there and I saw my girls cheering me on..thanks guys! I also saw that the clock showed 1:47:50 and so I ran as fast as I could to stay under 1:48! I finished exhausted! I then proceeded to pick up my finishers wine glass and have my chip cut off! Yeah no medal..not cool!!!
Official time: 1:47:53
Garmin (Fionia) time: 1:46:36
After I was finished and re-grouped I met up with Olive Oyl’s mom and one of the other runners with us and we headed out to find Olive Oyl. Oh by the way the ladies with us who did the 5k did amazing and I am so proud of them!! It was good to stretch my aching legs and cheer on the runners, especially as we were walking down the dreaded hill! We found Olive Oyl about a mile out and then I ran the rest of the way back with her. I can’t be more proud of her. Yes, she was hurting and exhausted but she kept trudging alone with a smile! It was such a privilege to get to run with my friend and cheer her on. She did so amazing and finished under her goal time with a 2:27 time. Come to find out later that she was running on a fractured pelvis..ahhhh! Olive Oyl you are totally my hero :)
We had a great brunch together and then all headed back to bako. We had a great time! I was in a lot of pain though, more so than i have ever been from a race. Those hills really took it out of me and I have been having an awful time recovering! Apparently you can’t run off pain and pulled muscles! Oh well I had a blast with the girls and would do it again in a heart beat. Bring on the next race!!
P.S. stay tuned for a very important announcement coming soon…