Monday, March 2, 2015

Heavenly Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I had the such a great time running my second race of the year, The Heavenly Half Marathon. The race was up in the mountains in Auberry, CA to be exact. Where is that you say? Well it is located in the arm pit of California by the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. It is absolutely gorgeous. Now before you start thinking running a half marathon in the mountains is crazy hear me out. This race is the complete opposite. Pretty much all downhill except for a few rolling hills in the first two miles, but honestly super doable. 

I ran this race last year and I smoked it! I finished with a time of 1:46 last year, a PR for me. My husband says I can't count it though since the race was pretty much all downhill. I kind of agree with him, but who wouldn't want to claim a 1:46?? This year around I knew it would be difficult to get that time since I did no training for it. I had been resting my feet a lot since The Carlsbad Half Marathon. So without further ado let me tell you about my experience this time around.


Well first of all I took a bus shuttle to get to the start line. My shuttle time was at 6am so that meant we had to leave the house no later than 5:15am. My husband was not happy about this information since he is NOT a morning person. The race didn't start until 7:30am but I always like to get a bit early to stretch, use the restroom, finish some food, etc. Last year they had raffles for those that used the shuttle early on. Unfortunately that was not done this time around. The shuttle took about 15 minutes to get to the top where the start was. 


Last year the shuttle dropped us off at the local elementary school where the start was. The best part was that the school opened their gymnasium to us so we could hang out since it was super cold. Unfortunately the start line was moved and we had to wait outside in the freezing cold. I mean it had been lightly snowing on Saturday! 

No warmers or a place for shelter. This was very disappointing since I couldn't feel my toes after awhile. Luckily since I did get there a bit early I had first dibs on the porter potties. By the time the race was about to start there was still a huge line! And once again a pertinent benefit to arriving early to a race. Honestly there never seems to be enough bathrooms in any race I've done.

Five minutes to race time my friend Andres and I headed up to the start line. He went to the front since he is ridiculously fast and I went further back. I wasn't going to break 1:46 so I had no need to be in the front. When I found my position I was happy to see my friend was right next to me! Michelle and I work together and this is the first race we've done together. She runs a few marathons a year too but with her husband. They are super cute together. That's him...the guy that photo bombed us.


They honestly named this race appropriately. It is absolutely heavenly! The views are magical. You kind of just get lost in the moment. I didn't even take any pictures. The picture below was taken by the people who run the race. Most of the course you are just running underneath beautiful redwood trees and every time you there was a break through you got views of the Sierras. The first part of the course had some rolling hills. The hills wouldn't have been that bad if I had been running at sea level but that whole elevation factor made it difficult at times. I did walk when I just couldn't catch a deep breath. 

Since the course is mostly downhill I knew I would have a few issues with my plantar fasciitis. I had really forgotten how uneven the road was. I tried running more in the middle of the road in order to alleviate all the pressure I was placing on my right side. I felt like at any moment I could roll an ankle. I have weak ankles so I am always fearful of this.

When I hit mile six I knew I could break 2 hours. I pushed myself a bit more and powered through. At this point I was good. I had no foot pain just a bit of discomfort on my right knee because of the stress it was getting from the uneven pavement. By mile 10 I started to get stomach issues. I was in search of a porter potty but there was none to be found. My pace slowed down a few seconds but I was still running around an 8:30 pace. There were maybe four aid stations throughout the course and that really was plenty. The course is fast and there were only about 1,300 runners. I tried to get my mind off of my stomach and it helped. Before I knew it I was sprinting to the finish line! My final time: 1:53!

I was so happy with my results. I was a top finisher for women's...well that is what my coffee mug said anyways. Haha! They only had a select amount to hand out but it sure looked like a few hundred mugs to me. Finishers also received a fleece blanket and a really nice and heavy medal. A warm breakfast and chocolate milk was also provided to all runners.  That blanket sure would have come in handy at the start of the race!

Andres found me at the finish line. He did awesome! He ran the race more than 30 minutes faster than me. He is a beast...oh and he didn't train like at all! He finished 15th overall and 2nd in his age group. Some people are born to be runners and he is one of them. I've said it before I am not one of those people but I sure like to try. I just love running.


* Downhill course
* Gorgeous views
* Supporting local business
* Run smoothly
* All the extra swag
* Shuttle service to start
* Great price

* No warmers/shelters at start
* Uneven pavement
* Not enough porter potties at start

Would I do this race again? In a heart beat! Unfortunately I am moving and will probably not get the chance to run this race next year. This race is part of a running series and I was hoping to do all three this year. With the move it may be hard to do. I was actually very sore afterwards and still am. Waking up stiff this morning was not fun at all! I've been popping ibuprofen like candy. I think I was also calorie deficient because I had some serious nausea post race.. Was it worth it? Absolutely! One more medal to add to my collection. 

Other places your can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Healthy Diva Eats and Her Heartland Soul