Monday, August 17, 2015

Hell Of A Half Marathon Recap

Happy Monday! Well I can happily say that I completed my fourth half marathon this past weekend. I knew it would be my toughest for the year, but I am absolutely proud of myself for finishing strong. Now I only have three more to go! If you may remember one of my goals for 2015 was to complete seven half marathons...crazy right?? Well I am more than half way there, but for now I get to relax the next few days and hopefully squeeze in a pedicure or a massage.

The race was out of town in Exeter, CA. The drive to get there from San Diego took 5 hours which may sound far but honestly it went by super fast. I left very early on Friday and didn't reach any traffic!  Luckily I have friends that live there so I had a free place to stay. The hubby wasn't able to come with me for this race.  He had a trip to Vegas planned in advanced for our friend's birthday. 

I picked up my race packet on Friday with my friends. One of them is running the race as well.  I will say this...BEST RUNNING SWAG! I got the typical running shirt, an insulated water bottle, really nice sandals ($60 value), and a visor. This race is run by my old local running store, Sole 2 Soul. Man I miss that store! All their local races have the best amenities. Oh yeah and all their employees are amazing and truly love running. 

Afterwards we carb loaded with some local pizza. Definitely hit the spot!

This race was actually on Saturday which was awesome because I was able to rest up on Sunday before the long drive back home. We got to the start line about 45 minutes before the race started. Honesty it wasn't really that necessary. It took us a mere five minutes to get there. It at least gave us the opportunity to hit up the bathrooms before the lines got long and some stretching before the race started. This race gets hot...there is a reason they call it Hell of a Half. They even offered people the option to start half an hour earlier to avoid the heat. Once there, I debated on just starting early but I opted to just stick it out.

I felt great for the first four miles. I felt loose, no pain, and was honestly enjoying the run. I knew that would change shortly after the mile 4 marker though. The first main hill was coming and I could feel it. I can't even tell you how hard of a hill it was. My pace dropped drastically since I had to walk during some parts of that first hill. It's length was a little over a mile but felt so much longer! That hill was deceiving. Just when I thought it was over, I'd make a turn and see the hill just keep on climbing.  
There was a brief moment of flatness around the 5.5-8 mile markers, but after that the last hill came and it was worse than the first! Yet another mile long uphill. At that point so many of use where just plain out tired and just walked.  The heat was unbearable and although they did have water stations throughout the course, my body was still not dealing with the heat very well. I had forgotten how hot it can get in the Central Valley. 

Once I got to the top of the last hill, I knew I only needed less than three miles to go! I tried to go as fast as I could downhill to catch up for some lost time walking up the last hill, but my legs felt like jello. It didn't help that I could feel plenty of blisters forming.  I saw my friend at mile 12 which was just what I needed to finish strong. She managed to take a picture of me running.

I swear I knew the finish line was close by, but I just couldn't see it. It was frustrating knowing I was so close yet felt so far away. Finally I made a left turn and saw the last 200 yards to felt like another mile long though. I tried to give it my last kick but honestly I was done. The arms were moving faster, but the legs were barely going anywhere. I gave it my all and finished strong with a 2:17:51.

My goal was 2:10 but I under-estimated how hard these hills would be. I knew I wouldn't hit a PR but I wanted this challenge. This has been the hardest race I have ever ran, but I still loved it! The course was very beautiful and I would run it again next year if given the opportunity. 

Here are the things I loved about this race:
  • the running swag
  • the beautiful course
  • the breakfast burritos and watermelon at the end
  • the medal
  • the race staff
Here are the things I didn't really care for:
  • the race is far away from San Diego
  • during the course, there weren't many porta potties
  • the hills

So now what's next? My next race will be the completion of the Sole 2 Soul series. But I am planning on taking a few days off and just relaxing. I am in desperate need of a pedicure so that will be a priority this week. 

Hope you all had a great weekend!
Anyone have any races? Great runs?

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

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with SpoonsHealthy Diva Eats and Her Heartland Soul

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