Women’s Half Marathon San Diego

This past weekend, Meg and I were given the opportunity to run the Women’s Half Marathon San Diego as a part of the X-1 Audio team.  This was my first half marathon race since running Capitola Half in May 2012, and longest race since coming back from my injury.  I was excited to see what I could do especially with all my recent PRs in the 10k and 5k.

Friday afternoon, Meg and I drove down to the San Diego county area, where we stayed with her parents for the weekend.  Having only had 3 hours of sleep the night before, Meg graciously drove the whole way (well she drove the whole trip back too…) and after a few hours in the car, I took a looong nap, and missed a fair amount of the trip.  So the trip really flew by.

Saturday, after a delicious brunch at Beach Break Cafe – which is delicious, btw — we headed to the Women’s Half Marathon Expo at the Sheraton on the Harbor in San Diego.  We picked up our bibs, cute shirts and checked out the vendors (and bought pink argyle adorable socks from ProCompression, which we both wore raceday), before meeting up with the X-1 Audio team at their booth.

549861_10151531046459236_1324134362_nThe X-1 Audio Team in Graced by Grit

X-1 Audio was the headlining headphone sponsor of the Women’s Half Marathon in San Diego.  They gave each of us a pair of headphones made specifically for women to try out.  They’re comfortable, cute and come in so many colors (I got the teal!).  I wore them during the race, and only had to adjust them 2 times!  We then met the wonderful Kate from Graced by Grit, a new women’s athletic clothing company, who outfitted us in cute capris and super comfy singlets. A foreshadow: the singlet was perfect for race day – great fit, great material, breathable.  Perfect, to a T.

421394_10151531046349236_965375899_nGraced by Grit….manikin style
Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.33.13 PMMe and Meg in our Graced by Grit gear

We also were hooked up with these amazing sunglasses from Smith Optics.  They are super light weight, crystal clear, and have lenses that can be easily switched out (rose and clear).  I wore them race day, and throughout most of the run I couldn’t even tell they were there.  A definite win in my book.

577258_10151531046359236_185367719_nThe Smith Optics sunglasses and X-1 Audio headphones

We also received compression sleeves from CEP, which are comfortable and cute, and I can’t wait to wear in the near future.  What I loved about CEP is that its not a guessing game for size.  They measure your calf, and tell you your size for all their sleeves and compression socks.

482276_10151531046439236_2121359530_nThe team getting fitted at CEP for our compression sleeves

After the Expo, we headed back to Meg’s parents house where they made a delicious dinner, and we had a lowkey night before crawling into bed around 8:30pm (heyyyy we were super tired and we had a 4am wake up call).  And by 9:30 it was lights out for me!  A definite first for me in a looong time.

Sunday morning we woke up at 4am, and got ready, ate breakfast (banana + almonds for me) and then headed into San Diego for the race start.  At the start, I met one of my favorite running bloggers for the first time, Skinny Runner.  She was very down to earth and real, just how I hoped she would be – and I might even like her more in person than on her blog.

At 6:35am, the race began.  I love the race, and the idea behind the Women’s Half Marathon, promoting women getting out and exercising together.  The one thing that I was kind of disappointed in was the fact that there was a man pacing the 1:35 pace group.  I mean, if its supposed to be a women’s race…shouldn’t there be a woman pacing?  I know plenty of women who can run a sub 1:35…

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.03.30 PMMe and Meg (running twins!) running strong at the start of the race

Anyway, the course for me was my dream course.  Flat, with minimal hills.  I started out running with Meg, but by about mile 3, we had drifted apart.  I decided to race, and Meg was using the run as a training run for her upcoming marathon.  I was hitting the splits I wanted the first half…I was running a 7:35 pace…

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.00.35 PMRunning toward the finish

I kept this up through mile 7, when my stomach started acting up.  My worst nightmare: the return of runner’s stomach.  I hoped it would be a one port-a-potty stop.  I started running, but it was a no-go.  It meant additional stops at mile 9, 10 and 11.  With each stop, I saw my hopes of running a sub 7:40 pace half marathon drift away…  And after the mile 11 stop, I was disheartened and my mind and body were out of the race.  All I wanted to do was finish.  I knew a PR was still going to happen, but it wasn’t the time I had trained for and/or mentally prepared for.

525368_10151531046684236_1550257580_nAbout to cross the finishline!

I was disappointed when I crossed the finishline.  To say I wasn’t would be a lie.  I knew I had a PR and I knew I should be proud, but my stomach decided to reign (as it often does), and it pushed my goal out of reach.  It took me a full day to get over the disappointment, and I’ve accepted it for what it is…and embraced my PR.  It was a PR by more than 5 minutes and an 8:07 pace…so I can’t be disappointed in that.  (And it makes achieving another PR at another half that much easier – right? ;))

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.01.33 PMAt the finishline with my race bling and a shiny new PR: 1:46:19

All in all it was a great race, with great old & new running friends, and two fantastic companies: X-1 Audio and Graced by Grit!  I loved every moment of our trek down to San Diego and our time spent down there, and am now so happy to come away with that PR.  It is representation of how far I have come in the past year as a runner, which I contribute a great deal to Santa Cruz Endurance and the great running friends I have gained from joining.

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 9.26.47 AMMe and Meg post race – sneaking in a little SFM reppin’ with our headbands!

After finishing, I stretched and massaged my legs a bit since my left calf was a little tight, which I later found out was attributed to this…

Yeah…that’s not good.  That’s something I’m going to work on…and believe might have something to do with my arch tear this past fall.  Le sigh.

Anyway, back to the post race.  The team gathered at the stage for the award ceremony where the fabulous Dana from X-1 Audio said a few words about the company and team, and we snapped a few post-race photos.

150440_10151531046859236_45618706_nThe X-1 Audio girls in Graced by Grit!

After snapping some photos, we headed back to Meg’s parents house for a quick, but delicious breakfast before heading back to Santa Cruz so I could teach a night-before-the exam review section.  Talk about a quick and busy weekend — but one that was totally worth it!

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.32.45 PMMe and Meg post race and cooldown

It was such a fun weekend, and I am so happy I had the opportunity to be a part of the team and run with all these fabulous ladies this weekend!

***A shout out to Meg’s parents who were our chauffeurs and gave us a place to stay for the weekend – thank you thank you thank you!
***X-1 Audio comped my race entry.  Graced by Grit, Smith Optics, CEP and X-1 Audio provided us with their products, but all opinions (as always) are my own and I was not paid nor was I asked to review the products.

Over the River and Through Muir Woods…

When my family was visiting California over President’s weekend (yes, I’m behind school, sleep & sickness keep catching up with me), my mom, sister & I also got the opportunity to go hike in the Muir Woods.  While it was a little cold, rainy and muddy out, the beauty of the redwoods and the fresh air more than made up for the fact I had to wear mittens (February in California – and mittens?!  I did NOT sign up for this when I moved here!  Winking smile)

We headed out early Sunday morning from Santa Cruz, on a three hour trek up the scenic Hwy 1, up through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge.  (We noshed on Zoccoli’s sandwiches from the awesome deli in Santa Cruz.  So good!  If you get the chance, you should try one.  Mr. K and I had them when he visited back in October of 2010). 

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After maneuvering through the hills just North of San Francisco, we finally happened upon the Muir Woods.  We immediately realized (when it took us a half hour to find parking) that we apparently weren’t the only ones who thought a Sunday during Prez’s weekend would be a great day to go for a hike in the Muir Woods, but we were committed to our plans (I didn’t know when I would come back, since the bridge toll is $6.50 on the Golden Gate) and marched onward.

We did about 1.5 miles of hiking in the end, and even though it was crowded, I really enjoyed the scenery, and spending the time in nature with my momma & my sister.

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As usual, doing things I shouldn’t be doing…

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…like standing on the railing of the path.

Afterwards, I devoured a Dark Chocolate & Oats Nature Valley Bar (I split the back with my mom), as I drove us back over the Golden Gate and into San Francisco.

What are your favorite activities to do with your family?  I love hiking and spending time outdoors with them.  We are a very outdoorsy family, in general.  In fact, as a child we used to go on week long family canoeing trips about every other year.  As such I have sooooo many great memories, despite all the mosquitos & flies!  I mean fresh fish (usually walleye or pike) – caught and filleted the same day, rolled in bacon fat and flour to then be cooked over an open fire and eaten immediately?!   Yes, PLEASE!  Everyday for the rest of my life.  I don’t care if my cholesterol goes through the roof.  *Please excuse me while I go have a moment in the corner to wipe the drool from my face.