Coach and I had finally settled on my next marathon which was 12 weeks away from race day. It was my job to find a couple half marathons and a 5K to run before the big race. I decided to run the Santa to the Sea half in Oxnard, a very small, fast course just about an hour away. I knew a lot of friends who have raced it and who would be running this year so I was pretty excited. As race day approached, I quickly realized I wasn’t in race shape as I was finding myself struggling with my shorter tempo run (4-5 miles @ 6:40 pace) and coach told me to use this race as a tempo training run, “…and maybe surprise yourself.”
As I toed the starting line, with 7 full weeks of base training under my belt, I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be hitting the wall somewhere out there on the course but also full of stress because my Garmin wasn’t catching a signal and I was very rushed to get to the starting line. My plan was to run with my friends Radell and Mike who would be pace leaders for the 1:30:00 group. I figured I would do my best to stay with them and pick-up later if I felt good.
At the start of the race, I stayed with them and early on I was able to count the females in front of me as they made their way around a right turn: 13th place. No big deal, only a training run. Early on I felt I would be disappointed if I didn’t pick up my pace and show a little more effort so I started to focus on the runners in front of me, trying to catch them one at a time.
By the time my Garmin got reception, I found myself near mile 4 and quickly hit the lap button so I could at least start to check my mile splits. Mile 4 was WAY off and I found myself reaching mile 5 way before my watch did. I was feeling really good and comfortable, opting to listen to my ipod thinking it would help distract me from negative thoughts and block out any potential hard breathing.
By the time I got to mile 11, I had passed 8 women and there was a blonde girl in front of us that was pretty consistent and nearly out of reach. I felt very strong, mad at myself for all the negative thoughts and self-doubt as I turned into the finish line and noticing I better speed up if I wanted to break 1:27:00. Wow, I couldn’t believe it — just this February I ran a balls out race to run 1:26:18. I quickly called my coach who congratulated me and told me to continue running so I could get in 18 for the day. Overall I was the 5th women and 5th in my age group. Some pretty good gals out there with the winner coming in at 1:14:00.
Time to focus, time to tough it out mentally.
Finish Time: 1:26:57