Ventura Half Marathon | Race Recap

You guys I PRed!!! Woohooo!! I am so excited to give you all the details from the Ventura Marathon & Half Marathon event earlier this month.  I got to participate in this awesome race thanks to RacePlace.  As an ambassador for RacePlace, I was offered this race entry at no cost, but this review and recap are my own thoughts and opinions.  

The marathon and half marathon took place on Sunday, September 11 but they had fun events on Saturday too.  There were also various bike race distances, an adventure race, 5K, kids races, and K9 Shuffle!  Packet pickup and expo were held outside right next to the pier and there was a live band and some food trucks too.  It was definitely a beach party atmosphere!  

We left Vegas Friday morning.  Totally let the kids skip school for this trip!  Every year we take a 3 day weekend getaway to the beach right before school starts and this year we just didn't make it. So, this became a fun little race-cation!  More on that part of our trip in another post ;) 

We kept to our plan and got to the beach right around 11am or so after our huge brunch at Cajun Kitchen Cafe right on Main St. in downtown Ventura.  First stop was packet pickup.  Like I mentioned, the expo was held outside right next to the pier.  It was super easy and quick to get my bib and swag bag.  I loved the goodies we got! Just look at all the stuff I got! I really like that hat and the bag is great too.  Roomy and useful.  I gotta say I was getting tired of the drawstring bags mot races are giving.  Plus, race photos were free! 

The expo itself wasn't super big but that was fine with me.  I don't particularly enjoy those big expos where it's inside and stuffy and there's a ton of people all around you!  Anyhow, once we were done looking around and getting the kids some ice cream we spent a relaxing day on the beach.  Dinner was my usual carb-loading pizza with some protein and lots of veggies ;) 

Race morning was smooth and easy.  Jason was just dropping me off, so parking was not an issue for us, although it seems there was plenty of parking options.  The folks that were directing traffic were friendly and showed us where he could park to drop me off.  I had forgotten my Garmin in the room, so we had turn around and grab that for sure!  I got to the race, which started right in front o f the pier, with just enough time to get my headphones on and line up near the 2:30 pacer before we took off.  Everything seemed organized and relaxed. 

I went into this race with zero expectations and just happy there were no hills and it was a flat course.  My training had not been as regular as it should have been.  I did get my long runs in each week, but only running 2-4 miles once or twice during the week. So you can imagine my surprise when I ended up passing the 2:30 pacer and felt great around mile 5.  I was so sad when around mile 6 I had to stop and pee in the port a potty.  I considered not stopping, but of course, that just made me have to go more! LOL I sped up a little bit to try to catch up to the pacer again but I reached the turn around point (it was an out and back race) and still didn't see them.  I slowed down a bit and maintained a steady pace until about mile 10.  At this point in a half marathon I always feel anxious and ready for it to be over.  I found a really nice groove and kicked it up a notch.  Once I spotted the 2:30 pacers I took off.  I was a woman on on a mission!  I came up to them and they told me I was doing a good job.  I replied back with a thanks and told them I had been trying to catch up with them the whole race!  It was great to hear them cheer me on as I kept going and passed them.  I knew I was going faster than usual, but I was still feeling great.  I didn't want to look down at my garmin and see my pace out of fear of slowing down once I saw it! Crazy, I know.  I just ran for myself and only when I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch did I see I had a new record!  I finished in 2:24:26 beating my previous record of 2:25:27.  I don't know how it happened, but I'm so happy it did!  Maybe I can finish my next half in 2:20 ;) 

Thanks agin to Raceplace for the race entry and to the race directors and volunteers who made this my best half marathon to date!  And of course, thanks to my ever supportive family for coming along and cheering me on!  They're the best! XO 

Preparing for the LA Marathon

For the past 12 weeks, I've been training for my first marathon, the L.A. Marathon and it's finally (almost) time to go out there and see what I'm made of.  I've been a bit of a mess this week.  I'm really excited and anxious to get out there and get it done.  But, at the same time I'm nervous and of course, I'm questioning my training.  I skipped a few runs and didn't make it to the long run of 21 miles that I wanted reach.  At this point, though, all I can do is trust that I can finish strong because not finishing is not an option.  

Aside from getting myself mentally prepared to tackle 26.2 miles, there's actually a lot of "stuff" needed for race day.  Here's a quick list of what it's going to take for me to get out there on Sunday.

And now it's time for me to get a little bit mushy.  I am seriously awed by all the amazing people in my life.  From encouraging messages to waking up at 4am to run with me, I am so grateful to everyone who's been with me through these crazy training weeks.  My hubby and kiddos who never doubt that I can do this.  My sister who is coming to L.A. to cheer me on, I may or may not have guilted her into it ;) I just couldn't do this on my own, that's for sure. Thank you so much!  I'll be thinking of ya'll big time while running through the streets of LA on Sunday! XO 

Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail Half Marathon | Red Rock Canyon

I ran the Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail 5K last year and although it was not a great race for me, I kinda left wanting to do the half marathon.  So, when registration opened up for this year's race, I signed up right away!  I have done 5K, 10K, and 12K trail races before but this would be my first trail half marathon.  I was both nervous and scared.  My training was pretty sporadic and I didn't really stick to my running schedule like I should have.  Also, I really wanted to do more specific hill training, but yea, that didn't happen either.  I did get some good runs in and had quite a few long trail runs beforehand, so I knew I would finish, just wasn't too sure of my time.  I ended up giving myself the goal of 3 hours.  

Of course, I hardly slept the night before the race.  This happens to me all the time and I wish I had better sleeping techniques I could use.  Any suggestions?  Fortunately, I didn't feel terribly tired in the morning and we were able to get everyone ready and gather our stuff (that we'd set up the day before) and head out the door with little drama.

Just like last year, everything seemed to go smoothly at the start line.  I chatted with a few running friends, took photos with my family, and then it was time to go!  The first half of the course was pretty brutal.  The inclines were no joke and there were some pretty technical parts with huge rocks we had to get up.  I walked up most of the inclines and was wishing I hadn't skipped that hill training!  About halfway through the race, my family found me right before an aid station.  It was so nice to see the kiddos running towards me and having Jason help me refill my hydration pack with ice and water.  It definitely gave me a nice boost, plus I knew I was getting close to some downhill trails after seeing them :) The rest of the race went well.  I picked up speed on the downhill and walked a bit more of the uphill.  I started to feel my calf cramping and I was happy I had put some mustard packets in my pack.  I took them and it helped to not get a full-on cramp.  I'm not sure why I started cramping, but I'm thinking it was a few factors.  Primarily all the uphill climbing, but I also didn't wear my compression socks and I always wear them for long runs, especially half marathons.  Plus, it was really hot out there that morning!

Again, it was so awesome seeing my kiddos cheering me on as I approached the finish line.  My son came up and ran alongside me for a bit, which really helped me push the pain aside and finish strong!  I didn't meet my goal of 3 hours, but I was still happy with my time of 3 hours 12 minutes.  Just gives me something to aim towards for the next one ;) 

This was my last race until the fall.  I'm kinda sad not to have something coming up soon, but I'll use these summer months to continue training and focusing on my goals.  How about you?  Any races scheduled for the summer? What's your next event?