Carlsbad 1/2 Marathon

How was my race?
See Below.
A Pictures Worth a Thousand Words.
Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Sometimes it goes better then you ever could have planned. Speaking only for myself actually. Last summer....before the prices went up or our interests went down, Tim and I signed up for the Carlsbad Marathon. For 4 weeks this fall I couldn't run due to IT band syndrome, for 4 more weeks I could only run1-2 miles at a time as I recovered. I knew the marathon was out. I switched my entry to the half hoping maybe I could run it. I envisioned cheering Tim on as he ran the full or pacing him for a while. Carlsbad was going to be Tim's race. A fibula fracture later it was Tim who had to cheer from the sidelines. He accepted his break and committed to swimming and the riding the trainer. Tim's not really a trainer kind of a guy but since I did shove him off the chair lift (for the Saks sale) I thought I'd lend him mine. I must say Tim accepted his injury maturely and graciously. I am embarrassed to say that if it had been me I might not have been so mature and gracious. I think I would have found a quiet and private moment to have a little melt down and wailed "Ironman" in a tantrum like fashion. Like the time I was training for the Chicago Marathon but I got plantar facitis so bad I had to limp through my long run. As I was preforming my post run ritual of garden tending I came to realize I wasn't going to do the Chicago Marathon. At the same time I found my beautiful tomatoes had been bastardised by birds. The birds took one bite out of several tomatoes (couldn't they just eat a whole one). At that moment I sank into utter female drama and hurled three of the tomatoes at the fence. I silently wailed "first my marathon and now my tomatoes" Strangely I felt much relieved after my tomatoes hurling episode I collected myself and moved on.
Anyway Tim was much above hurling tomatoes in this situation and it said a lot about his character. While running and riding my bike without Tim I had a lot of time to reflect on his behavior and contrast it with mine (at 22 at least I was young) I didn't seem right he was the one who wasn't going to race. This should be Tim's race. I decided to I would be Tim's legs January 20th. Meaning I would run not just for Tim (Be honest... anyone who enters a race does it for themselves, don't lie). I would do the race with Tim's inspiration. I would run as close to his pace as possible and I would gut it out when things got tough. I remembered Tim's story from Wildflower how he wanted to walk so bad up the hills but just wouldn't let himself.
I had planned to run with the 1:50 pace group. I met up with my fast friend Stacy early that morning. I know Stacy from the Velo Bella's from work, she is the chief resident at Scripps Mercy. There were 10,000 people there and when the gun went off to start the race we were still in line for the port-a potties. We quickly ditched our scrub pants and headed across the start line at 7:36. Fashionably late. (The race started at 0730 but we had chips on so the race would start when we started). We could barely move forward from the start. There were so many people. We zig zagged, then reached a bottle neck where things were at a stand still. By the time we reached mile one, 10 minutes had elapsed. Oops. I was a little worried about the slow start and wasting energy zig zagging. However, Stacy seemed calm and I knew there was no way she would post a slow time so I decided to focus on staying with here and enjoying the race. Although I did mention I wished I had my bike bell with us. I mentally rang in a lot that morning. We soon made up time. As the race unfolded I realized I was feeling really good. No aches, no pains, no asthma. I was just having fun. The temperature was cool which was nice. There was no need for extra water and no need for nutrition (too short of an event). Although you wouldn't know that by the people with four bottle fuel belts and rainbow belts of GU out there. I noticed we were passing lots of people. I only remember one person passing us. Passing people was really fun, it gave me more energy and confidence. Starting so far back gave us and opportunity to really bust through the crowds.
I loved every part of the run that day. I loved chatting with Stacy as we blitzed the course. I loved running in an area where I have so many find memories of cycling. I loved seeing Cindy as she yelled from across the way, so fit and energetic. I knew if her knees would allow she'd dust all of us.

Cindy showing what fit is and how to drop boys.

I was motivated to keep pace because Tim was out there on his bike some where trying to view the coarse. Also Tim's dad, Bruce, was running the full and I didn't want him to be able to use any of my famous one liners on me "C'mon Jen pick it up .....this isn't the AIDS Walk".

Bruce completing a hard days work.

If Tim was going to get up early and ride in the cold to see me race I was going to do my best to look good. ....and that doesn't mean having full makeup and a manicure. Although I must say my pink Newtons were looking hot.

These shoes weren't made for walking!

I was worried Tim would see me at the half and think I was struggling being 6 minutes back. I knew if he saw me running with Stacy he'd know I was having a great day, so I kept trucking. I didn't worry much about my times or pace the miles were going by to quick for me to worry about and I wasn't having a problem keeping up. Maybe it was my beloved pink running shoes. I think they are like my Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and come to life when I am gone. I think they sneak out and run without me when I am at work or on my bike.

Pink shoes with a life of their own!

Soon we were at mile 10. For readers familiar with the area, this is where the Carlsbad Sbux is. It is a well known spot for cyclists, often a turn around point for rides. It is exactly 25 miles from home for me. Tim and I have had countless coffees at this Starbucks (before discovering Pannikin that is). Anyway this part of the coarse felt like home to me. It felt like I belonged out there running hard, doing well. I felt like "a runner." So when at mile 10 the time was 1:20 and Stacy said "let's go sub 1:40" I said let's give it a try. I knew the math for a 20 min 5k. I knew it would take a 5K PR and sub 7 minute miles. Reality said no way. I knew I could pretty much crumple for the last three miles a go sub 1:50. I figured why not try. That's the beauty of setting a goal. If you try you might achieve it and you'll be really stoked. If you fall you short. Big deal life goes on exactly the same, at least you threw your hat in the ring. So I ran my heart out. I looked at the Garmin and we were running sub 7. Inspired I stayed with Stacy for the next mile. I started breathing pretty hard. I wasn't going to tolerate this pace for 2 more miles. I gave in, just a hair so I could breathe. I continued to stay as close to Stacy as I could. Soon she rounded a corner ahead of me and left my sight. "Alright. Persevere" I told myself as that's what coach Sickie told me at swimming Friday. I ran as fast as I could go for the rest of the race. I knew this was going to be the race of my life. I wanted to make the most of it. What I learned in my years of ski racing is it not over until it over. You need to be on the other side of the finish line before you celebrate. I can tell of countless times, myself included, when a ski racer is three gates from the finish and thinks "this is the run of my life." Just then he or she hooks a tip on a gate and crashes. Despite knowing I was going to dust my goal I kept charging. As I rounded the corner with a 1/4 mile to go I caught the 1:50 pace group. The leader was yelling loudly to his runners. "Go, go, go . Run now. Sprint. Do you want to break 1:50? If you want to break 1:50 sprint." It was sort of surreal, because I could have been struggling to make this goal. I would have been happy with it. I started sprinting. I turned my number around and the pace group leader starts yelling. "Yes, yes. You see run like her. Turn your number around so you get your picture. Your picture breaking 1:50" At the 13 mile mark a band is playing the African drums and it makes me run even faster. As the sound fades behind me I sort of want to stay there running in place. I want to continue living in that moment. I run on, a few seconds later I cross the line. I've done it. I didn't make my goal I lambasted it. Ok I missed 1:40 . But get real. My Garmin says 1:43 and change, a 10 minute PR. The official results come out later with a 1:44:16. I am ecstatic and I only finished 55 seconds behind my friend. This elates me as now I feel like I didn't slowed her down too much. I think maybe we can race together again. Now I think I'm in a new class of running. Hmm Boston? Now I'm getting greedy.Maybe? If I train right? How fast can I go? I get way ahead of myself, as usual. Ok one day at a time please.

Me with my fast friend Stacy.

Stacy and I begin making the rounds we bump into our friends Pat and Jess , who have finished as well. Soon we see Tim in his Orange San Diego Tri Club jersey. I can't wait to tell him of my run. After all I borrowed his legs and spirit today. I share my post run snacks with Tim as he's already ridden 42 miles today. His mom finishes the 1/2. She beat her time from last year despite not training for walking. She could run a 1:29 but is forced to walk due to bad knees ( and no they are not bad from running .... so nay sayers of the world save it). We hang out and wait for Tim's dad to finish. I am glad not to be running the full today. The second half of this race has lots of hills. I know them only to well from my bike rides. Bruce I salute you, but I am perfectly content to bask in 1/2 the glory. After the race we head to the French Bakery in Carlsbad. We order one of everything.....just kidding and enjoy Sunday brunch just like everyone else.

Stacy, Jess, and I with post race grins.

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