Santa Cruz 1/2 Marathon Recap

So I have to admit I’m entirely guilty of procrastination from writing my blog. It’s frustrating because this is something I love to do, however, I find that after a long, crazy work day/exploring the streets around me/enjoying this warm weather…my blog quickly has dropped to a lower priority. However, that’s not something I want/nor am I proud of that! Now, I may not blog as frequently, but I have tried to keep up with my instragram (@eatrunandallinbetween) which is more up-to-date then say, my blog for example. Either way, I’m really going to make it a habit to change this and attempt to blog more regularly. As I said before, I know it’s not possible to get a blog out EVERYDAY but I do want to commit to a post at least 2-3 times a week. My ask of you is to PLEASE HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE OF THIS ☺

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to update you on my half marathon I ran a few weekends ago! This was my very first half marathon that I’ve done on the West Coast…I can promise you it will be the first of MANY! Anyway, as I had spoken about previously, this was a kind of a spontaneous race that I decided to sign up for. To be honest, my training was sub-par and I hadn’t run anything over 7 or 8 miles since my last half marathon in the fall. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my high school and college years…eventually the run all comes down to a mental game between your mind and your body. Yes, the training part is essential, but knowing and believing you CAN do it is what makes or breaks you in races like this.

Now typically before big races, I make sure to take all precautions, i.e. staying off my feet the day before, easy training, early nights sleep, healthy/hearty meals. However, given HOW many times I’ve continued to meet these pre-race expectations, I decided to spend my entire Saturday walking around San Francisco. When I say my entire day, I literally mean from noon until 8 PM, walking…all day…in new sneaker flats that left me with brutal blisters. Of course, I have no one to blame but myself! Anyway, regardless of the aggressive walking I did on Saturday, I managed to do everything else right, including an early nights rest! 5 AM Sunday morning quickly approached.

I prepared my bowl of race day oatmeal, geared up, brewed some COFFEE (I can’t go anywhere without coffee these days…), and packed all racing essentials. The drive was about 50 minutes long, down extremely hilly, winding roads that led me to the coast of Santa Cruz. The morning started out fairly gloomy and around 50 degrees…perfect racing weather if I do say so myself! Anyway, this didn’t affect me as I was completely taken aback by the beautiful coastlines, the active boardwalk, the hundreds of runners, and of course, ALL of the seals squealing away as they slouched along the rocks of the shoreline.

I did an easy warm-up run, peed several times (sorry if this is TMI but any runner can surely relate), peeled away my multiple layers of clothing, and approached the starting line. I didn’t exactly have much time to stretch or do a decent warm-up run, but hey, mind over matter right? My plan for the race? Go into it with the mindset that I was the best and I would be in the top of women’s pack. I didn’t care that I hadn’t trained properly. I knew nothing about the other competitors. I didn’t care that my warm-up wasn’t perfect. All of those factors disappeared as I got into my competitive race mode.

5,4,3, 2, 1 and we’re off! Of course, I somehow pushed my way up to the front with the more legit competitors and start off running the first mile in under 7 minutes. You’d think I would learn my lesson by now! Oh well…anyway, the first few miles were gorgeous and all along the coastline with a few rolling hills throughout the course. I remained pretty consistently in the top half of the group and continued cruising along, trying to ignore the pain that was beginning to creep up on me. Anyway, fast forward to the half-way point, where we then turned around and headed back along the course. I kept telling myself, just look at this as an easy 6-7 mile run (except without the “easy” part factored in). There was a point as we got to about the last few miles where the 1:36 pacer passed me and I knew at that point I just had to hold on to that group if I wanted to maintain my goal of staying under 1:36. So, I did exactly that and held on for the last 2 miles. As we cruised into the finish, just half a mile or so to go, I began turning on my speed and powered through any other pain I could feel yelling at me. As I ran onto the beach, ready to cross the finish line, I could see the clock just about hitting the 1:36 mark.
I finished the race exactly with a time of 1:35:58, placing 3rd in my 20-29 age group. I was absolutely, pleasantly surprised with how my race went. As I had mentioned previously, I’m 100% honest when I tell you my training was not consistent whatsoever with mileage, NOR had I done a single workout (i.e. a tempo, intervals, etc.). This race just comes to show that I had it in me mentally, yes physically, I was in shape, but in my mind, I was not in 1:35 shape. Regardless, I went into the race with a positive, competitive mindset and as soon as I began feeling comfortable with hitting a 7:19 mile pace, I knew I could just keep going if I put my mind to it and ignored the negative voices in my head. So, next time you think you’re not prepared or “ready” to race a certain goal time…you are SUPERMAN and can do it (or at least get pretty damn close) if you focus on mentally preparing yourself for the challenge and ignore the negatives.

1 Comment

  1. Santa Cruz is so beautiful, I love that place. Must have been wonderful to run there. Congratulations on your time, so fast!

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