Livermore Half Marathon Race Recap

by Mexigarian on April 10, 2014

I ran my first half marathon of the year on March 29. I was nervous about this one because I hadn’t really prepared for it. I haven’t been in a solid training plan and my running has been sporadic and sluggish at best. I worked out, but without the extra oomph or desire that I usually have with exercising. That and whenever I did run, my right IT band acted up.

All that being said, of course I wasn’t to damn optimistic on my run.

I went into it with the mind set of "JUST FINISH". Listen to your body, walk when needed and don’t go crazy. Easier said than done, but I think I accomplished them goals :)

So, this was the inaugural year of the Livermore Half Marathon and it did not disappoint. Packet pick ups were Thursday and Friday afternoons, which was a small hassle for me, living in the South Bay. Traffic going north after work in rush hour is murderous. Thankfully, my Dad let me go early and my mom joined me for the quick excursion for packet pick up on Friday.

Quick and easy once arriving in downtown. Find your number on the sheet of papers on the tables, go grab your bib and t-shirt and then check things out.

I gathered up my gear bag Friday afternoon and headed over to my parents house to sleep over there. I taped the hell out of my IT band with Rock Tape, following the instructions on the KT tape youtube page and went to bed with the usual runner prayers in my head.

Early Saturday morning I got up and got ready. Pre race fuel was half a bagel with peanut butter and a banana.

Soon enough, my brother arrived and my parents and I were out the door heading to Livermore. My family was prepared for rain, but the reports said it would be coming in around noon, well after the race was to be finished. We hoped the forecasters were right.

We went a different route than before because I wasn’t sure of the possible road closures. The map had the course on some of the main route into downtown so we bypassed it just in case and still made it to the parking area with plenty of time to spare. A quick porta potty break, some minimal warm up stretching and good lucks from my family, I waited in the start area.

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There weren’t any corrals and the pace leaders weren’t around yet so I had no idea where I was in terms of time zone. It wasn’t until 5 minutes until start that the pace leaders popped in and I saw the time next to me and knew I was not in the right section. 1:40? bahahahaha. not going to happen for me.

I maneuvered my way back to more reasonable time, between the 2:10 and 2:20? group. I was nervous and jittery, feeling pretty alone out there seeing soooo many people with a friend or in groups and teams. Soon the countdown began and the horn blared and then we were off.
Start

Miles 1-4

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As soon as you cross the start line there is an almost immediate right turn less than 25 yards from start. Then there is another right turn about 100 yards after that and then a straight away for a while. The first two turns were clustery and the course felt packed for the first few miles.

The course was on the main streets of Livermore, half the road closed for runners and the other half open to traffic. Some fair amounts of car emissions that made me cough.  I stayed with the 2:10 PL guy for 1/2 a mile, but then he got too fast and I drew back. I focused on not starting too fast and just go with how my body was feeling.

I found myself weaving a lot trying to get into a comfortable pace while avoiding the slower runners and walkers who started ahead of me.

Everyone was chatty around me, talking to their friends and I zoned out eavesdropping on their conversations. Soon I found my groove and found myself pulling forward. Surprising since the road was heavily slanted on the runners side when we turned down Holmes. I felt like I was running at an angle, my left leg lower/longer than my right which was awkward.  I saw a number of people running on the sidewalk around here. We were also on a good stretch of downhill.  At this time I passed the 2:10.

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Around the 3.5 mark, the course took us to a paved trail, Arroyo Del Valle Regional Trail. It narrowed considerably, but for some reason, it felt like it opened up more as people began to space out.
We crossed a wooden bridge and soon were running through field of rolling green hills to our right and large beautiful trees to our left. It was my favorite part of the course. Cool morning, big open space to be running through. Ah.

M1: 10:35    M2: 9:53    M3: 9:29    M4:9:31

Miles 5-8

I felt pretty good around here, fueling every two miles with Honey Stinger chu’s and hydrating each mile with my Nuun filled pack. I was just running along enjoying the scenery and vowing to come back when I wasn’t in the middle of a race. Soon we started climbing again.

It was about mile 4.5 I began feeling my legs slow down. I was sputtering and didn’t know why. Too fast too soon? All I knew is that I had to walk and the first hill around mile 5. I trudged up it and was passed by the 2:10 group. Damn.

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Thus began my run walk portion of the course. I would run for a distance and then walk, run some more than walk. Repeat. I knew if I wanted to finish strong, I’d have to go with this method. It sure helped, especially when the big hills began.

We hit the 10k mark in the Wente winery area and followed the road out from their parking lot back towards Livermore through more vineyards and gorgeous scenery.

We climbed, rolled down a small hill and then climbed some more. Mile 7-8 was a pretty steady incline and we passed some horses and I wondered if I could steal one and ride it to the finish line :)
Soon we hit mile 8 and turned off the road to another paved trail with a big freaking hill just in front of us. It like jumped out of SF and landed in Liv. Damn.

M5: 9:52     M6: 10:33    M7: 10:19   M8:10:49

Mile 9-12

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I admit, I walked it. I wasn’t keen on running up a monster hill and my IT band was making itself known by now. Vineyards on either side of us and a damn headwind hitting us, I took it slow.
More run walking around here and some squealing on my part when I saw llamas. Or alpacas. I think they were llamas. Anyways, around mile 9,  I started feeling better, I even attempted a heel click at this point for a photo, but failed.

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(Such an awkward race photo)  I began lengthening my running point before finally just decided to continue without stopping.

I kept that up, following the lovely down hill around mile 9 and only walked again around mile 10. We followed the trail to the road and ran parallel to it on the path. I was feeling good and just kept focusing on getting to mile 11. I could hear music in the distance and we followed a path over a bridge and immediately I felt odd. The bridge was bouncing under the weight and flow of the runners and it threw me. I grabbed onto the rail and slowly made my way off the bridge, followed the path under and up the other side to the group of people cheering at mile 11. Their cheers and running through their ‘chute’ was an energy booster.

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(another non pretty race photo. damn it. my cheeks are rosy though Winking smile )

The announcer kept shouting ‘just 2 more miles to go!’ I had that in my head until mile 12.
We kept following the path, Arroyo Bike Trail, which narrowed some. I knew we’d be back on the main road just after mile 12 and was looking forward to the last stretch.

M9: 11:10     M10:  10:10      M11: 9:53    M12: 9:51

Mile 12 to finish

We crossed under a bridge and then looped up to the trail head to meet the main road. Just as we turned to to get onto the main road, a woman fell right in front of me. Hard. She was immediately picked up by her friends and they continued on, but she was visibly shaken. I wished them luck as I passed and focused on the road before me.

The last mile was the same street as mile 1 (L street in reverse). We turned back/right onto 3rd street for a couple blocks and then a slight left (I could see the finish line!) and then right again. We were so damn close. I could hear the announcer in the distance. I wouldn’t allow myself to slow down. I stepped it up and increased my pace, pushing.

Another left.  Two blocks and the final left turn down First Street. I saw the finish line at the end of the block. I told myself to just go hard and I did.

M13: 9:46   .1:9:23

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Offical Time: 2:13:04

I’ll take it!

The aftermath

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I heard someone call for me and saw my parents. They both finally got to see me cross a finish line! Mom even got a small video of me. :) Stoked. 

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Amazingly enough I wasn’t tired. I was a little achy in the IT band, but it wasn’t painful. I didn’t even have any stomach issues (last time I ran hard for a half I dry heaved at the end and my stomach wanted to eat itself for hours afterwards). I even got to enjoy the post race festivities of sampling wines from 13 at the finish line.

The goodies

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Medal is awesome. The wine glass in the middle spins a little and the wine glass to drink at the finish was pretty damn cool. I filled it with cold water and then sampled drinks from the 13 wineries at the end. The shirt is comfy and I love the front.

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Thoughts
In regards to the race itself. VERY well run and organized. Even with the packet pick up ‘issues’ it wasn’t too bad. The course itself was entertaining and beautiful sites to see once we got to the trail. A decent crowd support. And free race photos! (as seen by the water marked ones in the post)

I only used 2 fuel stations. One was the Vega fuel, and to be honest, as much of a fan I am of  Vega products, I am not a fan of the mid workout fuel. I spat it out as washed it out with my own hydration pack. I also grabbed a water at the 10 mile mark. The stations seemed well stocked and spaced out evenly enough.

I would warn of the slant on the Holmes stretch and that’s about it, and maybe some better post race food.  Donuts were given to the runners as well as muscle milk (still sitting in my fridge) but I’d like a banana or a bagel if possible and good ol’ chocolate milk!

Nothing really to complain about. All in all, a great half! I’d recommend it to my fellow runners. Just be prepared for some hills.

More Musings. . .

Considering that my last official 1/2 marathon PR time was 2:16:02 and last years Rock N Roll SJ  and my 1/2 time at CIM was 2:11:xx I’m pretty stoked at how well my run turned out.

So is this my new official 1/2 PR time? Do the 1/2 points in marathon’s count? Hmmm. Hard to decide. I know I have a sub 2:10 1/2 in me. With proper training etc, as I had with CIM. My next 1/2 is the Ave and god knows I haven’t ran since Liv. (husband was in hospital)

And now I’m kicking myself for not training harder. Argh. Such is life. I’ll have to decide on how to get to my sub 2:10 goal. And when.

Until next time my friends!

{ 2 comments }

There’s no sunshine when it rains

by Mexigarian on April 8, 2014

Okay April. I’m hoping you will turn out better than the last few months. We already got off to a rough start, but I’ll let that slide a bit. It’s a new week of a new month so I would hope for some positive happenings instead of the downer things happening since Jan 1.

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Here’s a small recap of the happenings since I last posted. Way back when in March. Oiye. It’s been a while. Ill resume ‘normal’ posting soon as well as my Half Marathon Recap. Yes, I ran a 1/2 at the end of March.

In my last post I talked about moving forward from February. I was on the upswing/tail end of a depression I knew I was in. I knew my dark clouds, fatigue, and lethargic attitude was more mental than anything else and told myself I had to get out of it. I hate being depressed and it’s something I can so easily fall into and get stuck in. I literally had to force myself out the door to get some endorphins from working out.

So I went to my yoga studio’s open house for a second location and even went to a Zumba dance [arty back on March 8. I was feeling awesome, finally felt like I found the spark within myself again and was happily riding the feel good train until March 11 when something told me to skip the workouts I had planned after a painting session (Which I cut early) and head home.

As soon as I walked through the door, I knew something was wrong. Eric told me that Addie, my mother in laws beloved basset hound, passed away. The air in my happy balloon just fizzled out and deflated.

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I knew her death was coming, she was on her second round of chemo for cancer and hadn’t been doing well. The last time I had seen her was in early February. I have her a kiss, a gentle pat on the head where her arch was more prominent than before, and when I drove away that afternoon I had a feeling it’d be the last. Knowing this didn’t soften the blow of her loss any less. For as long as I have known Eric and his family, Addie had always been there. Always. And then she was gone.IMG_1217

We went down the following weekend (Eric had to go on a business trip the following day after the news of her death) and we spent the time as a family with two crazy Aussie pups trying to fill the void of Addie’s absence. It felt so different without her there, and I know it will take some time to get used to.

On top of her death, my heart was/is still aching from Lobot’s disappearance. He still hasn’t returned home. I check the shelter sites every day and have been trying to make it to the shelter once a week.

Between then and the end of March, I restated my desire to get out of my suddenly returned funk and forced myself back to running, swimming, yoga etc. I got to see several of my girlfriends and celebrated a birthday for a good friends son. Though I admit, it was a struggle to get out the door most days, but I did and I could feel myself getting lighter and lighter in terms of mood and mentality so I continued pulling myself out to find the happy me.

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I had the Livermore half marathon to look forward to at the end of March and focused on just being reasonably prepared for that. I stayed at my parents the night before the race because Eric was going to go to the Giants game Friday evening and we decided it’d be better for both of us to get a good nights sleep with me at my parents versus him coming in past midnight and waking me up and then me waking him up as I’d get ready at 5am. Make sense?

Friday afternoon I was having side pains on my right side. I briefly wondered if my appendix was acting up and worried it my go nuts on my run, but when I woke up Saturday morning there was no pain. My mom, dad and brother Oscar accompanied me to Livermore (mom actually drove) and they enjoyed breakfast while I ran the course.

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I finished the race, all smiles, and we enjoyed some time at the post race festivities drinking wine etc. I texted my husband/Eric that I finished and he responded with a text to let him know when I was coming home. A half hour later or so, I go a phone call from him.

He was in the ER (drove himself over). His appendix had burst and they were going to operate soon. He was calm, logical and seemingly unafraid of the diagnosis. Cue instant freak out on my behalf and panic mode. We were 45 minutes away and all I wanted to do was be there for him.

My mom got us to the hospital in great time and she sat in the OR waiting room with me. My dad and brother went to take care of my pets at the house. Devon, my mother in law, arrived and we waited and waited for what seemed like forever. Finally the doctor came out, told us everything went well, they cleaned up all the toxins etc. An hour later they wheeled him out and we followed him to his room.

Eric spent 5 days in the hospital. I stayed the night each time and spent most of my days at his bedside [needless to say I didn’t work out all of last week]. The first night/day was the worst, but each day he progressed in getting better. It was rocky though. Fever and pain just went round and round for him until finally the fever stopped and he was cleared to go home.

He’s doing better each day. Following the doctors orders etc. Though he finds himself to be very tired after his walks or just being up and active. He’s been napping quite a bit. I ‘m just grateful that it wasn’t worse and that he’s home, healing and getting back to his old self. It will be several more weeks before he’s fully healed, but slowly but surely he’ll get there.

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So that was March and the first few days of April. Granted, I accidentally destroyed a water valve pipe thing on Saturday while I was weed whacking and we were without water for a good 15 hours. Thankfully, my uncle Fred was in town Sunday and he fixed the problem. Sooo very happy to have family that’s so freaking handy. <3

With the minor hiccup of the weed whacker, April can only get better. Smile At least I hope so! Trying to stay positive and get back into the healthy eating and working out. My running shoes are calling my name and I need a good flow on the mat.

Watch out week, I’m coming for ya!

Tell me. . .

Do you ever fall into emotional or mental funks? How do you get out of them?

Ever stay overnight at a hospital? Once when I was younger and had my adenoids removed. And a second time when I stayed with my sister when she had her appendix removed.

How’s your month thus far?

{ 2 comments }

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