Monday, April 9, 2012

Race Recap: Half Marathon of The Harbors, Ventura, CA

Sorry for the delay in blogs/Facebook activity/existence... It's been a hectic past few days and my internet has been out pretty much the whole time. 
On to the review!
The Half Marathon of the Harbors was held April 1, 2012 at the Ventura Harbor. It was put on by Compete Green. They offered both a half marathon and a 5k.

The race was said to start at 7am. I arrived there around 6:40ish and had no problem parking, using the restroom and heading to the start line. They had plenty of signs and people that helped direct parking.
The start line.
Not super fancy, but it was completely appropriate for the number of runners. I think there were a little less than 500 half marathoners.
It actually turned out to be a beautiful morning. I wasn't sure what to expect at first since the day before was incredibly rainy.
I would have pulled out my model card and ran in the rain if I had to.
But luckily it was sunny because I don't have a model card.
And I just look like the average runner.
Eyes closed. Of course. Unflattering angle. Of course.
*Sidenote - I've learned that I can never take a good race picture. I'm doomed for life in that regard.
I was covered up since it was pretty dang cold and windy out there!

I actually felt surprisingly strong for most of the race! I had no idea what to expect since I hadn't run for 14 days beforehand due to my dang shins. I think my biggest mistake is always starting off too fast. I passed a bunch of people and a few miles in they started passing me. I need to discipline myself to start off slower.

When I'm feeling tired during a run or just mentally not on point, I go to a kind of adapted Jeff Galloway method of running. I'll let myself walk (a speed walk, not a leisurely stroll by any means) for anywhere between 5-20 seconds then pick my pace back up again. I find that it helps me get my body back in sync, I get my head get back in the run and I actually end up with a faster pace than if I just  slow down my overall pace.

Miles 1-4 were kind of long, but kind of not. Not much to look at and still trying to figure out the best way to pace.
Miles 5-9 were beautiful, scenic and I held a steady pace (not sure the exact pace since I forgot my Nike Run + ugh!)
Mile 10-13 were pretty dang tough for me quite honestly. I think that is where the 14 days of no running really took its toll on me. My left pinky toe was blistering, my right knee was hurting, my rib ached, and one of my calf muscles felt like it was peeling off the bone! Unfortunately, my pace suffered in these last 3 miles.

I was struggl-ing hard the last quarter mile. But, somehow I found it in myself to make a move (this really made me feel like a runner. No joke.) and passed this guy in front of me.
Sorry Mr. 295, you cannot beat me!
I think I know I pushed it a little too hard at the end because I dry heaved at the finish line.
Not cute at all.

But I did finish with a PR of 2:10:11
I was super happy with this considering my training was cut short at the end and I couldn't figure out my pacing because most of the time I had no idea what mile I was at. (I cut 20 minutes off my time from my first half!) I honestly kept guessing what mile I was at and didn't know what the official start time was either.
My Critiques of the Race -
1. Mile markers - I think I only saw markers at miles 2 and 4. There could have been more, but if there were they definitely were not pronounced markers. I think it would be beneficial to include a sign or two for us runners who don't have a GPS of some sort on us.
2. The clock - A lot of people seemed to not see the official clock at the finish line. I saw it fine, but I did hear people complain that they thought it was too small.
3. More mile help - Something I thought was kind of annoying was that I would ask the workers along the side of the race if they knew what mile they were at and none of them had any idea! None! Since they didn't have markers, it would be so much more helpful to have the workers along the side of the race know where they're standing. (That's just my opinion though)

Final Thoughts -
*The aid stations were placed well and seemed to be moving pretty smoothly.
*People seemed to be having a great time! Everyone was really positive and cheering each other on.
 *Its a beautiful course!
*Post race snacks were plentiful and yummy! (I think I ate my weight in bananas.)
*The entry fee was very reasonable (only $35 if you sign up early!)

I'll definitely be doing this run again next year.

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