On Sunday I ran my 52nd half marathon! (If you’ve seen me saying 51st that’s because I can’t count.) Here’s my If you’re counting, that’s two weeks in a row with a race report, which is quite unusual for me.
20 Years Running…Together
Today is Alan’s and my 20th anniversary! It’s amazing how quickly time has passed! It seems like just a short time ago we were running up the Tram Road Challenge race course to say our vows on the finish line.
On Sunday I ran the Temecula Half Marathon for the second time. Here's my race recap! #running #halfmarathonClick To Tweet
The Temecula Half Marathon was my goal race for the fall and I was feeling pretty confident in my training leading into it. But, as you know if you follow along, weird things happen to me. Sometimes it’s exercise-induced asthma (like in last year’s race). Other time’s it nausea (like in the 2019 Mesa-PHX Marathon). And once it was fainting and a shiner (after my first Ragnar SoCal leg in April).
Or, who knows, my downfall could be the weird upset stomach I had on race morning. Without going into too much detail, I spent some extra time in porto-potties on race morning. Not normal for me or the way I like to start a half marathon.
With a 6:45 race start, a 90-minute drive, and dire warning about parking traffic, I left the house really early. Alan was helping out at a local relay race so I was on my own. One nice thing about driving at 3:30 in the morning is that there is virtually no traffic at all. The drive was easy and I got to the venue at about 5:00 am, which was my goal. After a quick trip to the bathroom, I went back to my car and actually tried to sleep a little.
It was pretty cold for this desert girl, in the mid-40s, so I hung out in the car as long as I could, then about 6:00 I headed over to pick up my race packet. I also got a 21+ wrist band just in case I was feeling like drinking a glass of wine after the race. And then I went back to the car. After another bathroom stop.
Thirty minutes later, I knew I’d want just one more bathroom break before the race, so I dashed over to stand in line for the next 15 minutes, finally finishing right before the gun went off. I hadn’t had time to drop off my hoodie (yes, even though I’d been there for almost two hours), so I figured I’d just tie it around my waist when I warmed up. In retrospect, I could have dropped it since they started us in waves. I started right behind the 2:15 pacer, so I probably had an extra five minutes. C’est la vie.
I always feel so fortunate when I get to meet people that I know at races. As I was moving into the start line I noticed a woman wearing a Skirt Sports skirt just ahead of me. I’m very original, so I sidled up to her and said, “I love your skirt!” Then I saw it was Melissa, who I’d met at the same race last year! She was just returning from recovering from a broken foot!
I also knew that Tessa, a former client, was going to be there too. I turned around to look for her and she was standing almost directly behind me! We’re both Pro Compression ambassadors and I felt like we were almost twinning between our socks, Momentum Jewelry Wraps, Goodr sunglasses, and Aftershokz! I excited for Tessa because she’s heading off to run the Marine Corps Marathon next weekend!
And then we were off! Well, we were about the fifth wave, but then we were off! I could tell immediately that this was a different course from last year, as we headed through a short tunnel and out onto the polo fields (the location is at an Equestrian Center). We ran on the warmup track around the large field, back through the tunnel, past the race start, and then onto the familiar part of the course.
My first two miles were pretty slow because we were running on grass and dirt, but finally, we headed out onto the asphalt. It was slightly downhill at this point, but rolling a bit, so my pace was much better. I took off my hoodie at this point. It was still cold but perfect for running. And we were in the shade!
I felt like I was rolling through miles three and four. My pace was where I wanted it and I felt good. Even my stomach had settled down. I decided I was going to fuel early and well because I think that many of my racing problems stem from waiting too long. So when I hit the mile five marker I pulled out my Clif Cubes and a Gu, then waited until I could see a water station ahead. I downed two of the Cubes and the Gu, grabbed some water, and carried on.
I really need to review my previous year’s race reports before a race because mile five started out slightly uphill and got steeper when we hit mile six. The bright side was that it was at about this point I passed the 2:15 pacer!
I knew the turnaround was ahead, so even as the road got even steeper, I was pretty sure they’d cut off the segment of the race that I did remember from last year: a mile through a neighborhood with about 15% grades! It was well worth that time on the grass in the beginning to avoid those hills!
Because of the incline miles five and six were quite slow. I figured since this was an out and back segment, that I’d have some lovely downhill to make up some time, but it can be a little concerning. It all worked out though. After the turnaround, my next two downhill miles more than made up for all that slow uphill!
I also got to see Melissa and Tessa who weren’t very far behind me and yell to them that we need to get a photo at the finish line. Somehow we’d missed doing this before the race (and it’s more fun with medals around our neck anyway). I finished up my Cubes and started taking the electrolyte drink at the water stations.
The course continued downhill all the way through mile nine and most of mile 10. I was starting to feel tired at this point but I was still able to keep up my pace. It was right about then that sneaky Tessa and her friend caught up with and passed me. Of course, as a coach, I cheered her on. It was also about this time that my stomach really started to roll again. I was determined to keep going though, so I tried to ignore it.
As much as I try not to, it is always in these last few miles that I start to worry a little. There are so many times when I feel great one moment and then the wheels fall off just a moment later. I really focused on my breathing, trying to keep it steady and take full breaths.
In mile eleven, runners pass the eventual turnoff to the finish and the road starts to climb again. This was where I had problems last year. I focused on my steps and my breathing. I tried not to be negative. This was my slowest mile because I allowed myself to go easy and not push up the hill. I also tried not to estimate my finish time, knowing that things could change in seconds. I made it past the mile 11 marker, then a little more uphill and finally a turnaround and downhill back toward the finish line.
Mile 12 was mostly downhill, then it levels off as it heads onto the trail again, and I was happy that my pace was back to where I wanted it. I saw Melissa coming up the hill as I was going down so I knew she was doing well.
Finally, it was mile 13 and I could see (and hear) the finish line across the grass field. It was a little uneven (with a few gopher holes) but I was able to pick up the pace and hold onto it until I crossed the finish line! Done! With no asthma, dizziness, nausea or fainting!
I really wanted to dash right to the bathrooms but instead, I grabbed a water and looked around for Tessa. She was right there, having finished about three minutes ahead of me. We posed for a few pictures, then I wished her well in her race next week and she went on, presumably to enjoy some wine.
This was the time my dizziness started. It happens in regular runs too, so I don’t really panic, just look for a place to sit down for a few minutes. Which I did, hoping I wouldn’t miss Melissa. I finally stood up and looked toward the finish line just as she came across! A few more pictures then we also said goodbye. She will be running Ragnar Trail So Cal in a few weeks and I’m really feeling the FOMO (though I am an alternate on team Another Mother Runner).
Then Melissa needed to leave and I needed to sit awhile. I’m not sure whether it’s a blood pressure drop after the run, dehydration, or something else, but after sitting for a while I felt fine. I stopped by to pick up my wine glass but decided not to indulge in the wine. I’d save that for later in the day!
What I Loved about the Temecula Half Marathon
This was my second time running the Temecula Half Marathon and honestly, I love almost everything about it. The organizers do a great job of taking care of all the runners. The races start on time, there are plenty of fluids, electrolytes, and other fuels on the course, and the volunteers do a great job. And even though I didn’t stay for the wine, I know the afterparty is amazing! Lots of music, dancing, and general fun. The sponsors are great and all on hand before and after the race. And, of course, the finisher’s medal. It’s a wine stopper. Perfect. I will definitely run this race next year. If you sign up early it is a very reasonable $70.
What I didn’t love about the Temecula Half Marathon
Actually I loved almost everything about this race except one thing, which sounds kind of minor but meant a great deal to this runner with an upset stomach. They ran out of toilet paper before the end of the race! The person I asked said they’d sent someone to the store to buy some but that wasn’t going to help me. Thank goodness I carry tissue in my car, even if it meant one more trip to and from the parking lot. Ah well, not even worth complaining about. It was a wonderful race.
Oh, my finish time
I finished the race in 2:08:39, which was just under my goal time of 2:10 (and five minutes faster than last year’s race). It was also my best half marathon time in a few years, so I’m pleased. I might just run another half marathon! It was also good enough for fourth in my age group (60-69). Not bad, if I do say so myself.
So What’s Next?
The Temecula Half Marathon is my last race of the year. Unless something fun pops up, I guess. My big goal is right now exactly 16 weeks away when I’ll be running my 39th marathon at the Sprouts Mesa-PHX Marathon on February 9, 2020. If you’d like to join me, use the code WERUNSOCIAL to save $10 on your entry. Phoenix in February sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
What is your favorite finisher’s medal? Have you ever received a wine stopper (or other useful tool)? I have a couple of Ragnar medals that are also bottle openers!
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