You may have picked up on this before, but I have a tendency to be stubborn and well… maybe a smidge on the OCD side. Once the idea to do 12 half marathons was planted in my head, I knew I had to make it happen.
The first race I had my eye on was the Memphis Half Marathon. Not too bad of a drive, plus I would get to cross another state off my list. I was sold! Except so was the race – as in sold out. Boo.
The second race I had my eye on was the Dallas Half Marathon. It was actually going to be quite fitting in many ways. Best of all, registration was still open and it was a 2 hour flight. Plus, I would still get to officially cross TX off my list (all my previous races in TX were pre-blog and no pictures exist). Done! I booked my hotel, flight and looked forward to number 12.
And then came Winter Storm Cleon. I wasn’t too worried. Okay, I was worried – more about whether or not my flight would get cancelled. I started half-heartedly looking around for a different race, still hoping that Dallas would come through. But on Friday afternoon came the word that the race was cancelled. I went into full-fledged panic mode and race hunting. My first choice had already closed online registration and I couldn’t tell if there would be onsite registration. My second choice was going to be a bit of a cluster for it to work out as their expo was only open until 5 pm on Saturday. So it would have to be my third choice. (Side note – the Memphis race was also cancelled so either way I was going to be out of luck.)
Enter Santa to the Sea. I could change my flight to LA (and it would be a direct flight). They had a fantastic race day packet pick-up option (for $20 extra) so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting there before packet pick-up closed on Saturday. And there were hotel rooms available! Within minutes I was signed up and ready to go.
Fortunately for me, the dire weather predictions for St Louis didn’t pan out. Oh it was cold, and there was a dusting of snow but the ice didn’t happen. I got to the airport on Saturday and my flight took off. One hurdle down.
The race was taking place in Oxnard, CA which I knew absolutely nothing about (and sadly, I still don’t know all that much). I touched down, got my rental car and began the drive up the 101 to Oxnard.
I got to the hotel (which was also the race hotel) and found out they really didn’t have a good late check-out option. Boo. Oh well, I can manage that. Since it was late by the time I finally arrived, I ordered room service and put my feet up for the night.
I didn’t have a restful night’s sleep – a lot of tossing and turning and waking up. But finally my alarm went off and I got out of bed.
This was going to be my first point to point race (or so my memory tells me). They were going to have two shuttles to the race. One at way to early and the second one which I was sure everyone was going to be on. I opted for the first shuttle (as did a few others) but when we got to the start line, they were still setting up. That plus the fact it was cold and dark out made the decision to stay on the shuttle easier as the shuttle went for its second round. Part of me felt guilty as we were taking up someone else’s spot on the shuttle by staying on for the second trip.
Me and Santa
When we arrived at the start line (for the second time) it getting light out, and there were a lot more people around. And we were only an hour early, instead of 2 hours early. I picked up my bib and chip, wandered around looking at the Santa statue before using the port-o-potty and lining up in the corrals.
It had starting to slightly warm up (plus the sun was out) so I faced the age old dilemma of whether or not to check my coat. I decided to keep it, which is still debatable if it was the right decision or not. For the first few miles, it definitely was, but as the race went on, I really wished I didn’t have my coat.
The course itself wasn’t anything spectacular. It was billed as flat, fast, and festive! It was definitely flat (for the most part) and fast is debatable (for me anyway), but the sea of red and green and costumes was definitely impressive. It was very festive! The groups that came out to cheer us on were amazing! The volunteers were fantastic and anytime it seemed I needed a water stop, there was one just around the corner.
I was doing okay up until mile 8 or so, when my familiar hip/IT band/knee pain started making itself known. My intervals slowed from 2 / 1 to around 1:30 / 1:30 and then 1 / 2. But I kept going. The last part of course went by the ocean, which was just beautiful and the lift I needed.
Looking toward the ocean
Finally the finish line was in the distance!! And done!! Somewhere along the way I started thinking a 2:50 finish might be possible. Well, it was and it wasn’t. My official time was 2:50.59 so just in the blink of an eye the clock still read 2:50. I’ll look at that as an improvement.
And now back to real life…. For any of you wondering if I’ll make it to 13 in 2013, the answer is no with the reason being I really ran out of time. If there was one in my backyard that I could do, I might have pushed for it, but there isn’t (I checked). But 12 in 2013 is still a big accomplishment.