Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Carlsbad Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

1:33:42 (7:09) – a new PR by 30 seconds!

I decided to target 7:15 for the first half of the race, and I was more or less spot on. My plan for the second half was to go faster and to define what that pace would be on the fly during the race. The second half of the race went better than I expected. I sunk into a 7:00 pace and found the zone, taking it to 6:39 in the last mile, and then down to 6:24 to the finish – with lots of energy to spare.

This is the second time I’ve run the Carlsbad Half, and I’ll definitely do it again. The race is well organized, tons of volunteers and water stations, lots of spectators, live bands, nice finisher metals, and the course is scenic.  Miles 2 through 11 are along the Pacific Coast Highway with ocean views the entire way. The course is rolling hills, but nothing significant. And this time of year, you are almost guaranteed perfect running weather. It was about 55 at the start at 7:45 a.m. – a little warmer than usual but gorgeous.
The scenery. And big surf! 4-6 footers with occasional 8s that day.
I tried something new this race that I will definitely not do again. I read in a running book the suggestion of taking a sleeping pill the night before a race. I take a sleeping pill when I travel to the east cost for work. I need it to fall asleep early, and I wanted to go to bed early for this race. I thought I would be okay under race conditions, which is sort of getting up on east coast time = 3 hours earlier than I'm used to. But I was quite drowsy all morning, even during the race. I didn't get the cobwebs out until well into the second half of the race. I don't think it affected my athletic performance, but it probably affected my concentration. 

The Splits

6.748:53 (7:18)
6.40:01:3344:49 (7:00)
Total  1:33:42 (7:09)

I massively negative split this race. I ran the first 6.7 miles at an average pace of 7:18. And the last 6.4 miles at an average pace of 7:00. So my plan was a little bit too conservative in the first half. But that just leaves another PR opportunity in the near future. I look forward to shaving 30 to 60 seconds off of my next half marathon. Perhaps racing more often and targeting incremental PRs are the way to go?

The Stats

Overall: 206 of 7256 (1st place was 1:02:13)
Women overall: 45 of 4303 (1st place was 1:14:17)
Division F30-34: 12 of 795 (1st place was 1:21:31)

The Details

Mile 1 – 7:30
I was assigned to Wave 1. It’s a small pleasure in life to start a race in the first wave! This was my slowest mile, due to traffic at the start and a hill. This course has rolling hills throughout, and Mile 1 has the biggest climb. I tried to run the rolling hills by trying to keep the same effort level whether I was running up or downhill. I always seemed to pass people on the downhills.

Mile 2 – 7:01
This was a flat mile and because I ran the first mile a bit slow and because this mile featured a heavy metal band, I think I ran it fast. I also got a snot misting from a guy in front of me when he blew out his nose. Disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mile 3 – 7:15
I remember thinking about how I should fuel at water stations for the first time during this mile. Luckily, this race has water stations at almost every mile, so I didn’t need to plan ahead. And at one of the later miles, they give out orange slices, which was so refreshing!

Mile 4 – 7:10
Grabbed a Gu this mile, I think. I was wearing arm warmers again (love them!) and discovered that I could easily hold the Gu in the arm warmer without having to grip them in my hand (love them more now!).
Mile 5 – 7:20
Ate about half the Gu during this mile. Got water.

Mile 6 – 7:05
The turn around and the halfway mark happened this mile. Began considering how fast to go in the second half.

Mile 7 – 7:15
This mile had an uphill and a downhill. Also grabbed some Gatorade. When I saw 7:15 for my split, I got motivated to speed up.

Mile 8 – 6:54 / Mile 9 – 6:56
Nice downhill miles. Got an orange slice and ate another half of a Gu. Pulled away from the 1:35 pace group, which made me happy. It was a very chatty group. It's sort of annoying when you aren't part of the chat.

Mile 10 – 6:59
This mile was flat, which allowed me to think about how I was feeling. With some visualization and mantras, I convinced myself I felt relaxed and in control of my breath at this pace.

Mile 11 – 7:08
This was a downhill mile, but I ran it slow. I started running with a group here but realized they were slowing down.

Mile 12 – 6:59
Broke away from the group. This mile was uphill, so it was a pretty solid effort to run it at this pace.

Mile 13 – 6:39 / Last bit 1:33 (6:24 pace)
This mile began with a nice downhill, allowing me to pick up my pace without feeling the effort of that. I kept up the speedier pace once the course leveled out. I got into the zone (first time ever in a race) and felt relaxed and strong. My breathing was under control, and I felt like a running machine. I was having so much fun passing every one in sight - men, women, half marathoners, marathoners.
The running machine.
Sped up a little bit more in the last 0.1. It's just not right If I don't feel disoriented and pukey when I cross the finish line.
Disoriented...crossing the marathon side of the finish line, oops!
I wonder how many people were telling me to move over...
two little runners


  1. Congratulations on the PR! Yes, that's a huge negative split. You just have another PR waiting for you.
    So maybe I'm not a "real" runner but the whole runners blowing their noses/"snot rockets" etc always struck me as gross and unnecessary. What's wrong with a discreet wipe?!

  2. Woohoo! Great result after so much time off. The comeback is on!!