Carlsbad Half Marathon (13.1 miles)

carlsbadrun.jpg (40565 bytes)I felt ready for the half marathon. Finishing would be no problem. The running had been coming along pretty good so I wondered if I could PR. My last PR was Lewis and Clark of 2005 with a time of 1:56:03 (flat course.) I had memories of all the hills last time when I did the Carlsbad  marathon. However, the biggest hills were not included on the half marathon course so perhaps a PR was possible.  

carlsbad3.jpg (197361 bytes)I flew to San Diego Saturday morning. I hadnít seen my parent since last June, and it was great to walk to baggage and see them waiting. We exited the building to sunshine and blue skies. Our next stop was the race expo. and of course we had to peruse the booths and do a little shopping. The remainder of the afternoon we did some shopping in Carlsbad  and went out to dinner.  

carlsbadb.jpg (180836 bytes)Race morning I woke up around 4:45, I had set the alarm for 5. Actually it was 6:45 Central time so it wasnít too bad. We left for the race around 6 and the parking lot at the start was quite busy. The half marathon sold out with about 5000 racers and I believe the full had 2000. It was dark and chilly but as the sun rose it warmed up. I gave my jacket and long sleeve shirt to my parents and worked my way to the middle of the pack where it was warm.  

carlsbadb2.jpg (222432 bytes)I lined up by the 8 minute mile pace signs. I was slightly ahead of the 1:50 pace leader. The race started and it didnít take me very long to cross the starting line. I hit the first mile at about 9:03 which wasnít bad considering the crowd. The first 3 miles are all uphill and the 1:50 pace  group galloped by around the second mile. Hmm, ok I thought, maybe Iíll just try to stay ahead of the 2 hour pace group. Around mile 3 the ocean came into view and we were running alongside the beach. It was wonderful to look over, see and hear the water. We hit some rolling hills and I passed the 1:50 pacer. He was talking, chatting away, while on a flat portion of the course. Later around mile 6 going up a hill he passed me. I kept an eye on my Garmin and knew that I needed to stay under 9 minute miles to PR. I wasnít sure if I could do it so I decided that my goal for the race would be to finish without walking. I wouldnít even walk through the drink stops. Normally I walk through those because I spill the drinks.  

carlsbad4.jpg (54844 bytes)I wish I could say that this race came easily, that I just hit the "zone" and had some great runners high kind of experience, but it didnít. I just kept making myself try. I was tired and sore. When I reached mile 8 I had some great prayer time with the Lord. Much of the rest of the race I kept chanting in my head ďI can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Ē Mile 8, mile 9, mile 10, mile by mile I just pushed. I would look at my time and do the math. It became an algebra problem: if I get so tired that I can only pull off a ten minute mile pace for the rest of the race, will I PR? How fast do I have to keep this going? Can I keep this pace? What really kept me going was the fact that the first three miles we went up hill. Everything that goes up must come down.

carlsbad1.jpg (371146 bytes)The last mile I knew I would PR if I could just hold the pace. Much easier said than done, but I dug in and kept going. The finish line does not come in sight until you have about a tenth of a mile to go, so I turned the corner and looked up for the clock. I saw 1:50:?? and surged to the finish. Hit the stop button on the Garmin and saw 1:50:54. You know me, I got all choked up and almost cried. PR!carlsbad2.jpg (150195 bytes)

Final stats: age group 25th out of 355.