Walnut Creek Half Marathon Recap!

I looked so hardcore in this pic that I had to buy it  ðŸ˜‰ 
  • My running sunglasses snapped in half on our trip before my race during a short hike in Big Sur. 
  • Little C woke up at 3 AM the morning of my race and kept us awake for an hour, which was NOT typical of her sleeping routine at this point (e.g. she slept like a quiet little angel the night before).  
  • I forgot to take ibuprofen to curb any side aches or heel tendinitis that may decide to grace me with its presence during the race (which symptoms had been a common culprit during my long runs while training). 
  • After boarding my shuttle bus at 6:30 to take me from the hotel to the starting line of the race a few miles away (start time at 7 AM), I realized I left my bib up in our room on the 5th floor! So I got off the bus and ran back to grab it. 
  • Once at the starting line, my full bladder was begging for some relief, so I ran to the port-a-potty bathrooms to find a long line of runners with only 7 minutes until starting time. 
  • It was cold. Really cold.  
  • I had to run the first 2 miles wearing my drawstring race bag packed at full capacity since I didn’t have time to drop it at the bag-drop zone prior to the race. I finally ditched it at the “2 Mile” water station thinking that a volunteer would return it to the bag-drop zone (the bag was labeled with all my contact info). This led to a VERY stressful (and the word “very” here is an understatement…right, Daniel?) 🙂 hours-long post-race frenzy trying to talk to the right people and find my bag (which contained clothes and my cell phone). 
  • When I finally did turn on my iPod (after ditching my bag I could concentrate more on getting into my running groove!), the first song to play was “I swear”, by All-4-One. Not sure how that made it into my running mix…
  • Around mile 6, the medial/inner side of my ankle started hurting and the pain began to radiate up my leg over the next few miles, getting more and more painful. At one point I had to stop and massage and stretch in hopes of relieving some of the pain.

So, as you can clearly tell from the hiccups associated with race day, I was not off to a good start (literally) in my half marathon. Needless to say, this was NOT how I imagined it would be! But somewhere amid the chaos (and especially after the chaos!), I can say that we had a fun trip and my race was a success. Here’s looking at it with the glass half full:

  • My running sunglasses snapped in half on our trip before my race during a short hike in Big Sur. So, my race was at 7 AM and the fog kept the sun at bay most of the time. AND my sunglasses were from the dollar store (even though they were “Ironman” brand and were excellent no-slip running sunglasses!). Oh well. 
  • Little C woke up at 3 AM the morning of my race and kept us awake for an hour, which was NOT typical of her sleeping routine at this point (e.g. she slept like a quiet little angel the night before).  At least she did go back to sleep and I was able to sleep for another hour and a half before getting ready for my race. 
  • I forgot to take ibuprofen to curb any side aches or heel tendinitis that may decide to grace me with its presence during the race (which symptoms had been a common culprit during my long runs while training). Fortunately my ailments during the race (the ankle tendinitis and a slight side stitch) went away entirely around mile 10. Thank goodness for pain-numbing endorphins!
  • After boarding my shuttle bus at 6:30 to take me from the hotel to the starting line of the race a few miles away (start time at 7 AM), I realized I left my bib up in our room on the 5th floor! So I got off the bus and ran back to grab it. The hotel shuttle service was running every 15 minutes, so thankfully I caught the next bus at 6:45 AM (along with several other runners) and made it to the starting line in plenty of time.
  • Once at the starting line, my full bladder was begging for some relief, so I ran to the port-a-potty bathrooms to find a long line of runners with only 7 minutes until starting time. Thankfully everyone did their business with impressive speed (myself included) and I was back at the starting area with mere seconds before the starting gun sounded. 
  • It was cold. Really cold. Well, this was a running event and 13.1 miles will surely warm you up. Okay, except for my hands. For the first 7 or 8 miles, my hands were still FREEZING. But I did gain a greater appreciation for sunny & warm Los Angeles when we made it back home. 
  • I had to run the first 2 miles wearing my drawstring race bag packed at full capacity since I didn’t have time to drop it at the bag-drop zone prior to the race. I finally ditched it at the “2 Mile” water station thinking that a volunteer would return it to the bag-drop zone (the bag was labeled with all my contact info). This led to a VERY stressful (and the word “very” here is an understatement…right, Daniel?) 🙂 hours-long post-race frenzy trying to talk to the right people and find my bag (which contained clothes and my cell phone). 

This was the biggest problem we faced…so I dropped my race bag off at the mile 2 marker and just thought that a volunteer at the table would return it to the starting line area, right? Right. But what I didn’t account for was the possibility of someone stealing it before a volunteer could grab it, the stress and difficulty in finding an informed and responsible ADULT volunteer to point me in the right direction, and the hours it would take to get my bag back in the fortunate case that it was found. 

Luckily for me, a volunteer did return it to the bag-claim area, but it was 3 hours after the race ended, during which time we did a lot of waiting around for a volunteer (a wonderfully helpful woman named Kelly) to play phone-tag with the water table pick-up crew, I fed Little C behind all the post-race expo tents on the grass with my breast-feeding cover keeping me both decent and warm (remember, all my clothes are in the lost race bag!), and then I walked 2 blocks carrying a rapidly-growing (and thus no longer a lightweight) sweet baby in her car seat to the shuttle station so I could go back to the hotel and get ready for check-out (Daniel stayed at the race site in case the water station crew returned with my bag). 

Finally when Daniel and I were grabbing a quick lunch at Wendy’s (neither one of us were in spirits to find a healthier and more adventurous alternative on Yelp) before heading out of town, we received a call from Kelly saying she found my bag, woohoo!!! It was such great news after a stressful morning with what should have been a joyous celebratory post-race occasion. Oh well, lesson learned on my part (don’t ditch personal belongings at an event with hundreds of people!) and at least I PR’d (personal record): 1 hour 49 minutes, which is approximately 8:19 min/mile pace. This is pretty good for me, considering I did the first 2 miles at 9-ish min/mile pace and also stopped to stretch at one point. Granted this was only my second half marathon ever, but it felt like a feat 🙂 

  • When I finally did turn on my iPod (after ditching my bag I could concentrate more on getting into my running groove!), the first song to play was “I swear”, by All-4-One. Not sure how that made it into my running mix… Not to worry, Cascada soon kicked in and helped set my running pace and also “Eye of the Tiger” came on just as I began ascending the biggest hill on the course. 
  • Around mile 6, the medial/inner side of my ankle started hurting and the pain began to radiate up my leg over the next few miles, getting more and more painful. At one point I had to stop and massage and stretch in hopes of relieving some of the pain. All pain abated as I neared the tenth mile, so I was able to give a comfortable and speedy kick during the last few miles of the race. Again, thank you endorphins!


Half marathon within 6 months post-partum: go me! 🙂
I think I’ve said quite enough here. 
Looks like the commentary on the remainder of our 
visit through Big Sur {beautiful hike!} and to San Francisco {ferry ride to Sausalito!}
will have to be in another post. 

~ADDENDUM~
I remembered a couple of extra seemingly meaningless details, but figured–what the heck–I’ll write them down 🙂 

1) The meal I ate for dinner the night before my race was PERFECT. We ordered in from a local Italian restaurant and I got eggplant spaghetti (spaghetti in regular marinara sauce with pieces of eggplant and grated parmesan). I knew I wanted to carbo-load some but didn’t want anything too heavy. Since I usually get a pasta dish drenched in a butter/garlic/cream and usually with chicken or other meat, I decided a vegetarian tomato sauce would be lighter and easier to digest. I was right! Or at least I felt great the morning of my race; not too heavy, not gassy/bloated and was energized throughout my race. Noted for next time 🙂

1) I remembered that I had stopped a second time (or maybe it was my first time stopping?) when my OCD kicked in and I had to retie the shoelaces on my right shoe. You see, they were tied tighter than on my left, which drives me absolutely crazy. I just wanted to add this as another reason for potentially getting a faster time if I hadn’t stopped to retie my shoe 😉

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