After work I went to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and got whipped back into shape after Saturday's long run. I couldn't do my usual Cardiobarre cross-training because I was too busy celebrating Galentine's Day but the plan was to make it up on Friday.
Tuesday I decided to forego running with the group at Fleet Feet Encino and instead run near home so I could get back and celebrate Valentine's Day with my sweetie. We had a 7 mile tempo run on the books which I had done before near home so didn't bother mapping it ahead of time. Unfortunately I came up a tad short but overall it was an amazing run! I started off faster than usual and instead of reigning it in I went with it and figured I would ease up once I got tired. Well I never really did get tired and even when I got to the 160 foot climb at mile 4, I only slowed down to what would be my usual pace with no incline. Maybe not the best idea less than a week before a race but I have to keep reminding myself that the marathon is more important and I'll have plenty of other chances to PR on a half marathon.
Wednesday I skipped my 10 mile run and planned to do 5 Thursday morning and 5 on Friday. I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday and did the 5 mile run with Andreia and her husband Jack. I love that my neighbors run, knowing they were up early too gave me that extra push to get out of bed, into my running clothes, and out the door. We took it slow and easy and even walked since Jack subscribes to the Galloway method of training. We ended up splitting up though since they wanted to run 7 miles and I only had time for 5 so I sped up a bit at the end and barely made it back in time to get to work.
Thursday evening I went to yoga at Fleet Feet with Ko Ohka. For once in my yoga life, I was in the "intermediate/advanced" category of students and got to do the modifications to make the poses harder! I know it's all relative but still, it felt great. Also Ko said my strength and flexibility have improved which was so nice to hear.
Friday I went to WHPT where I got my foot taped to try to help my arch from acting up. I also talked to Rod and Joe about carpooling to the expo for the Pasadena Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon since they both had signed up. I went home and baked blackberry macarons for my aunt who placed her order back in December but was very patient and flexible with my schedule. I didn't end up running my other 5 miles or going to Cardiobarre, oops.
Saturday morning Rod and his friend picked me up and we then picked up Joe so we could all hit the expo together. While there I picked up a SPIbelt which is super awesome and NOT a fanny pack. It's a belt with a stretchy pouch that expands to fit my iPhone and at least one Bonk Breaker. It'll be perfect for the marathon! After I got home I still had 7 miles to conquer so my weekend total would be 20. I had to do some IT support for my mom who lives about 3.5 miles away so decided to run to her place. It's a little surreal running as a mode of transportation. It was a pretty good run though, I tried to take it easy to save my energy for the race.
Sunday was the big day (not THE big day, but half the big day). I started out pretty strong but tried to hold back a little since 13.1 miles is still a long way. Around mile 4 I saw my favorite sign, "Worst Parade Ever!" (Referring to the Rose Parade which is also held in Pasadena.) I had a good chuckle and almost missed Rod running in the opposite direction. He was on mile 8 - twice as fast as me! I kept moving and shortly before mile 6 came upon a band playing Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer which was disappointing because we were not halfway there! I had eaten half a Bonk Breaker before the race and decided to eat the other half at this time since I knew a water station was coming up (I love out and back style races, not only because you can wave to friends but also because you can see what's up ahead). It was my first time eating one while actively running and it was tough, but not more so than eating a gel. It was just that belabored feeling of trying to chew while trying to breath, but I got through it. I grabbed a water shortly after and tried the pinch technique to funnel it into my mouth while running. I got a fair amount in my mouth but wasn't thrilled about how much ended up on me.
Around mile 8 I saw a funny shirt that said "I ran, It rained, I wore cotton." I ended up seeing the girl later and she said it was her first half and she actually preferred trails. I had thought her shirt referred to last year's LA marathon but turns out it's by Running Diva and they have some really cute stuff! At the halfway point I was right next to the 2:15 pacers and one of them called out that if you were feeling energetic to go ahead and speed up gradually. I felt pretty good so I sped up a bit but we were on an incline so it was tough. I ended up falling behind a bit but thought I could catch them on a decline so I didn't panic. That was the last I saw them. I tried to stay positive by figuring there had to be a little leeway since they started in corral 6 and I started in corral 7 but I was pretty sure my 2:15 goal wasn't going to happen.
After my experience spilling water on myself, I decided to walk while drinking when I got water again around mile 10. After mile 10 I saw a big blow up arch that looked like it could be the finish line. It seemed really close but I figured it had to be an optical illusion. As I climbed another incline I realized it was just ahead around mile 11. I was totally confused and apparently Mike and my mom were too because there they were cheering for me. They too thought this was the finish. I knew it wasn't and they soon figured it out and had to trek over to the actual finish. It was nice to see them earlier on the course though. You'll also see a guy wearing jeans in the pic Mike took. I questioned him and he admitted that he jumped in at mile 8. Still, three miles in jeans??? Wow!
I got water again around mile 11 and again before mile 12, walking both times. Soon enough I saw the 12 mile marker and picked up the pace which was made easier by the slight decline - every race should do this. I managed to pass a few people which fueled me all the more to keep going. I saw the finish line and then Mike and my mom. I felt great as I cruised across the finish line and got my medal. I felt even better when a guy came up to me and said he was impressed that I didn't listen to music. He was trying to catch me but wasn't able to!
After the race I stopped by the medal engraving booth which cost $20 but seemed like a good idea. The guy at the booth looked up my finish time and said 2:14:xx! I started screaming and jumping for joy just as he corrected himself, 2:17:44. Now I wanted to scream again, but not for joy. He made me think I achieved my goal of coming in under 2:15. I was pretty bummed but it was still a PR so I kept my chin up and headed over to watch Sugar Ray perform while waiting for the engraving. For a one hit wonder type band, they actually played a lot of songs I knew. It reminded me of when I saw them open for 311 at 16 with my best friend!
I picked up my medal and headed to brunch with Mike and my mom. Later in the day I checked the official race results and my chip time was actually 2:16:52! I was simultaneously excited and annoyed. My medal now shows my time as nearly a minute longer than it should be. But at least I was closer to 2:15 than I thought.
And finally, on the fundraising front, I have now achieved 74% of my goal of raising $3,000. Not too much further to go and it all adds up so head over and make a donation to support victims of sexual abuse and assault at http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta
With the help of my friends and family I was one of the fastest people to raise $1,000 - something I thought was impossible. Because of that, I got my name on our official marathon shirts!