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Santa Cruz Half Marathon recap


Those exclamation marks up there? Yeah, that's how I feel about this race.

I'm pretty sure I had mentioned on this blog, at least in passing, that I was training for a half marathon, but hadn't said anything last week leading up to it. Actually, I really didn't post at all last week because I was a basket case. If you happen to follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend, it was a different story as I professed my nerves the night before the race, and then the morning of. This was a big deal for me, being my first ever half marathon and the longest distance I have ever run. Of course I was nervous, anxious, giddy and excited.

My alarm went off at 5:30am and though I hit the snooze out of habit, I was wide awake. I got up before the snooze went off and started getting myself ready, which included making sure I got my potty time in {TMI? have you read my running posts before, this is tame} force feeding myself strawberry lemonade flavored Nuun water, a banana and 2 clementines, and popping 2 Imodium pills. Do any of you runners have trouble eating the morning of a race? I swear it's like my body almost refuses to accept nourishment. I later found out that 2 Imodiums is 1 pill too much, says Billy, but whatev, I didn't poop my pants or have to stop to use a port-a-potty, so I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I made Billy get up early with me, as he is my official stuff holder. He's so funny. When the first alarm went off he snoozed and dreamt he had gotten out of bed. When I came in the first time to get him up, he fell back asleep and thought he was already in the car, so the second time I came in he laughed and said thanks! I had Billy drive me, as I would have been speeding, probably getting a ticket, and winding myself up even more than I was. On the way to the car, the cold air and my nerves had me shaking so badly my teeth chattered!

The weather cooperated and was beautifully clear, sunny, and in the 40s. The day before had been super stormy, so I had worried about wet weather and wind. We parked near the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk and found my friend Nicole and her boyfriend Matt. We made a quick potty stop, ate some Clif shot blocks and downed some water before winding our way into the crowd to await the start. 
I promised to run the whole way with Nicole, even if she hadn't been training to run as fast as I do, so when the race started, I set our pace to push her a bit and slow myself down. There was a quick hill in the first half mile to get us up onto the course, and from there the first 3-4 miles were flat. The course was GORGEOUS! It wound along the ocean, and the waves were crashing against the rocks. I felt incredible! The pace felt comfortable and I wasn't pushing myself too hard, my body felt fresh and good, and I just enjoyed the run.
Hello, beautiful course scenery!! Via Rise to Run 
Nicole was seriously doubting herself in this first section, so I had to stop letting her know our pace, as it was faster than she was used to, and also made her focus on what we were doing then, not the past or what was ahead. By mile 4.5 she was golden and knew she could do it! We kept up a conversation the whole race, which was such a wonderful distraction from pounding out the miles by yourself. We totally cheesed it up for all of the race photographers, I can't wait to order some prints, not because I have stellar form in any picture, but because we look like we're having so much fun!
My favorite photo!
Miles 6-8 were a loop on a paved bike trail, and then onto a dirt trail that was strewn with HUGE puddles from the previous day's rain, and lots of mud. We had to dodge people who slowed down to prance around the puddles, and it was a super twisty part of the course so our time slowed down. Around mile 8.5 we made our way back to the bike trail for the return part of the course, and knew exactly what to expect. I made Nicole lean into and push up the few hills, and maintain a steady pace on the flats. I still felt excellent at this point, and was surprised that by mile 10 I wasn't wanting to die like I usually am in training runs.

Mile 11-13 were WINDY! I kept having to grab my hat before the wind blew it off, and maintaining our pace felt really tough. We definitely felt like we had run a half marathon at this point, but kept going as the finish was so close! The finish of the race was down a hill and onto the beach for a short, soft sand sprint, which was difficult but hilarious, and I had a huge grin on my face the whole time! 
My Garmin said we had finished in 2:04:14, but the finish line clock said 1:50. I later found out they started it with the 10k that started 15 minutes after the half marathon. My official time was 2:04:15, so only a second off my watch time! My splits were decent and pretty consistent, which is all I could ask for for such a long run! 
I was 2,452 out of 3,818 racers
450 out of 2,446 women
157 in the 20-29 age group
Nicole crossed right in front of me, so she beat me, but we he had the exact same finishing time.

The woman who won was 30 years old, and ran it in 1:24:50 with a 6:28min/mile pace! 
The man who won was was 28 years old, and ran it in 1:11:33 with a 5:27min/mile pace! Both of those people are just incredible in my mind. I can't even imagine running 13 miles at a sprint. I'm incredibly happy with my pace and results.

The technical shirt and the medal are both super awesome! The shirt is super soft and has a great design, and the medal is equally cool. 
Via Rise to Run
Around mile 11 Nicole and I had said how we were hurting then, but would be so ecstatic afterward, and we were right! Once we got our food and shirts, we were beaming with pride and the endorphins were insane. I had a perma-grin on my face, and even though I had just run over 13 miles, I was bouncing around and talking a mile a minute. My rush didn't end until we had dropped Nicole off at home and I was able to sit quietly in the car. I so could have used a nap at that point, but had to go into the salon that afternoon! I know, crazy, right?!

What I learned from my first half marathon:
*My HM PR is 2:04:15, and I plan on beating it in the future
*Taking 4 days off running before the race left me feeling energized and fresh
*Drinking Nuun the night before and morning of the race, + taking water at every station kept me hydrated and feeling good, no cramps or major fatigue 
*A banana and 2 clementines, + a shot block before the race, and at mile 8 is all the nutrition I need
* Having a buddy to run and chat with is a huge motivator and made the miles pass easily
*Keeping an easy pace makes the miles less grueling on your lungs and body; sometimes slower is better, especially for these long runs. 
*I definitely enjoyed the race far more than any of my training runs where I was running sub-9min/miles. 
*I am already looking forward to my next half marathon, which will probably be at the end of the month if I sign up in time!


  1. YAY!!! You rock, nice work Adrian. I love how you are smiling the whole time!! YAY 1st one down!!

  2. Girl, you are AMAZING! Congratulations on running your first half marathon! And seriously, that course is beautiful!

  3. Again, amazing first half!! great recap!

  4. you are AMAZING! congratulations! im glad I read this, it was good timing and great motivation! i am trying to lose 100lbs (40 down! yay) and Im also trying to become a runner .. a good one anyway aha. Today I hit a huge milestone by going 7.5km - my longest distance before that was 5.8. I also ran for 61min straight and my longest time was around 35min before that. I love that maybe someday if I work hard enough I can do something like this and be able to make a post just like yours! I can tell by this post that it is really rewarding and amazing. you kick ASS. i know the type of hard work these things take (i just dont know how MUCh yet aha) and.. people who can run these lengths just absolutely stun me! props to you for also looking super fabulous in all the pictures.. i would look like an angry, dirty sloth ahahah. maybe someday i can run this race with you :)


  5. I am so so so so so proud of you! You look so strong in all of those pictures, and you definitely had a fanatastic race!

  6. Congrats!!! That is a wicked time!! I am so impressed for your first half!! You look like you were having a blast in those photos which is really the most important thing in my opinion!


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