Saturday, February 5, 2011

Carlsbad Marathon 1/23/11

Carlsbad, CA Marathon 1/23/11 State #16

I did not head into this race with any intention of a PR. I had heard it was a little hilly and with the weather being forecasted for 55 deg F at the start and up to 70 degrees by the finish I knew the temperature was not going to help. I flew into San Diego the afternoon before the race from a 1 night overnight in Milwaukee and had just enough time to get the rental car, drive to Encinatas up I-5 to get checked into the Howard Johnson, and then drive 15 more minutes to Carlsbad and the race expo, under a tent in the parking lot of the mall. The first thing that struck me was the space heaters they had going, especially with the 60 degree weather outside, nice. I had forgot my sunglasses in my car in Virginia and while I did not need them for the race I needed them for the week long visit in town, and especially for driving, but they had nothing I liked in the expo.  I did buy 3 of those no-slip girly headbands at the expo for me and one of my running partners and her daughter.

Expo Tents

Early Dinner at a cafeteria style restaurant in the mall, had penne pasta with marinara sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, very good. A quick stop at CVS for Gatorade and back to the hotel for the night and to try to go to bed early and catch up on sleep, early wake up call at 4am for a 6am race.

6am start in the dark in the parking lot of the mall, with the first hour in the dark running around town.
About 7am we approached the section with views of the Pacific Ocean, with the high wave alert producing loud waves as they broke on shore and sunrise (although it was rising in the opposite direction it produced some amazing color over the water). I saw these little things in the water that looked like they might be seals in little groups but upon asking a runner next to me I learned that they were surfers, OOOH, cool.

Running with fellow Marathon Maniac Noel
Photo Credit Marathon Mitch

We meandered along the coast seeing more waves and more surfers, some who were trying to cross the road with their boards in between the runners, we then turned East-ish and ran out/back on a road past the Outlet mall and a small airport. Aid stations were well stocked, all with water and most with Lemon Ultima, which I have found I really liked but they offer it very rarely at races, the last one was Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, AK last June.  There were 4 gu stations which was great, and on 3-4 occasions we met up and then left the half marathoners on the course where our routes merged then diverged. Most of the time we were running faster than the half marathon runners which was a boost to the ego. 

I ran with Noel most of the race until mile 18 or so when his IT Band started becoming bothersome. Up until that point we ran a string of 7 x 8:30 minute miles and were feeling pretty strong with a 4 hour marathon in sight. I slowed down a bit after we separated and hit a low spot when my right IT band started to hurt quit significantly. However, when I got 4-5 miles from the finish I started to do some math in my head and if I ran 9 min/mile for the rest of the time that I could break 4 hrs 5 min which would be a 13 minute PR for me. My knee was more painful on the uphills and at this point the course flattened out as we headed to the finish line at the same spot as the start line in the mall parking lot. The temperature was heating up a tad too and had the run lasted much longer it would have started to become a little more exciting for me. 

Finish 4:04:35 State #16 and earned me my 5th Marathon Maniac Star for running 16 marathons (or longer) in 365 days.

The rest of the week was spent in San Diego playing tourist while my boyfriend attended a conference. I ran only once in the hotel gym due to my ongoing knee pain, but walked all over town. Ate at The Mission in East Village 3 times! Went to Balboa Park to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Botanical Building, Air and Space Museum, San Diego Zoo, and Coronado Island.

Harbor Drive downtown San Diego

View from our hotel room.
In Balboa Park

Balboa Park Botanical Building

More Balboa Park
Pink Flamingos in the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo Giraffe 

Ghiradelli powered marathon runner

Ferry Boat to Coronado Island

Downtown San Diego from the Coronado Ferry

Beach on Coronado Island

Me heading back to the city on the ferry

Very expensive sail boat in the bay

View of USS Midway from the water

UP NEXT: Holiday Lake 50k++ in Appomattox, Virginia February 12, 2011.