|Just when the fog was starting to clear up around the Golden Gate Bridge|
Just like in case with my previous half marathon, I kept tossing and turning the night before the marathon. Although this time I felt less anxious and I knew what to expect (more or less). I had two bananas for breakfast and this time I avoided drinking as much water as I drank before, lesson learned. I did hydrate but moderately, making sure that I don’t consume too much liquid before the start. I was at the beach right at 6:30am, as always one of the first people to get there. I must admit that I hate being late even more than I hate standing in lines, so by getting there early I wanted to make sure I avoid both. After picking up my bib, I went back to the car as it was freezing cold. It was safe to say that the air temperature was in the low 50s and the coastal wind made it feel like high 40s.
|Magical run through the morning fog among the eucalyptus trees.|
|On the way to the Tennessee Valley|
I noticed that there were many tenured runners and local people, predominantly older audience as well. I truly admired runners who went for a full marathon and 50K, this course was a one tough cookie. Let me start by saying that the entire race felt like magic – bunch of morning fog clearing from the top of the mountains, crooked trails and patches of eucalyptus trees. There was something about being able to run on a fresh air and feel the morning spirit of nature, totally untouched – not many people, no traffic or city smell. Over the last 6 months about 99% of my runs were either in the gym or in the city, so running the trails was somewhat a new experience for me.
The race kicked off and probably right after the 1st mile one could see runners slowing down and walking. A good portion of the course was barely runnable, so I had to rotate my walks with running. It was mostly hill climbing that was tough, also going down the hill on a narrow rocky trail was a big challenging. I kept thinking the entire time that I may injure my foot by going too fast too soon. In the middle of the course, I lost satellite reception for my Runkeeper and Spotify. The signal resumed within the next mile but at the end I found out that Runkeeper only tracked 12 miles of my activity but my bib sensor showed a completion time of 2 hours and 12 minutes for 13.1 miles, which was far better than I anticipated.
Now that I have 2 half marathons under my belt, here are some of the lessons that I have learned from my experiences:
- No matter how hard I try to sleep well the night before, I always end up thinking about the race.
- Drinking water before the race is good but it’s important not to overhydrate.
- Start slower and add-on more speed as you go, the last thing you want to do is to slow down gradually towards the end.
- Calibrate your GPS apps. Even better – get a GPS watch to monitor your heart rate and distance.
- Arrive early on a race day.
- If you don’t know the area – do an investigative trip the day before your run.
- When running the trails be cautious of how fast you go, this may cause an unexpected injury.
- Train, train, train, and train.
- Enjoy the route, make the best of it!