Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the kaiser permanete southern california half marathon report.

so 2 weeks ago my family and i headed yet again down to beautiful southern california! this time it was for my grandpas 80th birthday party saturday night:) i was in the height of training and logged onto a few race calendar websites to see if there was a 5 or 10k nearby since i was already there. upon looking i stumbled on the kaiser permanete southern california half marthon and 5k just 3 miles away from the hotel! i already had 12 miles lined up, what was 1 more at that point?! after a quick phone call to my mom to make sure i didnt need to be part of the morning party set up crew i signed up! it would be my 1st race of 2013 and the route for my long run was already planned out, double score! and to top it all off, my last class would finally be over! only a runner celebrates finishing school by running her 11th 1/2 marathon:)

later that day i was having dinner with my amazing runner friend jen and telling her all about it when she started getting that thinking look on her face. the race was in irvine, which is literally where she lived for six years, and it was only a short 4 hour drive away. the wheels were turning and on our way out the door jen told me she needed the night to think about and she would let me know sunday. it wasnt even the next afternoon before i got the "im in!" text:) we were going to stay at the same hotel and her husband, who i would finally meet, would be coming too!
a cookie and my favorite saying, heck yes i love this place!
fast forward a few days and my family was headed down the hill to check in at the double tree. we got there about 10pm, grabbed a delicious cookie from the front desk, made last minute morning plans with jen, said hi to the rest of the family, and i was in bed by 1130p! somehow we had scored an 8am start time and didnt even need to be in the lobby till about 715am. the next morning we were almost exactly on time and got crazy close to the start line with plenty of time for the pre-race rituals. we hit the port-a pottie line, took a few photos, and squished into the start line with just a few mintues to spare. it was freezing at the start so i decided on capris while jen was much smarter in shorts.
kevin was very excited about the gorilla!
this one is totally my favorite!
i think everything is funny when im nervous:)
i was following along with jen and she had a strategy! we were going to take the first 2 or 3 miles around a 10 minute pace, let the crowd thin out then start to pick it up for the rest of the way. our big goal was a sub-2 hour finish, but agreed that having fun and finishing strong was much more important. starting out slower was wayyyy harder then i thought it was going to be! jen kept havin to reel me back in as we circled the out and backs that seemed never ending. we passed her house and chatted away as the miles ticked on.
finally we were able to pick up the pace about mile 3 and my body was more than ready! jen is super good with numbers so she was constantly calculating in her head where we were and what we neeeded to maintain to cross that finish line with our goal. it was starting to get warm and i definitely could have gotten away with shorts! i made the last minute decision to switch to capris with a tank and arm warmers, wishing in the end i had stuck with the shorts instead. but i had a royal blue team sparkle skirt on, so none of it really mattered:) everyone on the course cheering or running loved the skirt!!

we hit the halfway point and both were feeling really good. jen was pushing me big time and i loved it! she brought pretzels with her after having them at long beach and raved about them, so we decided now was a perfect time to start munchin. except we didnt have water plus they were the super thick ones! they did taste delicious, but were so thick it dried out your mouth as soon as you ate one haha! we were searching constantly afterward for the next water station lol.
the course was filled with u-turns, which was great in the beginning, and allowed jens husband kevin to see us quite a bit while taking pictures, but eventually got boring. round about mile 10 i took my gu that jen so amazingly carried in her pack and we lost a good minute trying to suck that thing down. we were both still feeling good and had a great cushion to get us to the end. i was however definitely ready to be done. not enough to make me want to walk, but i was ready to call it a day haha!
cuteness! blowing a kiss to her adorable husband,
best race photographer ever!
we weaved our way back toward the finish line and finally hit the 12 mile marker. only 1 left and i got super excited! everything is cooler in that last mile and i think we actually picked it up a little bit in that last one. i got this sudden burst of energy when i looked at my watch and saw that we not only were going to break 2 hours, but i could also soundly beat my pr of 1:57:15! we made the last turn and came out of the bike path rounding to the finish line and i took off! i didnt mean to separate from jen, it just happened. not that she was that far behind me, 7 seconds to exact:) 
finally crossing that line with a watch that read 1:56:03 was an amazing feeling. my last sub-2 was significantly downhill so this one seemed like it was real. plus i got to run the whole thing with jen!! i am so, so, so grateful she came down to run with me:) we found kevin pretty easily and after a few more photos headed to ihop for breakfast! it was such a busy one, but we got a table pretty quick while telling him all about it. breakfast was super delicious, then it was back to the hotel to get cleaned up for the rest of the day. jen and kevin were off to meet friends and enjoy their weekend in beautiful weather. i luckily got out of all the prep stuff and got to meet my brother and his girlfriend for lunch at pick up stix instead!

i was on a high for quite awhile that day. that night i got to be surrounded by my big/crazy/loud/in everybodys business family and it was awesome. for the first time in a very long time i felt like i fit somewhere. i spent the morning running with a super great friend and the evening with the people you never have to impress and will always take you as you are. i am truly lucky:)
my grandpa, in a tux. too cute!
ps. im kind of a bad influence;)

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