I made it through another half marathon yesterday in under 2 hours, but it was an early morning and long day! We got up at 4:45 am to get ready and be out of the house by 5:45 am, picked up my sister, and headed to Land Park for the Urban Cow Half Marathon. After last year’s experience, we made sure to get there early for good parking and plenty of time to wait through the outhouse lines before the race! We were able to use them twice before the lines got insane and stopped moving.
Whew! I started in the first wave again determined to come in under 2 hours which is full of other aggressive runners keeping a fast pace and I think helps me push my pace more. The first few miles were tough as I warmed up, my legs weren’t totally feeling it yet. But the route also weaved around the quaint historic houses of Land Park under huge trees turning for fall, the scenery helped as well as zoning out to music. By mile 5 we were running through downtown Sacramento’s towering office buildings then into the dirt roads of Old Town Sacramento and I was feeling much better.
Around mile 8, things got tricky. We ran along the boat launch/park area of Miller Park on the Sacramento River and the pavement is very rough and cracked, it was almost like running on a cobblestone street and my feet were not happy about it! By mile 9 we were on the bike trail along the Sacramento River and the balls of my feet were screaming!
Climbing the roads on more rough pavement was not fun!
I could feel blisters starting starting on the sides of my feet which is so strange because the same socks and shoes have worked so well for long training runs. Pushing through that to keep my pace was an interesting mental game for sure! I swear the last half mile is actually a couple of miles. But I made it to the finish line and faster than last year. And loaded up on bottled water after crossing!
My official chip time was 1:58:25 with an average pace of 9:03 minute miles which is not a PR from my last half marathon. But RunKeeper shows that it is with the total distance at 13.44 miles at an average pace of 8:50.
I like RunKeeper’s version better. :-) That can happen with larger races because they’re on a lot of wide streets and paths, the GPS distance can be longer. Either way, I’m just happy to come in under 2-hours and wasn’t pushing for a huge PR this time.
After the struggle to get to the finish line, I guzzled water and headed to the beer garden with hubby who was patiently waiting after running the 5k and had beer and greasy, salty potato chips before 10 am.
Yeah, not a healthy moment, but beer and a salty snack tasted amazing and it was free.
I’ve run the Urban Cow Half Marathon 5 years in a row now, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I hope to keep this going because it’s kind of become a fall tradition. The last effort or hurrah of summer before settling into falling leaves, cooling temps, and pumpkin spice everything. And, after 8 half marathons now, it’s still such a relief to cross that finish line, that reassuring feeling that I can pull through challenges. I’ll admit to having a love/hate relationship with running and I think every runner does. A lot of times I have to pep talk myself to complete long training runs and find myself tempted to bail partway through and playing mental games to complete them. At the same time, I love everything running does for me outside of running. I don’t think there is a faster or more efficient cardio workout, running just gets that job done quick while improving my sleep and energy. It’s the closest way for me to feel like a teenager again with endless energy.
After the race, I was craving a simple dinner using a huge kabocha squash I found at Trader Joe’s. It’s one of my favorite squashes for the hearty and slightly sweet pumpkin-like flavor. I cut the squash in half, seeded it, and baked the halves cut side down in a little water for 40 minutes to steam without oil.
And had a piece with a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper with a balsamic, spinach, and tofu salad.
Dinner tonight was very similar using the leftovers and that’s okay, I’m not sure I could ever get tired of kabocha squash!