My husband and I were signed up for the Fire Run 4 Mile race scheduled for Sunday at 8am. My marathon training plan called for a 14-miler @ 9:52/mile, which I planned to do on Saturday morning with the 4-mile race on Sunday. But hubby got horribly sick on Friday night, to the point that we were talking about going to the hospital, and I was a restless, worried wreck. Needless to say, the Saturday morning long run just wasn’t happening. Thankfully, he rebounded very quickly, decided he was still up for an easy 4-miler, and I seized the opportunity to get my long run in, mapping out a 10 mile route to the starting line of the race.
I took off at 5:40am, prepared to tackle the 14 miles. I had a couple rice cakes with almond butter before I took off, had 1 Gu in my pocket and a 16-ounce bottle of water with Nuun. My husband was bringing Shot Bloks and another bottle of water with Nuun to the start of the race, so I could refuel/rehydrate before the final 4 miles.
The first 7 miles were on familiar territory and went smoothly. It was eery running before dawn on such a cool Sunday morning. Not a soul was out there and when I got to the beach, the only people I saw were in their pjs, drinking coffee and staring out at the waves. It was a very tranquil solo run… I took my Gu, finished my water and headed into La Jolla to make my way to the starting line.
Later, I learned I incorrectly followed La Jolla Mesa Blvd instead of veering left to stay on La Jolla Blvd and by “headed down,” I should say, headed UP. I literally climbed a mountain into La Jolla, the whole time thinking: “Gee, this is a STEEP climb. I can’t believe the race is coming down this HUGE hill.” When the road dead-ended at the top of the mountain (with an absolutely breathtaking view!) without a soul in sight, I knew I’d made a mistake. I sprinted through a nearby neighborhood and asked a couple for directions: “Oh honey, you are FAAAAAR away from where you need to be! You have a LONNNNNG way to go!”
I had to back-track a few miles to get on course toward the race start and FLEW down the mountain, pushing as hard as I could, racing across the start line with 15 miles on my Garmin and several minutes after the race had started. I’m pretty sure I was the very last person to cross the start and I continued to push until I caught up with my husband and our buddy, just past the Mile 2 marker. Jared handed me the water bottle with Nuun that I’d had him bring, but I didn’t bother taking the Shot Bloks. I was as fired up as I was relieved and more than anything, I was ready to be done. I kept the pace for the final 2 miles, crossing the finish line with 39:19 on the clock. My tag time was 34:58, a pace of 8:45/mile… quite a bit faster than my training plan dictated… but oh well. One of the many great things about Smart Coach is it can’t yell at me!
The first 9 miles ranged from 9:21-9:49/mile and the last 10 miles, 7:51-8:58/mile. Basically, this 4-miler-turned-19 included a bit of everything: distance, hills, speed, tempo and best of all, a runner’s high, an amazing post-run breakfast and my favorite, a Sunday afternoon nap!
I’m definitely feeling it today, but I’m feeling great about the accomplishment and less apprehensive about the notoriously hilly “Heartbreak Ridge Half-Marathon” that I impulsively signed up for on 9/11. Stay tuned for that race report! With my recent track record of losing car keys en route, getting lost, and smashing time goals, it’s sure to be another epic tale!