Run Through Redlands Half-Marathon 2014

Yesterday, I ran my 11th half-marathon, The Run Through Redlands half. This is my 6th year in a row doing this race. You can read about past experiences here and here.

I absolutely love this race. It is local and I know the course well. Besides having run the race itself five times previous, I frequently do my training runs around the course, so I know the terrain, the elevation and what to expect. The one thing I have always despised about this race is the start time. I have always felt like it was waaaay too late (typically, 7:30, but this year they moved it up by a whopping 10 minutes) and the heat typically zaps me and leaves me nauseous by the end of the race.

However, the weather could have not been more perfect! It rained the day before and the clouds hung around throughout nearly the whole race.

I knew it was a good sign when the sun was not beating down on me already, at the start. On the right is a picture from last year before the race, and the left is from this year. You can see how the cloudiness cooled the morning down.

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I arrived early enough to do some stretching, find a good spot at the start, kiss my family good-bye and soon enough, head off.

14018249906_fb21549eee_o Even though I have done this so many times before, I was nervous! I knew I would finish the race, but I cannot say that my whole mind and body was in it. I was worried about how difficult the next 13 miles would be.

This course is definitely challenging. There are tons of hills to contend with, but knowing where to expect them helps. The elevation chart is below. My plan was to start and end fast and take it slower in the middle, when the hills made their appearance.

rtr elevationI probably started off a little too fast and was experience side stitches around mile 3. At mile 4, I stopped and did some quick stretching. This really seemed to help and I scaled my pace back a little, and did not experience the pain again.

Around mile 5, the first big hill was conquered and my hips were wondering why I was doing this to them. I continued to struggle with tight hips and hamstrings through the remainder of the race. This was not something that I was expecting, and it begin to slow me down.

With the hip and hamstring pain, I really scaled back on the hills and did not push myself up them too hard. I did not want to push myself to the point where I was miserable or not enjoying it.

I made the decision a few days before that this would probably be my last race, at least for awhile. I know this is very dramatic and Jay-Z of me, but I think I have officially burned myself out of running. I have an overly dramatic post about it all planned later this week, so stick around.

I was thinking about how this may be the last time I ran this race and felt a little emotional at certain points. I also saw some of my fellow runners wearing shirts from past races I completed, and I begin to reflect on my running experiences.

I saw one from The OC Marathon, 2010, in which I ran my best marathon time ever! I also had one of the hardest races, that time around, resulting in me throwing my water bottle at mile 17, like an insolent infant and spewing a string of profanity, that was equal parts innovative and hateful, that I am equally proud and ashamed of it.

I saw many from Surf City Marathon, which was my first ever marathon in 2009, and will always have a special place in my heart for showing me what I was made of, and making myself proud.

I saw quite a few from past Run Through Redlands’ races, and I reflected on the various ups and downs I have had in the past years in my personal life, and how those ups and downs were reflected in my performance on the course.

Still, I felt my heart and soul not completely in this race like it normally was, and felt certain that it was time for retirement.

As I started to get to the downhill portions, I tried to increase my speed. As the miles begin to build, my pace slowed more and more and the pain in my hips and hamstrings increased.

I stopped around mile 10 to stretch, which helped a little, but my pace continued to slow. I tried not to let this bother me too much, and tried to make peace with not pushing myself too hard. I did not want to finish this race miserable, as I have so many other races where I have put too much pressure on myself.

Around mile 12, the sun was barely peeking through the clouds. I felt incredibly grateful that the weather cooperated, especially knowing that the temperatures will climb to the 90s, later this week.

I also felt a little bit of stomach cramping, but was thankful that I was almost finished!

As I rounded the corner towards the finish line, I heard my mom’s ever present cheering and saw my family, and a few friends. I felt so fortunate to have their support and I was ready to cross the finish line!

14038170542_e25554bb08_oI crossed at 2:13. Not a great time, but nothing I will beat myself up over.

I was glad I did not feel the heat exhaustion I have felt in years passed. I immediately started chugging coconut water and fresh juice made with pears, turmeric, fennel and golden beets. I am hoping the turmeric would help combat any potential inflammation.

14038191951_02b054f040_oAs per tradition, we went to eat at my favorite, local Mexican restaurant, Oscar’s. Once we got there, I felt a little…off. I was begin to feel dizzy and nauseous, something I hoped the hydration right after the race would have prevented. I had a hard time even looking at the menu, but less thinking about what food to order.

I defaulted to my Mexican roots, and ordered a Sprite, which we pretty believe cures everything. Turns out, it does. Within about ten minutes, I felt normal again and could finally start eating chips and salsa.

I ordered chilaquiles (just asked for no cheese, and add veggies), with a side order of beans and a melon margarita.

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My husband ordered the tofu platter. It comes with grilled tofu, veggies, beans, rice and hand made tortillas. It is delicious and filling.

14041490385_4fa11705c2_oOnce I was fed, I was ready for a shower and nap!

Overall, I feel the race was a success. It definitely was not my best, but I am obviously not at my best in running, anymore. If this does in fact, turn out to be my last race, I am glad it was Run Through Redlands. This has always been a favorite of mine and one I may return to run, just maybe in the 5K.

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Prep-Emptying out the Fridge

I did the best I could, to empty out our fridge before leaving for vacation and minimizing waste.

I started off with making “quesadillas” out of Trader Joe’s brown rice wraps, vegan cheese, tomato, spinach and a spread of Veganaise mixed with sriracha and lime.

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We had a whole bowl of sliced limes left from our Vegan Taco Party, so I made a quick dressing with limes, lemons, olive oil, rice vinegar and Tajin seasoning.

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I poured this on top of fresh cucumbers, green beans, cherry tomatoes, radishes and sliced yellow bell peppers.

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These veggies were all so beautiful, I could not stand to let them go to waste!

I absolutely hate throwing food away, so I am hoping I got most of the perishables out of the fridge before our trips.

Run Through Redlands 2013

I woke up at my usual 4:30 AM time and started off with chocolate chai with coconut milk, as I let myself slowly wake up and read.

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I also did a few yoga moves to start stretching and waking my muscles up.

Breakfast was Panda puffs with 1/2 banana, sliced strawberries, flax seed meal and coconut milk.

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The sun started coming up with a vengeance and I knew it was going to be a hot day. As I was stretching around 6, I thought to myself that it would be nice to be starting at that time, instead.

The start time was not until 7:30 AM. We arrived around 7:10. I found some familiar faces and made my way to the start. One of the reasons I love this race so much is because it is local and I see so many of my running buddies.

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The course starts off relatively flat with slight inclines. I felt strong from the start and my plan was to be speedy the first half and scale back if I needed to, when the heat kicked in. I also knew the hills would be coming soon, so any speed I could gain on flatter portions would be beneficial.

This is the elevation chart of the course. I was averaging a 9:15-9:30 pace the first few miles.

Finally, I met the hills, there was a point where I felt they kept coming and coming and coming:

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I was glad that I am so familiar with this course. Volunteers, may the universe send love, light and happiness their way, but they regularly say “this is the last hill,” when in fact, there is still more. It has killed my running spirit before when I think the hills are over and I see there is another one.

Finally, I got to the “top” of the course. The views at this point are pretty amazing.

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I still felt great at this point. I was blowing through the miles, maintaining about a 10:30 mile while going uphill and still dancing to my play-list. I knew it was a good sign when at mile 9, I was dancing to Destiny’s Child. In my head I looked like this:

…but I am sure I looked more like one of these guys:

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Around mile 9.5 the course starts going downhill. I gained speed at this point and continued to feel strong although the heat was creeping in.

Miles 12-13 were a straightaway to the finish line. The street is relatively unshaded. This was the only time I struggled. This mile felt like it went on and on. The heat was getting to me at this point and my legs started to feel tired.

I could see the finish line in sight and Europe’s “Final Countdown” was playing on my ipod. I sort of felt like this:

As I came in the finish line, I could see and hear my mom. She always comes out to support me at this race and makes me a home made sign.

I crossed at 2:12:57. My Garmin clocked my overall average pace at 10:01.

I put my medal on and started making my way to the finisher’s area. I found my buddy L.B., and I think babbled incoherently for a minute, I started to feel…off.

I chugged some water and found my family. Pretty soon, I felt a wave of nausea hit me and I had to sit down, immediately. It took all I had in me to not completely lose all the contents of my stomach. I stayed like this for about ten minutes.

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Once I started putting water on my face and neck, I started to feel better. After about ten more minutes, the world stopped spinning and my stomach settled down. I was able to get up, take a few pictures and walk to the car. Home made sign from my mom 🙂

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I knew I was feeling better when I suddenly felt ravenous! We went to Eureka Burger. I ordered the Loma Linda veggie burger (made out of beets!) and my favorite beer on tap.8669269241_afc8081174_o 8670370928_a798d28db2_o

Overall, I was proud of my performance. I have been strength training consistently the past 3 weeks, and my legs felt strong on the course. I did not feel any of my injuries flaring up, my foot, ankles and knees all cooperated.

I finally feel like I am recovering and making a running come back! It has been 1 1/2 years since I ran a marathon and I am starting to feel the itch again. It has been a long road recovering from injuries, and I am sure there will be more bumps a long the way, but I finally feel like a runner again!

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