On Sunday, I ran the Zombie Runner half marathon. After my terrible run at San Jose, I wanted to try again. This race was put on by Coastal Trail Runs. They also put on the Diablo race I did last month. They really do put on great events. They're small and mostly train runs. This course was very flat and a variety of not very technical surfaces, dirt, some gravel, road. There were 4 aid stations on the course and I figured that would be enough and I wouldn't have to carry my own water. This would come back to bite me right in the ass.
From looking at past events on this course, I figured I could start close to the front. The half marathon and the full started together. Based on previous women's times, I figured I'd be in the top 5ish. Since it was the day before halloween, there were a lot of people in costumes which was fun. Personally, I don't think I could race dressed up, but it was fun to see others.
I started out feeling great. I fell into a nice rhythm and didn't get sucked into the faster pace of the guys ahead of me. The first aid station was at about 2.5 miles. When I went by, they really weren't set up or I didn't slow down/stop to really see, but I didn't see any cups out as I went by so I kept going.
I fell in with 2 guys, 1 doing the full and 1 doing the half. I knew there were 3 women ahead of me. Far ahead of me. As we came up on mile 6, I took a gel knowing there'd be another aid station soon. I could see the tent and as I came up on it I grabbed a cup as I was running by.
It was empty.
I'm now 6+ miles in, I've got gel mouth, and no water. I was not happy. I was, however, still on 1:40 pace but knew this was going to get tough. The next aid station wasn't until 8.5 miles.
In the distance, I could see 3rd place woman coming back to me. I kept my eyes on her and made it a goal to pass her. Once I did, I dropped her like a bad habit. I think she may have gone out a bit fast. I knew not far behind her was Loren who had a sore hamstring and was just running easy.
By mile 8, I was slooooowing down. I was so pissed. Dude I had been running with earlier came up on me with encouraging words. Before the next aid station , I took another gel, which hit my stomach hard. When I hit the tent, I gulped 2 cups of water but I knew it was too late. From the way the course snaked around, I could see Loren was gaining on me, or rather I was slowing so much I was going to fall behind her.
For the last 2.5 miles or so, there was an out and back and another aid station at mile 11ish. I took more water and Loren was really close to me. I was running like 8:15 pace and couldn't go any faster. Ugh.
While I was feeling like complete ass, it was fun to see all the other folks on the out and back in costume and being very encouraging, that did help even though the last mile was total hell. With about a half mile to go, Loren passed me and said not to worry she had no kick. I was like please, no kick? I go no nothin. This is it for me. The finish could not come soon enough.
So in the grand scheme of things...I ran a 1:45:25. Slower than San Jose by about 20 seconds. Continuing with the them for the year, I was 4th woman (22nd over all) and I won my age group. Little consolation, as I said to my pal Flo, I'd rather have a good race than an AG win. Loren was 3rd woman and won her AG. Since her birthday is soon, this is the last time in a while we won't be in the same AG.
There are 2 big things I came away with:
1. Water. Carry it. If there isn't aids stations at like every mile from now on, I'm carrying water. Clearly that was a huge mistake on my part.
2. I'm not in shape to run as fast as I'd like. After these 2 races, I've put a lot of thought into this. ALL my PRs have come when I'm marathon training. When I'm marathon training, I'm running higher milage. This was the first time I trained just for a half. Clearly, I'm not running enough. This is something that can be easily fixed.
Another part of this is I'm still adjusting to a new city. I have some running routes mapped out that I do but it's not the same comfort level I had in NYC.
So I know what I need to do. I'm not in any hurry to get out and race another half, I want to put in some more milage, do some more trail running and set this goal on the back burner for a few months until I feel more ready for it.