You guys! I DID IT!
This last Saturday at around 9:30 am, I crossed the finish line of the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon with a group of great friends. We’ve been training for the last three or so months, so it was FANTASTIC to finally finish what we’ve been working towards and not have it looming over our heads. WOOOOOOO!
Here’s a bit of a recap of how the race went.
The race took place in Solvang, which is about a 40 minute drive from our house in Santa Barbara. I had work at my internship on Friday until around 5, so I rushed back home afterwards and through my pre-packed bags into the car before driving a short ways away to pick up my sister. We drove to the hotel, checked in, then went to meet the other girls at the race expo to pick up our bibs and explore a little.
The race expo was perfectly sized and we were able to quickly grab everything we needed before heading off to find a place to eat dinner. Now, please don’t judge us, but after sitting down at the restaurant we found, we sorta chose to ignore all common sense on what to eat before running and stuffed ourselves with tons of greasy food. We joked that each french fry we ate would be another tear shed when running, but were lucky in that none of us felt terrible during our race. I guess bacon hamburgers, french fries, and chicken fingers make the best pre-run fuel . Do not follow our lead haha.
After eating, we drove back to the hotel and were in bed by 9:30. We were hoping to be fully rested come our 5:20 a.m wakeup time, but there were some unbelievably loud and inconsiderate kids outside of our door that were honestly screaming and playing videos and music until 1:30 in the morning. My roommate, Abbi, finally couldn’t take it anymore and went outside to tell them off. By the time our alarms went off, no one was in a good mood and we tried our best to stuff ourselves with bananas, peanut butter, and toast. I never thought eating could be so unenjoyable, but trying to cram food down your throat in the wee hours of the morning when you’re still full of french fries really sucks the joy out of it.
My parents had driven up to cheer us on and my mom picked us up around 6:30 to drive us to the course. We arrived at the drop-off area and a few of the girls headed off to the bathrooms before we lined up. Before we knew it, we were slowly starting to move and were off! A little anti-climatic, but it was fun just seeing so many people dressed in bright clothing and the exciting atmosphere was contagious.
The first 3 miles passed by pretty slowly and we did our best to weave through the crowds and stills stay together. The course was structured so that the first 6 miles were gradually uphill, so I definitely was feeling more tired than usual, which was disheartening. I find that that first few miles are always the hardest for me, then after that, I just tune out and turn on auto-pilot mode.
Once we reached mile 6, we were met with a MONSTER of a hill. It had weaving switchbacks and probably lasted a quarter of a mile. It was so steep that I would guess only 1 out of every 10 people attempted to run it (we realized at the first switchback that running was futile) and we walked as fast as we could. Once we got to the top of the hill, though, it was all worth it and there was a gloriously long stretch of winding downhill road that was surrounded by a gorgeous view and tons of vineyards.
Miles 7-10 passed by in a blur and I felt like I was flying through things. We actually hit our fastest time at mile 9! By the time we got to the 11 mile marker, however, my body was starting to protest and I definitely was feeling less than stellar in my butt (seriously, I think my entire butt was cramping) and in the arch of my left foot from running on uneven ground.
Miles 11-13 were pretty tortuous and seemed to go by SO slowly. I wasn’t feeling too out of breath or tired cardiovascular-wise, but my body was breaking down and I could tell that all the hills were making my joints and muscles much more tired than they had been when we ran our last long run of 12 miles.
Once we hit the 13 mile mark, we just had to turn the corner and run past a crowd of cheering people (those people are seriously the best). We tried our best to sprint, but we could only kick it up a bit. Once we passed the finish line, we immideatly stopped and my friend Taylor and I just collapsed into each other’s arms and a big group hug ensued. We hobbled over to collect our medals and enjoyed the end-of-race festivities that were taking place. We all bought those obnoxiously awesome “13.1” stickers to display on our cars and I also picked up a workout tank top. We then fell to the ground and just lay there for a while before walking over to find my parents and going back to their hotel to eat brunch.
The rest of the day involved driving back home, being immobile, and streaming a constant list of complaints whenever we had to move. Kyle was the sweetest and greeted me with flowers and ice cream when I got back home and helped me get up the stairs to my room. He knows just how to play his cards right to earn major boyfriend points .
So there ya have it! My first and last (at least for a while) half marathon. While it’s been such a cool experience, I think I’m going to take a break from running anything longer than 5 or 6 miles and focus more on weight training. While running makes you feel accomplished, I’ve noticed that my body image and self-confidence are much higher when I’m lifting weights along with cardio. Who knows what I’ll end up doing in the future, though!