Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 Santa Barbara International Marathon Recap

Date: November 12, 2011
Location: Goleta to Santa Barbara, CA
Start: 7:15am
Finish: 3:59:36

Last marathon of 2011, phew! Whatever possessed me to sign up for 6 marathons this year is out of my system now. It was fun but let's never do that again. Don't get me wrong, marathons are great and I intend to continue to run them, just at a more sane quantity.

I headed up to Santa Barbara on Friday morning to get this last show on the road. I got into town around mid afternoon. The sky was gloomy. It took me so long to make it into town because we had made a quick stop at the Camarillo Outlets and also got some lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Ventura. I headed straight to the expo once I arrived in Santa Barbara which was located in a building at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

The expo itself was pretty small. I got there around 2:30pm to pick up my packet and they had ran out of small race shirts and all the samples were gone. I don't really care about the samples but WTF?!? How does that even happen? I requested for a small shirt, why isn't there one waiting for me? Did you give it to someone else who had not ordered one? Stupid! I hate when this happens. There was nothing but flyers, a wet nap, small tube of Aquaphor and a sample of Biofreeze in the goodie bag. The race shirt would have been nice had I gotten it in my size as it was an Adidas shirt (photo forth coming).

After leaving the expo, we headed to our hotel to check in. It started to rain a bit and by the time we decided to head out for dinner, it was pouring! All the restaurants on State Street were packed despite the rain. What with all the runners and naval personnel on leave because of Veteran's Day. We went to dinner at this really awesome pizzeria that I will post about soon. The honey really liked it.

Look at this beautiful sky at 6:30am Saturday morning, 45 minutes before the start of the marathon. It was pouring rain the night before. I was a bit concerned about race morning conditions to say the least. I told myself that if it was going to pour rain that I was probably going to bail on the race because there was no way that I was going to run in rain again. It turned out to be a beautiful day for running.

I'm glad that I ditched my raincoat before I headed to the start line because it was not needed.

The modest starting line in the parking lot of Dos Pueblos high school. They had opened up the gym so that runners could keep warm. Real restrooms located inside the gym as well as 185 porta potties outside. Virtually no lines!

This race was relatively small even with a marathon, half marathon and relay event going on. So small that this was the sole wheelchair participant.

I didn't have a goal for this race except to run fast enough to get back to my hotel in time so that I could take a shower before making the long drive back to the OC. It was my last marathon of the year and honestly I just wanted to finish in a decent time. I was trying to maintain a steady 9 minute mile the whole way and for the most part I was successful. I followed behind this one guy for many miles as he was running a perfect 9 min/mile.

This race was mentally difficult for me as it was not very exciting and since it is relatively new there were not too many spectators out but the ones that were out were amazing cheerleaders. Lots of water and GU stations with some great volunteers manning them. This course reminded me a lot of the Ojai Marathon that I ran earlier this year. Strange feeling of deja vu today for me.

This course consisted of lots of rolling hills and a half mile climb shortly after mile 23. That mile 23 hill was pretty demotivating. I started out running up but decided that it was not worth it to waste my energy. As soon as I got to a flatter part near the top of that hill, I started to, in order to make up the time I lost walking up that hill. Hill at mile 23=cruel. Reminded me of the hills at the end of the Malibu Marathon, also very cruel.

Some head wind the last couple of miles made it not very pleasant. I started singing to myself out-loud like a weirdo to pump myself up.

The last mile along the ocean was gorgeous! Right before I entered the finish line chute in Playa Field at the college, I saw the most beautiful view of the ocean with naval ships parked in a row. I mustered what little energy I had left and started running for the finish line.

I rounded the corner and suddenly I see my honey on the right hand side telling me to sprint for it and then the announcer said something about 30 seconds left for a sub four hour marathon so I sprinted as hard as I could and made it in the nick of time. Phew!

Oh and I did get my shower in thanks in part to my honey picking me up at the finish line and zipping me back to our hotel room which was located half a mile away. Haha. He didn't know the finish line was so close to our hotel. But he is *the* best race ever! <3

Well I did it, I finished all 6 marathons that I signed up for this year. I'm happy with my performance today. It was a nice way to close out my 2011 marathon race schedule. I am not planning to run this many marathon next year. I want to concentrate on improving my half marathon time. I'm very excited about my 2012 race line up. Well I'm off to relax a bit and reflect on my day.


Nobel4Lit said...

Good job!!

Monika said...

Damn 6 this year??? I'm running CIM as my 4th and I feel crazy! I thought the race was nice and I'd do the half again. Not sure i want a half with these moderate rolling hills. My friend picked up my bib and they rain out of Mediums too so I got a Large. :( Sad, but oh well. Anyways, nice work out there!!

BikramYoginiRunner said...

BIG congrats! Wow, 6 marathons in one year. And I thought I was crazy when I signed up for 8 halfs and 1 full in a year. My husband wants to sign up for the Santa Barbara International Half next year but I am thinking of running the Santa Barbara Wine Country instead. Decisions, decisions.

Madison said...

BikramYoginiRunner: I liked the SB Wine Country Half better. I'm looking forward to that one next year!

Glenn Jones said...

Congrats on #6! What are you doing for an encore?