Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Mountain 2 Beach Marathon - Race Recap

Date: May 26, 2013
Location: Ojai to Ventura, CA
Start: 6:00am
Finish: 3:33:20  <-- ahhh!!! A new PR! Who am I? It's like I trained to do that or something. ;0)

Happy Memorial Day! I'm spending the day relaxing and recovering. I'm so elated with the outcome of yesterday's race that I can barely sit still to type out this recap. There is so much I want to say about why this race was so important to me but I will only site the top reason. Namely Boston. I wanted to qualify again and this time with no ambiguity. I wanted to run a strong race because I wanted the opportunity to be invited back to the greatest marathon in a great city with a proud tradition. Finally, I ran this race partially for my psyche. To release the last remaining traces of pent up emotions that I had carried around since April 15. When I ran across that finish line yesterday, I was overcome with such intense emotions that it overshadowed my physical discomfort. I felt like crying and jumping up and down in happiness at the same time. I ended up just pulling off to the side, covered my face with my hands and took a moment. When I found my husband in the crowd he gave me a big giant hug and told me how proud he was of me. It was just one of those days that will stay with me for a long time. A perfect day for chasing PRs and dreams.

The husband and I rolled into Ventura around early afternoon the day before the race. We had stopped at the outlets on the way up and then went to grab lunch at one of our favorite restaurants Taqueria Cuernavaca.

From there we headed to the M2B race expo at Ventura High School for packet pickup. Clif is the title sponsor of this race this year so they were one of the few booths there. It's a small race. I remember the expo was located in what appeared to be a tiny broom closet at the host hotel the first year so this is huge growth. The race shirt looks yellow in the photo below but is actually a neon yellow/green.

We checked into our hotel and went exploring around the area for a good dinner spot. We ended up at the movies for a couple of hours before dinner. Totally unplanned but turned out to be a perfect race eve.

I set my stuff out the night before like a good little runner and prepared for bed. For the first time in never, I fell asleep and slept the entire night until my alarm went off. I'm still baffled by how this happened since I can never sleep the night before a race. Never. I woke up 3:45am feeling the most rested that I have ever felt on race morning. I was a little bit nervous but mostly excited to run. This is the third year I'm running this race as I'm quite fond of it. This race was actually a somewhat last minute addition to my race schedule. I had not planned to run it but when friend Darren informed me that he was planning to do it, I knew I had to be there to witness his first sub-4 marathon and he did it! After I returned from Boston, I was glad that I had signed up and was determined to do well.

As I had mentioned in a couple of other posts, my year started out pretty slow on the running/racing front. My fitness level was lacking because of my wedding and honeymoon. I ran the LA Marathon this year with very minimal training. It was a suffer-fest and a half. I only did it to keep my streak alive. After that race, I had about a month to prepare for Boston so there was only so much I could do with having to take a week off for recovery after LA and another week for taper. My training schedule has been a mess lately but I made the best of it. After I returned from Boston, my mind was scattered but I had a lot of restless energy that I channeled into my running. I had a little over a month to prepare for M2B and I was determined to make every run count. Every mile I ran this past month was with intention and purpose. For the first time in ever, I tried my best to actually follow a plan, not just pin something to my training board and pretend that I was following it. I pushed myself a little harder. I cleaned up my diet. I was on a crash course to get up to speed. It was taxing on me at times since I had never really trained this way before. This past month was my second highest mileage month since I started running. I was so happy when taper came around. I waited until the week before the race to taper since I did not have much time to play around with. I really wish I would have had another month to train for this race but it all worked out.

Race day was perfect! It started out a little chilly but eventually warmed up quite a bit towards the beach. The race started about 10 minutes late because they wanted to ensure that most people got through the porta-potty lines. This was the most porta-potties I've seen yet at this race. Movin' on up. I love this race for so many reasons. Seeing it grow from a couple of hundred runners to a couple of thousand in a few years is proof that this race is here to stay. Different name, same great race.

I started out the race with the 3:35 pacer. There were maybe 10 of us running with him for a majority of the course. Based on the splits from my Garmin, he was running too fast. He lost a couple of people along the way. I ran most of the course sub-8 minute miles which is too fast for me. I did everything I could to hang on. My husband was on course cheering for me at a couple of different locations. I always run faster as I get close to where he will meet me. His support is a vital reason why I am able to run a strong race. This course is one that runs along a major road in Ojai allowing for your support crew to cheer you on at many points.

Then at around mile 18, the pacer suddenly pulled off to the side. Something was wrong with his left leg. His female friend or maybe girlfriend or wife was on a bike providing support for him along the way. He ended up telling her to continue to pace us on her bike. It was all very weird but it worked for a little while. Then at mile 20 I lost her. So I followed this guy and girl that had been running together in the 3:35 group with me. I could tell based on their speed that they were aiming for a 3:30. After about 2 miles or so, I could no longer keep up but the pacer, the girl on the bike and those two 3:30 runners took me all the way to the home stretch. All I had to do was dig a little deeper and pull out every last mile I still had in me. It was a struggle and slog. My husband ran with me for a mile where the course flattens out to help ease me into the transition because he knows how much I've struggled with that part in the past. Then it was just a few miles of out-and-back on some residential street before hitting the final mile along the beach path. My husband waited for me on that path to run me in like he has done in the past couple of years. I was pretty much done. I mean it was time to take me out of the oven. I had to dig pretty deep at this point. He was talking to me but I could not say anything back. He just kept reminding me why I was there and what I had to do to get what I wanted. And then I saw the finish line, so close but so far. I ran. I could hear my husband cheering for me over the cheers of the crowd. I see the people surrounding the finish line. I kept my word to friend Pam that I would leave everything out on that course. And I did.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on such a successful race!

Megan said...

Congrats on an awesome new PR! I've heard such great things about this race that I want to make sure to add it to my list. You rock - way to leave it all out there!

Boston Bound Brunette said...

Congratulations on another successful marathon and another BQ! I struggled with that out and back part of the course as well. I really liked this course overall and will definitely run it again!

Pam said...

Soo incredibly proud of you Madison!! You really ran a great race & I know that BQ **AND** new PR feels soo good. I'm happy that your hubby was able to give you the support you needed. :) Looking forward to sharing a cannoli with you next year in Boston my friend! See you soon!! :) :)

Becka said...

So excited for you and your PR. You're the fastest!!! :D

giraffy said...

This makes me so happy! Congratulations!! :D

Julie16750 said...

So happy for you Madison!

Monika said...

Congratulations!! That sucks about that pacer, glad you were able to BQ/PR regardless. Love the support your husband gave you :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the BQ and the PR!!! That out and back was tough!