a blog about running fast with style
And the Ojai half marathon recap: finally.
If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll remember I started training for the Ojai full marathon in December. My training took an unexpected turn in February when I bruised my heel and after almost a full month away from running I tried to find some fitness.
I had some good workouts but unexpected setbacks meant opting for the half at Ojai. Truth be told if hadn’t booked my ticket 2 days before my stomach decided to break I probably would have just called it good at that point and taken some down time. But the ticket was booked and I managed a few good workouts post broken stomach and I felt like I could still run a PR. Plus a trip down to LA meant a quick visit with my two besties.
So I gave it a go, I mean what could possibly go wrong?
Ha. That’s funny.
The trip to the start line was an adventure in and of its self. Sarah nicely recapped its awesomeness (in a much more time manner might I add) here.
The start was early (6:00 am) so it was darker and colder than I expected. After warming up they lined us up and we promptly had to wait another 7 mins to start since the porta potties were set up in front of the start line instead of behind the start line (oops lesson learned).
I didn’t really have much of plan going into this except to run on feel. I knew the first half mile was slightly up hill and then downhill for about 6.5- 7 miles. I figured I’d let the hill do the work and that’s what I did.
My first 6 or so miles were nice and relaxed. I wasn’t breathing too hard (much like how my first miles were at Eugene) and I tried to stay relaxed. Unlike Eugene my hamstrings felt good but my glutes were another story. In the first mile I could tell they were going to be an issue. I tried my best not think about and just focused on staying relaxed.
6:33, 6:32, 6:30, 6:35. 6:37, 6:45.
Okay so I know these look a bit fast. 6:40 would have been a safer number, but remember there is a slight downhill and at this point my breathing was good and minus the glutes I felt awesome. I also figured my glutes were going to get tired around mile 8 or 9 no matter how fast I was running since that seemed to happen during almost all of my training runs.
Miles 1-6 were a straight shot on a trail, around mile 6, 6.5 you hit Venture and head past the finish and out to another mini loop. I was a bit nervous with what my watch splits were reading so I made an effort to slow down a bit.
Miles 7, 6:53.
Okay, 6:53 a bit on the slower side but still not a big deal. But as I hit the water station at mile 8 my glutes were really starting to fail. I walked and grabbed water hoping it would help me.
Mile 8: 7:06.
Still right around pace considering I’d stopped for water, I figured I’d settle back in to 6:50’s and just try to maintain.
But no go. Try as I might my glutes had other plans. As I felt my legs tighten-up my breathing actually got easier because I was slowing down. This has happened to me during two other workouts this past training season and I knew it wasn’t good.
But things could still turn around.
Err… maybe not.
7:25, 7:27, 7:32, 7:39 and 7:39. My last .1 to the finish I could only get a 7:16 turn over.
I pretty much willed myself to that finish line.
I actually can’t believe I have both feet off the ground.
When I finally crossed the finish line (1:31.59) I was just happy to be done running. I found my peeps, cheered our friend on to a ridiculously fast new PR, went and found our car at the start, grabbed a bite to eat and then hit the road for the drive back to LA.
The race was frustrating but before I had a chance to really think about it the headache that had been brewing since I crossed the finish line turned into a full-blown migraine. Talk about winning. My friend nearly had to drive to meet me and pick me-up. Luckily I found some meds.
I probably should have run a 10k based on my workouts but I’m still happy with how I raced. I think no matter what pace I went out in my legs were going to have issues. I’m usually pretty conservative with how I race and I know these splits look fast but they felt conservative at the time so I wouldn’t change a thing.
I LOVED the half course and hope to come back and race the half again or possibly the full (even with the funny half start line).
All in all this was still the best spring racing cycle I’ve had. I’ve run faster in my track workouts and my easy runs than I’ve run in the past and while it’s frustrating to not have the racing results I hoped for I know the base is there.
It’s also a PR for me in terms of meltdown races. Last year my Portland Rock and Roll half fell apart and I was practically crying on the side of the road begging my brother for a ride back to the start. I was also a good 6 minutes faster in this race (that’s what happens when you’re not crying on the side of the road). So winning.
Going into this race I knew I’d ramped up pretty fast on a heel/foot that was still sore. I also knew I was past due for a break since my last real break was May the previous year (right after that awesome Portland half).
So Ojai, it was good while it lasted.
Now we rest. And then we ramp-up (of course) for some fun summer relaying.
run pretty run fast