Check out part one here!
So continuing with part two of the Tear Drop Half Marathon…Rachel and I were up and at it very early Sunday morning. We made our way over to Chatsworth to meet up with the buses that would take everyone to the starting line at the top of the mountain. Fortunately, there was plenty of parking (this was where the race finished) and several buses running simultaneously in order to accommodate all of the runners.
Rachel and I got on a bus a little after 6am and started the journey up the mountain. It was about a 20 minute drive to the top. I knew just from the drive, we were in for a fun and fast downhill race.
Once we got to the top, the first thing we noticed was how foggy, chilly and windy it was. We knew the race was going to end in the mid 70’s, so we both decided to dress for warmer weather. However, we weren’t quite prepared for how cool it would be at the top of the mountain. Plus, we had a good 45 minutes to an hour before the race started.
After killing some time, we got into the starting area and got prepared for the 13.1 mile journey. Rachel and I had not planned to run together, since we both had separate goals for the race. We made plans to meet at the finish line and text each other if we needed anything.
Once the race started and the crowd began to spread out, I said goodbye and started moving ahead. The course was very interesting. It started by basically going downhill for about 1.8 miles, before turning around and going right back up to the start. And then it began the actual journey down to the bottom, which is roughly mile 4 to mile 12.
I tried very hard to pace myself, especially for the first 1.8 miles downhill, as I knew I would have to conserve energy for the uphill climb. But, y’all, it was hard. I made the turn to head back uphill and the hill almost took me out. This was a brutal climb back to the start. This was my slowest 2 miles for sure.
Once I got to the top and made the turn to head down, I remember seeing Rachel coming up the hill and giving her a big “You’ve Got This!” since she still had a little ways to go.
At this point, it was basically all downhill for the next 7-8 miles. In fact, there was a sign telling runners to basically “Let It Rip!” I began to increase my pace and tried not to hurt myself!
Now running downhill for this long can definitely help your pace, but it is also very tough on the legs, especially the quads. After several miles I found myself thinking, this is much harder than I was expecting. While my pace was definitely great, I was starting to really feel it. Plus, the temperature and humidity were steadily increasing.
After a while, all I could think about was at least breaking my number 1 goal of a 2:10 half marathon. Once I got past mile 10, I started realizing I had a great shot at breaking my number 2 goal of a 2:05 half marathon.
I ended up kicking into another gear for miles 10-12, which ended up being 3 of my fastest miles. And then I got to the bottom and the final mile…
Friends, the final mile sucked to say the least. You hit the bottom of the mountain and immediately have to climb a yet another hill for almost half a mile. I was more or less exhausted by this point. I ended up having to take 2 different walk breaks just to catch my breath and sanity.
Once I finished this final hill, I made the turn towards the finish line and the final stretch. At this point, I knew I was in great shape for the sub 2:05 time, so I pushed myself one last time and gave it all I could to finish strong.
I ended up crossing in 2:04:21! I was pumped! This was my second fastest half marathon time ever! And while it wasn’t a sub 2 hour half, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I grabbed my medal and several water bottles/bananas and walked back over to the finish line to wait for Rachel.
I knew Rachel’s PR was around 2:17 and she was hoping to get back down to that timeframe. The current qualifying half time she’s able to use is around 2:24, so anything better than 2:24 would be great.
As it got to around the 2:17 mark on the finish clock, I saw her coming down the final stretch of the race. I knew she still had another minute or so to go, but she was easily going to break the 2:24 mark. I was so proud of her! I jumped back into the race course for the final 15 seconds and ran across the finish line with her. She ended up with 2:18:04, which is less than a minute from her PR! And honestly, in these conditions with these kind of race course, she rocked it!
Rachel grabbed her medal and water before getting a quick finisher picture.
And then we jumped right back into the car and drove straight to the hotel to shower and clean up. We were both very sweaty and very tired.
All in all, it was a great weekend. The race ended up being a win for both of us in regards to finish time. But I will say, we both were very sore and tired for the next several days. My legs were easily as tired as they have been after a race, and that includes some of my full marathons. Now, will I consider running this particular race again? Honestly, probably not. But, it definitely had nothing to do with the race itself or the company that ran the overall race. I’m just not sure it would be worth it to my legs and quads.
Anyways…another half marathon in the books! Rachel and I leave tomorrow for Disneyland/California for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend! We are looking forward to several days out there and running yet another race! Recap(s) coming soon!