Sunday morning if my alarm went off, I didn't hear it. I woke up at 7 a.m., realizing the race started in an hour. Jason groaned and rolled over. Not much help. I prodded him with my elbow. "C'mon. We can still make it!" More groaning and grunting. I threw on some race clothes and washed my face. We slapped some sunscreen on and rushed around, looking for directions to the race site. We rushed out the door, leaving 3 hungry bunnies with bewildered looks on their faces. I figured they could wait for their greens until afterwards. Afterall, I didn't get breakfast until after.
The race directions printed on the entry form were poor at best. Note to self: always Google or MapQuest race directions the night before. I zipped down I-5, figuring we could get there at least 15 minutes ahead of time. We were pre-registered so all we needed to do was pick up our race numbers. Since it was such a long run, I was planning on warming up during the first mile or so.
The race directions said to exit on Hwy 75, or Palm Ave. Unfortunately, the Coronado Bridge is also Hwy 75, and I didn't realize Hwy 75 had 2 I-5 exits. I took the first one. I knew we would have to get into Imperial Beach but I also knew the race was on the Silver Strand between Coronado and Imperial Beach so I figured this was the right way. I drove through Coronado and through the desolate Silver Strand highway. Then, we were in Imperial Beach but the directions were all backwards by then. When we reached the interstate again, we realized what had happened. I turned around, and we made our way to the race site...5 minutes before race start. Oops.
I was just glad we had made it. Afterall, I was just using this as a training run. We grabbed our numbers and strapped them to our race belt and took one last turn at the Port 'O Potty (a pre-race necessity for me). We lined up on the beach, and the gun went off.
The weather couldn't have been more perfect. 70s and overcast. It was so relaxing to run and watch the waves. It's hypnotic. Every wave is different and unique...like a snowflake. I ran at a comfortable pace. At mile 3, I began to lose some energy. It's very psychological. I begin to focus on the mile markers and how far I have to go instead of staying in the moment and enjoying the run itself. It took more effort to go to that "happy place." I had my iShuffle so that helped. Then, my 2nd wind hit about a half mile later, and I was fine. My legs disappeared from under me and carried me along effortlesslsy. I felt like I was being carried along for the ride, floating on top. Around mile 5.5, I began to fight to keep that feeling. My hips started to ache, and I could feel blisters developing on my feet and toes. Then, at mile 6.5, I hit another (3rd) wind, and glided along. There were so many cool shells on the beach. I wanted to stop and collect them (the gatherer in me), especially the perfectly intact, fragile sandollars, but I resisted. The sand was a sparkly silver (obviously that's why it's called the Silver Strand). It was beautiful. I don't know what's in the sediment to make it sparkle like that but I was captivated. When I passed mile 7, I knew I was in the home stretch. I focused on picking my feet up, keeping my legs centered under me, and keeping my upper body relaxed. Even though I ran on the wet, packed sand, it felt very soft beneath my feet, which was nice for my joints but also slightly difficult to run through. The finish line was visible for over 1/2 mile away, which was very deceiving. It's almost better if I can't see it until the end.
I finished and walked along the beach, watching the waves, feeling very satisfied. 8 miles was definitely pushing it for me, but I did it! It was a great training run. I am working on the callouses on the balls of my feet again, which have softened from lack of mileage. I have some tenderness around that area, and I have a great big nasty blister between my 4th toe on my right foot. It gets squished between my pinky toe and 3rd toe, causing friction and a huge blister. I have weird feet. Guess my toe's getting moleskin next time. I was a little sore in my hips the rest of the day but nothing too bad. All in all, a very good run. Plus, my time was not too shabby:
(Place AG/OA) Time Pace
27/117 1:13:14 8:56