I woke up with legs of lead. How on earth was I going to run a half-marathon after riding 80 miles of hills and wind on Saturday ("80 for Haiti")? I felt trashed. I debated sleeping in...running a half marathon. Ugh. I hit the snooze. Several times. Sleeping in was winning by a landslide. But I was already signed up. I had paid my entry fee. A lot of my friends would be there. There would be aid stations. And, I had an Ironman coming up. The looming Ironman was enough to get me out of bed.
Thinking it would be cold, I pulled on a long-sleeved shirt and running tights and drove to the start, almost falling asleep behind the wheel while waiting in line to park. I finally found a place to mark and started jogging the mile to the start. I would be cutting it close. It was warm! No time to change now.
I reached the start and the gun went off. I couldn't believe how many people were racing. When I did San Dieguito 2 years ago, there were half as many people. I was a little frustrated, as the race wasn't chip-timed, and my watch read 1 minute faster than the "official" time. Oh, well. Training run, right?
My legs were tired and glycogen-depleted but I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I fell into a relaxed rhythm. Oh, wait. I like this! The temps rose sharply, and sweat beaded down my cheeks. I drank extra from the aid stations. My legs toiled up the hills in Rancho Santa Fe. I had forgotten how hilly the course was. Eventually, I was rewarded with long stretches of downhill. I focused on landing lightly on my toes and keeping my body relaxed. My IT band didn't hurt! My IT band didn't hurt! Did I tell you my IT band didn't hurt? YIPPEE!!! That was enough to make me run faster.
I enjoyed the Valentine's Day costumes (neon pink compression tights), a wonderful spectator dressed as the Queen of England, and a very hot guy dressed in native Hawaiin garb, complete with an ornate grass headdress, grass leggings, and a very sexy blue loin cloth. Luckily, I ran about the same pace so I drank in the pleasant scene for motivation whenever the going got tough. Spectators and runners quickly dubbed him "Grassy" and shouted out to him with delight as he passed.
I passed one of my rivals at mile 8. Not wanting to get passed back, I picked up the pace to put some distance between us. I passed another friend. Now I was going to have to put some distance on him! All of a sudden, I was racing. Oops! How did this happen? This was supposed to be a training run! Everything was going swimmingly until mile 12 when nature called. I saw a Port-a-Potty. 1 mile to go...nature calls. The debate wasn't long. Okay, Rachel. It's just a training run. Don't shit your pants. I dashed into the loo. When I re-emerged, I had to re-pass all the rivals I had passed earlier. With only a mile to go, I put some mustard on it. I flew across the finish, victorious. I had gotten in a solid training run, run the fatigue out of my legs, my IT band didn't hurt, and I felt strong. It was time for a hard-earned ice bath.