Cross country season is officially over!! I LOVED my first season of collegiate coaching and being part of such a great team of athletes. Our women finished 9th at Nationals and the men were 15th! Now for a nice long break before the track season starts! 😀
A little over a week ago I ran my first post-baby race! Originally, the Turkey Trot we’re running on Thanksgiving was going to be my first race back, but then a friend of a friend wasn’t able to use her bib for the Revel Canyon City Half Marathon and I jumped on the opportunity to run a half. I mean… why not start off my post-baby racing with a distance double the furthest distance I’d run in MONTHS?!?
Friday Lavinia and I drove out to Azusa to pick up my bib number. The expo was small but well organized, there was an option to pick up your bib number the morning of the race but since the shuttles to the starting line left between 4:30-5:30 I didn’t want to have to wake up earlier to insure I got my bib before. Clearly Liv was very excited by the whole race expo experience.
The morning of the race I was up and out of the house by 4:30 – usually I’m cursing my alarm on race morning but having to leave for practice at 5:15 every morning made the early wake up seem much more manageable. The directions on where to park and meet the shuttle buses were very clear and I had no problem parking and walking right onto a bus to head up to the starting line. Revel races are known for their downhill, point-to-point courses and Canyon City is no different. The course starts up in the San Gabriel Canyon and ends at Azusa Pacific University.
I loved all of the little details that the race planners thought of. In each bag that they handed out at the expo were warm gloves, a hat and a space blanket. These were amazing touches since it was chilly at the start and it was nice not to have to bring throw away clothes. Every one in the staging area before the race was decked out in their space blankets to keep warm. There was also an aid station with extra blankets, water, Powerade and other little things runner may have needed – I thought that was so thoughtful even though I didn’t partake in anything. Also before the start it was easy to load your bag onto the truck that would carry your stuff down to the finish.
5-10 minutes before the start the announcer instructed us to head over to the starting line and assured us that the race would start right on time. And it indeed started on time. Unfortunately the start was pretty anti-climactic with just a hand-held air horn that indicated the race had begun. However, the view was beautiful as we took off through the canyon.
I started the race off very conservatively and just planned to keep a comfortable pace the whole way. Since the race was all downhill (except for 2 miles that were net uphill) this turned out to be a pace right around 7 minutes/mile. I took water and Powerade at nearly every station and just focused on not running any one mile too fast because of all the downhill.
At about mile 10 we reached the city of Azusa and the course leveled out. This is where all the pounding of the downhill really caught up with me and my quads were on FIRE! I just kept looking up at the people in front of me and tried to focus on not letting the distance between us shrink. I stayed pretty consistent on those last 3 miles although it definitely felt harder than running downhill.
I saw Henri and Lavinia about 200m from the finish line and they gave me the final encouragement I needed to finish the race strong.
I’m very pleased with my finish time of 1:30:43 and will definitely do the Revel Canyon City Half Marathon again since it was so well-organized and had a lot of fun perks (like the free hat and gloves!).
After a quick change we were off to meet our friends at Urth Cafe in Pasadena for brunch. I was craving pancakes… which they don’t have 🙁 but my eggs scramble, chocolate croissant and iced latte still hit the spot.
All in all this wasn’t my fastest half but it was definitely my favorite because I had my little love waiting for me at the finish line.
Time to get serious about my training because my next half marathon is in 10 weeks! :O