San Dieguito Half Marathon

This is a race report and it's kind of boring.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, so, being a dutiful and doting husband, I woke up at 6 AM, gave my wife a kiss on the cheek, wished her a happy Valentine's Day and headed off to run the San Dieguito Half Marathon.  I put this one on the schedule as a training run for the Catalina Marathon which is a little trick I try to play on myself so I won't stress about a race, instead I'll use it as a training day and look beyond it to the next race.  It doesn't work, because I am too smart for myself.  I know all my tricks.  I planned to take it easy, but I started to get really nervous the night before the race and I kept waking up throughout the night doing math in a hazy half-sleep state, and the numbers 7, 13 and 91 kept going through my mind.  After getting upset at myself for not sleeping, I realized I was calculating splits in my sleep.  I wasn't sure why I chose 7 minute wasn't a conscious choice, maybe it was the most complicated my brain wanted to get at 4:30 AM.  I wasn't about to go and figure out 6:32 X 13.1.

This is the fourth time I have run the San Dieguito Half and it is one of my favorite races.  It goes through the tree-lined streets of Rancho Santa Fe, some of the most expensive real estate in the country.  The course is hilly, but nothing really extreme, just rolling hills without much of a break - you are either running up or running down, but that keeps it interesting.  Another thing that keeps the race interesting is that it is sponsored by the Hash House Harriers, a group that describes itself as a drinking club with a running problem.  The characters were out in full force and this is the only race I have done where the aid stations have to distinguish between water, Gatorade, and beer.  I feel bad for anyone that downs a beer by mistake at mile one, although it might make the hills a little less painful.  Every year that I have done this race I have seen the Queen of England with her wand and a lapdog at the 1.5 and 11.5 marker.  She has a terrible British accent and says hello to everyone.  There is also a Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland who hands out beer at the first aid station.

The course starts with a steep downhill that lasts for a mile and a half, then hits a long uphill, then a long out and back section which is nice because I got to see all of the really fast runners in front of me.  It's fun to pick out the local triathlon all-stars - I spotted Michellie Jones, Kate Major and Katya Meyers (it's funny, I don't know what any of the top men look like).  I also saw a couple of fast running friends who would go on to run about 1:20, which is about a 6 minute per mile pace and is super fast for this course.

San Dieguito elevation profile

I stayed on my 7 minute per mile pace and was able to hold it through the tough, middle section of the race.  It's always a struggle to deal with the middle portion of any race, no matter how long or short, it's painful and I always have negative thoughts.  I think about how nice it would be to quit, how stupid I am for picking such a painful hobby, and how much I wish I was still in bed.  Fortunately, these thoughts always pass, and it usually means there is going to be a nice long, happy-to-be-alive, excited and annoyingly over-talkative phase to the race.  This hit me from mile ten through twelve.  I felt so good, I even passed up the beer station at mile eleven.  I hit the twelve mile mark and had to run up the last mile-long hill, the one I flew down at the beginning; it seemed a lot longer and steeper at the end, but I put my head down and just went, eager to get to the Stone beer garden before the crowds hit.

I hooked up with a couple of friends at the beer garden after the race.  I was happy, my 7 X 13 math worked out well, and I was able to finish in an hour and a half which is a new personal best for me, it was about 70 degrees as I sat on the grass, in the sun, with a Stone in each hand and a bowl of home-made chili in front of me, so yeah, it was a good race and the perfect beginning to a great Valentine's Day.

1 comment:

  1. OH my gosh! How do I not know about this race yet? It sounds so fun! I do the 'triple crown halfers' each year and am currently training for the napa valley marathon on march 7th... I'm interested in looking into all of the races you have listed there...though I have no intent to run a 50 miler...ever. You go! And good luck with Catalina-- I'd like to do that one some day.


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