Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reality check!

I have been getting really confident about my half marathon on August 17. Yesterday's 11.6 mile run was just the thing to make sure I don't suffer from over-confidence. I had been hoping to get pretty close to, if not under, two hours, but now I am not so sure. It wasn't a horrible run, but it certainly wasn't an easy one either.

We started in Balboa Park, right where the race ends. We ran the last few miles along the same streets as the race course, including a killer hill toward the end.

We started about two hours later than we had originally planned. The temperature wasn't too bad, but the humidity was horrible. I have never really been much of a sweater, but lately I am dripping! I brought a sweat towel with me and shoved it in an empty holster on my hydration belt. It really came in handy.

The first part of our run went along the same route as the marathon did. While I often think about the marathon as I drive through various parts of the city, this particular stretch didn't even feel familiar. It was so crowded then and I was so excited that I don't think I paid much attention to that first couple of miles. Once we hit Park Blvd., it all came back to me. I had a lot of fun during that part of the marathon.

As we ran around Petco Park toward the convention center, I was struck by how many people there were. Laura reminded me what it was-- Comic con! What is Comic Con? you may ask. I think it used to be a comic book convention. It has since moved to focus on general sci-fi and now it is described as 'pop culture.' It is the biggest convention in San Diego. This year, the sold out convention is expected to have over 125,000 self-proclaimed geeks and nerds attending. As we ran around the convention center, it was pretty clear that Laura and I stood out from the crowd. Whereas many of the people were dressed as everything from Storm Troopers to super heroes, I had my hydration belt, visor and sweat rag--my own version of a nerdy look. I told Laura that I doubted if too many of them ran 11 miles on a Saturday morning. I doubt if too many of them get outside much at all. Video games and movies all the time, just isn't my style.

Speaking of Heroes, at one point I actually thought it would be fun to go in. I heard, as we ran by, someone announce that they would be letting the Heroes line in. Little did I know but the entire cast of NBC's Heroes was there. I found out later that they showed a sneak preview of the season premiere! I never said I didn't have geek tendencies. I LOVE that show and can't wait for the premiere. But I digress.....

We ran past the convention center, along the embarcadero, on to Seaport Village, one of my favorite spots in San Diego. We ran along Harbor to Ash, where we started on the streets of the half marathon. On one hand, it was nice running through the city. On the other hand....yuck. All too often we would get an overwhelming whiff of urine. San Diego is a very clean city. If it smells like this throughout parts of this city with a nice bay breeze coming through, what do other cities smell like??? I can only imagine the city streets of New York. Laura, if you are reading, do you get horrible smells while you run in NYC??

We finally hit the dreaded 6th street. It doesn't seem like much of a hill. In fact, if you are in a car, you would never describe it as such. But for a mile, it is a continuous climb. After nine miles or so (eleven on race day), it really takes the wind out of your sails. Alissa, I hope you are doing some hills to prepare. Just try to do a long (about a mile) incline of 200+ feet or so at the end of one of your long runs.

In an interesting turnabout, my running partner, Laura, had to stop and walk for a bit around ten miles. This is the same Laura who kicked my ass in every run during marathon training and finished twenty minutes ahead of me in the race. She was having a rough day. It could have easily been me. My point in mentioning this at all is that I am running at par with her now. I think I have really improved in the seven weeks or so since the marathon.

I still have some training to do before AFC, especially if I want to break the two-hour mark. The good news is that no matter how I finish, it will be a PR since I have never run a half marathon. I need to just do the best I can.


Laura said...

We do get odd smells, but generally they're not too bad and only last for a short time - a few seconds later and they're gone. Nothing terrible by any means.

chris said...

Wait just a minute! I am a self-proclaimed geek and nerd, I love sci-fi, love video games (even though I rarely play them anymore--being an adult sucks). And you know what? I also run! And I run 11 miles!

As my 18 month old would say as she waves her index finger at you: "mean mean mean mean"!


Anonymous said...

You give me hope that after my marathon, I can get faster too. Here's hoping!

And oh, for weird smells, I know you run by the ocean. There are parts on Cape Cod near the marshess that smell, just, oh, so DISGUSTING. It's like smelling a sewer! (but don't get me wrong, I love the Cape!)

Kristin said...

I believe you can do it (run the half-marathon under two hours). But you know, if you don't, there's always next time... I've been on both sides of the two-hour mark (twice under, twice over, and once at almost 2 hours even, plus some seconds), and I refuse to beat myself up over it! (Having just run under two hours yesterday, I can be philosophical about it :) Have a great vacation!

Lisa said...

LOL, Chris! No offense meant. I am pretty sure you are the exception to the rule. If you saw a lot of the people at the convention you wouldn't say, "hey, there's a guy that gets outside a lot."

My hubby is the biggest nerd/geek of them all and he is as outdoorsy at they come. There are definitely exceptions to the rule.

Terri, I prefer icky ocean smells (i.e. the bay at low tide) to city urine smells any day. It sucks when you are breathing in through your nose.

Kristin, thanks for the encouragement about the two hour mark.


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