Originally (like earlier last week) I was going to say: “I ran this race about 2 years ago and all I can remember is sitting at the start in the dark, some downhill action, flat around the harbor, and a hill at the end (that was nothing compared to La Jolla…I don’t think anything will ever compare to that.) I also read in the August 2013 Competitor Magazine that this is not a fast course, or one for PR-ing. But I PR-ed the last time I ran this course and thought it was by-far my favorite (probably because it’s point-to-point and not hilly). I think some people take the downhill too fast, and burn out their legs by the time it hits flat.”

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Fast forward to yesterday, when all the stars did not align.
-Didn’t get enough sleep.  Even though I laid down at 7:30pm, a “Roaring 20’s” block party was blaring music outside until 12am.  As I result I was restless.
-My new playlist wouldn’t sync. As a result, I had to listen to my RnR SD playlist.
-Started at the front of the pack, aka my gun time was only 5 seconds faster than my chip time.
-Took my first porta-potty break in the race. At mile 2 I emptied a full bladder.
-Siri kept popping up to answer questions and interrupting my music.  NOT NOW SIRI!
-Heavy legs, inability to move my body faster.  Was this a message from my body? Have I been overtraining (between running, personal training, etc.)?

The course started out with miles 1-2 as pretty flat.  There were slight and gradual rolling hills, but nothing too cumbersome.  For miles 3-5 I sought to pick up some time, but only a little, running 20-30 seconds faster pace, but one that wouldn’t leave my quads on the downhill.  Miles 6-10 were flat again, and this was where I was supposed to settle back into my goal pace.  As I hit the 5  mile marker, a guy read out that we were going at a 7:55 pace.  Immediately after that, my body just broke and I could not move it any faster.  This should have been the easiest part, but I could barely keep with it.  I kept reasoning with myself, “okay, this isn’t going to be a PR, just try to keep an 8 min pace.”  Then I slowly kept slipping, allowing myself 8:30, 8:45, 9:00, 9:30…Around mile 11 I met up with my running coach who was literally a (mental) lifesaver.  He helped me to really push up the hill and to focus on small accomplishments such as maintaining a pace to a specific marker, or moving with proper form, turning the littlest things into achievements.  I had to walk for a portion at a certain point because I seriously feared I might faint or throw up.  Once we made it the fountain at the Prado in Balboa Park, I hit the last 400 yards with all I had left.  My coach told me to liken it to the last fast 400 in a workout, where you give it all you’ve got because you know you’ll be done right after.  This helped and I managed to get a 1:34 out for the last quarter mile.  I wish there was a video of me coming into the finish line because I just imagined my movement like the Pied Piper skipping through town.  My legs were driving up so high and fast, I’m sure I looked spastic.  By the end I just wanted to make sure I came in under 2 hours, and I managed to do so with a 1:54:40, almost 10 minutes slower than my time 2 years ago!

This race concluded the “Triple Crown Series” (Carlsbad, La Jolla and AFC), and was my second time completing this series.  I probably will never do Carlsbad and La Jolla again, but I would definitely like to redeem myself on the AFC course again next year.

Goal vs. Actual Pace
1-2 goal pace – 7:50
Actual: 7:51, 8:05
3-5 downhill – 7:20-30
Actual: 7:34, 7:20, 7:58
6-10 flat, goal pace – 7:50
Actual: 8:19, 8:39, 8:54, 8:48, 9:00
11-13 uphill – 8:40+
Actual: 9:32, 10:30, 10:10
Last 400 yards – quick downhill
Actual: 1:34

photo 2

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