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Category Archives: half marathon

Local Race Love

I love our local running community, and last Sunday was our big party–aka, the Two Cities Marathon and Half!  This was my 6th year running it (2008-2010, 2012-14–what was I thinking in 2011?!?!?!  I STILL regret skipping it).

There is a race suited for everyone–a full marathon that takes you through the cities of both Clovis and Fresno; a half through Clovis; a half through Fresno; a half marathon relay; a 5k; and a kids fun run.

I have very strong feelings about which race to tackle–I’ve run both the Clovis half (two way traffic on the running trail–no bueno) and the Fresno (wide open road, running along a quiet, tree lined lane on the edge of town with beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, all white capped with snow…and one, teensy 1 mile long hill).

Guess which one I prefer?

We have had an insane drought here for the last year.  So when does it decide to rain?  At packet pickup at the expo.  Super soaked doesn’t even begin to describe the trip from the parking lot to the expo.

That didn’t stop this girl from carbo loading:

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The morning of the race, it was amazing to luxuriate in bed thinking “Hey, the marathon has started.  I don’t have to get up for 10 more minutes.”  I got up and indulged in my pre-race favorites–one cup of coffee, a fun sized snickers bar, and enough body glide to wax a surfboard.

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I jump in my car thinking I have 30 whole minutes to drive across town to the start line.  A mile from home, I realize that I forgot my Garmin–I was disappointed I forgot it for my last half, so decided to go back for it.

Good thing, because it was sitting right next to my race bib.  Oops.

Made it to the start line at 7:13, and then realized my part of the race began at 7:30, not 7:15.  I could have slept 15 more minutes! Plenty of time for a pre race selfie!!

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The race itself:  beautiful, cool, comforting.  I’ve run this route 4 times (minus the year I ran Clovis and the year it was a single half with a different route), and it’s always nice to run an old favorite.  With all the rain the day before, the view of the snow-capped (!) mountains was crystal clear. It was absolutely beautifuL.  Glorious.

I ran this race alone, and I ran it slowly.  My goal was to beat my Santa Rosa time of 2:18.  I cried like a baby when the 2:20 pacing group passed me.  Full-out sobs.  Not my finest moment.

Another downside–only ONE person on the entire route appreciated my bib.  Sad face.

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BUT!  This is the first race in ages my knee didn’t act up.  No pain during, minimal soreness after. So slow = hurt pride not muscles.  Good to know.

The finishers area was awesome as always.  They have great food (Ice cream sundaes!  Coffee!  Bananas! And to a lesser extent, Breakfast!); the shirt didn’t suck this year (I’m not a fan of brightly colored sweatshirts–the understated, lightweight long sleeve was perfect); it was fun to meet up with the LLL running group at the foam roller/stretching station they set up (and very, very helpful for recovery); and the beer garden was a great place to socialize (and after running–2 beers was almost enough to knock me out.)

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Even though I forgot my race bib and watch, I you bet your ass I had my ID for the beer garden.

This race truly is homecoming for the local running community! And great big ball of love I feel is indescribable.

Until next year!

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Beautiful Day for a Half!

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Today was the California Classic!! 13.1 miles from the ball park, through downtown, under the sea lions, past the giraffes, back downtown and across home plate!

I met up with my running girls to carpool down to the starting line–it was a balmy (and quite frankly, too warm) 62 degrees at 630 am.

Check out this gorgeous sunrise at the ballpark!

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Here’s the finish line right across home plate–I was pumped to see that for real!!!

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One awesome thing about my running friends is that they know SO MANY members of the local running community. Between participating in Team in Training, working in a running store, coaching running groups, promoting local bike stores, and hanging out with the cycling community, the two of them knew everyone!

Here’s all important pre-run selfie–thanks to my good friend (and race volunteer) for taking this picture. Like the shirt? The husband bought that for me yesterday after I was complaining saying that I didn’t have any hot weather short sleeve shirts, and tanks = chafing on my arms. UnderArmor Heat Gear. Worth every penny. Love it.

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The race started beautifully.

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Breezy, lots of people cheering, shaded, lovely. We ran through the downtown, arts district, and them through the park. The best part–the zoo! Here’s the best of the best–running through the cave under the sea lion cove.

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Then came mile 8–the long stretch through the industrial part of the city. The long, hot stretch. I was still pretty good at this part–but man did it feel good to scale the overpass and know that part was OVER.

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I hit a massive wall at mile 10. After *the sick* last week, I thought I was doing well–my legs felt strong, I was mentally ready, but I was not prepared for the wall of tired. Miles 10 – 12 were really mentally tough.

Then my body started to freak out. I was switching from hot hot hot to chilled to the bone to dizzy. (Did I mention it was HOT?) just before mile 13 I fell back from my group and slowed way down to quell the pukey-McNasty feeling that was taking over.

Half bock walk and I was ready or kick that last .1’s ass. I finished at a respectable 2:16ish, a minute and a half behind my group. I think I would have succumbed to feeling crappy much, much sooner if they had not been there to cheer me on. I am so very thankful them.

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Overall. I was very pleased with my time and the whole experience!!! Half number 7 is in the books! I earned the best part of the day–this giant fountain Diet Coke!

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Thanks, Sister

One of our 2 local half marathons is in May, and I have been on the fence about running it( mostly about the cost–race fees add up quick!)

My sister is a huge inspiration to me–that girl never says quit! She is an amazing ball of energy, has worked her butt off to get herself into shape (which has always been a bit of a struggle for her) and believes she can do anything.

She is running a half in May–the same day as the one here. After our conversation where she was talking about her training, I was convinced.

We’re running a marathon, sister! I bet the Wisconsin leg will have cuter sign holders (aka, my 3 and 1 year old nephews).

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Isn’t my sister cute?

The Dread Dissipates

I have been dreading tomorrow’s half marathon. Dreading.

My schedule for this week has sucked. I was in Memphis for a wedding all last weekend (only got one very fast 3 miler in), and came back to madness.
Monday 8 am to 11 pm
Tuesday 8 am to 5 pm, then 6 pm to 11pm
Wednesday 8 am to 11 pm
Thursday 9:30 to 5 (I took a mental health morning. Totally worth it.)
Friday 8 am to 3 pm, then 6 pm to 11 pm
Today 9 am to 4 pm, then 6 pm to 11 pm

I am tired. Also my foot hurts ( specifically, the place where my right big toe joins my foot) and has since Sunday. So the idea of waking up to run 13.1 miles tomorrow has been filling me with the most intense sense of dread.

Until I got on the highway to go pickup my packet. I started getting excited. Really, really excited. By the time I got to the race pickup, I was practically skipping. Look at my new shirt!!!!

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I promptly went home and signed up for a turkey trot.

How can the surly be replaced with such elation so quickly? I wish I could explain how light I feel right now, and how thrilled I am to get to experience another gathering of a community of runners.

I’ll chalk it up to having the love of running. That deep, somewhat crazy love of everything about running–the good (The camaraderie! The burn! The wind in your hair! The post run glow! The post run beer!), the bad (windy days), and the ugly (The chafing!! Oh my God, the chafing!!!!!)

I’m happy I’ve still got it.

Ashleigh Lawrence

Ashleigh Lawrence - Personal Trainer and Strength Coach

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