Jan 13, 2014

Citrus Heritage Half Marathon: 1/11/14

This was an inaugural race and half marathon #17 for me! I am always a sucker for inaugural races but that is not the main reason why I chose to run this race. I chose it because I wanted to celebrate Caroline's 45th birthday by doing one of the things that we both love...RUNNING of course! 

Not only was it an inaugural race but it was pretty close to home. No hotel needed and same day bib pick up which is always a plus! My other friend Megan also registered for the race so I had to do it! My only hopes for this race was NO WIND! Last week's half marathon was pretty crazy with the strong headwinds!
We arrived for bib pick up around 7:00 am and there was no line at all. They gave out long sleeve tech shirts to the half marathoners which was pretty nice. Since the race started in a park, they actually had real bathrooms. There were no lines, they were clean and they even had toilet paper! 
I met up with Caroline, Megan and Suzanne shortly before the start and we made Caroline wear a "Another Year of Fabulous" sash since it was her 45th birthday and her 25th half marathon. Pretty impressive woman if you ask me!
The national anthem was sang and then we were off. I was thinking that I was running a fast and flat course but not so much.
After last week's windy race, I was hoping that I would be able to run a better race this week since the weather conditions were much better. This race I did something that I have never done before and it was pretty hard for me. I ran this race by feel. I did wear my Garmin but I set it to distance only and never checked my pace. 
I really liked the course. It started at Arlington Heights Sports Park and then took the runners through Citrus State Historic Park and through the orange grove areas of Riverside. It was not an easy course for me but it was very pretty and mixed things up. There were times when we were running on asphalt, then on dirt and mud through the orange groves, then on trail, then rolling hills, and then some flat surfaces. The uphill parts of the course were not brutal but the uphill finish was. That was a first for me!

I started out faster than I should have but since I was not looking at my watch I had no idea. I am really bad at knowing my pace without looking at my Garmin. I kind of felt that I was pushing it a little too much for the first mile so I slowed down a bit. I am glad I did.
Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 8:15
Mile 3: 8:16
Mile 4: 8:14
I met another runner on the course around Mile 5 by the name of Norm and we started chatting about running. I stayed with him until Mile 8 and then he took off and left me on the downhill mile. He was a little bit older than me but swore we were in the same age group! Norm's best half marathon time is 1:39 so obviously I could not hang with him for very long! I don't think he was wearing a GPS watch because he kept asking me what pace we were running and I had to keep reminding him that I was not looking at my pace. Miles 5-8 were the hardest since they were not flat and they just kept gradually climbing so I am glad that I had some company.
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:23
Mile 7: 8:56 
Mile 8: 8:55 

GU was handed out at Mile 8 which was the end of the slow uphill climb. I think I backed off way too much on Miles 7 and 8 and had I looked at my Garmin this probably would not have happened. Mile 9 was all downhill and I took advantage of it and ended up passing quite a few runners who were ahead of me. 

Mile 9: 7:42
Mile 10: 8:18
Mile 11: 8:23

I had to refill my water bottle around Mile 11 so I lost a little bit of time there. The last two miles were one long stretch to the Finish Line. My legs were a little tired but I knew that the race was almost over and I had to keep my mind in it. As I was gathering my thoughts to finish the last mile, I was told by a race volunteer that I was the 7th place female overall. I wasn't sure if I heard her correctly or not but just the thought of it was enough to keep my legs going so I pushed myself to stay with it!

Mile 12: 8:09
Mile 13: 8:10
.10: 6:59

With one mile left in the race, I spotted the arch of balloons sitting at the top of a hill. Yes, the finish was uphill! There was a slight downhill and then a slight uphill to the finish. I told myself to pick it up a little on the downhill and try to maintain the same pace going back up. I was able to hold on and I gave it all that I had to the finish with the last .10 at a 6:59 pace!
My official time was 1:48:48 (8:18 pace) which is about 20 seconds faster than the half marathon that I ran last week. I was also the 7th overall female out of 241 and 36th overall out of 857 runners. Gotta love these small races!!
The weather was great for this race but the course was definitely more challenging! My calves were sore the next day which is always a sign that I ran a good race.
Isn't the medal super cute? My son was not impressed with the medal but was more impressed that the Bat Mobile made an appearance!

Have you ever ran a race by how you feel?

Anybody else race this weekend? 
I saw lots of posts on Instagram about the Dopey Challenge!
They made 48.6 miles look like a lot of fun!


  1. Ok first you are the best
    I cannot believe how fast you ran that thing
    It was not challenging it was HARD
    This course is great but no joke
    Congrats on a fantastic race and thank you for being there
    We were so worried about yoga the start because you dissapeered and I thought you were getting sick..when we passed Bill I said "did Sandy pass already?"

    1. It was hard and my calves are hurting! I was not expecting the course to have so many uphill climbs. I was looking for you at the start and when they started the national anthem we stopped and I lost you guys. I made the mistake of eating this super spicy salsa that my husband made the night before and boy did I pay for it. Never again! I hope you enjoyed your birthday race. You looked great out there and with a smile on your face. Bill and your boys were cheering me on out there! They are so cute! Sorry I did not run it with you but I was not sure if I was going to be able to make it all the way and I did not want to stress you out on your birthday.

  2. Dang girl you've gotten SO fast! Congrats on another great race!

    1. Thank you! I have not made any progress in the half marathon for a while but I have been able to kind of stay in the same range. I am hoping to improve my time this year if possible.

  3. Congrats on finishing with a great time and placing 7th female overall! I'm not very good at knowing my pace either, but it looks like it didn't hurt you at all!

    1. Thank You Tina. It was a small race but it was nice to place in the top 10. I am horrible about pacing myself so I am not sure if this is something that I could successfully do. I just wanted to try something new but I was really nervous about being out on the course for a long time without realizing it since I didn't know my pace.

  4. Anonymous1/13/2014

    Great pictures!

    1. Thank you! My husband is my personal photographers hehe!!

  5. Freaking speedy! 7th overall - you rock! That course was certainly no joke, but so pretty! I'm glad we did it. :)

    I've run solely by feel - that's my standing 10K PR. It's a great way to go, if you can at least guess-timate where you're at. Sometimes it's a nice change of pace (pun intended!). Great run Sandy!

    1. I think 20 women ran the race which is why I was 7th overall but don't tell anyone! It was a tough course but I would do it again because it was so pretty! I am not so sure if I like the run by feel thing. I feel like I push myself harder when I know my pace. Oh well, I enjoyed the race and I don't have any regrets. Nice seeing you again. Are you running the Ontario Mills 5K or 10K?

  6. Great job, you ran speedy with that crazy elevation profile, looks like a lot of hills. I think that medal is so pretty too. Your pictures turned out good.

    1. Thank you Christy! I elevation profile makes it look worse than what it was but that uphill finish was just wrong!

  7. I love the sash for Caroline! And congratulations again on a great time on a tough course with no Garmin peeking. :^)

    1. I hope I can get brave enough to not wear the Garmin at all but I might be gone for a long time thinking that I am moving right along! Caroline was so cute :)