Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Keep Calm and Run On: Temecula Half Marathon!

I've finally gotten around to writing about my recent half marathon experience!  Seems like so long ago already...

Sunday, November 4th, I participated in the 2nd Annual Temecula Half Marathon.  Located in beautiful wine country, the 13.1 mile course took us through the scenic back roads and vineyards of Temecula, Ca. Learn more here

What a beautiful location for a run!!  At the start of the half marathon, dozens of hot air balloons littered the clear blue November sky.  It was quite a sight!

I started off the 13.1 miles feeling strong... but quickly realized this race course was going to be tougher than I anticipated.  The hills during the first 3 miles (and last 3 miles) were massive!  I had trained on hills, but nothing that steep.  Running slowed to almost walking just to get over them.  I finally hit my stride around mile 4 (when the elevation evened out)... and was pleasantly surprised to find I had a personal cheering section at mile 5!  My parents and Amy had set up camp at the pit stop at mile 5... they had hand-made signs, were cheering and applauding, and were helping out the race volunteers by pouring waters, etc.  It was such a touching sight, I almost burst into tears.  I couldn't believe my family had gone to that much effort for me.  As I ran by them, my heart swelled with love and gratitude... and I ran faster!  At the turnaround at mile 6.5, I was feeling good and keeping a steady pace (despite the unshaded dirt roads and heat).  I was excited to be able to run past the pit stop again, knowing my cheerleaders would be there.  They didn't disappoint... more cheering and encouragement at mile 8... I even managed to crack a smile. 

 @ Mile 5/8 Pit Stop

The final couple of miles were non-eventful and went by pretty fast.  I was in "the zone".  And knowing you are close to the end seems to make the miles go faster! haha.  It was starting to get really hot out and I had to deal with the steep hills again, but I knew my cheering section would be at the end waiting for me so I just kept going.  I concentrated on Dave Matthews Band blasting into my earphones and before I knew it I was running past my family again at mile 12.5 (seriously, they are the best)... on my way to the finish line! 

Nothing is better than the feeling of crossing the finish line!  My official time was 2:32.

Since we were in wine county and all, the post-race festivities included beer and wine tasting from local Temecula wineries!  All proceeds from beer/wine tasting and raffles was donated to Temecula Valley Slow Food for their local school garden project.  Everyone made sure to do their part and drink lots of wine... to help get some more educational edible gardens for the kids in Temecula!

All in all, the Temecula Half Marathon was very challenging.  It was hilly and hot and portions of the course were on dirt back roads, with no shade.  But I'm really glad I ran it and I had a great time.  In fact, I will probably run it again next year!  Note to self:  Bring water and chapstick... and my personal cheering section again. :)

Thanks for the support everyone!


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