Race Report: Capitola Half Marathon and a huge PR!

I’m back from our weekend in Santa Cruz – what an amazing time! On Saturday we headed to Capitola Village to pick up my race packet and swag bag. It was my first time in Capitola, what a pretty place!

We hung out at the beach for a bit and then I carb-loaded with the most AMAZING falafel EVER at a place called Mr. Kebab & Falafel. Seriously. I’ve eaten my fair share of falafel, and this stuff was no joke.

We managed to score a super cheap motel room near the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, so after lunch we headed back in that direction. We kept it low key…mostly just hung out at the boardwalk.

The race had a 7:00 AM start and so I wandered over from the hotel around 6:30 AM or so. I was able to watch the sun rise over the ocean, it was so pretty!

The race started right on time. The first couple of miles were pretty crowded and I ended up doing more weaving than I would have liked. It wasn’t a big deal though, by mile 3 I seemed to have settled in to a nice groove.

The scenery was absolutely fantastic! A lot of the course was right on the coast and so we were treated to spectacular views. I managed to take the following picture while running, so I’m not sure how it turned out so great. I’m also not sure why it’s in black and white, I guess I must have hit a button on my camera somewhere. Taking a picture while running is NOT easy!

I went into this race without any real time goals. I was pretty sure I would beat my old half PR (2:11:48). I figured I would come in at 2:05 or thereabouts. At mile 11 I looked down at my watch and it said 1:41 – I couldn’t believe it! It dawned on me that I could break two hours and so I decided to go for it and kicked it in to high gear.

I ended up finishing with a time of 1:58:55! Never in a million years did I think I was going to break a two hour half marathon in this race! I was dumbfounded. All of the miles I’ve been putting in lately seem to be paying off. Must mean I’m doing something right!

I couldn’t be happier with how this race went. Other than my delicious falafel wrap, the day before the race I mostly ate bagels and bananas. I woke up two hours before the race start, had a cup of coffee, along with yet another bagel and banana. I sipped some Gatorade while walking to the race. I definitely have no complaints about carb-loading, I felt great during the race and I didn’t feel hungry at all. I lived off of the race course, mostly drinking water and a tiny bit of Gatorade at two of the aid stations.

Anyhoo, this was the inaugural year of the Surfer’s Path Marathon & Capitola Half Marathon and I have to say the race committee did a great job! Everything seemed really well organized, the swag bag was great, and at the finish line they handed all of the runners a giant sack of carby goodies (bagel, banana, orange, trail mix, granola, coconut water, and some pb). The shirt is pretty sweet, too – I needed a long-sleeved technical tee!

I’d like to thank Elise once again for holding the giveaway for a free race entry on her blog. Since I was laid off from my job a couple of months ago, race entries are obviously one of the first thing I am going to cut out of my budget. Coming back from foot surgery in 2011, I am SO thankful to have the chance to race and see what my foot can do. It was great to meet you and ya’ll put on an awesome race!

Post-race pancakes at Saturn Cafe that put me into a sugar coma….a delicious sugar coma.

And now I’m off to pack – I’m leaving on a very short business trip tomorrow morning (it’s a job interview, so cross your fingers for me!). Sitting in a plane should be…fun? Any tips for flying the day after a race? I don’t have compression socks, so that’s out, but if you have any other tricks up your sleeve I’d love to hear them!