Thursday, November 15, 2012

Santa Barbara International Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 7; 17th Edition 
346.3 miles run; 1.75 mile swam; 59 miles biked in 2012 races
Race: Santa Barbara International Half Marathon
Place: Santa Barbara, CA
Miles from home: 943 miles
Weather: 50-60s; bright sunshine; intermittent wind

My goal for this race was to run right around a 1:30. I ran a 1:29:34. Saying I hit the goal is quite true but I definitely did not do so in a standard way for me. I was all over the place with my pacing and only a late surge and use of a generous downhill (only after a series of ups, mind you) allowed for this to occur. However, this race recap is less about me and my effort (this truly was a hard training run where I received a medal and people can find my exact time) and more about the race, friends and people I met along the journey this weekend.

As always, I wish I could remember every name and every story and had infinite amount of time to write about them all (and you an infinite amount of desire to read them) but that is not the case. So below are just a few that really stand out to me and I hope they catch your attention.

* The course - I give this course two solid thumbs up. Even though it is relatively challenging, with three hills to contend with (around mile 6, 8 and 10) it is forgiving in between those hills and ends with a steady 2 miles of downhill. And what downhill it is. After cresting the hill at Cliff Drive, doing two quick turns through a neighborhood, runners are gifted with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean, sparkling and shimmering in the rising sun. A downhill that just continues to give back what the much shorter in length uphill took away is only made more special by the visage on the runner's right. Having run the race 3 out of the 4 times it has been run, I am still taken aback by the beauty of this finish.

* Fast chicks - I had two good friends running this race hoping to set new personal bests. Ironically, I met both of them at races put on by Destination Races in previous years; Sarah at the Oregon Wine Country Half and Jessica at the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half. Sarah was one of the NYC Marathon orphans trying to extend her training and preparation for one more week. Jessica had taken time off for an injury, as well as school, and was just getting back into shape. Fortunately, I did not have to root for one over the other as Sarah was running the marathon and Jessica the half.

Sarah ended up not only breaking her PR, by four minutes if memory serves me right, but broke the course record, taking second to Paige Higgins who herself has run a marathon in he low 2:30s (if not faster.) This course was even more challenging than NYC where she was hoping to PR so while I am impressed, I am not surprised.  Sarah is one hard working runner and I couldn't be happier for her effort.  As a Spira-sponsored athlete I am guessing owner Andy Krafsur is glad I made the introduction some time back! Fantastic work, Sarah.

Jessica and I ran the first mile of the half together before I realized that she was in much better shape than I was (5:53 for the first mile) and I had to let her quickly fade into the distance.  While she didn't keep that blistering pace for the whole race, she ended up with a two minute PR, good enough for 6th place overall for the women. Winning the half was another uber-fast woman, Alvina Begay a 32:58 10k runner (!)  There were some serious wheels on the ladies in the race and I am glad to have known a few of them.

* My hosts - Janelle and Klaus provided me with a warm bed in a beautiful home and regaled me with some extraordinary stories.  We also share a love for Chelsea Handler and they introduced me to a Tommy Lee Jones movie I had not only never seen but had never heard of (that's a rarity, folks.) I greatly appreciate their hospitality and hope they will take me on my offer to visit me in Portland.

* Tri-farter - As if it wasn't bad enough you were wearing a full tri suit for a half marathon, you had to know that wearing headphones does not make your farts silent, right? You should apologize to the one 54 year old lady that passed both of us together (told you the ladies were fast - she ran a 1:26!) whose disapproval of your being passed you presented very well with a series of sloppy farts out of your drenched trisuit.  Did you do a swim prior to the event? My only regret of this entire weekend was not tracking you down to give you a toot as I passed you at the finish.

* 54 year old lady - 1:26?! Seriously!? Beyond kick-ass. (Diana Fitzpatrick is her name, by the way.)

* City ticket givers patrolling the beach parking lots like Gestapo - Thanks for the warm hospitality in giving me a ticket for being 4 minutes late in getting back to my car.  I know you are thinking "It is Santa Barbara, so we know that no matter what you say people are still coming here" but you have to know that 5,000 runners in your town will help boost the economy a bit. You couldn't be a tad more lenient on the ole parking meters?

* Rusty and June Snow (RDs) and all their crew and volunteers - Kudos to you for putting on another fine event in this town.  I have learned a bit of what goes on with regards to permitting etc in general and have heard and seen firsthand how hard it is to put on a race in the Santa Barbara area, so for you to be able to pull off this event, which became the biggest run Santa Barbara has ever had, is flat out amazing. When I ran it in your inaugural year, I was fortunate enough to be quoted for subsequent flyers and my superlatives remain the same.

* Veterans - Thank you so much for your service. I always wonder if publicly thanking people on a day when it is obvious you should, is a little too much of a pander.  However, when the last mile of this race was lined with flags every few feet as part of a remembrance for all those who have served, it is hard not to be moved.  I grabbed a flag that was being handed out by volunteers and proudly ran with it flying for the last mile of the race. Seeing Marines and soldiers in the last few feet of this race allowed me the opportunity to point at them and thank them so very much. My heart welled up seeing them and I was extremely moved.

I guess it is not pandering when you truly mean it. Here's hoping everyone racing realizes we get to play around on weekends simply because men and women lay their life on the line for us to be allowed to do so.

After completing the 350-miler in April and then my bike crash in May, this has been a frustrating year.  I knew the long run would take a great deal out of me and then bike crash only exacerbated things.  However, I was hoping to be in better running shape by now. That said, I am happy to be out running and to come back to a place where I have such good memories of meeting such wonderful people and have so many friends do so well was a good salve for my running soul. 

Look forward to running the streets of Santa Barbara again very soon.

1 comment:

lynelle said...

Hey Dane! I thank you for your very kind card. I noticed you got my name right on that one! (L instead of J!) Also, Klaus is a Marine as you'll recall, and you did quite immediately thank him for his service, which I so much appreciated. It makes zero difference that he is in his 60s now--he still lives those days and years in his dreams and wakes up from nightmares at night, ones he tells no one about during the day, not even me. So thank you again.

It was fun to have a fellow extremist stay with us, even though our past is our past and you are quite young enough to have a very long and strong future in your sports efforts. Keep up the fun.

C'ya buddy.