Monday, April 23, 2007

Amazing Day!

Well, we made it :) Thanks so much everyone for the well wishes!!! My Dad and I crossed the finish line of his first 1/2 marathon Sunday morning and I couldn't be prouder of him.

But I'll start at the beginning!


Going into the weekend, I had planned on doing my normal run on Saturday (something in the viscinity of 10-13 miles) since I knew we were going to run the 1/2 on Sunday at a slower than normal pace for my current fitness and I wanted to get in some good miles for the week. However, I woke up Saturday morning with just the slightest soreness in my legs and decided to change my plan. I really wanted my Dad to have a great race Sunday, and I knew it would be helpful if I could have lots of extra energy to keep him motivated at those end miles when he started getting tired. Also, it truth be told, I was remembering in the back of my mind that I'm doing a marathon next weekend, and perhaps some kind of mini-taper should be in order! So, with that, I decided my only running was going to be to and from the gym for a strength training session. I got in three easy miles total, and about an hour of weight lifting/stretching/crunches/pushups/etc. Very nice and relaxed :)

After that I got cleaned up, packed, and ready to go! Got to the airport about 2:15, got my dad, and drove down to Santa Cruz. We checked into our hotel (a best western in a less than ideal location next to the freeway, but conveniently right next to a Dennys, which would be our Morning breakfast stop) and then headed down to the boardwalk to pick up the race bibs. After getting those (And our ankle chips...a new experience, as we've only done shoe chips before, but it worked just fine!) we drove over to UCSC, where I'll be attending grad school starting July 23 for my masters in education and my teaching credential. I'd never walked through the campus before, so it was really exciting to see where I'll be going to school in a few months!
(My Dad, looking at the map as we tried to figure out where we were going!)

I have a friend from summer school who goes there, and we were able to meet up with her and get a bit of a campus tour, which was awesome. It's essentially like being in a forest, with lots of gullys full of redwood trees, bridges 50 ft long or so that are about 40 ft up at their highest point. Definitely much more nature-y than Berkeley! Then we headed to a great italian place for some carbo-loading (souffle and tirimisu have good carbs...right ? ;) )

After that it was back to the hotel for some reading and lights out by 10.

Unfortunately, a huge storm was coming through this weekend, so all night sheets of water were descending on the city. Around 2 am was the worst, with the rain loudly hitting the windows and roof of the hotel. My dad had earplugs in and missed it, but it woke me up a few times. Of course, because of my active imagination, especially at night, I had many many race dreams, including those about the weather. My dad had expressed worries about the rain and I really wanted everything to be just perfect for him! With all that floating in my mind, sleep was interrupted and all too brief.

Sunday Morning

The alarm went of at 4:45 AM, far too early, so that we could get fed, cleaned up, and out the door by our goal of 6:15. We got to Denny's at 5:15 and there experienced a very slow breakfast experience. There weren't many of us there at that hour, but the individuals working seemed more concerned about setting up for the day than serving, meaning that it took over 20 minutes to get a bowl of oatmeal and a bagel, which wouldn't be that big of a deal, except that we were eager to get to the next step of the day. It's funny, oatmeal is not even an option on the menu there, but they do have it :) It was good food (though, for the bagel, they gave us at least 4 tbs of butter to add!!! who uses that much butter?!?) and ended up being the perfect prerace meal. I tried something different as well (generally not a good idea, but I felt like living dangerously ;) ) and had coffee with breakfast. I don't really ever drink coffee (too lazy to make it in the mornings and am hesistent about becoming addicted to caffine like so many people) but decided the caffine would be nice. And it was :)

(My Dad at Dennys while we waited for our food. It was early and we were cold and tired but excited about starting the day)

While it drizzled a bit on the way over to Dennys, it had stopped by the time we left. We didn't want to get hopeful, but it seemed like a good sign.

All decked out in our race clothes and ready to get to the starting line!

We drove to the race, and were able to get a good parking spot in the lot, but only about 1/2 an hour before the race was supposed to start. The line to pick up packets before the race was huge, and we were glad that we had done that ahead of time! We got in lines for the bathrooms next, which were also huge. We waited and waited and, well, waited. As we moved up, we finally realized that everyone else wasn't waiting in this line, they were just waiting in front of the porta potties. Arg. So we had been waiting in the line for nothing. At this point I definitely had to go (on of the many effects of that morning coffee), and it was also 7 AM, the official start time. Luckily because of the all around long lines they postponed the start by 20 or so minutes, so I had plenty of time to use the facilities and then wait around before the race actually began.

Instead of the rain that was promised, we were blessed with amazing clear blue skies and sun. It never got too hot but remained an absolutely beautiful day.

The Race Begins

Finally, the gun sounded (and it was loud!) and we were off. I warned my dad about starting too quickly, and that our goal should be to have a great second half of the race so that we enjoyed ourselves and didn't get burned out. Right away there's an uphill, but it's short and builds my Dad's confidence. After all, the hills that he's been training on are much steeper and much longer. The first 3 miles winds around on west cliff drive with great views of the crashing waves below. Our first 3 splits were 10:54,10:27, and 11:01. We didn't have a time goal, but I secretly wanted to beat 2:45, so were were doing more than okay :)

At mile 4 I stopped to use the bathroom (darn coffee!) and had issues with the double knotting of my capris, so we lost a bit of time there. The rolling hills of the course also became more pronounced here, giving us a split of 14:07 for that mile.

At around mile 5 we got onto the bike trail, which was really quite nice. Definitely hills though. For some reason I had remembered this as a relatively flat course (and told this to my dad) so every hill he'd say, "Remember this?" Apparently I had selective memory ;) We had a great split here of 10:45

Mile 6 included a bit of walking for some hills, and went by in a great 12:01.

Miles 6-7 were on this great bluff overlooking the ocean. This portion of the race last year (at my first 1/2) was my first experience running on a trail, if I recall correctly. It was just beautiful, and not too muddy, despite the rains that weekend. The split for mile 7 was 11:21.

Mile 8 included some walking and a snack break and was completed in 13:04. My dad requested some of that 'magic' brownie stuff (the chocolate cliff shot) which I had forgotten to bring! I did however, have some shot blocks (cran-razz flavor) and those were acceptable :) Dad had 2 and I just had one, to save the rest for later!

With that boost, we did mile 9 in 11:59 and were back on the bike trail for another few miles. 10 was done in a great 11:39 and brought us back to West Cliff drive, where we'd finish the race. We now had just a 5k left! My dad was starting to get tired, but I had plenty of energy and was trying to keep him happy.

We had some great views on the way back, running on the bath right by the edge of the bluff. Lots of birds, surfers and other fun things to look at, but at this point, my Dad wasn't so eager to sightsee. I asked him a question about otters, to which he replied, "We'll talk later" and I realized that perhaps a one way conversation would be more appropriate :) So I babbled on about everything I saw, which hopefully was distracting and not annoying.

Reaching mile 11 was exciting because that was the furthest he had gone in training, so we were now in unfamiliar territory and also only 2 miles from the finish. I let him know every half mile that passed, and how much was left, to try to get him excited, but he was pretty focused on just what he was doing. We got through this mile in 11:39 as well.

Mile 12 was a bit rough, as we were getting quite close, but still far enough that he couldn't quite taste the finish. I was starting to get excited, because I was fairly certain that we would finish, but I didn't want to say anything. A big fear for this race was that my dad's back would act up. He's had problems with it for a while, and it had been bothering him this week, and even on Saturday, and he had mentioned this as a potential race ender. Luckily we were almost there and no mention! We did some walking in this section as well, just taking it easy. Mile 12 was done in 12:50.

With one mile left, my Dad was hurting a bit, but definitely not letting on too much. We passed a car that featured a dog sitting in the passenger's seat wearing sunglasses, which was super cute. I pointed it out to my dad, but he didn't feel up to looking. We kept going, finally being able to see the finish line tents. Unfortunately, there was still a bit of uphill to get to that point. We walked a little more, and then finally with a half mile to go, really started moving. The last part features a great downhill with lots of people cheering, which was fun. We did this mile in 12:17.

Running across that last section of sand to the finish line and seeing my Dad next to me was so incredible. I was (and am) just so proud of him and so thankful that we got to share this experience.

We crossed the finish line together in 2:34:55, a good 10 minutes faster than mine (and, as I was to learn later, his) goal.
(our bibs and medals!)

I remember when our longest race together was the 5k turkey trot for thanksgiving freshman year of college. Than sophomore year, we ran our first bay to breakers, a 12k race that seemed impossibly long. That year, 12k was the furthest either of us had ever gone. We did both the turkey trot and bay to breakers again junior year, with a slighty faster time and enjoyed ourselves. And now, we've been able to enjoy a 1/2 marathon together.

(My dad sporting his medal and shirt outside our italian restaurant from the previous night)

I'm really lucky to have such a great dad, and to be able to share my running with him. I've already talked to him about being my pacer for when I do the AR 50 so that we can share part of that race as well.

I can't wait until our next racing adventure :)

The Father Daughter Team :)


Kim said...

Wow, that was a great race report!!
And a great race!! Please tell your dad 'congratulations'!!! That was excellent!!

Josh said...

I am so glad the race went well! Your dad is awesome! I couldn't get mine to run a mile, let alone a 1/2 marathon!

Jessica Deline said...

Great job to both of you. How cool to be able to share that with your dad!

GandaMan said...

Good report! You'll remember the run for years to come.

RSD_Terry said...

Great report. I'm glad you had a great time. Awesome team photo there at the end.

Journey to a Centum said...

This will be one Father-Daughter experience that will be remembered forever. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm sure it will pass down from generation after generation. Excellent time!

I've got to say your dad didn't look too motivated in the hotel that morning! He looks more energenic at dinner after the race!

If you work an aid station at Miwok you want to be enthusiastic and a person of action. Make sure you offer to take their water bottles and fill them for them. Your hands don't work like you want them to when you have been running for hours and hours. Give them every option for food and ask them if they have been eating and taking salt (e-caps/s-caps). If someone goes to zero energy get them some coke or pepsi. Lots of sugar! It's best to let it go a little flat so open the cans long before you pour them. If you can hold a drop bag up so the person does not have to bend over it's real helpful. Spring to action when the runners come in and they will really appreciate it. Thank you for helping!

Henry said...

Fantastic report, Addy! It was so much fun to read. Congratulations to you and your dad.

hup from CoolRunning

Addy said...

Thanks so much everyone!! It really was such a great experience and it's so awesome that we were able to share it together. Even better, he's already feeling recovered and might try a short run today or tomorrow :)

Tom- thanks for the recommendations for my volunteering! I can definitely use the advice!! I'll have to come back and review your post next week before I take off for the race :)