Sunday, November 13, 2011

Big Day

Caitlin ran her first half marathon and here's the tale!

She has been training for around 4 months for this and pushing her mileage up slowly to the point where the next logical long run would be 13.1 miles. On Friday, we headed up to Santa Barbara to register and crash at a hotel. We got her checked in and ready to go. I saw a bucket of sample lara bars and took roughly 50 of them for later indulgence. Then we headed to get a massive meal of barbecue turkey and brisket. Food coma ensued which made our musty motel 6 room much more appealing.
Race day came and it was clear, comfortable, but windy as hell. No worries. We headed to the start and Cait prepped her Ipod with Dave Ramsey podcasts of all things...

Who the hell listens to financial podcasts as motivation in a race?
The race blasted off and Cait got rolling. She was super nervous so the plan was to cruise through mile four imagining it was a training run. I was biking on my Quintana Roo which would help me play sag wagon/ race support for the day. I saw her at the mile and she was comfortable and smiley. Good sign. I took off to catch her at another point and promptly got lost. My race issued fisher price map was of absolutely no help as it just showed toilet icons and water icons instead of useful things like street intersections. Dumb.
I found an overpass around mile three and waited but she didn't pass by. I missed her so hopped on the bike path and missed her again at another point. The marathon and half marathon had merged so it was impossible to gauge the pace of the runners. 6-8 thousand people or whatever made it like a horrible game of where's waldo. I took off again and rode on the course ignoring chastising comments from race officials and police officers alike. Just as I saw the lead men for the marathon hauling ass up a hill, I found Caitlin. She was at mile 6 and blasting financial podcasts. It was hard to get her attention but she looked good, relaxed, and still smiling which was a good sign.

I biked with her for a bit and then she got annoyed with my hovering and sent me up the road. I proceeded to become a human mile marker and cheer for about a mile's worth of runners while waiting for Cait. The course was tough with wind and some massive uphills, but there was live music on the side of the road at around 5 different spots which was distracting and pretty cool.

Cait was clipping off the miles and I saw her at mile 10 which was the toughest part of the course. It was a half mile long climb at about 8-10% gradient. If that doesn't mean anything to you, just imagine something you don't want to run up. Cait and I had talked about this point in the course as basically the end as it was all downhill from that point. She tore into the hill just chewing it up and staying relaxed. She really made it look easy while all around her, people were crumbling.
Good illustration of pink lady running with marshmallow form and Cait looking like Craig Alexander. Mercenary.

She crested it and rolled down the huge slope to the finish line and even had enough to out kick a college age guy with 200m to go. It was hilarious. Cait actually has ridiculous footspeed to the point where when she is kicking it pushes me to stay with her. I have seen her finish a run at 5:20 pace up hill! She unleashed her patented kick and this guy foolishly tried to counter. He was shown a clean pair of pink nike heels as Caitlin finished her first half marathon in a time 6 minutes faster than expected! Awesome.

She also earned one of the largest blood blisters in history for her efforts. Look away if you are a cry baby and the human body makes you tremble with fear like a coward.
BOOM goes the dynamite

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