What a release!

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Race Report - Women's Half Marathon

I am so excited to be writing ANOTHER race report!!!
I knew immediately following my first half marathon that I would do another one and that I would be faster.  I am only a little bit competitive, so I was all over the thought of another challenge.  I had already eyed the Women's Running Magazine Women's Half Marathon
 Even better... It was local and had an amazing looking course... Much better than the more popular local Rock and Roll series Half.  On paper it looked to be mostly downhill.  Reality proved to be a bit different, but I will save that story.
When I made the decision to do this race, I started to talk it up at work, because I knew from being a part of Team Shrinking Jeans, that it was WAY more fun to train with a team!  Well, in the end our TEAM CARDON (Cardon Children's Medical Center) included all four of us nurses from the clinic, our phlebotomist, three nurses from our out-patient treatment center, one nurse & unit clerk from our in-patient unit, one of my friends, the parent of one of our patients and my sister in-law.  
Here are some of us in our Team Cardon shirts:
The runner figure on our shirts is in the shape of a yellow ribbon - the ribbon for Childhood Cancer.
My training went well.  Slow and steady without much drama.  I did a fair amount of my short runs on the treadmill and had to either run my long runs up north in a cooler climate or get up before the sunrise to get finished before it was too hot.  I did have some issues with my right thigh on my longer runs, especially near the end carrying less weight with a body that was ready to go faster and faster.  During the course of training, I released 15 pounds and went from averaging a 14-15 minute/mile to averaging a 12-13 minute/mile.  I continued to do run/walk intervals and couldn't believe how much time started ticking of my totals! I set two goals for the race... One realistic and one a "reach" goal
1.  Finish in under 3 hours
2. Finish in 2:45 or less

It was great to feel prepared not only from a training perspective, but also from a logistics perspective.  I knew what I needed to take and what worked and didn't work for me.  We arrived bright and early with much excitement.  Several of us were running or run/walking and the rest were walking - Most completing their first half marathon!
Still Dark Out!
Lara & I - adrenaline flowing!

7:00 came and it was time to get the show on the road... There were only 5 corrals, and we were in corral 4, so we were under way within a couple of minutes.  The first three miles were a great warm up and moved pretty quickly.  After mile three we spent about a mile on the canal and started our several miles of downhill running.  My right outer thigh and outer knee started to hurt around mile four, but it was manageable and would subside during my walk intervals.  It also held up pretty well on the downhills.  By mile 6.5 I was ahead of pace to finish in 2:45 and felt really, really optimistic that I would meet or beat this goal.  It was amazing to feel myself running at a comfortable pace and look down at my Garmin to see that I was running at an 11 min/mile pace... What a great feeling!  I maintained this pace through mile eight.

THEN came miles 9-12... This was the surprise of the course and the most grueling section of the course.  It was a loop that went past the finish line area, went over and under freeways and looped back around to the finish line.  It was fun to see friends that were ahead of me as I was going into the loop and then great to see the walkers as I was looping back towards the finish line.  This picture was taken as I was coming back towards the finish...
 There was a lot of up and down and right as I was going into the loop, my leg really became very painful and every time I started to run it literally screamed at me!  I fought it for a bit and really got pissed, but then I settled down and realized that I had already accomplished so much and that this setback wasn't because I ran out of energy or because I couldn't DO IT per se, but because my leg was holding me back.  So I walked a lot and ran a little, maintaining a 14 minute/mile pace, enjoyed my music and pushed through.  According to Garmin I finished in 2:53 and my chip time was 2:54.  Pretty darn impressive to take 20 minutes off my time from San Diego!

Here are several pics from the finish line...
 My sister-in-law Tierra and I - she is a running machine - finished in 2:22!

Sam and I - He was so proud and took such good care of me and my sore/aching body!

 Showing off my medal - COOLEST MEDAL!!! In the center there was a charm that came out and went on a necklace.  Very cool!

All of us from the clinic!  ALL Half Marathon finishers - Three, for the first time!

It was an amazing experience personally... It was also an amazing experience to watch a team that I put together ALL cross the finish line.  Ten of the thirteen finished their FIRST Half Marathon!  I was reminded of the BondiBand that says: "Run, walk, crawl... Finish" because our last walker came across the finish line at 4:23.  She was so proud of herself and so amazed that she DID IT!  THAT was incredibly satisfying for me!

This has become such a journey for me. While at the Expo on Saturday, I decided to buy a shirt that I had seen in San Diego and passed on, but that now held infinitely deeper meaning for me now.  On the back it reads this:

Whether you are 16 or 67,
the desire to hit the road
is not easily explained to those who
do not run.
We understand the pull of the road.
The joy of losing yourself in the solitude
of a good long distance run, 
or the sisterhood you experience
when you find that great running partner ~
Running is more than a feat of athleticism,
it is therapeutic. There is an unexpected
exhilaration that we experience
having challenged our personal limitations...
Finally proving to ourselves
that we can indeed make it to the finish line!
Whether you are here to win,
or here to experience a little more of who you are...
We salute you!

What a race!  I can't wait for the next one!


  1. Oh, Tiffany! What a great race! I'm so glad that you had (almost) the perfect race. I can't wait to see that medal in person and give you a hug! And I want that shirt...it speaks the truth and it's what keeps me running. Love you, girl! You rawked this race and I have no doubt that you will continue to rawk your future races.

  2. Congrats on such a great race and awesome time!! What an inspiration you are to others - both near and far away!! You ROCK!!

  3. great job! especially finishing under goal despite your set back. and a big woot woot! to you encourgaging your coworkers to join in the fun :)

  4. awesome awesome awesome!!!! wonderful race & report! WTG!!!

  5. You are awesome and I love you. MWAH!

  6. Congratulations! Awesome job :)

  7. I love this report so much! I am very, VERY PROUD of you and all you have accomplished! Love you!

  8. Way to go!!! Wow...awesome. I should have done it. NExt time :) Hey, cool shirts!! Go Team Cardon! Any extra shirts?! lol

  9. Yay! I'm so proud of you for doing this! And you beat your goal! That's awesome!

  10. So proud of you! And way to better your time. You're awesome!

  11. OH MY. That saying on the back of the shirt made me cry :( WOW. So powerful.

    Tiffany, I am SO proud of you. Proud of all you have accomplished and overcome. You are an amazing woman and sister and friend. I love you with all my heart!!!

    And do you think you might have been suffering with IT band syndrome? Sounds eerily familiar to the issues I had training for San Diego. Outside of thigh, and knee. Get thee a foam roller and take care :)

  12. Will follow this, step by step. I don’t know much about this but I think this would be a great help.
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