I love destination races! To me it’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. I get a weekend away and my long run in all at once. I’ve been to a few places that I might not have visited without planning a race there. Click here to see my post on planning a destination race.
San Luis Obispo is one of my favorite places to visit and running it was even better. As some of you may know, I hadn’t trained as much as I wanted to, due to my Oregon road trip, so I was a little worried about how I would feel. My easy run 2 days before the race was anything but easy. My legs felt weak and tired on my 3.5 mile run. I tried not to let this psych me out because as I have said before, and will say again…every run is different. I kept telling myself that. To ensure my race would go as smoothly as possible I drank a ton of water, avoided alcohol and went to bed early the night before.
My husband and I stayed at the host hotel, the Madonna Inn. I try to stay at the host hotel or close by because it’s usually located near the start and/or finish. If you’ve never stayed at the Madonna Inn I highly recommend it. I’ve driven by it numerous times but never stopped to check it out. It’s well maintained and clean, with a beautiful pool and two hot tubs. The restaurant was pretty good. My husband loved the corned beef hash and egg breakfast (he had it both mornings). The view was gorgeous and the flowers and plants on grounds were amazing. I wanted to take a few clippings but I knew my husband would give me grief so I didn’t try. :-/
We arrived Saturday afternoon and went directly to the Expo to pick up my number. It was crazy windy (which worried me about possible wind for the race…ugh). The Expo was fairly small, but the not the smallest I have seen, and that was okay because I wasn’t looking to buy anything except a Cliff bar, which they didn’t have. I usually bring my own but didn’t realize I was out until it was too late. Note to self…check supplies early and restock as needed. Rooky mistake. Race time is not the time to try new pre-race foods.
It was great being a few minutes from the start…more sleep for me! The morning was a little more than chilly (but no wind) and I was at mile 3 before my hands thawed out. No worries, I was plenty warm by the finish. I had it in my head that I would run easy (I was determined not to let this race suck) and I thought I would stay with Sol for most of the race, but I think I lost her in the crowd during the first mile. I am not very good at running with a partner during a race. I either feel like I am holding the other person back or that they feel like they are holding me back. I did find Sol again at mile 7ish. She passed me while I was at the port-a-potty (had to pee real bad). I rarely stop to pee because I hate to lose precious minutes but again, this was a “no pressure” race.
The course had a bunch of hills with the most notable ones at mile 9 and mile 13. After looking at the course elevation the hill at mile 3 look like the biggest but I didn’t even notice that one. Maybe because it was early on and I was fresh. I actually felt good until mile 11, when my legs started to feel a little heavy so when the hill at mile 13 came around I decided to walk up it and take a couple of pictures.
The course took you through the quaint neighborhoods and old town of San Luis Obispo with plenty of spectators throughout. I love spectators! It’s amazing how having strangers yelling “Good job!” or “You got this!” can motivate you to keep going. I like reading the funning signs and high-fiving the kids. There was a lady at mile 10 or 11 handing out beer. I don’t drink beer but even if I did, I’m pretty sure it would have made me puke. Yuck!
After the hill at mile 13 the last half mile was downhill, so I tried to finish strong.
My finishing time wasn’t my best 2:25:39 , pace 11:07 min/mile. A little embarrassed to post that but with the poor training, hills and potty break, it is what it is. I finished and I felt good. There’s always an opportunity to do better next time.
I had a beautiful weekend and even got to enjoy quiet time in the hot tub!
Next up, Camp Pendleton’s World Famous Mud Run.