Sunday, April 27, 2008

Race Notes: La Jolla Half Marathon

Hot. It was so very hot. In fact, today was record setting heat. Bless Noel's heart. As we got out of the car this morning, she pointed off into the distance and said, "I think I see the marine layer!" It wasn't the cooling marine layer; it was heat squiggles. Some people do well in the heat. I am not one of them. If I was supposed be in direct sun and hot weather, then I wouldn't be so pale skinned. Given the choice of a full marathon in the cold or a half marathon in the heat, I'd take the cold every single time.

Here is the picture of the race for me using the brutal course elevation map.

La Jolla Elevation Chart

A: Feel great. I'm hot, but I'm fast - just banking minutes for when the heat kicks it up a notch and I have to slow.

B: This is where I stopped to heave on the side of the path along with a lot of other runners in the middle of "The Hill". Before I got unwell, I knew it was going to happen. For a few minutes, I had black spots swimming in front of my eyes and my stomach was churning. Honestly, I couldn't wait to get sick so I'd feel better. It didn't work. Afterwards, I still felt puny.

C: What I'll call the "shocker vomit." I felt sick and got sick within seconds. No warning. I was sure I wouldn't finish at this point. Luckily I was close to the side of the road. About a minute later someone showered the runners with a garden hose. I love this person with my whole heart.

Someone who I won't name, but her initials are Lynne, met me here with ice cold beer. There is a place in Heaven for her, I'm sure. Normally, I'd pass on beer on the course. However, I was already sick and the beer was cold and wet. Plus, my stomach was completely empty. I've never enjoyed a beer more.

Steve and one of the cycle mentors rode up on his bike to check on me. I was in the full-on Bite-Me mode. Bite-Me mode is awful and it happens to everyone eventually. Steve has done enough endurance events to recognize the Bite-Me's. He checked on me, cheered me on for a minute and then rode away on his bike.

F: Stomach stabilizes. Damn if that beer didn't help! I started to feel good and strong. This is when I knew I'd finish. There is a special spot in Heaven for the people along the course who hosed down participants. I don't think I could have made it without a relief from the heat.

Flying. I'm flying. Here I start to be me again, cheering on other runners and walkers. I start having fun.

Princess St. hill - why? Why another hill? Why?

Go, go, go! Passing on your left. I'm sure a few people wanted to slap me when I passed them and I'm not talking about giving me a high five.

I'm sunburned and blistered, but I came home with this.

After the race we hung out in the shade of the post race beer garden. Traffic made it impossible to get out of La Jolla Cove and we decided to simply hang out there instead of getting in the car. We finally headed out after about hour. On our way out of La Jolla, we saw (what I hope) were the last few finishers turning onto the last mile. We cheered for them, but they were in the throes of complete Bite-Me. I doubt that they heard us.


  1. I couldn't describe the race better! I went through the same...first 7 miles were awesome..started getting chilling sensations around mile 8 and had to slow to a jog. The heat just sucked!My goal was to finish in under 2 hours..I was on target..until mile 8..but finished 2:10. Oh well, there's next year.

  2. My sentiments exactly! I did great until I reached the top of the "hill." It flattened out, and the heat basically slapped me to a crawl. 2 of 3 done! Bring on the AFC!!!!

  3. i was looking for info on the la jolla half and came across your blog. terrifying and entertaining story - sounds like an experience of a lifetime, and i'm not sure i want to try it! =) i hope to be prepared with your insights. thanks for sharing...