Last Sunday, I had a HUGE PR (by 5 minutes!) at the Marla Runyan Camarillo Half Marathon, an event that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo in Camarillo, CA. The race is part of the Gold Coast Race Series, which awards runners who complete 3/4 of the eligible races (Great Race, Ventura, Marla Runyan, and Santa to the Sea) with a snazzy jacket. I will have done all four of them by the end of the year! There’s something about a solid local race that I just can’t say no to!
Race bibs were handed out the day before and race morning at the Camarillo Premium Outlets, land of security on wheels:
I’m not one for race swag because it’s usually just junk, so I was super pumped to receive one of these tumblers:
I am a better water-drinker when I have a tumbler full of it to grab and gulp. It’s better than drinking out of a glass. Don’t ask me why. It just is.
My mini-me scowled when she learned that there was a kids’ race and she wasn’t registered to run, so she pulled out all the stops to convince me to let her run her first race by planking.
Blondie got in on the action, and since I couldn’t say no to that brut core strength, I walked over to the registration table to sign them up. Surprisingly, the kids’ race was FREE!!! How cool is that?!?! I think getting kids pumped on racing is super awesome, and when it doesn’t cost a dime, it’s a mega bonus!
That night, the girls spent the night at my most wonderful mom in the world’s house so that I could make it to the race on time for the 7am start (the kids’ race started at 9:30, I think). Thank you, Mom! After she fed us dinner (she really is the most amazing mom), I went home to get my pre-race ritual on. Race nights are usually reserved for important things like carb-loading and beautifying nails.
I set my alarm for 5:30, giving me an hour to wake up, drink some coffee, and take care of business before driving the 20 minutes to Camarillo for the 7am start. When I arrived, parking was super easy in the Camarillo Outlet parking lot. I made a bee line to the porta-potties, as usual. There were plenty of restrooms and short lines–always good.
I made it to the start line with zero minutes to spare. Fortunately, the start line was still being set up, so I was able to get in some dynamic stretches before the run. The gun went off a little past 7, and I logged my first mile at 7:34. I had no goals going into this race other than to finish because I had not run a half marathon in a healthy state since pacing my bff at Santa to the Sea last year. I wasn’t sure if I could hold a mid-7 pace for 13.1, so I slowed down a little for the next couple of miles. Luckily, two speedy girls were just ahead of me, so I used them as my speed gauge.
The course ran through the Camarillo farms and up under the 101 to the Camarillo historical house. A couple of fans and an incredibly adorable boxer puppy drove along the course to cheer, but other than that, it was a lonely run. There were some weird hairpin turns along the middle of the course, which I’m not really a fan of, and there were aid stations every 2-2.5 miles or so. I was glad to have brought my own water, though, because I felt like I ran forever before hitting each aid station.
Coming into the last 2 miles, I did some mental math and figured that if I sped up, I could reach my 2013 goal of breaking 1:40, but it just wasn’t my day. I finished in 1:40:43, 1st in my age group. I usually run the tangents pretty well, running over by .04 miles at most, so I must have done a terrible job running or (less likely) the course was over-marked because my Garmin recorded 13.37 miles.
Either way, I now know that my goal of running under 1:40 at Santa to the Sea in December is going to happen if I work hard.
Because the race was so small, the finish wasn’t crowded at all, but the energy around the chute was awesome nonetheless.
The post-race food was the best!
You can’t go to Camarillo and NOT have a strawberry!
This Haute Chocolate Runner was a happy camper!
Post-race, a beer and wine garden was open to racers and their families, which is always an added bonus.
I picked up my medal, which, as I found out later, was voted on in a Facebook poll, and walked around, waiting for the huz to bring our littlest racers.
As I walked around trying to avoid looking like a loner, I ran into this man and his dogs.
I had seen him at a few local races before and had always wanted to say, “Hi.” Naturally, I introduced myself to his dogs (love people, but may or may not love dogs more), who he and his wife have trained to help kids learn to read at the local library. How cool is that?!?!?! BTW, he and his dogs placed in his age group in the 5K!
Eventually, my spawns arrived and lined up for the kiddie race. Little kids in race bibs warm my heart!
Dressed in their fastest racing clothes, my girlie-girls put their game faces on for the start. The husband decided to run with them while I played paparazzi. At some point during the race, Blondie petered out.
Under no circumstances was my mini-me going to be beat by her sister, so she glanced over her shoulder in the final strait to check her competition.
Look at that form!
Those pictures make me so happy!
After all that effort, Blondie was wiped out!
All of the kid racers were given medals, which was a super nice touch.
Finally, I present to you, my favorite picture in the world: Our first race together!
Overall, this was a really fun local race. Aside from the hairpin turns and my poor tangent running, I will probably run this again next year because it’s pretty affordable (I bought it through a Groupon for $30 or so), it’s for a good cause, and it’s got ties to Vendurance, a run club that I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to join soon (it’s also always part of solidly organized Ventura County races). The only way to get faster is to run with faster people, right?
Until next time!