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Race Recap: Running slow in SLO!

It rained as we drove down.
No, it poured as we drove down.
The Weather God finally decided that California needed rain, so he brought it on. The forecast said ‘dry’ on race day, but the drive down had me fooled…

We arrived in San Luis Obispo, CA on Friday afternoon. A little too late for the race expo, so we just decided to chill by the beach and grab a couple of pre-race drinks.

On Saturday we checked out the expo and this is how the clouds were looming:

We were crossing all our available fingers and pressed our thumbs for the clouds to disappear. (and they did!)
The rest of the day was spent exploring the Madonna Inn where we stayed and I’ll just leave the hotel for another blog post.

We had a fairly small Team in Training team. I am used to the big events with 3000-5000 TNT participants. This race was small. We had about 120 TNT participants and they all gathered at the inspiration dinner the night before.

Team in Training staff and volunteers greeting participants at the inspiration dinner.

I managed to corrupt my mentees in having a drink after dinner the evening before the race. They were so easily swayed… Newbies, ha! (just kidding – they did a marvelous job on race day and completed their events successfully!)

Then it was race day!

4am – my alarm clock went off. The start line was a little away and we needed shuttles to take us there. I saw a few of our full marathoners and gave them a last pep-talk and off they went. We half marathoners had another 30 minutes to line up at the port-a-potties.
And then we left too.

Miles 1-2 went through downtown San Luis Obispo, which seemed pretty nice at 6.30am in the morning.
Mile 3 showed us the first hill. We were warned of this hill, but didn’t think it was that bad at first.
I was running with my Team in Training buddy Tyler and we were having a blast until the next hill and the next hill and the next hill. No seriously, the course was challenging, but it was a nice gentle rolling hill course. I kind of liked it. You could see miles ahead sometimes and knew what was coming. I would run the half marathon here again.

Along the course we got distracted by:

  • a group of people playing waher or horseshoe pitching (“Can we stop for a game, Tyler?”)
  • a massive vineyard (“Can we stop for a taste, Tyler?”)
  • a bridge (?? apparently a SLO landmark)
The best part though was the last 100 yards to the finish line. It was a beautiful downhill slope right into the finish. We couldn’t help but sprint this one down: 
I beat Tyler by a whole second!

Then we got our medals.

It was a fun race!
And once I refuelled a little, I went straight back on to the course to bring our full marathoners ‘home’. I added another 6 miles or more to my half marathon that day, but I loved meeting the full marathoners at mile 25.5 and taking them to the finish stretch, show them the finish line ahead and let them run the last 100 yards alone to enjoy the moment. It was so awesome! For some of my training buddies this was their first ever marathon and it was such an honor to be there for them at this last part of the course.

I think I’ll do it again next year!

Part of our Team in Training Spring 2014 Marathon Team

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