This weekend, I ran or rather ran/walked my 6th marathon, Mountains 2 Beach, which runs from Ojai to Ventura Beach. When I signed up for this race, months & months ago (it sells out every year) I fully intended to be running it much faster & of course not in a lot of pain.
Unfortunately, none of this would be the case, but I did finish and in doing so discovered a few things. But I’ll get back to that later.
Sean & I made the 3.5 hour trek up to Ventura Saturday early afternoon so we could pick up our bibs & meet for dinner with some of our friends.
The expo was, in my opinion, a bit of a disaster. This is not a huge race, I think there were only 1,500 participants in the marathon and more of course in the half. They held the expo at Ventura High School in a tiny little courtyard, I’m guessing where they serve lunch? Because there were a few tables interspersed with the booths.
So many people in such a small space
The line to get your bib was super long and not well organized. There were 3 lines for the marathon at one tiny little table, if you were under number 600 then you got your bib in seconds, if you were in the other 2 lines, it took about 30 mins. We arrived at the expo around 3:15p and it had opened at 2p.
Once I finally got up to the table, the bibs weren’t very organized, they were in little packets but kinda strewn across the table willy nilly. When I finally was asked my number & they started looking for it, they couldn’t find it & I waited about 5 mins until it finally was found.
I was not impressed. I’ve run a lot of races, mostly large but some big as well and while I’ve waited in line I’ve never seen a set up like that.
After getting my bib, Sean was waiting in line for me so I could get my race shirt, which wasn’t bad, a nice light grey women’s sized shirt with a v-neck and red lettering. I actually like it quite a bit. They handed out packets of KT tape and some sort of protein powder or something, I’m not quite sure.
After we got our stuff, we headed over to our hotel & needed to get in our shake-out run. Normally, I’d do this in the morning but I figured after a long car ride I’d need to move a bit. I wore a new pair of shoes for the shake-out run & they felt too big so I wasn’t really too pleased with the run it we finished and met up with our friends for dinner.
We wanted to go for pasta/pizza but the place we were close to had a 2.5 hour wait so that wasn’t happening which meant either driving a little ways or going somewhere else close. We choose close & ended up at Duke’s griddle & grill. It wasn’t horrible but I didn’t exactly enjoy my sandwich but the fries were super yummy. We had a mix of sweet potato & regular fries.
We had an early morning so we went back – I took my traditional Flat Jenny pic and then got ready for bed.
Needless to say I did not sleep that well and could feel the pain in my hamstring/glute pretty much all night. When my alarm went off I really wasn’t sure if I was going to run or not. Sean was like you’ll regret it if you don’t and while I don’t know about that, I did think that this is a sold out race, if I dropped out then someone who could have run missed out.
So I got ready & we headed out to park for the shuttle. From where we were staying it was a quick 5 minute drive to the downtown area. We found parking in a free lot & then walked about 3-4 blocks to where the shuttles were. They had shuttles on one side of the street for the marathon & the half shuttles were on the other side. They had a few people who were telling us which bus to go to. It was nice that they had the shuttles going on a rotating basis so we didn’t have to wait until exactly 5am to take the shuttle up. They had school buses to take us up to the start area. For the most part the bus ride was uneventful, although they had all the windows cracked so it was freezing the whole way up.
I had gotten some oatmeal from McDonalds so I ate that on the way up. I can’t say the last time I’ve been to McDonald’s maybe 2-3 years ago? But the oatmeal, with nothing in it tasted good.
We got up to the starting area & headed immediately for the port-a-potties. We saw our friends, but I was not in the mood to talk to anyone so we continued on. We did our business then huddled up on some stairs with the foil marathon wrap that Sean had brought with him. Thank goodness, it was pretty chilly. And they didn’t give us a drop bag at the expo so I didn’t want to chance bringing extra clothes. There was a bag drop but I didn’t see where it was.
We got in line a second time and then made it to the start line just as they were singing the national anthem. Sean kissed me for luck and told me he didn’t care how fast I was or when I came in, he’d be waiting for me at the finish. I wished him luck and off he went up to the front. I was so not feeling this race & I really did not want to run. If this had been an out & back I seriously might have dropped out.
I threw away the wrap & then waited for the start. I started near the middle of the 3rd corral since I knew I was going to be slow & started my watch. I thought there were going to be 3 starts but to my surprise everyone started going at the same time. I guess the announcer made a mistake or something but fortunately I started my Nike plus & then waited for my watch to boot up. It would take 1.69 miles for my Garmin to get a satellite signal.
The first 1.69 miles is a little out & back loop where you go back past the start line. Then we would run a little bit on the road before heading to a bike path that we would take until about mile 5 & then loop around for 5 more miles before heading back to Ventura.
I was doing ok, although I did feel my hamstring from the first step, until about mile 7. After that it was pretty much over. I started walking & then running when I could but there was a lot more walking or rather limping.
Around mile 8 as I was practically in tears was like I saw your shorts on Instagram & she knew I was having a rough day but that they were super cute. It made me tear up a bit but it did help getting that little boost. 🙂 especially when I was contemplating dropping at that point.
I just kept chugging along, after the half way point I met 2 runners doing Galloway and ran with them for a short bit before dropping back. They would finish about 15 mins ahead of me.
I would speed walk/run with a lady doing her 47th marathon for a while between 16-19 before she started going too fast for me. Around this time my shorts started feeling really tight around my stomach. I’m still not sure why but I was starting to think I was drinking too much water because it felt kinda bloated & just weird.
So now I had a pain in my leg and a pain in my lower left abdomen. I was a mess. I finally saw this girl around mile 19/20. I can’t exactly remember but it was about the time when I was starting to walk with my eyes closed which I figured was not a good thing. Lol. I said something to her, what I’m not quite sure but we started talking & ended up run/walking together the rest of the race.
We would start making run goals for ourselves, run to the sign, run to the train tracks, run to that tree, etc. etc. until we were closer & closer. Around mile 22 I got a text from Sean & he met us at mile 23 which is where you pass the finish line before having to go back around. He gave me a kiss, said hi to my new friend Sue Lynn & we kept going.
Around this time I was having a hard time standing up straight, my hips were so tight. We would get to the trail by the beach, still making little goals for ourselves. We finally made it to the Ventura Pier took our last walk break and then we saw the finish. It seemed like the finish line was so far away, but we made the decision to run it in. I’ll tell you, I wanted to walk a hundred times during this stretch, my calves were starting to cramp, I was hungry, etc. etc. but she wasn’t stopping and neither was I. One step in front of the other.
I’d see Sean on the side as we got into the finishing shoot. And as we were finishing the announcer would say my name and we were done! I got a photo with the lovely Sue Lynn from Austin after I got my medal.
We were so happy to be finished, it seriously was a struggle, although considering my training as of late, it’s really no surprise. Since the 50k last month, I haven’t run over 13 miles and even that was super painful.
After I finished I met up with Sean to see how he did, he didn’t want to tell me at first but in that first mile with the little turn around, as everyone got super slow to turn he stepped on the guy in front of him’s foot & his ankle popped. It’s pretty much double in size. He took about 45 secs to decide what he wanted to do, took a few Advil and soldiered on. He ran with the 3:13 group until about mile 16 and then he slowed down, finishing in just under 3:50.
We went over to get some treats, a little container with 2 slices of watermelon, a sliver of banana, cookies, m&ms and twizzlers. Not that great but better than nothing. The best part of the post run celebration was that we were able to get massages from the massage tent. I guess finishing at the end has some perks as we only had to wait a few minutes before we got to get on the table. The girl did a great job & this is the first time in a while I’ve been able to get a post-race massage.
We hobbled back to the car, went back to the hotel to get cleaned up, before getting lunch & hitting the beach for a bit of sun.
– Cool weather
– Organized shuttles
– Volunteers were super nice & helpful
– Great course
– Post Race massages
– The medal is awesome
– Free Race Photos
– The expo was a mess
– This is a very fast race where most people are trying to BQ. If you were like me & not very fast, it’s a very lonely course
– Not many spectators
Would I run this race again? That’s a tough one…Sean likes this race & it has a very gradual downhill which is nice but I think I’d probably run the half next time unless I was very confident in my training for a marathon.