My last race was San Diego Holiday Half right before the holidays. With Christmas and new year, I allowed myself to indulge on life’s finers things and wine little more than I should. I did keep my regular group runs going for majority of the time during this time. Two weeks ago, I strained my left calf, after a run which I didn’t know how to recover but reached out to runners on my facebook page, and with the advise I gotten to foam roll, and calf specific stretches, and to rest/ICE, I somehow managed myself for the last weekend’s Carlsbad Half Marathon.
Moral of the Story if you have injury, know how to tell if you really have an injury vs a sore leg from last run. If you are running 1:30 to 2:00 min slower than your training speed and still hurting and wanting to stop through the entire run chances are you have an injury. Advise from my fellow running community has been the same every time. Stop running for few days. Spend the time doing the following – foam rolling(don’t rush. spend about 10mins atleast on the foam roller), stretching(youtube for muscle specific stretches), getting a massage from a sports massage place(look up on yelp or get a reference from a fellow runner. Don’t go to a no name groupon massage place), ICE the muscle(It really works), and believe in rest, and rest. For me, I spend about 4 days in complete rest, and came back to running with 3 miles instead of usual 6miles, at a slower pace, and then added miles back. depending on how severe the injury is, you can tell the next day how fast, or how far you can /want to go. Anywyas – that is the story with my injury /recovery plan. I am so thankful for everyone that helped me with all this tips, and I did get back into running.
Back when I ran my first 5k here in Carlsbad, and the 5k in La Jolla, I wanted to do all the 3 tri crown series in 2017, and Carlsbad is first of this series.When Sunday came – the race day for Carlsbad Half, I told myself, I will let my legs decide how fast I want to go on the course. Fast enough, but still slow enough not to trigger the calf muscle strain. I usually have a goal time in mind based on how I feel, course difficulty + my past race time. I was hoping I could aim for 1:45, as I just ran a half in Riverside which is similar to the course here, with a 1:42 finish time. My plan was that I might go few minutes over 1:45, if the pain were to come back during the run. The power of running with runners in a crowd is amazing. Social Facilitation as they call it. Before I knew it, I was running my miles, under 8:00 pace, and at one point, I forgot about my calves for a brief sweet minute. As we went up and down few hills, and came to mile 9, my natural reaction was to speed and sprint, as that was the last 4 miles, and there it was – my calf pain. I kept the speed little slower, still under 8:00 for next few miles. When I saw the finish line, I couldn’t help but to sprint since it was just a .1 or .2 distance. I finished with a 1:40 time.
As Runners we all run our own races. May be about 1% of the people the race is against other fast runners, but every one of us that were on the course, about 5000+ people, each of us ran our own race against our own time and our own selves! I think in our own way we all won. Whether we finished with a placement, or finished with better time, or just finish, or just be there tried to finish – we won! With that story, I wanted to get the 5 things that I liked about the Carlsbad Race!
1. Beautiful Course which was not as Hilly
Its not a flat course, or all down hill course, but its relatively sane. with few hills here and there. Its an out and back course, so if you go down, you come back up and if you go up you eventually come back down, so it all balances out at the end. The course is beautiful, running by the ocean for majority of it. Its absolutely breath taking when I got to mile 3/4, and to look at the entire course, and the ocean view by it! Their course runs about .1 longer, so be patient with your Garmin time and the race finish line!
2. Aid Stations and Cheer all through the course
I have run races, where I absolutely saw no one in the course cheering. (its true!). But this is a race to remember for people that showed up and cheered along the entire course, Not just at mile 1, but all the way to mile 6 and back! Aid stations were plenty. If I am not mistaken, it seemed pretty much every mile had an aid station, with water and electrolytes. The Volunteers were some of the best I have ever seen. Tons of them! Super Cheerful! Even if you aren’t feeling upto running,t his crowd will sure pump you up to get a PR!
3. Generous Free Parking right by the start line
Parking is always a nightmarish situation when I plan my San Diego county races, but this one is a cake walk. Being out and back course, where you start is where you finish, it gives you so much convenience, not having to be Bussed to the start line or anything like that. The start line is by a mall, so there is plenty of parking. So you don’t have to rush to get there any earlier than you need to. It’s right by the freeway so it wasn’t any hassle to get to the mall with street closures. I liked the convenience of it!
4. Swag Swag Swag
Best Swag. Period. Part of the bib pick up, they gave me a tech long sleeve T which is almost $20 worth. And a 1/4 zip jacket, which is almost $50 worth. Its well made, and infact, I got a wrong size so my boy friend loved wearing it to work today. Its absolutely beautiful looking jacket! I usually get medium for jackets, but go with your regular tshirt sizes for jacket as well. the Medium I got ran too large.
5. Beer Garden (with one beer)
I love when races have beer garden. Its not so much I love drinking beer, but it usually gives me an excuse to sip something and sit down and reflect on my race and socialize with fellow runners who have just finished races. Its hard to stop and ask someone how their race was at the finish line, but its nice to chat with people at a beer garden. I am glad they had one here. (AFC – please take notes!). For the first time Carlsbad Half Marathon/Marathon had beer garden with my favorite Ballast Point Brewery beer. We were only given one beer, which is kind of sad, but I am glad we had that. (More beers next year? Pls!)
2018 registration opens at $79
Registration for 2018 is open at $79 for half and $99 for full marathon. Race day is January 14, 2018. Carlsbad Race is one of the rare races that allow transfers, so you can transfer your bib to someone else in January 2018 if you change your mind , or something changes with your plan. Usually the fee goes up to $130 for half around January so anyone would kill to pay you to take a $80 registration. Just a thought. Registration link : http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/ (Price is good through February 8, 2017).