PCRF Cinco De Mayo Half Marathon

I usually don’t carb load before a half marathon because I eat enough carbs day-to-day to keep my glycogen stores more than full! But, yesterday ended up being an unplanned carb loading extravaganza!

I had a bowl of cereal as an afternoon snack. No big. IMG_0592

Then, Ben came home from running errands with a soft pretzel. Eating a pretzel before the Las Vegas half worked well so I went for it. IMG_0593

I have a pretzel for a heart <3IMG_0595

In an effort to sabotage my carb loading / race preparation he also tried to get me to drink a margarita. IMG_0599

I only took a taste. Um, excuse the tragic mess in the background. And if it bothers you that much, come clean it yourself.IMG_0596

And we had pizza for dinner! Carbs, carbs, carbs. Nom nom nom.IMG_0606 (800x533) (800x533)

IMG_0603 (800x533) (2)

We used TJ’s wheat pizza dough. I LOVE it, but even though I try to roll the dough out well, it always seems unfinished in the middle. IMG_0610 (800x533) (2)

This morning my alarm went off at 5:16am and I went through my pre-race rituals. IMG_0611 (800x533)

The race was only a few miles from my house so I went solo. Driving and parking was a breeze.

First stop were the porta potties – NO LINES!!! This is crazy.porta potties

Then, Pam found me and we hung out until the start. (Spoiler alert: She got 3rd place and 1st in her age group!!!)1336311848902 (408x306)

There was a bike race that started before the foot races.20120506_064142 (800x600)

I felt pretty good this morning. And even with 10 miles yesterday, my legs felt fine. At first.

Around mile 11 I felt like I was out of steam. But, I kept chugging along.

The Course: The course is a nice little loop around Irvine. There is a section through a trail-y area (but it’s still paved). It’s pretty quiet, not a ton of spectator support until the end. The Half Marathon joins with the 10k around mile 11.5. This isn’t great since when I got to that point the 10kers were a lot of walkers. It’s hard to keep running when you’re tired and people around you are walking. Warning: it’s slightly uphill on the way back. Not visibly noticeable, but your legs feel it.20120506_091426 (800x600)

Banana Split:banana split(source)

Half Marathon Splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:01
  • Mile 2: 8:02
  • Mile 3: 8:12
  • Mile 4: 8:03
  • Mile 5: 8:16
  • Mile 6: 8:29
  • Mile 7: 8:07
  • Mile 8: 8:37 (fading!)
  • Mile 9: 8:35
  • Mile 10: 8:21
  • Mile 11: 8:29
  • Mile 12: 8:35
  • Mile 13: 8:45
  • Last .23: 8:06

13.23 miles – 1:50:25 Average Pace: 8:2120120506_094818 (600x800)

I’m not happy with the time, but I haven’t been legitimately training so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’ve decided to start noting what I learned from races so I can take something positive away from it either way.

When I was done Chiara and I headed back to the sidelines to cheer on Heather. I was taking a random picture of the runners and it turns out this is a reader who shouted out to me! I met three new readers at this race! Hello ladies Smilecinco de mayo half 12

Highlight of the race: The “Tapatio Guy” – who I named as such because he was wearing Tapatio socks. if anyone can a mexican

He was in front of me for the first 7 miles, but I caught up with him (go me) and asked him where he got them. He said the Tapatio website ($9).tapatio socks

The Finish Line: There were bottles of water and grapes, bananas and oranges. I grabbed some grapes and met back up with Cha-cha. post race

There wasn’t a lot of food in the finisher’s chute, but there was a Jamba Juice booth, CLIF bar and Popchips out in the post-race party area.20120506_093223 (600x800)

20120506_094832 (800x600)

Pam, Chiara and I20120506_093521 (600x800)

And we spotted the Faster Bunny, Margot. She just PRed in Eugene and rocks all ‘round Smilefaster bunny and chiara

The medal:pcrf medal

The shirt:pcrf shirt

The Victory Lap: Pumpkin pancakes with a yolky egg on top.pancakes and eggs

To die for.egg on pancake

In Foot News: I have a blister under my big toe. I think it’s because I busted out my NEW shoes for my 10 miler yesterday. Shoulda broken them in a bit first. dirty foot

What I learned from this race:

1. One handheld water bottle is not enough water for 13 miles. I was THIRSTY and still am actually.

2. I don’t suck at hills. In last week’s Big Sur race and this one I passed people on the hills. I don’t like them, but I can take ‘em more than I thought.

3. If I want to run faster/stronger I need to push more on my weekday runs.

Question: What did you learn this weekend?


  1. Cari says

    I set my alarms for (what other people call) weird times, too! Glad to see I’m not alone :).

    I ran the Broad Street 10-miler here in Philadelphia this morning, and my alarm woke me up at 5:27 :)

  2. Kerri A says

    Great job!!
    Try pre-baking your pizza shells for about 5 minutes before you put your sauce and toppings on – should fix your undercooked centre problem!! :)

  3. says

    This weekend I learned I was better at hills than I thought too! And better at pacing. I *almost* PR’d on the hilliest 5K of my life! No idea where it came from…

      • says

        Ooooor, it was the mile downhill start. One of the two. And that *really* makes me wish I could run Fontana and have a faster half!! Womp womp. (If you hear of anyone with a bib, I’ll pay good money for it! HA. Not kidding. 😉 )

  4. Rebecca says

    Ive noticed with the Trader Joe’s dough that you need to either roll it out pretty thin or pre-bake the crust before putting on all your toppings. If I can manage to get it nice & thin (without puncturing it…easier said than done) then it cooks up nicely. Or you can bake the crust for about five minutes without toppings until it has dried out just a bit. Just be careful you dont pre-cook it too much or else the pizza doesnt come out right at the end.

    Happy cooking!

  5. says

    Great paces, good job! I learned I can surprise myself. This was my first race in 2.5 years and I was not prepared well enough for it. I was hoping for A: 2:30, B: 3:00 and C: don’t die. Garmin rang in at 2:23.

  6. says

    Love the medal and the purple ribbon!!

    One thing I learned this weekend is it’s okay to alter plans. I was supposed to run 6 miles today but instead walked about 4 miles. I’m not going to beat myself up for sleeping in and settling for a less intense workout. Instead, I’m going to celebrate that I got out there and did something which is better than nothing!! :-)

    Great job on your race today. I can only dream of setting a half marathon time like that!

  7. Patty says

    Monica…I love you dearly and have been a faithful reader for some time now. I wish you wouldn’t put yourself down for the “slow” times on your splits. Although I am 20+ your senior I am working hard to keep my pace under a 10 minute mile or should the stars and moon be perfectly aligned I might obtain a sub 9. You are doing so well…I wish I could keep up…only in my dreams. I look forward to “running” into you some day at a race. XXOO

  8. Ida says

    I learned that I love speed work. My run club did 200s on saturday and it was so fun! Now I really want to work on a 5k PR over the summer.

  9. Emily says

    TJ’s pizza dough rolls out best if you leave it out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before you roll it.

    Awesome time! I can hardly keep a 12.5 minute pace. I guess it’s all relative.

  10. says

    It was great seeing you Monica!! :)

    You did great!! I need to try this pizza dough at TJ’s! Looks yummy!!

    Hope to see you again soon! Have a great rest of the day!! :) xo

  11. Rachael J. says

    Yay! Great job! I just have a random question if you get a chance: How many race medals do you have now? I’m almost more excited for that than just finishing! haha.

    • says

      I’ve actually lost a few medals along the way because I have so many they don’t fit on my medal holder :( It’s going to fall off the wall soon.

  12. says

    Congrats! I actually was just up the freeway and ran the OC Half marathon this morning! I’ve ran the Cinco De Mayo race and those hills DO kill! You did so awesome!

  13. says

    yay great job!! sounds like a fun race!

    i went to the blend retreat which was scary at first since i didnt know anyone..so basically i learned that stepping out of ur comfort zone is a good thing!

  14. Shannon says

    Thanks for the photo/shout-out, Monica! It was nice to meet you; except I think in my post-race euphoria, I failed to introduce myself! Shannon’s the name… :)

    It was a fun race/expo/experience: no lines for potties, parking 10 steps from the start, free jamba juice and Clif stuff? WIN WIN WIN!!!

    I saw Faster Bunny on the course too. I think she was heading back to run with someone. I’m a running blog nerd, apparently! :-/

    You did just great…13 miles of fab!

    • says

      AHHH! I freaked out and told everyone in Shoe Warehouse I placed (okay I shouted it to Ben and everyone heard). But, I kinda wish I had a better time to show for it…

      Thanks for letting me know :)

  15. says

    I ran the pcrf half last year, my first 1/2. I was kind of disappointed with the race support but I liked the course. You did awesome! I did the OC half today. Chaos….

  16. says

    I learned that I have more running stamina than I thought! My workout today included a 24 minute interval and while it wasn’t easy I did it all and even a few extra seconds after Mr. Garmin told me that interval was up! I have one more training run before my first 5K that I’m planning on fully running so hopefully that means I’m in good shape for the race.

    Congratulations on finishing and looking at every experience as one where you can learn something!

  17. says

    Looks like a fun race and you did great! The medal is so cute too.

    And I have to say those pumpkin pancakes look incredible. I’ve never had an egg on my pancakes but I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing that before. Next weekend for brunch I want to try it!

  18. Elizabeth says

    TJ’s pizza dough cooks better if you pre bake it at the temp for like 6-8 minutes and then finish it off with cheese. my Italian friend told me this and she is quite genius.

  19. says

    I feel the SAME way about Trader Joe’s wheat dough. Plus my “circles” never actually look that way. Its like the dough just wants to be in a ball or something!

    Nice job on the race!

  20. Charline says

    If you partially cook your pizza crust before you put toppings on it, you won’t have that “uncooked” centre taste…

  21. says

    I think “Um, excuse the tragic mess in the background. And if it bothers you that much, come clean it yourself.” is the best line I have ever read on any blog ever.

  22. says

    My trick for the trader Joe’s pizza dough is to let it sit out for about 45 minutes. Once its at room temperature it is easier to shape ( still may not be a perfect circle) and cooks to perfection

  23. says

    Monica! I got the same blister this weekend during my half marathon! My feet started burning like they were on fire, too. What the heck am I doing wrong? I got my new shoes about a month ago, and thought they were broken in really well….it’s really discouraging…

    • says

      I have never gotten a blister there before so I think it’s from my shoes being new. I would switch up my socks and try vaseline before ditching them.

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