Friday, June 5, 2015

Avocado Half Marathon and 5K

My son, Patrick is a recent graduate of University of San Diego.  So, what does a runner do when they are traveling?  Of course, they look for a race in that area!  When looking, I saw the San Diego Rock n Roll however this was after my vacation time.  A bit disappointing since I love this series.  I did manage to find a small local race, Avocado Half and 5K.   The race supported Fueled By the Fallen; an organization supporting military members, public safety personnel and their families to aid in their emotional and physical recovery by displaying and racing Memorial Race cars.

I had recently joined Half Fanatics and posted about running this race seeing other runners on a racing bulletin board.  Several of the runners reached out to me and I was fortunate enough to meet one.  Amy was a life saver!  She offered to pick me up from my hotel and take me to the race.  I was so grateful as I had reached out to the race personnel asking about the race trying to see if my better half and son should come to support me.  I found out that Fallbrook is a little town outside of San Diego and that there wouldn't be anything there for them so they decided not to attend.  Without Amy, I would have had to drive there myself not knowing the area.  I found an avocado picture online and made a shirt for the race.
I found a local running store, Milestone running to pick up fuel for the race.  Chad and his coworker were wonderful, friendly and wanted to hear about the half marathon. Thank you to the guys and for this great picture!  If you're in San Diego, go visit them and when I return to San Diego, I will make sure that I visit them.

Afterwards, I laid out everything in preparation for the race since I knew that Amy would be arriving early.  

Morning arrived too early (doesn't it always) and I got ready for the race and meeting Amy.  You can tell how tired we were because the picture is blurry!
Amy is such a sweet heart!  She arrived at the hotel and during the 45 minute drive to Fallbrook,   I felt that we had known each other all of our lives.  She was so easy going, friendly and heart-felt and I am so blessed to have her as a friend. We had so many things in common and couldn't get over that we would be good friends!   We arrived at parking and didn't have enough time to take pictures due to traffic.  I did get a picture of the start/finish line.  
The runner's village was small but set up nicely.  The race started about 5 minutes late and we were off.

The first 1.5 was downhill and I was thinking that this is a great start.  Little did I realize that I would have to come back up that hill!  I passed our starting line and the rest of the way were rolling hills from miles 4-11.

 I thought that we had hills here in Maryland but boy, California hills beat ours hands up!  I have to admit that I realize that Californians are better runners because they don't have a choice in their training! The weather appeared like rain but it didn't rain; just spitted briefly.  Along the way, I was amazed by the trees and flowers.  The yards had orange and lemon trees.  We don't have that in Maryland!
Around mile 8, I stopped to take a picture of this sign because it made me laugh.  At this time, I saw Amy, hugged her and wished her well finishing the race.  I figured that I wasn't going to PR this race due to the hills and decided to leisurely run at this time.  I knew on my watch time that a PR wasn't in the books so I just decided to make the best of it.  
At mile 10, there were marines at the water stops (which they ran out of cups at mile 4 and you can to drink water from the orange thermos being held by volunteers).  The marines were cheering everyone on and gave me the motivation I needed to put myself in gear.  What really helped was that the last mile and half were downhill to the finish line.  As I was approaching the finish line, I saw the clock...2:27.  I couldn't believe and started to jump up and down because I knew that I was going to PR and by a lot of time!  I crossed the finish line and started to cry.  One of the volunteers came up asking if I was okay along with several marines who hugged me once I explained what had happened!  I received many well wishes in the runner's village.  There were oranges and some water but again, they ran out of most of the things by the time I had finished.  Poor Amy was all I thought because I knew that she was following me.  A volunteer handed me my medal along with several avocados.  

I was able to take pictures of the runner's village along with the mascot, Miss Pitts.  

I waited patiently for my time to be posted and then started to cry once again.  I couldn't believe it! This was my fourth half marathon in 34 days and my best time ever for a half marathon!  I may be a slow runner with my time but this is the best time for my halves!

Amy finished about 30 minutes after me followed by more hugs and congratulations!  She still looked wonderful and I just love her smile!
We headed to the parking lot to catch the shuttle bus back to her car.  While waiting in line, we met some wonderful women.  Again, more smiles and congratulations!  Californians are wonderful, friendly people and I was so blessed to have met Amy and these women!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart because you made this East Coast girl happy with your friendship!  
Amy drove back to the hotel and dropped me off.  Again, more hugs!  I can't thank her enough for picking me up, driving and providing wonderful conversation along with support!   I know that we'll be friends for the rest of our lives!

Overall, the race was wonderful and I would gladly do this again! The swag was wonderful, the people of Fallbrook were supportive along with all the active military and volunteers.  Thank you for a wonderful experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life.  My first West Coast race but not my last!  

And remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your story. I hope
    You come run it again next year. I'd love to meet you, as a local Fallbrookian, I am proud we hosted such an awesom event


If you would like a response to your comment, please provide an email address and I would be happy to respond. Thank you.

Global Running Day Discounts

Today is  Global Running Day !  One of my favorite days of the year!!! To celebrate, I have some race discounts to share.  I am an ambassa...