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For the first time ever I crossed the starting line as soon as the gun went off. This was important because it meant when I reached the finish line the clock time displayed would actually be pretty close to my actual time. That was definitely a nice side benefit for competing in a small race!

The problem with being so near the front was that I had to start at a run. Faster runners are towards the front, the very fastest are in the very front. I was frontish so it was important that I crossed at a good clip and kept going. For the most part that was okay, I’ve been doing a lot of running on treadmills and local park trails but it’s a bit different when you can feel a wave of people behind you trying to get past. At one point I really started feeling the pace and looked down at my watch. I was running a 9:30 mile. Advanced runners run 9:30s and there was no way I was keeping that up for very long. I moved as close to the side of the route as I could and started walking for a bit.

At that point I was feeling pretty good. I’d made a big dent in my first mile and was just about to start a second running interval when my foot slipped on a lane line. Yes, the lines they paint on asphalt to direct cars are incredibly slick in the rain. I recovered without injury but I frightened myself and my muscles tensed. The next time I tried running my shin splints flared up and bam, there went my fantasy of jogging a substantial portion the half marathon. Which was especially annoying because I was wearing compression sleeves for shin splints.

Right around the time I started feeling sorry for myself for having a setback so early in the race granny passed me with her walking sticks. The shock actually rendered me mute (miracle!) for a moment and I’m sorry to say she was ahead of me by the time I got it together and cheered her on. How cool that she was out doing a half marathon on Sunday morning! (And leaving me in the dust!)

If you look at the map everything in the white space after the first mile marker basically until you hit the blue resevoir area was a private airport. I’m assuming Pomona airfield but don’t quote me on that. The route went right past the flight tower and about 10 of us in a pack all simultanously waved at the air traffic control guy. A woman behind me said “This is probably the most variety that guy has had in his day all year.” We all laughed because she was probably right.

By the time I hit the second mile I realized one weird thing about the course. It had no spectators. I mean NONE. You could argue that rain would have discouraged even the most hard core race enthusiast but when you looked at the land you couldn’t tell it had just rained. There was none of the flooding I’d seen in my car. The earth just soaked it all up (which tells you how desperately we needed the water).

Every half mile or so for the first part of the race there was a cop parked in his cop car watching us from across the street. Didn’t honk. Didn’t clap. Didn’t wave. Just sat there and watched us. Every other race I’ve done the local support has at least cheered or smiled or something. Notsomuch in Pomona. Kind of a bummer.

What I didn’t know during that second mile was that I should be soaking up every second of the flat route. As a finisher of two coastline events it never even occured to me to ask what the elevation was for LA County. Oops. Hills galore! short ones, long ones, steep ones requiring signage, the whole enchilada.

Here is the route in pictures:

On the resevoir trail

That’s Raging Waters Water Park and this is the closest I’ve ever been to it.

As for the resevoir trail itself

Looks kind of flat right?

That was before

See the sign? I listened to it and was half way down that dirt trail (my first ever trail run) when a college guy from behind me shouted “Hey red shirt girl! That’s the wrong way!” He and his girlfriend became my race buddies. Had he not saved me from my horrible mistake I would have ended up at this boathouse about 2 miles round trip out of my way with no hope of returning to the race in time.

Thanks again B!

Plus I had company for what turned out to be a hilly course.

But I did learn one thing. Sometimes you’re okay with hills and slopes if you think they’re going to take you somewhere good.

By mile 7 I was all ready for that!

But the fat lady wasn’t done singing and the fat chick wasn’t even halfway done racing.

According to my GPS watch the total elevation change in feet for the race was +1,381 / -1,367.

Did I mention I live at sea level? I’m not used to this stuff!

Now this made me think two things:
1) Damn if only I’d known I would have been mentally prepared for it at least!
2) If only this race was in June because I really need a warm up for the San Francisco 1st half marathon!

Yes, most of my thoughts pertaining to racing are punctuated by exclamation points.

Other pictures include:

Notice how the road is empty of all other competitors. This would never happen in a race with 18,000 people. There are fields on the right and an airport on the left. This is somewhere around the 9 mile marker and it was a little creepy. I was grateful to have two race buddies with me.

I also had a glorious realization: NO BLISTERS SO FAR!

Huge. Yes that is HUGE!

And let me tell you that perked me right up! The rest of the course from 9 on felt like it went a bit faster.

From the middle of mile 10 on you were pretty much on Fairgrounds property again. Parts of the course were very well marked. Other parts not so much. I’d printed the map you see above before my race which is what allowed us to figure out where we supposed to go in several instances if you can believe it.

See the water drop before 12? We passed the water station and then it was like a ghost town. There were barricades in several different places and the path could have been in either of two directions. The map saved us.

Do you also see that loop above 12 that runs parallel to North White Ave? That segment of the race was through what basically amounted to the Fairgrounds backlot. There were a lot of food carts being stored. Full sized Union Pacific train engines (not sure why). There was also the:

And the final water stop?

I kept waiting to see Clifford the Big Red Dog racing for the fire hydrants.

If only I’d known that was a precursor for heading to the back 40. The last 2 miles of the race route took us through mini vegetable gardens and tiny apple orchards. We moved past an equestrian center (and smelled it) and then went right through the Pig Patio

I’m serious the sign on the back wall says Pig Patio!

It was an interesting glimpse at the county fairgrounds.

Believe it or not I didn’t get a picture of the finish line but I did manage to run to it. I’ve never done that in a race before because by then the blisters are so bad I won’t even consider it. This time I was just fine!

Oh and for those of you who read this far (I’m sorry).

But here your treat.

Dirty D turned out to be a speedy young woman running with her arm in a sling. She raced past me not long after granny. (I missed the pic of granny but I still had my phone out and managed to snap a pic of D)

Next year’s goal is to catch up with Dirty D and maybe beat granny!

Gee CK, how was your race?

I got passed by a woman using walking sticks and wearing an adult diaper.

Yes, really.

No matter what else I type about this race, I just want you to know that in my mind the 2009 Inaugural Los Angeles County Half Marathon will stand out in my mind as the race where I got my a** handed to me by a walking granny.

I also have to pat myself on the back here. Once you’re smoked in a race by the diaper crowd whether they’re AARP members or little kids sprinting past you in a 5K (yes that happened to me too because the half marathon and the 5K started at the same time) it takes a lot of determination not to fake a ruptured spleen and leave a race course. I should probably thank Greg and Steph because I was definitely thinking about their Medal-covered Christmas tree when I decided to keep going!

That being said I also cheered for granny. She was in WAY better shape then I was!

So here is how the whole thing went down.

As I said in my last post the night before the race was miserable. I could hear torrential rain outside my window and was envisioning

Yes, they were closing the race course to cars (or at least one side of it) but pre-race paranoia has no bounds.

That night I slept fine and woke up when my alarm clock went off at 5am. It was still pouring rain. It was definitely one of those moments where you have to decide whether you take this as a sign from the universe or if you get all your stuff together and drive an hour in the dark to find out what the situation is at the race. said that the rain in Pomona should let up around 7am and then resume at 10am. The race had a surprisingly late start, 8am. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be off that course by 10am.

But I also knew one other thing:

I’d rather be out there and give it my best damn effort then know I was home sleeping when the rain went away and the course dried out.

Positive sign #1: It stopped raining where I was by the time I hit 7-11 for a morning banana so at least I wasn’t going to have to drive in pouring rain.

It did make me think though. My GPS watch told me it was 3/4 of a mile from general parking to the race start. Did I want to stick with general parking or pay the extra $3 for preferred parking near the race expo? Walking to the race would be fine. Walking back to my car with potential blisters, etc. would be excruciating.

No brainer.

I got to the race course and the woman generously let me pay $3 extra to upgrade my parking rather then force me to spend $12 for new parking. I thought this was a sign from the race gods until I found out the difference between preferred parking and general parking is exactly two rows. I didn’t get to park near the expo those were vendor spots. So $3 got me 2 rows closer then 3/4 of a mile. Doh! Fortunately it wasn’t raining at the race so I was too optimistic to worry about post-race challenges.

I parked and headed for the trunk of my car where I had put all my stuff. I had 2-3 changes of clothes in case it started raining. Several shirt options in case I decided I didn’t really want to wear what I put on that morning. Two pairs of shoes and a pair of slippers. TONS of: icy hot, body glide, vaseline, gatorade, energy gels, towels, trashbags and

I had a typical pre-race breakfast dry toast with a banana. Some people do bagels with peanut butter but that’s a bit much for me on a nervous stomach. I ate about 2 hours pre-race which is key for me. So far everything is a go.

Then I got to the race start and WOOT! Daylight!

Oh wait!

DAYLIGHT! and what looked like imminent SUNLIGHT!

New problem. I had a hat on but I didn’t have sunblock or my sunglasses. I have fair skin and major sunburn issues so hours in the sun without sunblock is impossible for me.

Now my 3/4 trek from the car to the starting line is going to turn into another round trip pre-race. I was worried enough about time to jog it.

I grabbed what I needed, dumped cold weather gear I no longer needed (skull cap, gloves, jacket) and jogged back to the starting line.

I don’t know about you all but I like to people watch at races.

This lady drew my attention

That’s an interesting way to carry gels and much lighter then a fanny pack or even a SpiBelt. Unfortunately I’m not sure how it works with the CarbKiller klutz factor. I can see myself accidentally puncturing those little pouches with my watch or something and having to deal with exploded Gu everywhere. Ick.

And then there was this guy.

Notice how everyone else at the starting line was wearing considerably more clothing.

Next thing I knew it was time for the starter gun and other people faded into the background. On your marks, get set, GO!

13 Dec 2009

Running a race is a lot like a final exam. You can’t just show up and expect to pass unless you’ve put in some kind of effort.

Some people prepare for months and sleep deeply at night secure in their efforts.

Others realize 24 hours beforehand that 80% of their overall grade is riding on this sucker and panic commences. This can include all night cram sessions. Cheat sheets. Sleep for these people is rare if not impossible the night before their big event.

While I fit in neither of these categories, I do take some time the night before every race to set out my gear, pack some snacks and generally prepare myself.

It’s a little hard to do that when all you can hear is

Particularly when your drive home from your race expo involved a lot of

It’s discouraging.

As much as I’d like to pretend I could stick out an entire half marathon in those kinds of weather conditions there is just no way. Maybe if I was a full scale runner. Maybe if I wasn’t a total wimp. Maybe if hell froze over.

So why didn’t I just throw in the towel last night?

Because my friend Joan posted her 2009 medals not too long ago and I was a little jealous.

And then yesterday my friends Stephanie and Greg posted a picture of their Christmas tree.

How awesome is that tree!

And now you see why I was unwilling to give up on today’s race.

Darkness wasn’t going to stop me.

Rain wasn’t going to stop me.

Not even Frodo himself was going to stop me from my quest for shiny objects.

So driving past Angel’s stadium in the dark didn’t faze me.

And arriving to wet pavement didn’t faze me.

Neither did stormy skies.

But then there was a miracle! By the time I reached the starting line the skies has cleared up and I was greeted with:


12 Dec 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, funny, race details

This is not my Bib but I want it.

And yes, part of my goal tomorrow is going to be finding the woman who is wearing this thing because I really want to know what she looks like.

12 Dec 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, lunacy, race details

**************Drumroll please*************

Welcome one and all to the Fairplex of Pomona, the 2009 home of the Inaugural Los Angeles County Half Marathon!

Looking a little moist is it?

Why yes, I think you might be right.

What’s that you say? My race is tomorrow in this exact location?

Perhaps the best way to get used to the precipitation issue is to dive right in, so to speak. How about a slick sloping cement path into a creepy dark tunnel?

Found one!

Not impressed?
Perhaps I should share a math problem then.

What’s the difference between $9 parking and $12 parking?

Give up?

A 3/4 mile hike from your car to the expo.

Saving the $3 made absolute sense to me this morning (I ALWAYS hate to pay for parking no matter what the situation) but we’re supposed to use the same parking pass tomorrow and I’m thinking the extra $3 would have been worth not walking the extra 3/4 mile back to my car on wet pavement in the rain.


And then I got to the expo. Here were the half marathon bibs ALL OF THEM.

On one hand the tiny size freaks me out. On the other hand if I were a faster runner I might actually be able to place in my age group. Too bad about that torrential rain thing.

I will say one thing though. The race loot was actually great.

We got a Christmas stocking full of stuff

And then I picked up even more free stuff at the expo. SWEET!

The sad part is that the race is actually very well organized and the staff was great. It’s a shame that this weather nightmare (did I mention torrential rain?) is supposed to go through the night and right up to race time tomorrow morning.

The roads are flooding, the course is sopping wet and the paths are very, very slippery. For a klutz like me who trips over her own feet without any weather challenges this is going to be a mess. I’m still planning to show up and give it my best shot. Hopefully my high tech $0.99 disposable poncho will help me out.

30 Nov 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, race details

There are two kinds of crazy.

1) Other people crazy

2) CarbKiller crazy

I think you can guess from where I’m going with this today is going to be about CarbKiller crazy.


Because a month and a half ago I participated in the Long Beach 1/2 marathon with minimal (read as zero) training. I finished and my poor blistered feet went on a six week strike that ended just in time for Thanksgiving. Stupid feet.

How does one punish one’s own feet? One signs up for another half marathon. This one has a magic word involved. Inaugural.

That means I will be a Trailblazer, a Pathfinder, and possibly an Accord since I’ve run out of allusions to car names with double meanings. That’s okay, I like Hondas.

Anyway, I wanted first timers bling and more then that I wanted a damn medal. I want that medal when I cross the finish line. Not in 6-8 weeks. RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

And then I got a sign.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was a victim of Bargain Voice. You know, BV, that little angel/devil on your shoulder that tells you “so what if you don’t really want to spend money on a race less then 2 weeks before Christmas. You save $5!” Got me.

My name is CarbKiller and I am easily seduced by bargains.

And wait, wha does that say again? Let’s zoom in:

I read that as a legally binding statement and I signed up.

That was a month ago. Now I’m less then 2 weeks away and all I can hope is that my ludicrous anti-blister experimentation (and boy is that expensive) will pay off. Big time. Otherwise I’ll be the fat chick parked on the couch while Christmas action happens all around me. Huh, doesn’t sound too bad either way does it…

26 Nov 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, race details

Okay, this is kind of a weird report but hey, why not post it right?

I did an unexpected 10K this morning. Unexpected in the sense that I have a 1/2 marathon in 2 weeks and I’m trying to stay injury free for that (by injury I mean blisters. I get them big, all over my feet and they kill me). Anyway, I woke up to at least a couple dozen of my bling-addicted friends posting updates about their Turkey Trots (usually an early morning Thanksgiving Day 5K, most areas have one). I felt left out so I whined to a friend and he suggested doing a virtual 10K with the W.I.S.H. running group. WISH is an open walking/running group for Disney addicts and people who are trying to get healthy.  They have runners of all shapes, sizes and ages and they’re a great group of positive people.

HAH! I can do 10K! That’s only 6.2 miles!

So ignoring my foot fear I decided to run in a single direction from my parents house just to see how far I’d get. Parents live on a fairly miserable hill. The run toward my favorite donut shop is mostly a downward slope and a pretty significant one. Anyway, I geared up and hit it.

I’d never run downhill before and it was weird. Kind of a skip jog since I was running open roads and had to worry about things like streetlights and cars. Still, I did 10K. Sadly this did not land me at the door of the donut shop but that’s okay because I hadn’t taken money or anything. Then I did what I’m sure all those Kenyan Olympians do when they’re miles from home and training for a race. I called my mom and had her come pick me up.  *eyeroll* Walked a little over a mile back towards the house because I was impatient and wogged a bit of that too.

And the fabulous news? NO BLISTERS!   
I can’t believe I’m saying this because not only am I a walker I’m a SLOW walker but I think I might actually become a runner one day! WOOT!

19 Nov 2009
Categorized As: Bling, CarbKiller, lunacy, race details

Well, October came and went and I finished another race. It wasn’t until this week that I received my reward. Let me tell you if you thought waiting for Christmas morning was painful as a kid, waiting 4 weeks to receive a medal you went 13.1 miles for is pretty excruciating!

Still without further ado *drumroll*

2009 Long Beach Half Marathon Medal

I would also like to take this moment to quote my buddy Steve.

A lot of people run to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.
Steve Prefontaine

I’d like to believe it takes a decent amount of guts to show up and do a half without prior training thanks in large part to multiple stupid injuries.

Heck my feet are still peeling from the blisters. How is THAT for sexy?

So on that note I’d like to leave you with a profound thought for the day courtesy of Gatorade.

You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.

Someone hand me a damn towel baby, because I just ADDED A RACE for 2009. I’m doing the Los Angeles County Inaugural 1/2 marathon (inaugural bling baby!) on December 13th. It’s in

23 days: 11 hours: 38 minutes
from the time of this post

My blisters haven’t fulled healed from October but I’ve got new shoes, new insoles and new socks (the gear issue is another post) and I’m determined to cross a friggin’ finish line in time to actually receive my medal on race day.

They say three is the charm right?

24 Oct 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, race details, running


Because nothing I’ve seen describes marathon training quite as effectively as:

Spirit of the Marathon 

No, I’m not training for a marathon yet. I want to be able to run a half in under 3 hours with hilly terrain (San Francisco 1st 1/2).

But I’m thinking 2011 marathon if I can train relatively injury free.

(You’ve got to do one right?)

14 Oct 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, gear, race details

This time, though, I felt MUCH more prepared. Not physically, of course, I’ve been doing nothing but stationary bike workouts for weeks. Gear-wise though, my race bag was packed with all relevant staples:

My Blister kit included:

  • underwrap (that’s actually for taping ankles so I’m not sure why I took it but you never know).
  • scissors (little sharp ones for popping blisters- yes it’s gross but FAR less painful)
  • Band-aids of assorted sizes and shapes including really big ones. (I’m prone to getting blisters on my heels)- please note these aren’t actually band-aid brand, the 99cents only store has a really decent kind that’s $1 a box. I’m cheap like that.
  • Alcohol wipes- to sterilize the scissors before any fun stuff.
  • Neosporin- the gift that keeps on giving
  • Gauze pads (also from the 99cents only store- a blessing for cushioning any blistered spots before walking to my car)
  • I should also probably mention that I’m one of those poor fools that just seems destined to keep using the wrong damn socks. 95% of people seem to cross the finish line with no ill effects to their little feetsies. Since I could feel blisters forming at the four mile mark I can say for certain this post-race ritual was an absolute blessing.

    Clif Shots and PowerBar Gel Packs. Mmmmm…
    I took these little gems with me in my fanny pack (yep, wore it a second time). Some people swear by one brand or the other, I think they’re both better then nothing and together they saved me. Big time. They taste like a weird oozing candy you haven’t had since you were seven but they do the trick. I had one every hour and I think it’s what got me through the race.

    There are those, of course, who prefer race snacks. I can’t really imagine actually eating solid foods on the course so I usually just throw these things in my bag in case they run out of food at the finish-line (never underestimate the eating powers of anorexic-looking runners).

    Then, of course, there is BodyGlide to reduce friction from movement. (Personally I haven’t had any problems there yet but I’m also walking and typically wear pants to prevent rubbing).

    My heart rate monitor so I could be suitably impressed by my caloric expenditure.

    Advil, the breakfast (lunch and dinner) of champions.

    Hand sanitizer. I am a BIG BIG fan. (see yesterday’s picture of the line for the porta potties).

    I also highly recommend:

  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Cushioned FLIP FLOPS or slippers- if you get blisters these will save you!
  • Extra hair rubberband-it will break at the least opportune time. Always.
  • I have yet to start bringing alcohol to races with me but after Sunday’s blister’s I’m considering it. Doesn’t rum have medicinal uses?