This past Sunday I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon with my boyfriend (Bryce) and my mom. Big shout out to my dad who didn’t run but was also there for moral support!
I have been stressing about this race for weeks and am so relieved it’s over. We’re seriously talking stress to the point of having race nightmares and waking up drenched in sweat status.
All this stress is over the fact that my shin splints have been so bad lately. It’s so frustrating to put your heart and soul into training then have it completely thrown off by an injury.
I’ve been a lot of research on how to heal shin splints quickly and on shoes that offer enough cushion to not further aggravate the injury. Out of total desperation I bought myself a pair of Hoka Infinite shoes, ran in them once and crossed my fingers that my legs would be fine in them for the race. Hoka shoes are known to be some of the best for people with running injuries so I figured I had nothing to lose.
On that note…
DO NOT. I repeat, DO NOT ever do what I did and buy a new pair of running shoes a couple days before a race (more on that later).
My race goal:
I didn’t really have a goal going into this race other than running SMART!
I knew finishing wasn’t going to be an issue (unless something awful happened) but I also knew this was not a course to go out and try to PR on because of the huge hills.
For me the La Jolla Half was simply about going out there to have fun, cheer on Bryce and my mom and ultimately practice really listening to my body in preparation for my marathon in June.
Now, let’s get into the actual race recap!
La Jolla Half Marathon Race Recap:
The race started at 7:30 am so we wanted to be sure to get there with enough time to park, stretch and go to the bathroom 984759435 times. There was almost no traffic getting into Del Mar and the race was so organized you kind of just had to show up…LOVE THAT!
At 7:15 am my mom, Bryce and I headed towards our corral. We did some final stretching, started our playlists and snapped some selfies!
Freezing to death #SanDiegoProblems
Anddddddd we were off!
To fully appreciate this race you have to understand the course elevation map:
To survive this race I strategically broke it down into 4 parts:
- part 1: keep a nice, steady pace around 9:00/ mile to warm up and save energy for the HUGE fill at mile 5.5
- part 2: survive the GIANT hill!
- part 3: recover after the hill and run faster if I felt up to it, ideally at an 8:30-8:45/ mile pace all while saving some energy for the last hill
- part 4: power up 1 last hill and finish!
The course itself is stunning! You start in Del Mar at the fairgrounds then come through Torrey Pines State Beach, go up the dreaded hill, level out along the Torrey Pines golf course, drop down into La Jolla Shores then head up into Downtown La Jolla for the finish.
I had no pain in my shins and felt great starting off this race. I very quickly found my rhythm and ran at around a 9:00/ mile pace for the first 5 miles as planned.
THEN right when we were descending into Torrey Pines State Beach to begin the hill I got an awful feeling on my left foot.
No, it wasn’t shin splints like I’d been stressing out about but a giant blister.
I thought to myself SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! That’s the most rookie mistake ever wearing brand new shoes during a half marathon DUH you’re going to get a blister Diana!
There was really nothing I could do so I sucked it up, popped a Clif Shot Blok, started climbing the hill and really just hoped my foot wouldn’t be a bloody mess at the finish.
I had trained the Torrey Pines hill a couple of times so it really wasn’t awful for me. I made it up and still kept a 9:30/ mile pace so was very pleased.
Running up hills isn’t an issue for me, it’s running down hills that I hate more than anything. I’m terrible at it. My body gets stiff, every part of my legs sting and it’s just all bad news.
I was feeling great on top of the hill and kept about an 8:45/ mile pace on the level part of the course then the dreaded downhill began.
It was about a mile down to La Jolla shores and I had to seriously slow my pace because with every step pain was shooting up and down my legs. I was near a man who had to be in his 60’s and we were laughing about how I’m 25 and probably have worse legs than him haha!
Once I got to the bottom of the hill I took a few minutes to shake my legs out then kicked my pace up. I was almost done!
I had been warned that the hill at the end of this course was worse than the first hill at mile 5.5 but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t bad at all.
I had ran this race very smart and had conserved enough energy to get right up this final hill. I could really see how if you didn’t study the course map how you would be DEAD at this last hill.
Once I was at the top of the hill the last half mile was all downhill to the finish. My foot seriously felt like the entire bottom had been rubbed raw at this point but I didn’t even care. I was done and I didn’t have any shin issues the entire run #Winning!
I ended up finishing in 1:56:11 with an average pace of 8:52 / mile. This was my second fastest half EVER and on one of the hilliest courses in San Diego so I was extreamly pleased!
- mile 1– 9:17
- mile 2– 8:57
- mile 3– 8:57
- mile 4– 9:04
- mile 5– 8:30
- mile 6– 9:33 THE HILL!
- mile 7– 9:09
- mile 8– 8:50
- mile 9– 8:42
- mile 10– 8:33
- mile 11– 8:27
- mile 12– 8:24
- mile 13– 8:24
Now…how the heck I’m going to run a FULL marathon in June is a whole other story because after just this half I was ready to lay down and have a beer haha!
Bryce came in so strong at 2:12:23. This was only his second half marathon and he killed it! If you all don’t know Bryce’s story you can read a little bit here but he’s lost about 60 lbs since this time last year. It’s been an incredible transformation and I couldn’t be more proud to now be running half marathons with him.
My mom was right behind him also finishing strong and running smart at 2:14:23! I’m so proud of her for continuing to do these crazy races with me!
Immediately after finishing the race we all headed for the Ballast Point beer garden. This was awesome for the runners (all you can drink beer) but they fenced the area off to ONLY runners.
My poor dad couldn’t even come have a drink with us and had to sit outside the fence…really La Jolla Half? Next year the organizers need to let family and friends who come out and support the runners buy a freakin beer and be able to celebrate with everyone.
Okay, rant over!
Me examining my blister. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was but still hurt like hell! Thank goodness I brought an extra pair of socks. TMI!
We snapped a few pictures in the GORGEOUS downtown La Jolla area because how could you not?
Then we headed to Duke’s for some more drinks and for some food before heading home. I felt a little bit too sick to eat but the one bite I had of the black bean nachos with kalua pork was INCREDIBLE.
I can’t wait to come back to Duke’s and actually be able to eat haha!
Overall I can not say enough wonderful things about this race. It was beautifully organized, had a stunning course and delicious beer…what more do you need?
I will definitely be running this race again next year and forcing my dad to do the 5k option so he can join in the beer garden haha!
A huge shout out to Hoka One shoes! WOW! I had read fantastic reviews on their cushioning and support for those with leg injuries and these did not disappoint! My legs overall felt great and as crazy as it sounds the day after a half marathon but my shin splints feel the best they have in weeks.
For anyone who struggles with shin splints like me you HAVE to try Hoka shoes out They are an absolute lifesaver!
Until next year La Jolla…
What’s up next?
- Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle MARATHON June 18th
- San Diego Craft Classic Half Marathon July 17th (MAYBE- all depending on how I’m feeling post marathon)
- America’s Finest City Half Marathon August 21st (To complete the Triple Crown series WOOO!)
This post is already WAYYY too long so I’ll spare you all a whole weekly workout post. Basically, this week will be full of little runs and yoga all gearing up for my first 20 miler on Sunday AHHH! You all will be wearing how that goes next week!
Do you struggle more running uphill or downhill?
Any races coming up?
Did you run the La Jolla Half Marathon this past weekend?