Thursday, June 20, 2019

Yosemite Half Marathon Race Recap 5/11/19

Yosemite Half Marathon Race Recap 5/11/19
Wow! The Yosemite Half Marathon course put on by Vacation Races is a fast one! I ran this last month with my sister and some friends and it was a PR for all of us. Well for one it was her first half so she automatically PR'd but for the rest, we PR'd significantly. :) It was so much fun and a great racecation getaway!

PACKET PICKUP: Packet pickup was at Bass Lake, it's actually where the race ends on race day. The expo is on the smaller end but they had a nice setup of booths. My sister and I got there before our friends that we were meeting, so we had a lot of time to browse. We had fun browsing the booths and even checked out the finish line. There was no line to pickup bibs when we got there but later when our friends arrived, the line got pretty long. 

There were some neat activities to partake in at the expo. They had a S'more station which was a fun treat and they had hammocks where you can relax in. There was also a neat make a bag out of an old t-shirt craft that we did since we had time. Love that Vacation races is against unnecessary waste and trash. They are the only race I know of that is cup free during races. They recommend bringing your own water bottle or handheld (I bring my Simple Hydration bottle) or if you don't have one, you are provided with a reusable pouch that you can clip to your waste.

Here's the bag I made out of  a T-shirt.
We of course had to get a pic by the Yosemite Half sign. :)
Here's the shirt we got for the race. I'm not a fan of the design as I think it could've been cooler being Yosemite, but I guess it's the lake we are looking at?
Yosemite Half 2019 shirt
RACE DAY: We had to get up pretty early for this race with the start time being at 6am. I think we got up around 3:20am so we could be out the door by 4am. The race is point to point so we had to take a shuttle. However, we stayed at the Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn which was close to Oakhurst Elementary School, the school where the shuttles picked us up. We decided to just walk to the school. It was so worth the walk as there was a line of cars backed up just to park. Walking saved us a bunch of time and got us on the shuttle bus quickly.
 Me and my sister happy to be on the shuttle bus.
The ride was around 30-45 minutes. First thing we did when we got off was head to the porta potties. There were a decent amount, but we did have to wait a bit before actually going in.
We got there with enough time to listen for the raffle giveaways, drink my UCAN 30 minutes before, and drop stuff off at gear check. I even had to go to the bathroom again so I had to wait in the porta potty line again. Here we are excited to run! :)
 A shot of the start line.
Yosemite Half Start Line
One last shot before we started the race. The weather turned out great. We were all so happy because earlier in the week, the forecast was for rain, but it actually ended up being perfect. It was a bit cool at the start, so I started with my arm sleeves, but somewhere in the middle I ended up taking them off.
Per my Strava, the race started right on time. Exactly at 6am we were off. Goal for this race was to actually pace my friend Lenora sub 1:50. It's funny because it turned out to be the opposite. She's the one that helped push me. 

The first mile was flat with some downhills and a few uphills but I was just not feeling it. Not sure what it was but I was struggling to keep up with my sister and Lenora and my legs didn't feel fresh. This part was on trail and I remember thinking I wonder if I should have worn different shoes (I was wearing my Altra Escalantes). Came in at 8:38/mi pace the first mile.
Miles 2-3 were more rolling hills. Flat but with some ups and downs along the way. Paces came in at 8:45/mi for mile 2 and 8:58/mi for mile 3. I still was not feeling it.
It wasn't until after mile 3 that I started to feel better. My legs were warmed up and we started to descend. The downhill made running fast effortless. It was fantastic!
 So happy to be running downhill and I was feeling great!
My paces just kept getting faster as I kept running. I didn't realize the course was this fast and had so much downhill. At times I could see both my sister and Lenora but could never catch them. Paces for miles 4-7 are as follows.
Mile 4 - 7:46/mi
Mile 5 - 7:31/mi
Mile 6 - 7:17/mi
Mile 7 - 7:50/mi A little bit of an uphill in this part of the run which slowed the pace a teeny bit. 
By mile 8, I was still cruising along and as you can see by my paces below got even faster.
Mile 8 - 7:07/mi
Mile 9 - 7:04/mi
Mile 10 - 7:01/mi
It was such a beautiful morning! I was so happy the weather turned out the way it did. It felt so good running down with the beautiful scenery along the way.
Free race pics are the best!
I knew that the last 3 miles would be the hardest as the steady downhill would stop and back to flat and rolling hills.
Mile 11 - 8:10/mi
In the last couple of miles we got closer to Bass Lake. It got really hard with some of the hills but I pushed on through.
Mile 12 - 8:23/mi
Mile 13 - 8:25/mi
Last .12 - 7:28/mi
I never did catch up to my sister and Lenora but it was really nice to see them cheer me on at the finish! I could not believe I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:43:45! I never imagined I would run a sub 1:45 this year but I got it! It was an amazing feeling.
Yosemite Finish!
It was nice to finish right by Bass Lake. It was a nice sight to see after the run. We just sat and hung out by the lake for a while just taking our accomplishments in.
Bass Lake
 We all PR'd and had great races. It was a great day of running!
Yosemite Half finish photo
There was chocolate milk, bananas, and they handed out boxes with a bunch of good snacks in them.
Yosemite Half snack box
Yosemite Half snack box
I managed 2nd place in my age group which was an awesome surprise. Both my sister and Lenora also placed. They did amazing and were 3rd and 4th overall for masters. So proud of them! 
Yosemite Half 40-44 age group winners
Overall, Vacation Races put on a great race! The Yosemite half is one fast course! I'd say downhill from miles 4-10! Just be prepared those last 3 miles to work hard. One thing I wish they would change is having the race awards ceremony at 10am. Waiting around for almost 2 hours was long. It was nice to relax by the lake and all but 2 hours is too long! Other than that, I'd say it was awesome! Race was well organized and I also love the medal. This is a race I could see doing again! The area is so beautiful. We really enjoyed heading to Yosemite National Park after the run. We can't wait to do another Vacation Race next year!!
Yosemite Half Medal 2019
Happy running!

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