Friday, June 12, 2015

Race Report: Fontana Days Half Marathon

About 53 weeks ago, I was dreaming of finally getting rid of the 2 in the front of my half-marathon times. That maybe that elusive sub-2 dream would finally become a reality. And it did! Sub-2 was mine, with a smokin’ 1:56:31, I finally got to check off a major running goal.

I missed Fontana's registration this year, as it sold out faster than before (early April), but thankfully on the same day it closed, Caroline offered her bib to me! Win. She was going to be just coming back from Canada that day, so I bought her bib and ran as a 45-49 year old female. Whatever. 

While I’ve done lots of races since then, I haven’t technically run a sub-2 half since. I ran 2:00:19 at the RnR LA and 2:00:22 at the San Diego Holiday Half race and everything since then has been about a 2:10 average. Fontana is a course that is just about set up for a PR, should you be in shape enough to pull it off. Frankly, I didn’t think I was, even with all the running I’ve been doing as part of this year’s #RWRunStreak… I just had a sub-2 in mind. That was all I wanted.

Saturday morning came, though, and I thought that maybe – just maybe – I’d have a go at a PR. Heck, even if it was a 1:55, a PR is a PR and I’d be happy knowing that I gave it my all to make that happen. I figured I’d put it all out on the line and just see what came of it. I left home about 5:20 and was in Fontana at the start line by 5:45. Because this course is a point-to-point, you park at the finish and are bussed to the top. While hanging around, I found Richard, Jessica and some other folks, all of whom were gunning for that PR.

Last year, we hovered around a campfire for warmth because it was freezing at the top. I was going to find a throwaway shirt or sweatshirt at home, but Richard had the genius idea of a trash bag instead. Lo and behold, tons of folks were rockin' their own plasticware... and it wasn't as cold at the top this year! Fontana is small enough (only 1,000 half marathoners) that there's simply a mat at the start. This year we all commented on, "Look! They at least have flags this year!" to spruce up the start line a little. Simple touches.

After finding all kinds of IERC people, Sandy, and others, we started to hover over towards the start line to get ahead of the crowd. 7:30 came and we still hadn't started... so a few minutes late, but again, the morning was cool enough and the crowd small enough that it doesn't super affect the race. We were just all freaking antsy and ready to get movin'. Finally... 'gun' time!

Sandy and I found each other not even a mile in and talked about our strategy - thankfully it was the same: push it on bulk of the downhill (mile 8ish) so that if we bottomed out once we got into town, it'd be okay and we'd still have time to spare. For some, this is the exact opposite strategy, but what did we have to lose?

We hung together a little ways, but being that this lady is speedier than me, I let her do her thing. I kept her in sight until well past mile 7, so I was happy about that for me - but also because it meant she must've been feeling good! With all her hip and body drama lately, I figured it was the oomph she needed, so fly with it, lady!

The course is far from exciting. Pretty scenery coming out of the foothills, but if you're the type that thrives on course support, this isn't for you. If you need scenic and landmark distractions, also not entirely for you. I flew - flew into mile 7.5 and walked for 10 seconds to get into a Gu and water and keep moving. I PRed my 5K split (by 10 seconds). PRed my 10K split (~4 minutes). And PRed my 15K split (~18 minutes). I felt amazing and though I pushed hard on the super downhill, I wasn't feeling it, I was feeling good! Last year, about mile 9 is where it start to hurt, bad. And I thought I was in better racing shape last year than this year, so that leaves me a little confused on the shape I'm in currently!

We pass the 5K start and then you know it's home from there - I shuffled for a bit through that start line, but once I got into the mile 11 banner, I knew this was it. Mind you, my goal was just a PR (I had 1:55 in my head as a happy point), and this point I was close to enough to hit close to a 1:50? WHAT. 

Photo courtesy Michael

Boom. And that's how it's done apparently. I flew through the finish, egging some guy on who was just sloshing his way to the finish so he passed me and then in the last .2, I pulled out my last kicks and flew by him. Sorry, guy. I found Sandy right at the finish, and was still huffing and puffing when I stammered out that new time - a near 6-minute PR! Holy whoa.

I went and found Michael and Richard (who was just a minute off a PR), hung out for a bit to chat last folks in. I finally got to meet Juliene who was snagging my Galaxy tickets for the night. Tons of IERC folks at the race - it's nice to finally see and meet faces everywhere that I know that are familiar. It makes racing all the more fun!

Oh, right, that time...


Official: 1:50:39
Finisher 290/1058 (27%)
Females 110/591 (18%)

Last year, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd finally have a half marathon time starting in a 1... and now I've got one with an almost 1:4... holy smokes. I love Fontana. Too bad this PR won't ever be registered under my name. :)

Did you run Fontana? How about PR?


  1. I am so proud of you! That look on your face when you found me after the race!!! I was just hoping to finish that darn race! Keep at it girl! I am holding you to that sub 1:50 really soon!

    1. Wooooo!! So surreal still! I hope I can gun 1:50 on a 'normal' course one day!

  2. Wow. That is amazing. So flipping fast.
    I am shooting for a sub 2 this winter, but it will be close. My fastest recently is a 2:08.

    1. Thanks Abby! I still don't believe it. :) And you WILL get there - you've got it!