Fresno Eye-Q Half Marathon

It’s been a busy month for me, this month of May.  I opened my eyes and it’s just about over now as we are in its last full week!  Wow!  So much to write, so little time.

Last weekend was my second half for the month for me.  (Since I’m a very S L O W blogger, it’s now 3 weekends ago!)  I’d never really done that before.   I take that back, I have, just not “formally” as in signing up for a race.  I’ve logged as many as 150 miles/month, so running 2 13.1 mile races is a piece of cake!  I haven’t done it in the past because it can wreck havoc on a family schedule and also a schedule in which one works every other weekend.  However, one race was a “must run,” while the other one was one in which I had the opportunity to see my college boy, and spend the weekend meeting new Twitter friends, and seeing an “old” one.  Win/Win!!

Fresno … Ah, what’s good to say about Fresno?  Probably not much as I live in it’s cousin city, Stockton.  That’s another blog in itself, so we’ll save that for another day.  Fresno is located in the middle of California’s Central Valley, and I didn’t realize that it was so HUGE!  I mean HUGE!  It has a population of about half a million people for gosh sakes!  Yeah, that’s huge!  From what I know and have experienced of Fresno, it’s like any other California city … it has its good and bad points and parts.  I’m not a good one to comment as I have not really spent any real quality time there.  I know that it’s the home of the Fresno State Bulldogs (Go Dogs!), and that it’s HOT there.

I’m not sure how I even found this race.  Probably from my time spent trolling websites looking for races to run.  Wait, I remember … I was looking for biking events for my hubby to participate in as he’s new to biking and was looking for organized rides.  This particular race was made into an entire weekend … The Eye Q California Classic Weekend.  I thought it would be fun if my husband could ride on Saturday, and I could run the half on Sunday.  It ended up that I would be the only one participating as for some reason he didn’t sign up.  Oh well … that was okay with me.  I sent out the link to my friend, Linda, who spends a lot of time in Fresno and asked if she would consider running with me.  That link was consequently viewed by Penny (@southbaygirl) who convinced Kristy (@kristylpants) and a weekend was planned!

We left for Fresno on Saturday morning.  Uneventful drive, one short stop to get gas and some In and Out Burger  for some much needed fuel of a different source.  (Yeah, I know it’s not exactly the right source of nutrition, but the burgers are awesome and the french fries are to die for so bite me!)  One and half hours later we’re in Fresno looking for our hotel and getting lost in the not so finest part of town!  Good times for Chris and I  as he wants to throttle me more times than he let’s on as I am so NOT a good navigator!  In my defense, I have never claimed to be a good navigator, nor do I ever want to be.  The majority of the time on our road trips, I can be found sleeping in a reclined passenger seat, reading, or messin’ around with my iPhone.  If it’s truly a navigator that he wanted, then it’s what he got the Garmin for, right?  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

45 minutes later, we find the Holiday Inn that we’ve booked for the weekend, but it’s too early to check in.  We park in front of the Casino next door, and we head out to packet pick up at Chuckchansi Stadium … Home of the Fresno Grizzlies!  Really?  Yep, true story.

Chuckchansi Stadium - Home of the Fresno Grizzlies
Chillin' like a villian as I wait for Penny and Kristy.

Packet pick up was no expo …. just a very small event with a couple high school girls handing out bib numbers, and a few volunteers handing out the goodie bags and tech shirts.  I walk up to pick up mine, only to be informed that the only size shirt in womens that they have is a large!  What?  Are you kidding me?  When I registered, I requested a small shirt and you’re telling me that you only have a large?  Minor SNAFU … let it go.  It’s not like I wear my tech shirts anyway!  Penny and Kristy were close to arriving to Fresno, so I told them that I would wait.  No big deal.  I rummage through the goodie bag to find absolutely nothing exciting!  Lucky for me, Penny and Kristy arrived a few minutes later.  To me, it’s always such a nice feeling to meet people that I have been communicating with via Twitter and/or Facebook.  It reminds me so much of the pen pals that I had when I was a child, however, I have yet to meet them IRL (in real life).  After introductions, we head off to our Hotel – the Holiday Inn – which is within walking distance from the race start.

At the Holiday Inn Hotel Lobby - Impersonating Lonette the Clown from the Big Comfy Couch.

After we get settled, I call my son, Sam, who is a Junior at Fresno State University.  Penny, Kristy, and I had plans to meet up with our friend, Linda, later, so I suggested to Chris that we take Sam out to eat as I knew that he would be hungry.  He was.  We ended up walking around close to where we were staying and asked a Police Officer his suggestion for a good lunch spot … He suggested a sports bar up the way called     .  Good choice in terms of food, just the service was somewhat slow and, no, it was not busy at all.  We got caught up with Sam, and headed back to the hotel where I got ready to go to dinner (I know, I just ate), and Chris and Sam were to spend some time together doing what Sam enjoys … playing poker at a local casino.

Penny, Linda, Me, & Kristy
Five Restaurant, Fresno, CA
OMG! Carb loading at it's finest!

Dinner with Linda was at a restaurant called Five.  Italian fare, perfect for pre-race carb loading.  Linda was there, along with her “Harley Guy,” Bill.  Conversation was great, and the company was even better!  I ended up ordering a seafood pasta with red sauce which was absolutely delicious!  Alas, race day the next day was a bright and early 0700 so as much as we were having fun, it was time to head on back and get some rest.

No issues with me.  I got back, laid out my race outfit, and called it a night.

Race day.  Game face on!  Gah!  I had no “real” pre-race nutrition!  I did have a banana, and a coffee, but I was hoping for my usual bagel and peanut butter.  I had to make do with some of my left over pasta, and my banana and coffee, which seemed to satisfy me enough.  I get a text from Penny that they were ready to head out at 0615.  Perfect timing!  I’m ready to go!  The excitement between the three of us is evident.  We have our complimentary Punk Rock Racing gear on from our friend Ron (@PunkRockRunner).  We are happy to be representing our friend!  I’m even happier that Ron was able to make it white with purple!  Awesome!  We head to the start to be amongst the others who anxiously await the start.

The race began on time.  It started early because they feared that the weather – which is normally HOT at this time of year for Fresno, would once again creep up to some high temps.  Thankfully, it did not.  It was around the low to mid 60s the entire time which was perfect for me.  By looking at the course map, I thought for sure I’d get lost running thru the streets of Fresno, but I knew that I’d be okay because I’d be with other runners – some ahead of me, some behind me, but I knew that unlike small trail races, I’d never really be “alone.”   I “lost” Penny and Kristy at the start.  They were going to run together.   The run was surprisingly nice for me, but it got even better at around the half mark because this is where we entered the Fresno Zoo!  Wow!  It was perfect for me that the first animals that I saw were kangaroos, zebras, and giraffes.  If you’re wondering why, it’s because my father always loved Australia and always brought me back something from there that was animal themed.  I still have a koala coin purse that he brought me when I was around 8 or 9.  Running among those animals reminded me of my dad, and how he loved to watch me run!  I needed that at this point.  Not that I was struggling or anything, just sometimes I think I’m forgetting my dad when it’s only been 3 years.  It was kind of a nice to remember that his memory surrounds me.

The rest of the run was fairly “easy” for me.  I was pretty much on track hitting about 10 -1030 min/miles which I was happy with.  I still have a lot of plantar fascitis issues, and I could feel my left foot and ankle a little, but not enough to bother me.  I knew that I was a little off in my gait, but I still ran fairly well.  My friend, Linda, told me later that she was at the mile 12 marker, however I didn’t see her.  I think she got there late and I had already finished.  I would’ve loved to have seen her, she is the BEST race cheerleader!!!

I loved that race.  Not only was it a good run for me, but I so enjoyed meeting my Twitter friends!  I have met some really nice people on there and meeting them in real life is a bonus!  The *blng* (medal) was nice, as was the post race fueling!  Com’mon … Stone Cold!  Heck yeah!  There was also beer, and the usual fare of bagels, and bananas, but Stone Cold was definately my fav!  The only complaint that I have was that I did not see one porta-potty out on the course.  Seriously, not one!  Lucky for me, I was smart enough to use the one at the zoo, but really, not one out on the course.  The water stations were pretty scarce, too, but I can’t remember.  I have been trying to teach myself to run without a water belt, so I have only been carrying a very mini one from iFitness which I LOVE.  However, did you know that Nuun, the flavored water tabs, will explode under pressure?  OMG!  I didn’t, or I wasn’t paying any attention that they were effervescent so I put one in my water bottle when I refilled it at one of the stations.  At mile 10 when I wanted a sip … I got a face full!!!!  Holy cow!  Thank God I am able to laugh at myself because I’m sure it was amusing to all those around me who heard me yell out then bust out laughing!

Would I run it again?  Yes!  It was a very nice run.  I enjoyed myself!  So … Fresno … see you in 2012!

My New Friends - Penny & Kristy
It's all about the *bling*!

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