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AFC Half Marathon Recap 2014

AFC Half Marathon Recap 2014


I have mixed feelings about today’s race.

Physically I feel great right now besides having a bit of a headache and being slightly dehydrated. Mentally I’m not quite sure though. Ha.

I was nervous going into this race because I knew it was going to be a hot one. I’ve had some issues lately with dehydration, heat and soggy shoes and such. I’m not really ready to explain it all on the blog, but my plan today was just play if safe, to go easy and stay feeling good. I didn’t have any time goals, just to take it easy and be careful with hydration, etc.

That’s exactly how things went. I was comfortable the whole time. I didn’t really push things, which was the plan, and I didn’t have any issues along the way. In hindsight I felt better than I should have the last few miles, which makes me feel like I should have gone a little faster, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and I’m sticking with being conservative for the time being.

I’ll recap the race for you though so you can all come run it with me next year since it’s a really fun one, okay?


The America’s Finest City Half Marathon was actually the very first half marathon I ever did in 2006. My time was 2:06:38 with a 9:39 pace. Before that race the furthest I’d ever run was 8 miles. Pretty funny.

My other recaps of this particular race are here (just click on the year):

 2011– 1:43:08

2012– 1:34:16

2013– 1:40:02 (first race back after my injury)


So let’s see. I was cutting it close to make it to the shuttle on time which was really no surprise. I probably would’ve been a little bit better off if I hadn’t decided to take my nail polish off just as I was about to leave the house. Oh and if I hadn’t forgotten my race bib in the car when I first got in the shuttle line.

At least I got a little extra warm up jog in and made it just in time.

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I won’t complain about that.

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I also won’t complain that I was then the first person in line for the last shuttle.

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Ha ha.

Here’s a quick little view of the shuttle ride.

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Here’s what went down while I was on the shuttle. A whole wheat Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Roll with some peanut free NuttZo.

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By the time we got to the start at Cabrillo National Monument I had my breakfast and had my bib pinned on. It was perfect.

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With 15 minutes until the start time I was in line for the port a potty. I wasn’t alone.

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I was very proud of my matching low trainer Pro Compression socks with my Wave Sayonara 2 shoes and thought I’d show you since I had some time to kill and all.

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They go well together, yes?

I knew it was going to be hot so there was no way I was running in marathon socks. I haven’t been handling the heat very well and purposely wore the lightest, most heat friendly outfit I could.

There’s never a really huge announcement at this race to walk to the start line, but we all started heading that way when it was getting close to 7:00 am.

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I didn’t take any pictures along the course. My mind wandered a lot and I had to fight off some darn negative thoughts right off the bat.

The race course though is a great one.



It starts off at Cabrillo National Monument with a beautiful view of both San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It’s pretty flat and fast for awhile into downtown San Diego. Then it takes you along the San Diego Bay and Harbor Island and although there isn’t any shade during most of that part, it’s scenic and flat.

There is a turn through the airport rental car return that always makes me giggle. It’s not my favorite part, but it’s really short and you exit out along the Embarcadero to all the hips and The Star of India. The last few miles wind through downtown San Diego and then at about mile 11 or so, you turn left and start to climb. That hill is a bit rough, especially when it’s hot out like it was today. It’s not a steep hill, it’s just long. Once you get to the top though, you turn right and you’re pretty much home free. There’s one last right turn and a really nice slight downhill to the finish line in Balboa Park in front of the Hall of Champions.

I didn’t take any pictures today, but I do have some pictures of the course in my recap from last year.

I also didn’t look at my GPS the entire time. I didn’t want it messing with my head. My goal was to come close to holding MP (marathon pace) if I could and treat it like a long tempo training run. More so than keeping a certain pace though, I just wanted to not have any cramping issues or anything.

When I finally looked down after I crossed the finish line I saw this.

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That’s kind of fun. Too bad it doesn’t keep track of all my treadmill miles on there. Ha.

I decided to not even check my actual time. I figured it didn’t matter so I took some pictures instead.

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Oh hey, what’s going on there with your arm sweaty lady?

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Aren’t you supposed to get a medal or something when you cross the finish line?

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Oh, there it is.

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Pretty cool looking medal, huh?

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I do have to say that after that ultra trail Stairway to Heaven half marathon last weekend, that this half marathon really went by rather quickly. It was over fast.

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I had a GU and a chia shot in my Handful Bra at the beginning of the race. At mile 8 the GU went down, but that chia shot stayed put the entire time. It made a cool little rattling noise throughout the race. I guess I didn’t even need my music. Ha. I love keeping things in sports bra. It’s just so handy. Oh and I wore my pink Halo Hat on purpose not only to match, but because I’d worn it a couple times previous for this particular race. It was like tradition.

I also made sure to wear my new pink shades I picked up at the expo. My favorite racing and running sunglasses. Not only are they cheap ($20), but they’re super light and they never fog up on me like my other expensive ones.

(You can email Kathy at Oculus Eyewear if you want some fun racing glasses. Her email is kathyj1897@yahoo.com. I was gifted these sunglasses, but I’ve bought other pairs from them before because they’re my favorite for running and racing.)

Oh and not sure if this happens to anyone else, but after I finish a race and walk around a bit I usually get a little sweat in one eye. Not both, just one and only after the race is over. Dang does it sting though.

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There’s a bit of a walk from the finish to the festival area. I made my way over there pretty quickly.

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It wasn’t too crowded yet as a lot of people were still finishing.

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It was darn hot out and I had driven by myself down there so I made my rounds around the festival rather quickly.

The first stop was here obviously.

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Right? Have you ever seen Nothing Bundt Cakes at a race before? It was a first for me.

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I also got a few Larabars. Love these things and love the small snack size they have at events.

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The new Uber bars are really good if you haven’t tried them yet.

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So good, in fact, I had to do a quick Uber pic.

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My last stop was to try to win some free rice.

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I scored a mini pack. That was good enough for me.

I took another quick look around in the heat, looked at the time and decided if I stick around in the sun to see everyone I’s be stuck getting out of the parking lot for over an hour. That’s happened more than once there., In the race’s defense, they do have a very specific warning NOT to park in the lot that I park in because getting out after the event is difficult. Obviously I listen well.

I made a quick decision to head out and take my soggy sweaty mess home.

It was one of the best decisions I’d made in awhile.

Less than an hour later I was showered with my random Vega Sport protein, egg white, banana and spinach smoothie in hand and headed off to meet Grandama, Papap and the boys at church.

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Wouldn’t you know they were having cake there too.

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Who taught this guy how to eat cake? There is something called a fork you know.

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Later on I got a special invite for a VIP movie experience.

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My men even had VIP seating all set up. Let me tell you, that boogie board did wonders for post race legs and glutes.

Oh and this leftover pizza during our matinée was darn delicious.

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Thank you to the best hubby and sister-in-laws ever for surprising me with this high maintenance order. I’m so spoiled.

It’s been a good day.


Oh, I almost forgot, my official time for the 2014 America’s Finest City Half Marathon was 1:39:50 (7:37 per mile). Far from my PR, but I feel pretty darn good at the moment, so that’s a win.

I’m focusing on a few other priorities at the moment and just darn blessed and lucky for the role running plays in my life.



Hope you had a great weekend!


Did anyone else race this weekend?

Is school starting where you are yet?

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  1. 1
    Liz A says:

    Awesome job! Love that race, hope to do it next year (3 months post baby just didn’t give me enough time) with you! Miss you running mama 🙂

  2. 2
    Sasha says:

    Congrats on another race! The heat must have been so brutal today (was a scorcher up here). The tank top you raced in is so cute. Love the VIP movie invite and setup from those cute boys. 🙂

  3. 3

    Hugs! I still would have preferred you wait around for me Ha ha just kidding! Glad you made it to church on time!

  4. 4
    Angie says:

    Have you seen the north face sports bra with pockets?!? You need that!

  5. 5
    Kim says:

    I hope that everything is OK – I know you have mentioned the heat thing a couple of times and I know that isn’t fun (it’s making me nervous for my upcoming race but….).
    Great job on the race – you are always amazing!!!

  6. 6
    Sam says:

    That course looks amazing! San Diego is so beautiful, but I definitely wouldn’t do well in living in southern California heat. Congrats on running the race you needed to run today! It sounds like you made some GREAT decisions all the way through. I wonder if they make that neon pink hat in men’s sizes…I’d rock it.

    What was on the marquis at your VIP movie experience? 🙂

  7. 7
    Alissa says:

    Great job!!!! I’m a worry wort when it comes to dehydratIon since I dehydrate fast. I started using Osmo pre-load and active products in the Spring. I was desperate to find something that would take the cramps and dying thirst feeling away. Also I was frustrated from last year’s training where I wasn’t getting any faster and I was reallly dragging toward to end of races.

    I’ve raced twice this year using Osmo and didn’t hit the wall and actually drank less water than previous races. One was in Napa and hot and yes, I wilted at the end but that was a mental block that kept me from finishing strong.

  8. 8
    Tracy Levine says:

    Great job Kristen!! All your pics make me miss San Diego so much. Some day we’ll make it back! I was wondering how often do you do resistance training exercises for your legs? I know you run A LOT and have great muscle definition. I am going to start jogging 5 miles, 6 days a week and am also doing “Body Beast”, which incorporates weight training for all muscle groups. But I get fatigued with “lower body” day and trying to run in the same day. Do you run on days you do resistance training on your legs? Thanks for any input/tips, I know you work so hard to be in such great condition and are a huge inspiration to me 🙂

  9. 9
    Laura says:

    Considering you ran a really hard race last weekend, that time is great!! I don’t know how you can run so many races!!! Although I haven’t had a race in a month now, and I can’t wait to race again- labor day weekend, a couple in Sept. and then Runner’s World- woohoo! 🙂
    Thankfully school has not started. Ugh, beginning the new year is always so hard. I like my summer routine! 🙂 I will enjoy this last full week of freedom for sure.

  10. 10
    marti says:

    congrats on a great race! need to stop thinking about times and just go with what you feel 🙂 just getting out their and running is the biggest accomplishment! looks like a great weekend with your family.. they must be so proud of you.

  11. 11
    Kathy says:


  12. 12

    Great job!! LOVE your shoe/sock combo btw! It’s the last week of summer for us here and I have mixed emotions about that – I love being at home with the kids all summer but I’m also ready to get back into a routine!

  13. 13
    Jeremy says:

    I’ve heard great things about AFC and was considering
    adding it to my calendar next year. Sorry to hear it was so
    hot but that post-race feast looks awesome! Nothing bundt
    cakes at a race? Sweet!! Thanks for the recap! And way to rock it!

  14. 14
    Denise says:

    Congrats on another great race!! Training / racing in the heat is never fun & hydration is always an issue…. Glad you made it without any issues 🙂 LOVE the tank you ran in!! Pizza & movie night at home with my hubby. & boys sounds like a great idea…. What movie did you watch??

  15. 15
    Michelle Kim says:

    OMG, I love eating that TJ’s cinnamon roll/bread with peanut butter before a race (and for breakfast, in general).
    Glad you enjoyed the race (and not letting the PR factor be the only determinant of whether you had fun or not).
    I didn’t race over this weekend, but I’ll be pacing the Santa Rosa half marathon next week.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    elizabeth says:

    Soggy shoes? I really like my Drymax socks.

  18. 18

    Congrats on the finish! What a great way to train for your upcoming Kauai Marathon! When I ran the Kona Marathon one summer, they had water misters and handed out ice – lifesavers on the warm and humid course!

  19. 19
  20. 20
    kendyl says:

    I’m sorta laughing to myself because I ended up reading your 2013 AFC recap and there is a picture of my back in one of your pictures past the finish line on that grassy knoll. I can see my unmistakeable ponytail and the purple towel around my neck. Craziness. It’s a small world after all…
    Sorry it was so hot…major bummer…wish we could control the weather sometimes. Then again, I wouldn’t reeeeally want that responsibility, honestly. As much as I think I want control, I think I’d rather leave most of it to the big man upstairs. He seems to know what He is doing. 🙂

  21. 21

    Nice run! I haven’t done this one yet, though I heavily considered it…all the way up until Saturday afternoon, when I got home! I realized though, that with the traffic, there’s no way I would have made it back down to SD for the expo, in time to register 🙁 I do plan to do it one day…either next year or 2016, when I go for the Triple Crown 🙂 I always hear it’s a rough one, being that it’s mid/late August – with the heat and the hill. Again, nice run!!!


  1. […] made it though the rough part. This is part of the reason my past three races (Raptor Ridge Half, American’s Finest City Half and the Kauai Marathon) went down like they did. I had a lot going on physically and mentally […]

  2. […] I took this exact same picture and wore the same shoes at this race last year. (The recap is here.) […]

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