This past Saturday a bunch of us crazies ran the Fontana Days Run Half Marathon as part of a little thing dubbed on social media as #Fontana2SD. We hauled our little family of six down from Sacramento on Friday morning and arrived in Fontana that afternoon. It was a scorching 104 degrees. Hey, we thought we were leaving the extreme heat of Sacramento but alas, we were wrong.
If this was any indication of how the race was going to go, boy were we in trouble. I've read that heat plays a major role in racing performance and since it was going to be hot that day, it was imperative that precautions were taken. Luckily I hydrated the days leading up to the race.
We checked in to the nearby hotel and our local Fontana hero, Linzie, jokingly questioned, "We have a hotel in Fontana?" Yes, Linzie you do and it's a nice one. It was situated just a few minutes drive away from the finish line which was also the bus area up the mountain to the start.
I took the car since I didn't want to wake the kids just to drop me off at zero dark thirty. This meant that they would not be able to meet me at the finish line. Boo! It actually worked out since we had to be in San Diego that same day to prep for race #2, the RnRSD Half Marathon.
I met with a bunch of other crew members who were also taking on this challenge of two half marathons in two days, in two different cities. We each got the memo and coordinated a red, black and white theme and it came out AMAZING!
We rode buses up the mountain to the start line which was nice a cool but we all knew darn well it wouldn't last that long. We endured (even the men) long bathroom lines and took more group shots.
This race had no corrals, just a starting area and once the gun went off, it was all downhill from there. Literally. I know that running downhill may sound like it's easy and for the most part, gravity does it's job and pulls you down but your legs sure do take a beating. Oh and once you flatten out or heaven forbid, hit a slight inclince, you're gonna feel it!
We all had the understanding that we were going to "race" Fontana and "party" in SD so I was in a solo zone if you will from the beginning. I took it easy, not letting myself get too fast on the early descent. I'm sure if you weren't conscious of it, you could easily pull off mile splits up to 45 seconds faster than even your fast, flat times. This would likely have negative effects on the outcome of your race if you're not prepared for it.
I listened to music which helped push me along and I must admit that the course was not the prettiest one I've ran but I was more focused on keeping a good pace and finding people to eventually pick off. By mile 3 or 4, we were totally exposed to the blazing sun and i had to turn my hat to the side to keep from burning! I ran like this the entire rest of the race.
Those towels you see around my neck were likely what got me through the last few miles of the race. The race officials said that they would provide extra support on the course and cold wet towels helped keep the runners cool. At each subsequent water stop, I drank a cup and used a cup to keep the towel soaked.
I have to admit that the last few miles were a bit of a blur likely due to the high temperatures messing with my mind. I still kept one foot in front of the other and powered through to the end. I hit mile 12 and looked down at my watch and knew that as long as I didn't totally BONK, I would be setting a PR that day.
I finished, drank two bottles of water in the shade of a tree and met up with friends who all had excellent races despite the heat. We all congratulated each other for what we accomplished, said our goodbyes for now and would all meet soon in San Diego for race number 2, #RnRSD. Overall, I'm happy with the race and how I performed. It sure will be one to remember.