Last Sunday, I ran my 15th half marathon — at #RnRLA in DTLA! I am not sure I would totally recommend running two half marathons in two consecutive weekends, but I had a lot of fun at #RnRLA with my DTLA Running Group posse.
I also hit up the Got Chocolate Milk? booth for a tweet-up hosted by Pavement Runner. I met Pavey at this race last year, so it was cool to reconnect. I also got to meet Andrea Barber and Michael @ Point One Miles. I love a good tweet-up because I love having the chance to connect with people who share a hobby that is so important to me.
Later that day I obviously organized all of my stuff (I went with the Halloween colors theme, way too lazy and also way too gunnerish to wear a costume). I also got a playlist together. This was the perfect blend of heavy beats and some up-tempo tracks.
On Sunday morning, I set my alarm for 5:30. My first thought was “wait…why am I getting up? OH YEAH….13.1.” That was weird. I had some GF oatmeal and grabbed a coffee on my way to my running group’s meet-up spot at LA Live. We chatted strategy and took some photos before heading over to the start in time for the 7 AM Race start.
I didn’t really have any discernible goals for the race. Sure, a PR is always nice, but I knew that would be pushing it after my amazing race at NWM the week before. My running buddy and training partner Andres was hoping for a PR. Last year, I ran 1:42:42 on this course and he ran 1:46. His goal this year was to go sub 1:40 which I knew would be a cake walk for him.
I know this course well after having done it last year and training regularly on the route. It starts out really flat for the first 4 miles over to USC and around the Coliseum. There’s a very gradual uphill on the way back. I prefer the second half of the course – up Flower street to 3rd, down to Central, over to 6th and across the 6th street bridge, and then back.
I started in the second corral and just kind of tried to do my own thing. I knew Andres and I would run similar paces, but he was in the third corral. I listened to my music and didn’t really focus on my watch. For the first few miles, I was trading places with another DTLA Running buddy of mine, Kevin, who was running his first half-marathon!
My splits were a little bit all over the place, but I felt pretty good for the first half. I thought I *might* have a chance of PR-ing because my pace was relatively similar to Nike Women’s and the course doesn’t have any big hills. The start was pretty uneventful, except as always there were people who should not have been in the second corral that I had to dart around to avoid at first, but that’s okay. In the second mile or so I saw Pavement Runner at the turn-around for the 5k — he is a beast and ran the 5k super fast and then did the half while they were still letting out the later corrals. I let out a “get it, Pavey!”
Out to USC was pretty fun and fast and uneventful. I liked scoping out the costumes (the guy in the Dorothy outfit complete with Toto in a basket was…aggressive). I kinda just did my thing out there for a bit. I took water at every aid station for NWM and that worked for me, so I did the same for this race – except I took Gatorade when I could because electrolytes.
The funny thing about the way #RnRLA releases corrals is that you can see people in higher or lower corrals on two out and back portions of the course. Last year I saw a bunch of DTLA Running people this way so I kept my eyes peeled. At maybe mile 4 or so I saw my long lost friend Joe heading toward the Coliseum while I was leaving — he was super loud and energetic which put a little pep in my step. Pavey told me later he said he saw me twice on the out-and-back portion, and YELLED “Gillian” both times and then said in a softer voice “. . . is wearing headphones.” Guess my music was a little too loud and I was in the “zone” for awhile. Whooooops.
On the way back toward LA Live, I could start to feel a little soreness in my IT band. This is my least favorite part of the course — it’s pretty monotonous and there’s some gradual uphill.
The biggest hill is up the 6th street bridge — it’s not a typical hill, but it’s relatively steep. This is where I saw some of my DTLA peeps — I saw my buddy Steve coming down when I was about half way up. I saw Andres *right* behind me at the turn-around, and I saw a few other people not to far behind him. I bumped into speed demon/my running idol Cynthia going back through the tunnel.
I turned onto Flower and headed into the finish. In the end, I was pretty close to a PR, but alas, no cigar. I ran 1:37:02. My Garmin has 13.51 total miles (7.11). I know the course is a little bit long, but I think the 3rd street tunnel could mess up the GPS a little bit.
Andddd the splits:
- Mile 1 – 7:02
- Mile 2 – 6:50
- Mile 3 – 7:08
- Mile 4 – 7:09
- Mile 5 – 7:25
- Mile 6 – 7:34
- Mile 7- 7:22
- Mile 8- 6:51 (no clue, maybe some good music?)
- Mile 9 – 7:20
- Mile 10- 7:48 (hill)
- Mile 11 – 7:22
- Mile 12 – 7:51
- Mile 13 – 5:54 (wrong, I think the tunnels messed it up)
- + change – 3:30
Although I don’t like to “lose,” I like it when my friends PR even better. Andres finished behind me, but he crushed his PR by 10 minutes and beat me. Pretty awesome. (Also, check out how close our paces were.)
Kevin and Cynthia finished right with us as well — the four of us took a few pictures, grabbed some food in the finish chute, and headed to our obvious first stop, the free beer.
Pretty quickly, I was getting antsy for actual beer. Andres and I moved the party over to Tom’s Urban. I had an IPA (obvi) and delicious breakfast sliders. There was some football on in the background but I was too busy social media-ing and riding the endorphin high to really engage.
Overall, #RnRLA was a great event and I had a ton of fun with my running buddies and supporting some first-time half-marathoners. But, this course also made me HUNGRY to try and see a 1:35, which is scary to even type.
My body DEFINITELY took a hit on this one, though. Walking was a struggle the rest of the day and all day Monday, but I felt better after lifting Tuesday morning.
Any suggestions for a 1:34:xx course?