On Sunday, October 13th I ran my 11th Half-Marathon in Long Beach!
The weekend started with a trip to the expo at the Long Beach Convention Center on Friday. Katherine was running the full marathon, so we arranged to meet up at the expo and peruse it together. I normally am at the expo the day before the race — but let me tell you, going on the Friday before was so much better. There were no crowds, and we were able to actually interact with vendors and didn’t have to elbow anyone. I was especially excited to see Back on My Feet there promoting its new LA chapter. I am hoping to get involved with their DTLA chapter. Stay tuned.
Anyway, Katherine and I grabbed our bibs, walked around, and then headed to a delicious lunch (with beer, obvi) at Simmzy’s in Long Beach. It is always fun catching up on all things healthy living blogs with Katherine (my first blog-friend turned real-life friend) and hearing about her marathon training.
Anyway, Sunday started with a 5 am wake-up call, some coffee, my usual pre-race brekkers of oatmeal and PB, and a bathroom selfie.
I left DTLA at 5:15 and drove to Long Beach. I had read in the pre-race program that parking could be a nightmare (the full-marathon started at 6 am, so when I got there at 5:45 many roads were already going to be closed). Luckily, I parked in the first open lot — at the Superior Court building — for $10. I was meeting Whitney and her sister Emma there, and I luckily I found them while I was walking to the start (I intentionally left my cell phone in the car).
We had plenty of time before the start — so we watched the full marathoners go by right by the 10k mark. I spotted Monica of Run Eat Repeat and let out a little cheer for her. Finally, right around 7:30 we toed the line and were off!
It was a gorgeous day — PERFECT running weather, and just a nice day to be outside. I had been battling a cold, and have another 13.1 in two weeks, so my goal for the race was to treat it like a long-run. I broke the cardinal rule of running — nothing new on race day — in order to stay in that mindset. I wanted to keep my pace in the 8-8:10 range (8:10 would be my dream marathon goal pace).
My first mile was in 7:40. It didn’t feel fast though. I thought okay — that may just be first mile excitement. Your body will settle.
Mile #2 – 7:43
Mile # 3 – 7:34
Mile #4 – 7:31
I soon realized this wasn’t my race pace. 7:40s were feeling like long-run pace. I decided to go with it. The first 6 miles were scenic (view of the ocean) but sort of boring — very industrial and the terrain just didn’t change that much.
Mile #5 – 7:04 (I am convinced this is wrong)
Mile # 6 – 7:30
I did not feel like I was “racing.” My pace felt controlled and easy/relaxed, which was my main goal. I told myself that if I needed to come down to 8s or 8:10s, that would be fine. I also told myself that even though a PR was within reach, that I would NOT gun it and aim for one at this point. I would save a PR for a day when I was in race-mode, did not have a pre-race dinner of a tailgate hamburger, cheap beer, and candy corn, and where my health was at 100%. It was hard for me not to turn on the competitiveness and really race, but keeping my Garmin sent to current pace and total distance helped (I couldn’t see the total clock time).
Around mile 6.5, I saw Whitney’s boyfriend and her parents. It helped to see them — it gave me a little surge of energy.
Mile #7 – 7:35
The next few miles were south on the bike path. It was scenic — I paused for a second to take in the view of the waves splashing against the sand. False, I didn’t really pause, but I did note how pretty the ocean was.
Mile #8 – 7:38
I took my Gu around mile 8.5. I started to feel a little bit tired — probably from the fact that my longest run since June was only 9.5. The Gu helped. This part of the course was boring — not a ton of crowd support, but the fact that it was so beautiful made up for it. There were some funny signs once we turned around, and I loved that people were handing out donuts (I did not take one — would have probably killed me).
Mile #9 – 7:47
Mile #10 – 7:41
At this point, I kept thinking okay, three miles, this is cake. You got this! This was also when I got pretty tired.
Mile # 11 – 8:04
Mile #12 – 7:58
I started getting really tired here. Luckily, my two different versions of Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” came on in quick succession and I powered through.
Mile # 13 – 7:40
Total Time: 1:40:40.
This is not a PR (1:38:55), but I was very happy with my performance. For one thing — I did not go out too fast. Also, this race showed me that I have indeed gotten faster. When I set my PR in June 2012, I GUNNED it in order to run that time. This felt pretty easy, save for maybe miles 11 and 12. I am looking forward to hopefully bringing that time down a little — as well as tackling full marathon #2 (at a much slower pace than 7:38/mile, but you get the idea).
Afterward, I met up with Emma and Whitney. Emma ROCKED her first half-marathon in a time of 2:07 (!!). Whitney toughed it out there on a day when here legs were straight-up not cooperating. I grabbed my Beach Cities Challenge medal (I completed the Surf City, OC, and Long Beach halves to earn it) and headed for a re-fuel/celebratory lunch with Whitney and Emma, their parents, and Whitney’s boyfriend. Johnny Rockets burgers + shakes hit the spot.
This playlist helped too.
I have another half next weekend — I’m nervous about it because my first run post LBC was BRUTAL, but I think I just needed to take a longer rest period.