Will you believe we are already half way through the first month of the new year? Unbelievable. I still am not used to writing '11' on the date... still feels odd!
I have been staying busy with tons and tons of school work. Joy. Thank goodness I developed a taste for coffee!
This past weekend I ran in the 13.1 Los Angeles Half Marathon, which took place in Venice CA. I know I haven't really talked about this race at all, and it's because I haven't been training for it! I've been feeling kind of defeated about long runs as of late.... I mean.... the last long run I did was back in early November. It was 10 miles of pure torture of which I hated each and every step. After that miserable experience, I kind of gave up on the whole idea of long runs.
But running a race always gets me jazzed. I mean, what's not to love about breaking a sweat with 3,500 running friends? :) Plus, I needed a reason to get off my butt and actually complete a long run. So I attempted this half marathon with absolutely NO TRAINING.
Look at this gorgeous sunrise over the beach!
I arrived nice and early on Sunday morning to pick up my 'packet.' I say 'packet' because all it included was a bib.
??? That's it? Not even a t-shirt? Not even any samples or goodies or pamphlets? Bummer.
The starting line was kind of....boring. It was in a parking lot and cars kept almost running over runners. There wasn't any water or bananas or anything available for the runners either. I just kind of stretched, talked to a couple people I knew who I ran into, and walked into the start line corral area.
Ugh. Not the most flattering photo! haha
They had posters indicating different "corals." It was separated into '7 min mile', '8 min mile," "9 min mile," and so forth. I decided to line up in the 9 min mile corral. That was my slowest half marathon average so I decided that would be a good place to start.
Um.... why did I even bother. It's not like they had pacers. It's not like anyone else was lined up in the correct place. Ugh. Its a BIG pet peeve when people don't line up in the appropriate place. I mean.... seriously. No offense... but if you know you're a 2:30 runner, please don't line up with the 1:45 peeps. You'll seem less like a beginner if you line up in the right corral. Sorry if I sound harsh. It's not just me though is it? to feel this way?
Anyhoo. I had no game plan for this race other than to just not die, haha. I just needed an excuse to run 13 miles. The first mile is along the Venice Boardwalk. We had some...um... "interesting characters" along the boardwalk "cheering" on the runners. I'm not sure if they were really aware of what was going on? Has anyone been to the Venice Boardwalk? You know the kind of people I'm talking about right? The permanetly...high folks? haha. Well, at least they kept me entertained.
After the boardwalk, we run up a street, one street, the same street, turn around and run back. Not an exciting course by any stretch of the imagination, but flat as a pancake and fast. This was my first truly flat half marathon course, and boy! Did it make a huge difference!
I randomly started a conversation with a man wearing a Hawaii T-shirt. Being a Hawaii maniac that I am, it was only natural! Ricci, the Hawaiian gentleman and I ended up 'talking story' and running the entire 13 miles together.
He was a really interesting guy, and our conversations carried me all the way through mile 8 before I felt any sign of fatigue or boredom. I ate half a vanilla GU at mile 6.5 and the other half at mile 8. Vanilla GU tastes awesome BTW.
I had not looked at my Garmin ONCE the entire run, because I didn't care about the time. Ricci was a strong runner who was a little faster than me, and I clung to his heels. I felt like we had been running a pretty good speed, so I felt satisfied. The whole time, I gauged my effort level to be a '7' out of a '10: max effort.' Then around mile 9, Ricci told me we could beat 1:50 if we kept the pace.
WTF! 1:50? That's impossible! That's waaaayyyy too fast! There's no way on earth I'm capable of running a 1:50! But I looked at my Garmin. OMG. He was right! We COULD make it!
I had to dig deep for the last couple of miles. Our conversations stopped. My inner thigh was chafing. I had to repeat this mantra in my head over and over again "This is where it gets easy. This is where it gets easy."
The flat course definitely made it possible to maintain a good pace. I was really tired but drew energy from the entertainment on the course, the spectators screaming and shouting, and the runners alongside me. I felt SO relieved to see the finish line and picked up my speed.
I crossed the finish line and promptly collapsed.
A PR by over 4 minutes! On no training! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!
I even got 24th out of 248 in my AG. Not bad!
Though I didn't quite make it under 1:50, I could NOT be any happier!
After the race, I picked up my shirt and medal. The medal is quite bling as you can see. The t-shirt is made of a nice Tech material....and I don't even dislike the neon green color (road safety!), but.... nowhere on the t-shirt does it specify the event nor the date! It was just a generic t-shirt about all of the 13.1 series. Wah..... It would have been more special if the t-shirt specified that it was the 13.1 LA half marathon on Jan 16, 2011.
After the race, I also searched for the medical tent because my thigh was chafing so bad I could hardly walk straight. I needed vaseline stat. I made my way over to the medical tent... which wasnt even a tent... only to be told they didn't have anything. Wha... What kind of a medical tent are you? I ended up having to ask for a blob of lotion from the massage booth. LAME!
Oh, which reminds me. Although the entertainment along the course was top notch, with lots of really good bands and energetic water stations, the race did not provide ANY sort of race nutrition. Given the fact that there was no sample included in the "packet," I would have liked to see at least ONE nutrition aid station. I mean... this is a half marathon after all! All the other halfs I have run have provided at least SOME nutrition. Good thing I brought my own.
Photos from my walk back to my car. I didn't have a lot of reason to stay long after the race, so I got my gear bag that I checked in, thanked Ricci for pulling me through and helping me get a new PR, and skidaddled.
The morning was turning into a gorgeous day. Sunny, clear, warm. I coudn't wait to take a nap! :)
I'm super stoked on my new PR, and I enjoyed the race thoroughly. I think the race was very well organized, and I loved the course entertainment, along with the FLAT course! The only reason why I may have sounded nit-picky is because ever since beginning my studies in sport management, they have taught us to notice small details...so I can't help it! Now I can't help but notice how much fencing they have, what kind of sound systems they use... etc, lol. But I really did enjoy the race, and in full closure, I did receive a comped entry into the race through my internship.
We have been blessed with perfect weather in Southern CA over the last week, and I have been enjoying it very much. I hope you all are having a great week thus far!