10 October 2011

Lessons I learned at the Long Beach Half-Marathon...

I still haven't pulled together a race recap, but Giraffy has some good pictures and a recap of her experience over on her blog, 365 Days of Awesome, including a picture of the largest horseshoe-shaped collection of Port-a-potties known to man as well as one of that morning's glorious sunrise.

I have, however, assembled some of the valuable (and also some inconsequential) things I learned from the Long Beach Half-Marathon...
  • Technology has really changed in the past 14 years! There are some really cool stats on the race's official website! In addition to my official gun and chip times, it also gives nifty info like my overall place (2307th...top 22%), my gender place (755th... top 12%), and my age group place (70th...top 10%). It also tells me that I finished ahead of 65% of male participants, and that in the second half of the race, I passed 539 runners and was passed by 85. There are lots of neat graphics that accompany these and other stats...this is new for me! 
  • Tangents can be important. A couple of commenters mentioned this when I shared my 'cutting-it-close' race plan, and they were so right. According to Mr. Garmin, I ran 13.3 miles... 
  • I have the speed to do a sub 2-hour 13.1-mile run (reference above picture).
  • Pee breaks can wreck your time... I peed for a total of almost two minutes in two breaks during the race. I stopped my Garmin for these stops. The first one was necessary; the second was not. Next time, I'm not stopping to pee. Or I'm running faster.
  • The Long Beach course is insanely curvy. Insanely. So those tangents had a big effect.
  • The Long Beach course is not all that scenic. The beginning is like running on the freeway, then you go through some industrial stuff, then you get a glimpse of the Queen Mary, then more industrial stuff (all the while the route spirals around and around, and you're dodging and weaving through the thousands of other runners... adding more distance to that 13.1 :P) and then you hit the beach for several miles. It's a narrow, paved trail on the sand that's packed with runners. Packed. So what you see is sand. And runners that you are again dodging and weaving through. After several sunny miles of that, you come to the turnaround and wind up heading back on a big street through a bunch of apartment buildings. Anyway, that's what I saw, but I was quite focused so it's entirely possible I missed the scenic stuff.
  • I need to start out in an optimistic wave. I went back and forth on which wave to start with. Wave 2 was for under 2:05 and Wave 3 was for 2:06 and over. I started on the front edge of Wave 3 to help keep myself in check for the first mile or two. I didn't need to do that. Next time I will try starting with a faster group...less dodging and weaving.
  • Proper fueling and hydration make a world of difference... especially when it's sunny and kind of hot. I did a great job of this. GUs at Mile 5 and Mile 10 and at least a few sips of water at every water stop beginning at Mile 2 worked perfectly for me in this race. Some people say that food and water don't really hit your system for 30 minutes, but I usually feel it within 10 minutes, and it is huge.
  • My pre-race meal of a burger, fries and a Coke totally worked for me this time! I had no tummy issues and no energy fails... woo hooo!
  • My hip is okay. I don't just mean post-race. Things are sore, but I did just run 13+ miles. It isn't injured anymore. You probably have no real idea how huge this is for me, but it's huge.
  • Tweaking about your race beforehand can cost you friends... and this makes me sad :(
  • Footwear at this race was all over the map from traditional running shoes and racing flats to barefoot-ish trends... I saw the following:

...saw the lady wearing these at the end of the race.

...the guy wearing these slap-slap-slapped past me very fast at about the 3-mile mark.

Not kidding. Totally not kidding.
And she was running right next to me from the 4- to 5-mile marks...then she slowed down.
  • Race attire runs the gamut... from tutus for women and men (sadly, no pictures) to ninja-esque all-black long-sleeves and long pants and jackets on a day that was expected to reach the high 70's (!) and everything in between.

I am beyond excited to use my new knowledges in my next half-marathon... December 4 in Las Vegas. Running the Strip at night... all the lights... sounded too cool to pass up. Be there or be square :)

Again, massive thanks to everyone for being so supportive and positive! Y'all are the BEST!


  1. That is amazing that someone would wear crocs to run in! Nice stats!

  2. Way to go on your race!

    Someone was wearing CROCS??? What the heck?! Just the thought of that makes my legs scream in pain!!

    I'm jealous of your Vegas race plans--I wanted to run that race so badly but the timing isn't right this year. Next year maybe!

  3. CROCS?!! I can barely walk in those things! That is insane!

    I have the Pace Gloves and love them as well, but not sure I'm strong enough to do the full 13 in them!

  4. You know, this is YOUR blog about YOUR life. I, for one, am always thankful when my friends post about real feelings and struggles. If I thought this was easy for everyone but me, I might give up.

  5. Love all the stats! How awesome to know how many people you passed! That's a fun one. :)
    my pee breaks cost me 3 minutes and I know I could have skipped 2 of the 3....ticked me off. Oh well. Next time we know.

    I love scoping out the footwear too, it's a nice distraction. But I have to be honest, at my race last weekend, the SLAP SLAP SLAP of the vibrams really bugged me. Not sure why.....

    So excited for you to do Vegas! Wish I were doing it with you!

  6. Those stats are so cool! How cool to know how many people you passed.

    Crocs?!? That's ridiculous.

  7. Awesome sub 2 ! (sub 2 for 13.3 at that!)

  8. Darn pee breaks! I still think you did great. My Garmin is always off a little too...either that or the course is off who knows? Really I am so happy that your race went well!!!

  9. crocs in a race?!?! weird lol I think that sounds like a great race.

  10. Great job! Pee breaks will indeed slow you down, as will my personal favorite- shoelace tying breaks...
    I am horrified by the runner in crocs, sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
    I can't even imagine how cool it will be to run in Vegas- can't wait to hear all about it!

  11. I lived in Long Beach for 5 years and I only live an hour away now, but for some reason that race doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it is because of the stories of large, unorganized crowds I heard last year.

    I'll be in Vegas running what will hopefully be my 3rd race of the fall and my Half Fanatic qualifier.

    I'd never thought of a pre-race dinner of burger and fries but have now seen that from a handful of friends/bloggers this week so maybe I'll stick with that in San Fran this weekend before I run the Nike Womens half!

  12. It sounds like you are gearing up to have an awesome half in Vegas in December! Lots of lessons learned. I live in L.A. and I have never known Long Beach to be scenic. I ran Surf City with the promise of a scenic race, but all I saw was a narrow running path with smoking surfers alongside it. It was so foggy that I never saw the ocean once!

  13. GU hits me in 7.5 minutes (not kidding. Totally NOT kidding.) and it last me about 40 minutes. I just feel bad taking them at the end of the race because then they sit in my system for a long time unused.

    Again, you did great. I can't wait to see you OFFICIALLY sub-2 in LV. :)

  14. Now you've just wetted our appetite for the full RR. But the lessons learned seem great. You are a rock star! So happy to hear your hip isn't giving you trouble. Definitely HUGE!

  15. Those tangents. Holy crap. I didn't run with a garmin, or any gps, so I have NO idea how far I ended up running, but it was probabably, like, 17 miles.

    I also loved the stats. I loved seeing that I passed 621 people in the second half :D.

  16. I saw a croc runner at the Vancouver marathon this year -and she totally passed me! crazy...

    I love that stat thing - they did it at the pdx marathon last year.

    In Vegas I think you should just pee your pants...just saying...

  17. Okay, so what you're saying is that you actually DID run a sub-2. The race officials just didn't know it. ;)

    Ugh, bendy courses are a BITCH. I avoid them specifically because I am terrible at running tangents.

  18. Twat?!! Crocs? Now, you've seen it all! I'm just super proud of you M!! Your area committed runner and can do anything you BELIEVE you can!

  19. That technology you described really does sound cool! I would love to read stats like that IF I was a runner. Also, I cannot get over those shoes! Someone basically wore flip-flops to run 13 miles+ in???? I guess they knew what they were doing??

  20. crocs I saw that! I thought it was a joke!..I did like this course for the most part. I loved the town also.
    I live in a boring town you see.

    It is true it was packed! I ran closer to 13.1 than you and Giraffy, maybe I am good at curbs!! now need to be good at running!! ha ha!

    what is this about loosing friends? I am sorry. I am with Kate on this.

    I wish I was doing Vegas....and going alone!

  21. Someone was running in crocs?!? Lol!

    Great recap, this is the marathon I was considering registering for next year, maybe I'll have to reconsider. How hot was it during the race? I mainly want to find a race that is cool in temps somewhere in CA in early to mid October. Long Beach seemed to fit most of my criteria.

  22. I, too, am in shock over running in crocs. That would be like running in galoshes, no? I'd love to ask that person what they were thinking with their footwear choice. I bet the answer would be interesting!

  23. tweaking about my races is what killed me in college and high school. Awful...I'm thankful that I'm better at it now but gosh, it sucks the life out of you! You're awesome Marjorie. And look at you! Your blog is growing like crazy and you have a ton of comments by the time I get here. And yes, I think you do have the speed to do a sub 2 hour marathon...certain about that!

  24. So I think your new-found knowledge applied to Vegas means some insane costume, don't you? And I know you could come up with a good one.

    My two cents on the Garmin--it's probably not ever going to match up to said distance, even if you run tangents. Too much variability.

  25. Oh, and I LOVE the pace gloves more than any shoe in the world!

  26. ooh... those stats ARE cool.

    It is great how you learn from each race. You ran a great race and that milestone is just around the corner.

    Btw, I know the Croc lady. I saw her at a half a couple of years ago and wrote about her on my blog. Then last year I went to a trail run and she was the president of the running group! Her name is Lorraine and she is an Ironwoman. Crazy about the Crocs though...

    Congrats again on a strong finish.

  27. Oooh... I'm excited to read about running the Strip at night.

    I can't believe a lady would run a race in crocs. That's definitely an injury waiting to happen!

    Congrats again on your race!


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