12 October 2011

race recap

For some reason, I am feeling almost zero inspiration to write this recap. "Don't do it then" you say. Well, where's the fun in that? Isn't it kind of fun to watch someone struggle? I made a hand-written rough draft last night and felt sort of into it. Then I went online to search for some images to pilfer (with referencing to the original sources, of course) and I learned something unnerving.

The Long Beach course is quite scenic.

I was in my zone so I didn't see it.

If you are more interested in what things looked like as opposed to what it felt like, this guy... Toky...did a way better job photographically on this marathon course than my pilferings will show.  I found him while searching pics of running on the Long Beach freeway. He found the run very, very scenic and his photos show you all the stuff I missed which is why I did not find it scenic. Click his name to go check it out. I would like to mention that it looks cool and overcast on the day he ran it. Just wanted to point that out...

So on to my superlame Race Day Recap...

I had arrived into Long Beach Saturday morning, gone to the Expo, met Giraffy and had my awesome pre-race meal (sadly foregoing a blogger meet-up CarbFest with the pretty Sarah from Once Upon a Lime...who is finding herself similarly challenged with writing a recap, Sweaty Emily, Kat, and Julie primarily due to a massive migraine I had been coping with for 2 days). You can catch those pre-race ramblings here.

Fortunately, by the time I went to bed at 9:30-ish with 3 wake-up devices in place, my migraine was almost gone. I had set up all my stuff for Race Day... clothes to wear, bib pinned on, chip on shoe, GUs in new Spibelt, morning food and water and supplements ready.

Three alarms going off at 5 a.m. did the trick. I was UP. All of my race morning prep happened without a hitch. I dressed. I ate a half of a ProMax protein bar and drank some water, took my vitamins, and added in 2 ibuprofen just in case my hip considered complaining. And I chewed a Pepto tablet just in case that burger and fries considered a quick and inopportune exit anytime in the next 3 hours. At 6:20, I was on the elevator with a whole lot of other runners heading to the start.

A brisk walk over, a quick visit to the port-a-potty (after waiting a near-eternity in line) and a battle through the crowd to find the right wave... I was ready to go. Within 5 minutes, the gun start happened and we were shuffling up to the line. As I crossed the start, the women right in front of me were discussing a greater-than-10-minutes-per-mile pace, and I knew I had picked the wrong wave. Thus commenced my Dodge and Weave that would last until Mile 10... no lie.

Miles 1 and 2 were on a freeway. With a severely canted road. At the 2-mile marker there was an incline...up and over a bridge... and then we were headed toward the Queen Mary...

We ran toward the big ship but never got very close. We looped back and away heading into the 3-mile mark... around where I did my first potty stop (90 seconds... I really needed to pee).

Mile 1:  9:44 pace for 1.02 miles  
Miles 2 and 3:  9:08 pace for 2.00 miles... first 3 miles in 28.08  (total running time 28:08)

This brought us to more industrial stuff... hi-voltage powerlines, factories, parking lots... 

Mile 4:  8:56 pace for 1.01 miles... trying to make up for that pee break :P (total running time 37:01)

We went through a little downtown stuff and then over to the beach...there was a fire boat like this...

Mile 5:  9:04 pace for 1.02 miles .... and took my first GU in here somewhere.
Mile 6:  9:06 pace for 1.02 miles    (total running time 55:42)

10K @ 57:02... ahead of my schedule for breaking 2 hours, but I knew I had made that 90-second pitstop.

Then right around the 7-mile point, the winner finished! Hearing that announced was pretty inspiring! However, I was feeling a little nervous about how fast (for me) I was running, but I felt great – really great – so I just ran where it felt good :) Right around this place, I started following a very fit little lady in a red hat (so easy to see!). She was about 15-20 feet ahead of me for the next 2.5 miles... steadily just go-go-going. It was great. When she stopped to walk at 9.5 miles, I gave her a hug and thanked her and told her she could draft off of me for a while if she wanted. She smiled and laughed and thanked me in return but declined the offer, preferring to walk for a bit. I was so bummed for a second there.

Mile 7:  8:55 pace for 1.01 miles
Mile 8:  8:51 pace for 1.08 miles
Mile 9:  8:51 pace for 1.02 miles
Mile 10:  9:07 pace for 1.00 miles   

As we made the turnaround, I could see the 10-mile mark and the green port-a-potties. I was starting to struggle a little bit. The Lady in the Red Hat's absence was challenging me. Then I remembered... time to GU again! and that I had to pee again :(

10 miles @ 1:32:24... right on schedule for breaking 2 hours, but by now I had 2 minutes of pottying

I was nearly walking while I drank the water from a paper cup as I sucked down my GU after my useless and unproductive pee stop. And we started up a sort of hill. And we were approaching the half/full split. I kept thinking how totally overjoyed I was that I got to stay left instead of turning right! I went 'tunnelvision' and zoned IN (as opposed to zoning OUT). I focused on staying in the center of the street where it was more flat and trying to balance the street-flatness with running in as much apartment building shade as I could find. I was so grateful that the sun was finally behind us!

Mile 11:  9:06 pace for 1.01 miles

I was a little slower than my race plan called for here... combo of GU-ing, drinking, "hill" and slight depression that I was probably not going to officially go sub-2. And it was hot. And I was tired. I had been running faster than I had run for longer than I had run in a really, really long time. But what's that saying?

When the going gets tough (and the GU kicks in), the tough get going.

Mile 12:  8:34 pace for 1.00 miles
Mile 13:  8:14 pace for 1.02 miles
that last little bit:  7:33 pace for 0.11 miles (downhill-assisted)  (total running time 1:59:24)

I could see that BIG 2:01:xx as I approached that finish. Grrrrrr... but whatcha gonna do?

I was funneled through the chute, given my sexy silver blanket and my palm tree medal, and guided toward some snacks and fluids. Interestingly, I did not feel like I was going to keel over. My legs were really tired and creaky, but my mind was still pretty lucid. I wandered a very little bit. It was pretty zoo-ish and I had no way to find anyone I knew and wasn't in the brain-frame to meet strangers :P So I headed back to my hotel for an ice bath.

The ice bath... TEN trips to the ice machine... there was no real cold water that came from that tub spigot! I felt like a pioneer making repeated trips to the crik to fetch water for the daily chores.

I had several hours before my flight, so I just stretched and showered and iced and rested and thought. I thought about how well I had executed my race plan. And I realized that I was really pleased with how I had done...even if that official number did not say what I wanted it to say.

I am really excited by how far I have come in one year. I honestly thought for years that I would never be able to run again (or do anything but limp around, for that matter). And then when I was able to run again, I thought 12K for the Bay to Breakers was HUGE.

But WOW....

I just ran a half-marathon :)

And that is very cool.


  1. Congrats on the race! I actually did notice the scenery, but kept thinking "I wish I didn't hate this race right now so i could actually enjoy this!"

    Oh, Long Beach...

  2. It IS very cool. And you did awesome! Darn those potty stops!

    I have to say, when I chose to do my sub-2, I picked a smallish race that I'd run part of before. I knew it was mostly flat with just a couple small hills and some good downhill portions. That definitely helped me.

  3. Oh, and it was cool and slightly raining so I was never hot and didn't have to drink much.

  4. I love living your races. You write so well!

  5. Sounds like there were some hills! That makes all the difference! What made you race this race in particular?

  6. You know, even though your official time wasn't what you wanted, you ran a GREAT race! Look at those paces...you were finishing plenty strong. I have a feeling we're all going to be seeing an official sub-2 soon from you.

  7. A race well done. You HAVE come so far. Forget the clock and pat yourself on the back.

  8. Your LB Half was kinda like your blog.

    Consistent as hell.

    If you look at your mile splits and blog archive (number of posts per month)...

    But the LB half has a one up on the blog archives - speeding up at the end.

  9. I would have to agree ..that is cool! So freaking close to a sub 2, darn the ol bladder anyhow.

  10. congrats on your race?
    can you write my recap now?!!!

    the sub 2 is for Vegas!

  11. Congrats! I wish I could run fast like you guys...I will be laying it out as best I can this weekend.

  12. Congratulations on finishing!!!! You're very inspirational and honesty seeps through your writing (which is a great thing). I heard the LB race was pretty bland in terms of scenery. Check out RunEatRepeat.com. Monica ran the same race but the full 26.2.

    If you have a location choice for your next half try Oregon! The humidity is low and it's beautiful here.

    Take care!

  13. Definitely did sound like it was hot, that does not sound fun to me. The pics that Toky had from last year were amazing! The weather looked way better too. Good job on the race though, seems like overall it went well.

  14. THAT is very cool, indeed!! Congratulations...I know that sub-2 is going to be nailed in Vegas!

  15. Awesome job!!! I can't do those ice baths - You are very brave!!! :)

  16. Congrats on the race!

    You give me hope that I can eventually move beyond the three miles I'm currently at and someday run a marathon (or at least a half) again.

  17. You not only ran a half, you owned a half!!
    So awesome that you are back in the game, seriously inspiring!!
    Can't wait to hear about your full..... :)

  18. Congrats on a well-executed race! Too bad those pit stops had to take up some of your time! I'm confident that you'll get that sub-2 at your next half.

  19. yes, that IS very cool! Congrats again - great recap.

  20. I LOVE those last 2 lines! Running a half marathon IS very cool!! I'm sorry the race didn't go as well as you had hoped, but you stayed very consistent AND you ran a super speedy final 2 miles - something that most people can't do at the end of a tough race. It sounds like the weather made things tough on everyone, so the fact that you ran in heat, started too far back, and stopped to go the bathroom twice and STILL came so close to breaking 2 hours shows that you have it in you. I think on a cooler day with a smaller field (and no pit stops!) you will go sub-2 easily.


  21. Well, technically you did run a sub-2 but I know that doesn't really mean anything to you. You did a great job regardless.

    Too bad about the potty breaks - next time I say just go in your shorts. Totally worth a sub 2.

    You have it in you to do it, I know you will meet your goal soon!

  22. I can't believe i didn't know you were running Long Beach! I would've come out to cheer you on! Great job

  23. the last couple lines pretty much wrap it up. BTW, the Queen Mary is awesome. And haunted.

  24. WOW!! I can only dream of running like that! And me, I'd be making LOTS of potty stops!
    Here's My Post

  25. Awesome pace and for someone that wasn't into writing a recap you did a great job (of course). Enjoyed the read.

    My half goal for next year is 2:00. That's doable right?

    Have a great weekend!

  26. Just now catching up from last week. Congrats on a great race!


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