Well, this one is a race that I had to do. Not that I was expecting miracles. Because with my hip injury, I had only put in 30 miles since December 14th. I was confident that a PR was in me - primarily because the last half I had run was a year ago. But, I hoped to finish somewhere between 2:10 and 2:15.
Last week, a few people I know only through our Internet postings made arrangements to meet pre-race. So, a little after 7AM, we met and had a great time chatting. I got to meet a bunch of folks from the Runner's World California Racing forum! I met Billy (billyburger and blogger L.A. Runner - http://larunner.blogspot.com/), his girlfriend Sara (wits_end), Ingrid (travelmama) , Charlie (Charlie Pro), Emil (Pony Express), Cindy (OCMomRuns and fellow Cal Coaster), and Don (HuskyDon). And, even though she isn't (yet) a member of the forum, Danica (The Chic Runner - http://chicrunner.blogspot.com/) also showed up!
Billy (billyburger/L.A. Runner) and Charlie (Charlie Pro)
Charlie (Charlie Pro) and Ingrid (travelmama)Danica (The Chic Runner) and Sara (wits_end)
Well, time for the race. In my opinion, the race, and especially the start, was well organized. There were supposed to be a combined total of 5000 runners in the 5K and Half Marathon. Both races were scheduled to start at 8:00, so I was kind of dreading the start. But the organizers used both sides of a divided road very efficiently. The 5K'ers started on the left side of the street and the Half Marathoners started on the right. The start gun went off right on time, and the mass of humanity lumbered down the road on their respective courses. At no point did the 5Ker and Half Marathoners ever have to commingle on the course! Kudos to the organizers!
Runners in front of me
Overall, I would rate the course as pretty easy. It was predominantly flat. It was interesting how a half marathon course could be laid out in a way that we were never more than four miles from the start. In fact, the organizers only had to set up about four water stations to serve the entire course. We just kept on running past the same water stations. First one direction then the next! One band was placed on the course such that we passed it at mile 1.5, mile 2.5, mile 9 and mile 9.5 and again at mile 10. You get the drift.
Here's the band we passed four times
Despite the course being easy, my performance yesterday can be summed up in one phrase - mehhhhh. By the time the race had started, things were starting to warm up. Once the sun peaked over the Saddleback Mountains, the full force of the weather that we were going to have to live through made itself known. The temperature jumped at least 10 degrees (by the time I finished, temps were in the mid 70's). There were stiff northerly winds blowing, at times gusting in the 20 mph range. Finally, humidity was incredibly low. I ended the race more like a salt block. The only time my shirt was ever wet was when I dumped water on it to cool off. Everything was going fine right up until mile 9 or so, when my heart rate started to increase above 170 bpm (92% MHR). I think at that point my inexperience at these distances came through. I thought that I had better slow down to make sure that I wasn't going to blow up in the last four miles. So I slowed down. Then I slowed down a little more. And a little more. I managed to get my heart rate back to 85 - 88 % MHR and finished the race. I ended up with a 2:18.56, still a 5 minute PR, but slower than I was hoping. Oh well. The good news is that I experienced NO pain during the race. And in fact, sitting here typing on Sunday afternoon, I have NO pain in my hip, groin or quads at all! Yea!
But the best part to finish up the day was to follow-up with a post race FE! As I crossed he finish line, I just about ran into travelmama's arms! What a sight for sore eyes (or at least sore legs at that point)! Fellow Runner's World forumites r4ac, travelmama, Pony Express, HuskyDon, NYC and I met and got to share war stories for a while until, yes, it was time to go home to race another day.
Runner's World forumites run4acure, Pony Express, Husky Don, travelmama, and NYC-Runner
You can see all the pictures and even a short video of the start at my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennsphotos2007/sets/72157612397732361/