Now for all the gory details....
In my humble opinion, this race can be summed up in one word. People. Make that 20,000 times that one word. I live less than 10 miles away, so my plan was to steal a few extra minutes of sleep in my nice warm bed. The Half was scheduled to start at 7:45, so figured I was safe leaving home at 6:30 for the short dive. Luckily I left at 6:00 AM. 10 minutes to park. 10 minutes waiting for the shuttle. 15 minutes riding the shuttle. 10 minutes getting everything together and getting into the bag drop line. 20 minutes in bag drop line. 20 minutes in porta potty line. Start time? 7:45AM. When did I make it to the start line? 7:50!! I wanted to get in with wave 4 (2:00 to 2:10) but here was absolutely no way that was going to happen. Talk about being a stress puppy! I got as far up as I could, and snuck with the 2:30 wave.
As it was, no big deal anyways. Wave after wave after wave was called to the start. We didn't budge. Finally at 8:05, Wave 11 was called. We inched to the start and with the sound of the holy compressed air horn we were off. Start time? 8:08 AM.
How late did we start? Before I hit mile 2 the 3:30 marathon pace group, being led by Sam from Operation Jack passed us going the other direction:
I worked my way through the mass of humanity. I felt like Muhammad Ali - bobbing and weaving. In no time, I found myself at the front of the wave, an within a few minutes hit the back of the previous wave(s). I started running into some of my Twitter and Bloggy pals.
Afterwards I found out that akaAlice was trying to catch up with Penny and me. Sorry Alice!
I had race strategy in my head, so I was trying to hold back just a bit.
- Mile 1: 8:57
- Mile 2: 9:20
- Mile 3: 9:22
This course is pretty flat, but it's impossible on the coast of Huntington Beach to be flat like a pancake. Miles 4 through 6 had us looping through a residential neighborhood and some rolling hills. I was desperately trying to find a group of runners to glomp on to, but everyone was going just a bit too slow for me to meet my goal time. In retrospect, maybe they weren't:
- Mile 4: 9:43 (uphill)
- Mile 5: 8:55 (downhill)
- Mile 6: 9:05
At mile 7 we were back on Pacific Coast Highway moving north. I realized that we were going downhill, which meant that there was going to be a little push at mile 10 or so. I was still looking for people to latch onto, but everytime I thought I found someone who was moving at a comfortable pace, it was too slow. By mile 8 a full bladder was starting to create a problem. I hopped into a porta potty at mile 8 (no lines!) and got back on the course. It was a stunningly beautiful day (yes - that's snow on those mountains in the distance):
- Mile 7: 9:38
- Mile 8: 10:49 (potty stop)
- Mile 9: 9:32
I was at mile 10 now. Here's where the race was supposed to begin. Back up the hill that I had run down at mile 7. In reality, it wasn't even much of a hill, but it was enough. I was physically tiring. In the morning I had thrown on a long sleeved underarmor shirt, and I was now baking in the sun. I was trying to push, but i was just going flat. Somewhere in here I saw Kathleen on the other side of the road. Sorry it took me so long to recognize you! Things were becoming a bit of a blur. I slowed down and quaffed my last set of Endurolytes and Hammer Gel a little prematurely to try to get some energy. I was draining:
- Mile 10: 9:51
- Mile 11: 10:49 (ugh)
- Mile 12: 9:59
I sucked it up and tried to muster all I could for mile 13, but I was pretty much dust by then. Whose idea was it run this GD race? Jeeezus! My heart rate was pretty much in the 170s at this point and 2:00 was out the door. I started feeling pretty despondent and actually slowed down. WHAT A WIMP! Luckily I came to my senses because a PR was still in he cards. Seeing 12.85 on my Gamin I got a last little shot of adrenaline for the finish. I must have gained 10 places in the last 400 yards:
- Mile 13: 10:09
- Mile 13.1: 1:24 (8:09 pace)
Bottom line - 13.1 miles (13.17 on the Garmin) in 2:07:38 (officially) for a 1:29 PR. Not bad. Not great. On the one hand, I PR'd, so I didn't have to visit the med tent. But I was a little disappointed that mile 10 was once again my downfall.
Will 2:00 ever be in my future? Probably. Maybe I just need to mellow out. I'm not one to make excuses, but the reality is this was *not* my goal race. It was on my training schedule as a 13 mile tempo run (which I *was* able to accomplish). I was stressed at the start and overheated on the course. I seemed to be constantly speeding up and slowing down to try to hit my pace. While the slowing down helped, I'm not so sure on the speeding up did. But, the real eye opener was when I got back and put the video together. I couldn't help but notice how easily I was talking in both bits. At the time it sure seemed like I was working real hard, but the pictures don't lie. I'm not even huffing and puffing. At the same time though, I was slowing down. Mental block? Anyone have any ideas? All I know is success does no occur from complacency. And I was reminded of some valuable things for my adventure through the streets of Los Angeles in 6 weeks!
On tap tomorrow - why we should all really run these mega races, or hello to all my running buddies!