I rocked and rolled through Los Angeles yesterday and beat my personal record from 15 years ago (the last time I ran a half). I completed the race in 1:45:57, which I’m extremely happy with since I ran it while fighting a cold.
When I signed up for the half in July my goal was to break 1:40, but I knew that I couldn’t go all out due to my cold. I also made some mistakes in my training, which I will get to later.
Here’s how the day started:
My friend Nikki showed up at my house at 4:45 a.m., bright and shiny and ready to head down to catch the shuttle to the start line.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare. Just as the sun was rising, we walked down to the corrals. We chatted some more, I ate a bagel and drank some water, and we said our goodbyes.
I headed over to corral three, where I could just catch a glimpse of the start line.
I can honestly say that I wasn’t nervous in the least at this point. Because I was feeling under the weather, I didn’t feel the pressure to perform well. I just wanted to have fun and complete the race.
Once the foghorn blew, a bit of adrenaline kicked in and I took off at about a 7:40 pace. I threw off my Goodwill jacket at about mile 4. Around mile 5 the sun came out, I was completely warm, and I drank some Cytomax, which was being offered at each mile mark. (Cytomax gave me a little kick and I felt less nauseous than I do when I drink Gatorade).
Having bands play every few miles along the course was fun, but what lifted my spirits the most were the cheerleading squads because they were so spirited and optimistic. My favorite sign held up by one squad was “nobody every drown in their own sweat.”
After drinking the Cytomax, I ran at a steady 8 minute/per mile pace and never felt like I needed to stop, walk or slow down. Because miles 5 through 9 were boring, I couldn’t wait to see views of downtown Los Angeles and head toward the finish line.
Also, we gained quite a bit of elevation during those miles and many runners in my pace group began to deteriorate. I don’t remember the hills being painful, because I kept telling myself that I was just feeling something different, not necessarily difficult.
Even though I wasn’t running at top speed, I still felt pretty good under the circumstances, and I caught up with the 1:45 pacer at mile 10. I followed her all the way to the finish line, picking up the pace significantly in the last half mile.
I actually lost my visor in the last mile and the rubber band holding my pony tail in place fell out as well. I dashed across the finish line, hair flying everywhere and ready for the race to be over.
I walked around a bit disoriented looking for water and my family, but I felt pretty good after a few minutes.
Once I found my husband and kids, we walked around together, taking in the energy and atmosphere of the finish line party.
The Neon Trees were the headliner band. I had never heard of them, but they had great energy. We also took in other interesting sights.
I reunited with Nikki and we agreed that the course was tougher than we had expected.
We had discussed signing up for the L.A. Marathon, since we are already halfway there in our training, but I think after this race we are going to table that discussion.
The lessons I learned while training for this race:
- train smarter not harder
- work on upper body strength
- recovery is extremely important when you’re 39
- I can run faster than I did 15 years ago!
- training for long distances can be challenging when you have three kids
- running in an urban environment can be harsh
I am now looking forward to getting back to yoga, running just for fun and having more energy for my family.
That is, until the next race. Stay tuned.