Alternative titles to this post:
- Heel-striking My Way to a PR
- The Day I Chased Down a Hippie Dude
- Two Bras are not Better than One
- I Paid for a Rock N Roll Race and Forgot to Cash in My Beer Ticket
Let us cut to the hippie chase. I ran 1:38:40. If you want to stop reading now, you can.
If not, hold on tight, because I am terrible at race reports. I am not a linear thinker and so I apologize in advance.
First of all, I did not mention that I was running this race on the blog last week and here is why: I was nervous. My training paces have been pathetic lately. I was having a really hard time breaking an 8 minute mile on most of my runs.
I suppose I thought that I could use this race as a training run and not, therefore, worry about my time.
And since I had dragged my friend with me, I figured I had better make the best of it and try to have a jolly run. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t send her texts all week like, “why are we doing this again?”
I am not a huge fan of racing. I think I have a case of running PTSD leftover from the Long Beach Marathon. (The reason? Well, during that race I felt like MP was sprint pace, even though I had run successful 12 mile tempo runs at that pace several times during training. Also, I got stomach cramps at mile 7, and the idea of continuing on for 19 more miles nearly broke me.)
Plus, I suppose I was afraid that a half marathon would interrupt my momentum and leave me laid up for a week.
With my doubts in the forefront of my mind, we parked our car about two miles from the start so that we could warm up on our way there and back. (Translation: we didn’t want to pay $10 for parking!) My friend is running the L.A. Marathon, so she needed some extra miles for the day as much as I did.
The weather was fantastic. A balmy 45 degrees at the start, but it kept getting warmer as we ran, so I never needed the arm warmers that I had fashioned the night before from a pair of Middle’s old soccer socks. Thankfully Gear check was convenient and friendly, so that upon arrival I was able to save them just in case my kid finds wearing toeless socks in his next soccer game liberating. You never know.
I lined up in Corral 1 based on my predicted time of 1:40. Immediately I felt out of place, because I was hanging out with mostly men in serious running attire (think compression socks, no shirts, tattoos) and women who were totally hard core (both literally and figuratively) in their painted-on compression undies. I was all, let me get to the back of this train. I will be lucky to be its caboose.
So off we went, my music pumping in my ears, everyone farting and puffing along in the first mile trying to figure out who was going to be where in this group of sub sub elite runners.
We dropped some, we gained some, but overall I fell into a nice spot between a few dudes and ahead of a few ponytails. Sadly, Deena Kastor and all the true badass women runners left us in the dust. (I need to work on that.)
My first mile: 7:20. What sweet relief to see that I could break an 8 minute mile and not even feel like I was dying. Yet I had 12 more to go. Yikes.
Mile 2 to 3 was a horrible climb.
Mile 2: 7:28
Mile 3: 7:36
I have talked a lot about hill running lately and how I am trying to embrace the elevation changes that living in the foothills brings; and as a result, I felt I was strongest on the inclines overall. Meaning, I was able to pass a lot of people on the hills. They passed me back later, but still. It was fun.
Miles 4 through 7 were mostly flat or downhill, so that was a relief.
Mile 4: 7:14
Mile 5: 6:55 (woohoo!)
Mile 6: 7:19
I took a GU somewhere in there, and I applaud all of you who remember your races mile by mile. It all becomes sort of a blur for me, however. The sugar made me feel weird, as I have doing most of my training without nutrition.
This race scared me into 1) training harder from here on out and 2) taking GU’s on all of my long runs so that my stomach acclimates to them.
Even though I was having a blast, I was like, oh my gosh, this is only half of the race I have to run Boston! Freaking half! I have some work to do!
Usually in half marathons around mile 7 I start to feel like “I got this!” and so I start putting in more effort. Not so in this race. This race felt more like a continuous, smooth effort. A tempo run, if you will. I never felt like I could surge or lay down a faster pace. But I did, thankfully feel sort of like I could hold on to my effort. I suppose the inclines stole a lot of our collective thunder as a group, because I was able to pass a lot of people in the final miles despite the fact that my pace deteriorated somewhat.
Mile 7: 7:30
Mile 8: 7:41
Mile 9: 7:44
In reality I suppose I started to slow down a bit. The middle miles can be discouraging, and that is just how it is.
When I hit mile 9, I saw 1:08 on the clock. I knew if I wanted to set a personal record I would have to start speeding up during the final 5K. Meanwhile, in badass land, Deena Kastor was running her final mile.
(Apparently I got a few winks of sleep during mile 9.)
Mile 10: 7:24
At this point I picked it up and latched on to a Vibram’s dude with long hair who seemed a bit offended to have me huffing and puffing on his left shoulder. I was like, this is just business sir, so deal with it. I needed a partner to take me to the finish.
Mile 11: 7:45
Let me tell you a quick story about miles 11 and 12. They sucked. The end. Just kidding, sort of. These miles were running on the West side of the Rose Bowl, which is a frustratingly long, slow incline. I run this during most of my training runs, and it never seems easy to me.
Mile 12: 7:53 (I told you it sucked.)
So hippie dude and I rounded the corner and thankfully laid down some speed on our way to the finish line (he left me in the dust with his trotting stride). Note to self: if you have music blasting into your ears, you cannot hear that annoying slap slap sound that Vibrams make.
Mile 13: 7:07
Mile .1: 7:19
I was happy to see that I had set a personal record, but still scared enough about doing well in Boston that I didn’t let it puff me up too much.
Plus, upon seeing the race photos, I realize that I desperately need to work on my form. I had my stride all worked out in 4 mm drop shoes, but I have been wearing traditional shoes lately to help with Achilles issues. Therefore, I am landing on my heel again. Softly, yet surely.
Also, I wore two sports bras to this race so that I would not offend anyone should my ta ta’s decide to go all askew. Big mistake. During the race I kept wondering where I could find a pair of scissors so that I could cut one of them off. Too much support can be very uncomfortable!
And finally, I forgot to go get my free beer! I never, ever, want to make that mistake again.
Overall I had a great time at RnR Pasadena. The race was perfectly executed. And on top of it all, I have been able to get right back into training, albeit on slightly sore legs.
Now on to a much longer race!