I hadn’t planned to run another race this year I really hadn’t but when Penny asked me was I , and when I looked it up and saw how close it was and when I asked and my wife said “sure”, well it was game on!
I’ll spare you all the pre run hoopla, I am pretty good and getting all my crap in one place in time, the only difference here was I picked up my number the day before, it seemed easier than running around in the morning.
I met Penny, Jordan and Kirsty the first two were resplendent in Christmas Tutus, Bob and Melissa joined us and armed with our Toys for Tot’s donation we boarded the school buses that would take us the the start, the race was a point to point. As is always the way online conversations are easily continued IRL (in real life) and after a short drive we were there.
One Tutu and a two throwaway sweaters
The start was busy with the usual portajohn lines but I managed to get in and out in time for the start. I started further back than I had hoped but it not like I was in contention so timing was fine, I had in mind a strategy of 8:15 for the first 10 miles and then to pick up for the last three and to finish around 1:45-1:50. And so I ran, the course was basically across the farmland of Oxnard which is pancake flat, the biggest climb was up and over a bridge around mile 6ish. I chiseled away at the miles and when I noticed my pace dropping off I picked it up. After 53:52 I was at the halfway point. The landscape had changed from farmland through industrial park and we were now running through residential and shopping areas so there was a little crowd support as well as some bands on the sidewalk and the compulsory Taiko drummers.
Mostly I was just focused on keeping my pace and running down people up ahead. At the 10 mile mark I had 1:21:47 on the clock and was ahead of the game by 4 seconds per mile. By now it was getting pretty warm, unseasonably warm for December with temperatures in the mid 70’s and no cloud cover or breeze, it’s not that hot really but we have had such a mild summer and fall that no one is acclimatized to the heat, in fact I saw one runner who had either suffered from the heat and fallen or had tripped. The last three mile I picked up the pace, well actually I left it a bit late and it was the last two where I was sub 8:00 pace and with a sprint finish I was over the line and done. Unofficial 1:45:54 with a 1:50 negative split for the second half. I hung around the finish hoping to see some of the others finish but I had other commitments so I had to leave without saying goodbye, sorry guys!
I have to say that I was really pleased with my strategy, this is the longest “run” by far in a long time so it is a nice way to end the year…I think this really is the last one. As you can see my splits are pretty even and the only variation is probably drive by the subtle ups and downs of the course. My HM PR is 1:37 so with some solid training, given that my focus next year is on the shorter distances it should be under threat.
Overall this is a great local race, there were plenty of volunteers, the fluid stops only had water, fine for a HM, a nice finish line set up, tech shirt and medal, although I understand they ran out as the race was oversold :-( oh and there are a ton of a presents go to under privileged kids.