I’ll be honest I really wanted this race to go well, after a conservative run at the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon last month, I had been pretty diligent with my running, (not training – I am not on a plan), but having run this race last year I had in my mind that the last 3-4 miles were tough and uphill, uphill is relative but up is up.
So I had focused on running long(ish) gentle(ish) climbs, a good example is a lunchtime run at work were I would do mile repeats with a 250’ climb, 8:26 - up 7:03 - down 8:42 - up 6:52 - down , some climbing and some speedwork combined (aimed for 8:30’s and 7:00’s), I had also been doing some progression and pyramid runs really trying to maintain a specific pace really with this race in mind.
Why do I mention this well I think it really reinforces the need for specificity in training…anyway on with the report.
My strategy was to maintain a 7:45 pace for 10 miles and then pick up the last three and drop the hammer on the last .1. In the back of my mind was what happened last year, a similar plan albeit a bit slower paced, I went out too fast and the wheels came off, this year I was adamant I would run my own race properly. I put myself right at the front of the 8:00 pace group, the anthem was played, the siren failed and with a shouted “go” we went.
I gotta be honest I hit play on my iPod, start on my Garmin and I locked onto my pace like a hungry dog bites a rabbit. I focused on keeping a steady cadence, the music helped (I was listening to this; Episode Special #12). I did totally freak myself at mile 5. I was wearing my FuelBelt and the bag check bit on my number was flapping about so I tore it off and went to put it in the pouch with my gels and found it open and all my gels gone! f$%k! Be calm, be cool (and be grateful my car key was still in it) I thought! I put that thought in a box and locked it away. Interestingly I had no gels and only drank about 8oz of fluid for the whole race. I did have a breakfast the night before and one the morning of and had been sipping on a bottle of Cytomax before the race…which I have done for three of the last four races and it’s worked really well.
The miles clicked off, the course is basically a sling shot inland, it’s not a great course in terms of sights and the fact that you can see a long line of runners in front of you is not the best of things.
The turnaround is out there…
I hit the turnaround; 7:09 miles, in 55 minutes exactly, now try working out the mental math from there! I was expecting the back to be up and it really wasn’t I was expecting my pace to drop off and it really didn’t, in fact it got faster, I don’t have an exact half way split but miles 1-7 was 54:19 and miles 7-13.1 was 53:54 (I have to include M7 in both to make that work). I hit the 10 mile mark in 1:17:20 that’s a 7:44 pace! Nailed it! A then girl I had been running with commented that my pace was really even…score!
At mile 11 I locked onto someone and dropped into their slipstream. All sorts of crap was floating through my head, the night before I had watched Dust to Glory and I remembered a soundbite “and then a funny thing happened a race broke out between 196th and 197th place” check it out it’s a great movie and then I remembered an interview I listened to with Chris McCormack wondering why Andreas Raelert had come up to his shoulder around mile 23 in Kona instead of staying out of sight…all sorts of weird shit!
My pacer went through an water stop I went on, I was picking up speed and doing the math…could I squeeze in under 1:40:00. As I approached M13 I saw the finish, it wasn’t far but it was too far. Now I have got really good eyesight, really good and I saw the clock had 1:40:07 on it, so I was racing for seconds, I kicked and a guy next to me kicked, I kicked harder.
Like I said I really wanted this race to go well and you know what it did!
Here are my splits,
I was 294th of 2538 and 31st of 178 in my Age Group, I am very happy!
Now I just need to finish this damn book and get training! Let’s see what I can do when I train…this is 4 minutes off my PR and a great baseline to assault the sub 1:30 half marathon target.
Finally I should say that this is the second time I have raced this race (this was the second one) and I was comp’d the entry, for which I am really grateful, and now I am a legacy runner too! Honestly it’s really only gotten better. I loved the preferred parking right by the start (best $20 you can spend), this year had more running along the beach front which was great, again there were hoards of volunteers and plenty of water etc as best I could tell, the start was well organized, pace lines, plenty of space, great vibe, the finish was fun with some great LA food trucks and the usual entertainment and oddities that you expect from the Venice area. I got a really nice Craft tech shirt, I am learning to like the color and I wore it today and the bling was nice and hefty!
I know that the 13.1 series has added some more cities this year so if you get a chance to run one of these go for it!