This would be the third time of running the 13.1 race. I am officially on a streak! It was never going to be fast and I was a bit worried about if I could pull it off at all seeing as I have not run more than 20 miles in total since November!
The game plan was to go out steady and stay there, enjoy it hopefully bump into some friends and just have a good time. I turned up at the start and managed after a little stress to park in the VIP parking, basically $20 allowed to park right by the race start which is a huge perk although it can get a bit fraught if you get there late.
The race is getter bigger each year and this year 2800 people ran the Half Marathon, that’s a lot of people squashed up against the Ocean but they seem to fit in ok, the race organizers kept everyone entertained. Due to perfect timing I had little wait time and after a decision on shorts over tights I was rubbing shoulders on the start line ready to go. I had no real idea what my time or pace would or should be so I had decided to be conservative and stick to a 8:30 pace, I have not run any real miles since my last 50k and nothing fast since the Santa Clarita Marathon so this was essentially a Z2 run; a solid base builder.
This year presented a new course which instead of being an out and back along Venice Blvd took the runners south around Marina del Rey and along the beach path to Dockweiler Beach which you passed and then returned along a short road section to the finish, as it was a point to point there were buses laid on the take you back to the start. The route itself is pancake flat and on the whole very pretty, running along a beach path is really hard not to like! The only downside was a short section where you run past the water treatment plant…consider that an incentive to hustle some!
I worked pretty well at keeping my pace steady and chatted with a few runners on the way, I had no iPod and it was actually really nice to not have to have the crutch of music, it’s also good mental practice as there are no iPods allowed in triathlons. All in all I am happy with my splits, nothing to set the world alight but a good solid set.
Something funky happened with the first one…oh well!
At the finish, there was large area set aside with the usual array of vendors, they also have 4-5 Food Trucks on hand. I didn’t hang about as the while the weather was perfect for running, cloudy and gray, it was not good for hanging out in and so I jumped on a bus and headed back to the start to pick up my car.
All in a grand day out and although my miles and time are down for the week I am really really happy that I still have the legs to go out and essential drop a Half Marathon with little or no training.
Finally as mentioned this is the third time I have raced this race and I was comp’d the entry, for which I am really grateful. Honestly each year 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 and mountains of Cliff gels, the start was well organized, there pace lines and a great vibe. Although I didn’t linger I am sure the finish was fun with some great LA food trucks and the usual entertainment and oddities that you expect from the Venice area. As this was a point to point they also offered a drop bag service which I did not use but seemed really organized. I also got a really nice Craft tech shirt and the bling was nice and hefty!
2010, 2011 and 2012…streaking!
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!